SakuraCon 2023: QUEEN BEE Interview

Sakuracon 2023 – QUEEN BEE Interview

By Sean Cruz, Jun Hong Pua, & Matthew Fu
Transcribed & Edited By Sean Cruz

Japan-A-Radio was part of a round table interview with J-rock band QUEEN BEE (Ziyoou-Vachi) the day after their concert during Sakuracon 2023. Avu-chan (lead vocals), Hibari-kun (Guitar) and Yashi-chan (Bass) were in attendance from the band. They stated at the beginning of the conference that they’ve been turning down press interviews in Japan, so this is a unique opportunity.

From L to R: Yashi-chan, Avu-chan, Hibari-kun

I’d like to ask about your experience on The First Take. You were one of the first batch of groups to perform there, were you aware of what you were walking into, and what was the response like after it aired?

I was the 20th artist to appear on The First Take. It was really before it had become its full structure so there were a lot of unknowns. I appeared in INU-OH and the response was great, but I really feel that my home is on stage as part of the group, so singing alone against a white background, to this day it’s still a very strange feeling for me. (Avu-chan appeared in eps 20 & 23).

Your appearance on The First Take led to your role on INU-OH. How much input did you provide for the choreography and the music? It feels like a rock concert made just for you.

The President of Sony Music Artists basically said the same thing, he said “Avu-chan, this is basically a movie for you.” So, there were various things that were changed for me in the choreography, the dance and the songs, the lyrics as well. The day INU-OH premiered was the anniversary of INU-OH's death, so it’s still a very mysterious but important project to me.

The way Avu-chan’s character in INU-OH is played, is it based off her own experiences?

So, INU-OH actually lived, and there was actually a character or person named Yuha who lived around the 1500’s so I feel that personally incorporating that character into my performance gave me a strong connection, so I feel a strong kinship with the character.

QUEEN BEE has very good fashion sense, from their concerts to their music videos, even now, can you talk a bit about your fashion sense?

The reason is that we like to wear very elaborate and expensive things, and very cheap things at the same time. I think that is that soul of elegance to be able to combine them.

Regarding the Tokyo Ghoul theme, how much of that was based off the themes of the show and how much was based off of your own personal experience living as a “hafu” in Japan.

I’m friends with the Creator of Tokyo Ghoul and that allowed me to create the song “HALF”. I think there are many people who have similar experiences to mine but haven’t delved this far into this experience while living in an environment like Japan and for me this is a perfect fit, so if you have to ask me how much I would say 100% & 100%.

How did the band members come together?

We’re best friends (Ayu-chan & Yashi-Chan), and she’s not here today but my younger sister is my drummer. Queen Bee was recruiting a guitarist and Hibari-kun came and said “I’ll do anything!” and Hibari-kun has been our guitarist ever since.

Your music has a lot of different influences, rock, punk, pop even. How do you draw influences from all these different genres and make it your own?

Cause we like them! I feel like in order to be a strong person you can’t let yourself be put into a box, whether that’s a box of race or age or gender. I think genre is the same way, you have to prepare yourself in your heart not to be put into any particular category, whether pop or punk or rock. At the same time you have to remember respect, no matter what respect is the most important thing.

Is there any anime you would like to do a theme song for?

So many! Pokemon! I love Pokemon! I’m Mewtwo! Mewthree? I’m Mewthree! (laughs). There are so many anime we are influenced by. One thing they all have in common is that they involved a lot of blood and death, so maybe we end up working on those kind of works in the future, that said I still want to be a Pokemon like Mewthree.

Before coming to the US did you speak with any other J-Rock groups about their experiences in the US?

No! QUEEN BEE is QUEEN BEE, anywhere we go. After yesterday’s live performance as well, we feel that people are people, and we went in their confident, and we ourselves anywhere we go.

I just want to comment that yesterday’s performance was amazing, it was non-stop, amazing voice, dynamic presence, lots of movement, action, it was amazing.

Can’t Stop! Thank You! That is QUEEN BEE Style. We try not to have our performances last longer than 90 minutes. The reason is that human concentration does not last longer than 90 minutes. That’s also why a lot of movies and anime are around that length. The length of yesterday’s performance was probably a perfect amount of time for a QUEEN BEE debut in the US. It gave a sense of our character and what QUEEN BEE was about.

Based off of the response you got yesterday for your first concert in the US, would you consider a larger tour in the US, or around the world?

Of Course! We would absolutely love to do that. We’ve been thinking about going overseas, outside Japan and how? How do we approach that? I feel that we have now become the QUEEN BEE the world wants, and I think now is the time we can do something like that.

Avu-chan has a show on Hulu, has done stage plays and voice acting projects like INU-OH, what other projects have you not done yet that you would like to do?

Ehhhh? Action Actress?? Hmmm. I think there are many paths that are opening to us, I think that those will help us to “reform the world”. I think we want to bring our passions to the world and that will be a way to change the world and reform the world through our passions as we continue our journey. (They used the term “Yonaoshi”).

So this is how QUEEN BEE wants to spread their message to change the world?

It’s not so much about spreading our influence as it is communicating our true essence. We are all human beings. Whenever I feel like we’re trying to be put into a box or be the same as something my defensive instinct or protective instinct comes into play, so we want to be ourselves and communicate so its not a matter of spreading influence it’s a matter of being ourselves and communicating what we our.

What would you like people to know about QUEEN BEE that they don’t know already?

We are very cute! (laughs).

Avu-chan, you’re a producer of your own Hulu show where you’re also a host/judge, how long did it take to plan the show before starting to film it?

It took about 2 years to plan it, but about 6 years ago I went to an astrologer with the CEO of a cellphone company and the astrologer said that in 6 years you are going to be offered a role as a producer and you should accept it. At the time I was only thinking about Queen Bee, but 6 years later it happened! I received this offer to become a producer. So now that this opportunity has come there are various other ideas and opportunities available to us.

Thank you very much for your time!

Thank you!

QUEEN BEE Concert Review

As previously mentioned in the interview we described the concert as an amazing, non-stop, dynamic concert with lots of movement and action. Avu-chan has a dynamic presence as the leader and the center of the band. A high-octane, high energy concert that lasted just over an hour but felt much longer, QUEEN BEE showed no nerves as they played their first concert in the US. The biggest cheers were for their anime songs “VIOLENCE” from Chainsaw man and “HALF” from Tokyo Ghoul, but songs from their latest album including “KING BITCH” received a loud ovation as well. In general the crowd seemed to have a good time as Queen Bee delivered a rare Friday night concert for the Sakuracon crowd.