Wednesday Campanella (Suiyōbi no Campanella as they are known in their native Japan) is a three piece electronic pop house group from Tokyo. Formed in 2011, KOM_I (with fellow collaborators Hidefumi Kenmochi and Dir. F) Wednesday Campanella is one of the most exciting and original acts to come out of Japan. Fusing their house influence with pop, rap and dance music and splicing it with cutting edge visuals and music videos, Wednesday Campanella has been a hot commodity on Japan’s festival scene performing at SUMMER SONIC and a host of other festivals. Wednesday Campanella performs its live set with frontwoman KOM_I only as she shows off a very unique and original character on stage.
Hello Asia editor Johnny Au caught up with KOM_I from Wednesday Campanella backstage at SXSW after their debut performance at Cheer Up Charlies. TURN ON YOUR CAPTIONS FOR ENGLISH SUBTITLES.
KOM_I from Wednesday Campanella welcome to SXSW! I understand you just had your showcase at Cheer Up Charlies. Can you tell me how your showcase went?
To start, we were only about half full but then the crowd kept growing and growing. In comparison to Japanese audiences, everyone moves more freely – the girls dance sexily and things and that really lifted my mood because it was so much fun. The live program was not very different from what we would perform in Japan. We checked out the location ahead of time, looking at the venue and deciding “lets climb up there” or “lets blow up the balloons here”. We made the show by putting all of our different ideas together.
During your set I believe you did a bit of crowd surfing inside a blow up ball. Can you describe that part of your set for me?
That song is a piece called ‘Momotaro’. ‘Momotaro’ is a song that uses a Japanese fable story as a base. The story of ‘Momotaro’ begins with a giant peach floating down a river. The peach then breaks open with the protagonist of the story; the boy Momotaro, coming out of it. So replicating, or copying that, I got into a big ball and “floated” on top of the crowd, moving in the same way as the peach. And in the end, I also pop out of the peach. That’s what we were going for, but American’s who don’t know the story probably have no idea whats going on but I thought that was fine being like that. But that was actually much more fun than everyone was worrying about! It was totally fun being thrown around by everyone, bouncing around. It was like using a new type of playground equipment.
This is your first time at SXSW. How is your SXSW experience so far?
Since starting with Wednesday Campanella, the two other members (Hidefumi Kenmochi & Dir.F) and I have been saying that we want to play at South by Southwest, so I’m pleasantly surprised that 3 years down the track our dream has been realised so smoothly. Coming here, I was playing relatively early in the program, so there were a lot of interactive zones. I think having not only music lovers but the interactive crowd as well meant there was mixture of audiences which made it very interesting. And from our time here, I have a feeling there will be development for next time we play live together. Also, all around the city, there is a large variety of music playing and we have been listening to that, so yesterday, I also tried doing a live street performance in the city. I played without thinking, until I got stopped by the police so after that, I hopped onto a taxi bike and met this big fortune cat type thing and explored around the city together.
For people who haven’t heard the music of Wednesday Campanella before can you describe what your music is like?
That’s really difficult so please watch our music video! (laughs) I’m not going to attempt trying to explain it. But it has elements of pop, house and sometimes rap.
I understand your music videos are quite famous back home in Japan. What are the inspirations behind your music videos?
The inspiration for the music videos is often not related to the context of the song. If I have an image or views of the world that I would like to display at that time then I do that, or if I think of something while listening to the song then there are times I suggest that too. Sometimes I can picture the entire video in my head. But other times I can’t think of anything so the director will create everything from scratch and my role is really just to play it out.
I believe Wednesday Campanella is working on a new album. What should your fans look forward to in the new album?
To be honest, it still hasn’t progressed much yet (laughs). Even I still haven’t got a very good idea of what kind of album it will be but I’m thinking of making UMA (Universal Monster Army) the theme. I want to use creatures that aren’t quite animals and aren’t quite monsters. Making use of things that don’t exist. And this is the first time we are working with track makers who are from countries other than Japan so I hope they are looking forward to that. And that’s what I’m working hard for right now.
What’s Wednesday Campanella’s plans for the upcoming Japanese summer?
Well, we will probably perform at many festivals and I think we have a tour coming up in June. I also think we will get a chance to go to San Francisco this summer.
When will we see Wednesday Campanella perform in Australia?
If I get invited I would love to come! I have a number of musicians I like in Australia such as Chet Faker, Hiatus Kaiyote and Tame Impala. I have quite a few bands I like. It’s an island that has recently been getting a lot of attention musically. I’ve been to Australia twice before, but last time I went I was very young and while I was hugging a baby koala I got scratched in my ear by it’s claws. So I’m pretty traumatized by that incident (laughs). But I’d definitely go again.
Translations by Viv Coombe