The AprilsCatchy pop hooks, electronic and instrumental talents blend together to The Aprils produce a unique electro-pop sound. The Aprils hold nothing back in creating music that entertains and keeps you coming back for more.

The Aprils members are Kentaro Imai [vocal, guitar, and more], Miho Iguchi [vocal, synthesizer] and Yuhki Shotokuji [drums]. I talked with The Aprils‘ guitarist and vocalist Kentaro Imai about the concept behind the album Pan_da and the band’s 2004 US tour.

Could you tell our readers something of the history of the band?
Kentaro Imai: The Aprils put together the band while going to College. The band was named “the Aprils” in 1999, and then started to make their full-fledged activities in Tokyo.

Members:
Kentaro Imai (Vocal, Guitar, and more…)
Miho Iguchi (Vocal, Synthesizer)
Yuhki Shotokuji (Drums)

Support members:
Norihisa Nakama (from ?kyu-den?, Video)
Atsushi Ideno (from dominican_vacances!!!, Percussion)
Takeshi Wakiya (from ?Plus-tech Squeeze Box?, Guitar)
and more…

What are some of the biggest difficulties the band has had to face?
Kentaro Imai: No matter what kind of band you speak to, it’s always when you change members. We’ve changed members a few times in the past.

How would you describe your music?
Kentaro Imai: Spacey, happy, catchy, hip & pop music!! And guitar & pico-pico electric sound. In Japan, we call guitar pop, elepop, new wave, future pop, Shibuya-kei.

Who has influenced your music?
Kentaro Imai: 90s Shibuya-kei bands that were popular in Japan (Flipper?s Guitar, Pizzicato Five and more… ). Also Nintendo game music.

What inspiration do you draw on to write your lyrics and music?
Kentaro Imai: We all like science fiction manga, novels, and movies, so we write music while envisioning a futuristic, space and science kind of dream-world.

What was the concept behind the album Pan_da? How did you decide what the content would be?
Kentaro Imai: Pan_da is a different world resided in by a colorful band. In this world there are pop stars called the Aprils, and their best album is Pan_da. Initially, we expanded from what we envisioned for the song pan_da to create the other songs. We made the whole album keeping a single “entertainment live show” in mind. We wanted to make the album like a party, where everyone’s singing, dancing and having a good time.

Do you have any future or current releases we should be aware of?
Kentaro Imai: The Aprils have released a new split single “orangenoise shortcut/the Aprils” on Jan 12. The second song “time after time” is a fantasy song like a movie’s ending theme. The fourth song “Lum no Love Song” is a cover of the popular TV animation “Urusei Yatsura”‘s theme song. And, the Aprils will release a new album in spring. Please look forward to it!

Could you tell us about your association with Usagi-Chang Records?
Kentaro Imai: The Aprils released the album before pan_da, ASTRO, on Usagi-Chang Records, but now we’re signed with the label Softly! However, we’re still close with Usagi-Chang and plan events together.

What equipment do you use?
Kentaro Imai: We make our music using one PC. We generally use Logic Audio as the sequencing software, but also Acid and Sound Forge. We use many plug-in effects and software synthesizers. When we need them, we have a guitar and Nord Modular synthesizers and hardware.

Do you have any future or current live dates readers in Japan might be able to attend?
Kentaro Imai: On 3/25 we have a live event. We also plan on performing live after the release of our spring album. For more detailed information look for announcements on the Aprils website. However, we don’t have any plans for an overseas tour.

What thoughts do you have on overseas fans and overseas tours?
Kentaro Imai: We went on a US tour (L.A., San Francisco, Denver) in the summer of 2004. It was a lot of fun, and a great experience. We were incredibly happy that we had fans overseas, and that people from all over the world knew about us. If we ever have another chance, we’d definitely do more live shows overseas, so please let us know.

Is there anything you would like to say to fans?
Kentaro Imai: We think pico-pico music like the Aprils is not only for Japan, but accepted overseas as well. Since you can buy our albums on HMV Japan and Amazon.co.jp from overseas, if you’re interested please listen to our CDs. The Aprils website (http://www.aprils.jp/en/) also has samples you can listen to, so please give that a look as well. Thank you!!

Interview from 2005.02.08 [translation, James Route] I would like to thank Kentaro Imai and The Aprils for their participation in this interview.
– Denise Smith

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