Interview by David Cirone
April 19, 2017
“BRATS” is sort of an aggressive word in English — it means kids who don’t listen to grown-ups, who want to do everything their way. Does that description match your personalities?
Hinako: It doesn’t match. I don’t think so.
Aya: Same here, doesn’t match. I’m a very serious person, like if something needs to be done, I’ll do it even if I don’t like it.
Rei: That’s them. For me, it does match. Definitely.
Rei and Aya, how does your relationship as sisters affect your work in the band? Is it easier to exchange ideas without holding back?
Rei: Of course, we can say anything to each other.
Aya: There are so many things we’re able to do, so many things we can communicate, especially because we’re sisters.
What age did each of you start playing music? Did you know right away “I want to be in a rock band”?
Aya: I was 12 years old.
Rei: I saw a SCANDAL’s live show when I was 10, and that’s made me want to be in a band. Music has been on my mind ever since.
Hinako: When I was 15, I started a band and we copied Japanese bands like ELLEGARDEN. I wanted to play rock from the beginning.
Your two recent songs, “Ainikoiyo” and “Nounai Shoukyo Game” are full of strong emotion. What were you thinking about when you were recording these songs?
Aya: A year and half ago, BRATS’ producers and staff changed. These were the first songs we recorded after that, so I was nervous.
Rei: I was really looking forward to doing something more “rock”, and my desire was reflected in the song, so I enjoyed it.
Hinako: It was our first time recording after a long break, so I was happy. I gave it all my energy.
Rei works on other music and modeling projects. What do you get to express in BRATS that you can’t express anywhere else?
Rei: Other projects have concepts to start with, and there are commitments and limitations, but I can be free in BRATS in a totally different way that lets me express the real Rei Kuromiya.
In March, BRATS returned to live performance activities and a sold-out free show — what did you enjoy the most?
Hinako: It had a sobering effect on me like, “It’s finally started.” I was having fun, but I felt the importance of the moment even more.
Aya: It was fun because it was our first live show after a long wait. During the last song, I was really smiling so hard, I couldn’t control it.
Rei: Right before we went onto the stage, we made a circle and got a feeling of unity. That feeling was there with us the whole time during the live, so it was fun.
Your new song, “Nounai Shoukyo Game” (“Brain Erase Game”), drops some pretty heavy lyrics. Is there a personal memory you’d like to erase?
Hinako: Not for me.
Aya: Um… Ha ha ha… Not telling. (laughs)
Rei: (copies Aya) “Ha ha ha… Not telling!” (laughs)
How do you three work together in rehearsal? Who takes charge?
Rei: We don’t have an assigned leader.
Aya: (points) There are two crazy ones.
Hinako: You’re crazy, too, Aya!
Rei: THREE crazy ones! (laughs)
Your song “Ainikoiyo” was chosen as the OP for the anime To Be Hero. Are you anime fans? Can you tell us which shows you like?
Hinako: I love anime. Too much! I watch almost all the anime on late night TV.
Aya: “Evangelion” “Black Butler” “Tokyo Ghoul” “Free!”
Rei: “Gokinjo Monogatari”. Hina-chan, you like “Detective Conan” right?
Hinako: I do like “Conan” but I like all of the anime you guys just mentioned, too.
What’s your dream for the future of BRATS?
Aya: We’ll be free when we become big.
Hinako: I want to make BRATS an established band.
Rei: We wanna be big! We HAVE to be!
Rei Kuromiya (vocals) (16 years old)
Aya Kuromiya (bass) (18 years old)
Hinako (guitar) (20 years old)
BRATS formed in August 2011 when Rei Kuromiya, who has been a junior idol since she was 8 years old, became a vocalist at the age of 10. Rei’s sister Aya Kuromiya plays the bass, and Aya’s friend Hinako plays the guitar. Rei Kuromiya was chosen as “Miss iD 2015″ at an idol contest hosted by Koudansha in September, 2014, and her popularity increased when she joined the idol group “LADYBABY” with Rie Kaneko (Miss iD 2015 Gran Prix) and cross-dressing performer Ladybeard. After Ladybeard left the group, Rei formed a new unit “The Idol Formerly Known As LADYBABY” with Rie Kaneko. BRATS released the song “14-sai byou” (“14-year old disease”) in 2015, produced by URBANGARDE’s Temma Matsunaga. Their song “Ainikoiyo” (“Come see me”) was released in 2016 as the opening theme for the anime series To Be Hero. BRATS will release their double-single “Ainikoiyo” / “Nounai Shoukyo Game” on June 21, 2017.