AnimeNEXT 2010: Stereopony – Music at the Speed of a Pony

J-rock band, Stereopony debuted in 2008 with ‘Hitohira no Hanabira’ which became the 17th ending song to BLEACH and ranked #25 in Oricon charts. Their second single, ‘Namida no Mukou’ was the ending song to the second season of Gundam 00. It ranked #2 on the Oricon charts. Their singles are not the only ones to rank highly on the charts: their debut album ‘A Hydrangea Blooms’ was released in June 2009 and ranked #7 on Oricon. Their brand new second album, ‘Over the Border’ was especially sold at AnimeNEXT along with ‘A Hydrangea Blooms’.

AnimeNEXT was the second time they ever performed in the US (the first being at SXSW 2009 in Austin, Texas) and it was thrilling to hear them at their Friday’s June 18 concert. The songs ‘Namida no Mukou’ and ‘Tsukiakari no Michishirube’ (the opening theme to the second season of Darker Than Black) were sung with their respective anime clips shown in the background. The crowds were hyped up and dancing to the beat. The Q&A panel for the band was held on Saturday, June 19.

The panel opened up with the footage from the dvd live from Japan. The band entered the stage and took the stage. From left to right: Shiho (drummer,) Nohana (bass guitarist,) and Aimi (guitarist/lead vocalist.) Aimi’s first words in English, “Hello everyone! We’re Stereopony!”. *audience applause* The first part of the Q&A were basic questions that the interpreter asks the band directly. (The answers below are sometimes combinations between the 3 members. ^_^)

    Q: How did you start the band?
    A: There was a studio in the Okinawa, where all the music lovers gather at. Aimi and Nohana got together first and then they met Shiho when Aimi thought, ‘She would be great on drums’ and so they formed Stereopony.

    Q: How was yesterday’s live performance.
    A: It was exciting and I was really happy to share such a great time together along with such great sounds together. There was so much emotions coming together with so much excitement. We all had so much fun.

    Q: This is the 2nd time in the US. How do you feel?
    A: Last year was our first concert in the US…and it was also the first time we were in a different country. We were so nervous. I can’t really speak English, but we still had so much fun.

    Q: Is this your first time in New Jersey?
    A: Yes, it’s our first time here.

    Q: What is your favorite food or most impressive food on this trip?
    Aimi: Lobster that we had two days ago.
    Nohana: Chicken.
    Shiho: I love vegetables so I have been eating alot of salad.
    (Me: I may have gotten Nohana-san’s and Shiho-san’s answers mixed up. XD)

    Q: What is your favorite anime?
    Aimi: I really love bands so I love series like Nana. *audience cheers*
    Nohana: I watched Pokemon since I was in elementary.
    Shiho: I really love Dragonball.

Then we saw their latest PV for ‘Overdrive’. I really like how the PV had an accapella break which took everyone by surprise. Then came questions concerning the PV and the albums, also asked by the interpreter.

    Q: Do you have interesting stories from the video shoot?
    A: For the PV ‘Overdrive’, we were wearing summer clothes in it. However, it was so cold that we were shivering. There was so much wind. For this new album, we put in alot of different feelings in it.

    Q: About the themes of the album ‘A Hydrangea Blooms’ and ‘Over the Border….
    A: When we started playing music, we were very happy and the music reflects that. For the second album, ‘Over the Border’, we want it to be about crossing the borders between people in the world.

Finally, the audience could ask questions questions….

    Q: What does the name ‘Stereopony’ mean?
    A: The music contains many dynamics of a stereo (?) that moves at the speed of a pony.

    Q: Do you girls have boyfriends.
    Aimi: No…my boyfriend is my guitar.

    Q: What is your favorite vocal artists?
    Aimi: When I was little, I listen to Judy and Mary in Japan with my mother.

    Q: Which of your songs is the most fun to play?
    Aimi: Pieces that have alot of fast beats is fun to play. For me, I like our new song ‘Overdrive’ since the rhythm is very fast.

    Q: Will you have another concert in the US?
    A: We don’t have any plans, but we would love to come back here and play again. *audience cheers*

The last question was ‘Can you want to go out with me?’ but the translator said she couldn’t translate that. At the end of the panel, there was an ‘I love Stereopony’ segment where questions were asked and anyone who answered correctly receives a card signed by the three members. The questions were:

    ‘Where in Japan did they form?’ – Okinawa
    ‘What did Aimi say to open the concert?’ – “We can’t speak English.” XD
    ‘Where is their first live in the US?’ – Austin, TX
    ‘How tall is Aimi?’ – 4ft. 10in.

Of course, I didn’t answer any questions, but we applauded the winners. Their autograph session was on Sunday followed by a special appearance at the JHRE booth. There was a raffle for 3 large posters signed and presented personally by the band.

After presenting the posters to the winners, they bid us farewell. Hopefully, we can look forward to another concert in the US.