Interview: Yousei Teikoku

by Sarah Nelkin,

After the Lantis Festival's third day ended, ANN got to sit down with Yousei Teikoku, a group with a complicated story behind their band, filled with military ranks and ancient history. The band has performed theme songs for The Qwaser of Stigmata, Future Diary, and more recently, Tokyo ESP.

(Note: The vocalist of Yousei Teikoku speaks with a slightly archaic speech pattern. This has been reflected as much as possible in the translation of this interview.)

Please introduce yourselves.

YUI: We are Yousei Teikoku (Fairy Empire)... More specifically, the Yousei Teikoku third military musical unit. I am the most important in Yousei Teikoku; my position is that of grand dictator. I suppose I should introduce everyone? Understood. This is our eldest: Takaha Tachibana. His rank is Captain. In our military musical unit, there is a thing called rank. Whether it be during live performances, or when we make songs, depending on the performance during these, rank can rise or fall. The one who is second only to me in rank is Captain Takaha. Next is warrant officer Nanami on bass. After that is sergeant major Shiren on guitar... Finally, our drummer sergeant Gight. I have not the foggiest of how this will translate into English.

Don't worry, I will translate.

YUI: I will leave it in your hands. At any rate, this is the structure of our unit.

Last year, you went to Anime Boston, am I right?

YUI: Yes, that is correct.

I would like to ask about your experience. Maybe an interesting story from your time there?

YUI: An interesting story... An interesting story, do I have anything...? ...Well, this story is not related to Anime Boston in any way, but in America, they were selling purple Doritos. It was chili... Something... What was it? (Editor's note: The flavor was Spicy Sweet Chili) ...I do not know. They were slightly spicy golden Doritos in a purple package. I must tell you, they were so very delicious. I had bought them and ate them in my room, but these snacks are not available in Japan. They did not have them, and I yearned for them so badly. I tried to purchase them on the internet, but even through a delivery service, they only sell boxes with multiple flavor packs. I experienced quite the disappointment. I would like to go [to America] again, but I wonder, is this truly an interesting story?

It's very interesting. Moving on, since it's Lantis' 15th anniversary, do you have any thoughts on the label that you'd like to share? What is the existence of Lantis to you?

YUI: Yes, it is Lantis' 15th anniversary, but in fact, Yousei Teikoku has already finished its 15th anniversary, and now we are... How many years?

Manager: 17 years.

YUI: Yes, we are in our 17th year. To tell you the truth, we are actually older than Lantis historically... If I were to describe our involvement with Lantis... Lantis is celebrating its 15th anniversary, but we are an existence that has walked alongside Lantis for over ten years. To me, Lantis is an existence that worries with us, walks with us, and grew up with us.

Is there a genre of music that you'd like to challenge yourselves with?

This is the personal opinion of YUI, the grand dictator, and I'm not sure it will happen... Well, since I'm saying I want it to happen, I suppose it will, but... Well, something like a “female shout...” I'd like to make a song that people can strike their feelings into.

Where did you all get influences from to start working in music?

YUI: Is this question only for me?

For everyone.

YUI: I understand. Influence... Let me see... You see, since I was young, my home has been overflowing with music. My parents are quite the music-lovers, and as such, I have been accustomed to music. For example, I sometimes sing in the bath. I have been surrounded by music for so long that I do not know when it started. I was so accustomed to music that I think that it was already decided for me when I was young that I would go down the path of music.

Takaha: Since I was young, I played piano. When I entered middle school, I joined the brass band club... I played the trumpet. Before entering high school, I started listening to X Japan, and was awakened to the coolness of hard-rock and metal. I thought that I wanted to do that kind of genre myself, so I started playing. I got a lot of influence from X Japan.

Shiren: I started with a keyboard where you could do step recording- a synthesizer, and copied lots of different bands. As I continued to copy songs, I got into metal bands, and thought that I wanted to do that genre as well. Now, that thought is reality.

Nanami: I guess you could call it my hometown, but anyway, it was covered in kind of a negative aura. (Other members laugh) I didn't have anything else to do, and was just kind of hanging around, but then I was suddenly invited to join a band. My friend invited me to play music. That was the trigger, and well, I ended up doing it.

Gight: Since I was eight years old, I played the drum in a marching band due to a school lesson. Since I can remember until now, I've been playing the drums.

I'd like to ask you the title of one of your favorite anime. It doesn't have to be your number one favorite, but even something you liked when you were a child, or a work you have interest in.

YUI: For me, hm... It would have to be Ghibli works. I am very fond of the movie Kiki's Delivery Service, so much that I have no idea how many times I've watched it. In my heart, it is the best anime work.

Takaha: Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts).

YUI: That's fairly recent.

Other members: That was ten years ago!

YUI: Well, you know, I'm over 300 years old, so... Ten years is...

Takaha: So yeah, Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. Also, right now, Steins;Gate.

Shiren: Uh... Gundam. I like Gundam the most.

YUI: Which Gundam are we talking about?

Shiren: My love for the first Gundam... is very big, but I really do like all of them. But the one I like the most is the first. Oh, and I really like Ghost in the Shell, too! I like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG. I really like director Kenji Kamiyama.

Nanami: I'm really part of the Jump generation, so Dragon Ball and things like that.

Gight: I like Fullmetal Alchemist.

Thank you so much for your time.

All members: Thank you!

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