ARTICLES What are Dempagumi.inc’s "love" and "family"? --- NemoPero, Mofuku-chan, YGQ Interview

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What are Dempagumi.inc’s "love" and "family"? --- NemoPero, Mofuku-chan, YGQ Interview
2020/04/17 12:00

From left, Naruse Eimi, Aizawa Risa, Fujisaki Ayane, Furukawa Mirin, Nemoto Nagi, Kaname Rin


Dempagumi.inc has released their 6th album, "Ai ga chikyuu sukuun sa! Datte Dempagumi.inc wa family desho," touting themes of "love" and "family." It is an album that recaps their activities since Yumemi Nemu graduated in 2019. We interviewed members Kaname Rin (Perorin) and Nemoto Nagi (Nemo), producer Mofuku-chan, and director YGQ about the charm of the group, the behind the scenes of the release, and the spin-off unit "NemoPero" that released a single on March 25.


INTERVIEW: Kaname Rin, Nemoto Nagi, Mofuku-chan, YGQ
This spring, Dempagumi.inc announced new releases one after another in what could be called a release rush. First, there's "Makuhari Jamboree Concert," filmed from their one-man live in Makuhari Messe halls 2-3 on December 8, 2019. Then, they announced the release their first album as the new lineup since Yumemi Nemu graduated in January of 2019, "Ai ga chikyuu sukuun sa! Datte Dempagumi.inc wa family desho."

Additionally, after Kaname Rin and Nemoto Nagi released a photobook shot on location in Okinawa, "NemoPero," they released their first single, "Shuki shuki shukipi ♡ ga tomaranai...!" After months of release after release, Dempagumi.inc are finally arriving at their new album. It is an album with the members reflecting on their lives, especially after the announcement of Furukawa Mirin's marriage.

What will take place with the present-day Dempagumi.inc? We discussed with Kaname Rin and Nemoto Nagi, as well as producer Mofuku-chan (Fukushima Maiko) and director YGQ.


Interviewer: Munekata Akimasa


"NemoPero," a little cute, a little sexual

──Right now, you have "NemoPero," Dempagumi.inc, Perorin has meme tokyo., and Nemo-chan has Niji no Conquistador (NijiCon). Why are they making you work so hard?

All:
Ahaha!

Kaname Rin (Kaname): meme tokyo came about because one of the original members, SORI-chan (sic), I knew from school, and it was this timing where she had to take a break from things, and she has the same yellow member color and so I was asked if I would maybe join in? (laughs) But honestly, having too much free time is harder for me, so... Like it is an absolute necessity for me to work like that... (laughs).

Nemoto Nagi (Nemoto): I'm also the type to give in to negative thoughts when I have too much free time, so I'm grateful. I'll suddenly feel sick, thinking, "I hate that I bump into people walking down the street in this city" (laughs). Like maybe I'll just go home to Ibaraki (laughs).


──I'm glad you didn't leave us! The Makuhari Jamboree Concert video has gone on sale, but what surprised me about that December 2019 concert was how, even though Mofuku-chan had spoken so passionately about how Perorin had corrected her tone-deafness, you could really feel how much your singing has developed.



Mofuku-chan: She really isn't tone-deaf anymore, at least by a little bit. But in the cutesy songs she is all-out tone-deaf. And that's fine (laughs).

YGQ: But in the cool songs she's gotten to where she can get the pitch, relatively, and her nuance is good, too...

Perorin: You've discovered the ways of Perorin.

YGQ: We must study them more.

Kaname: You're researchers (laughs).

YGQ: And the results of that research are that your pitch gets so much worse, so quickly when you sing the cutesy songs.

Mofuku-chan: So she loses it as soon as she becomes aware that she's an idol.

Kaname: That's the core of it... (laughs). Look into why my voice comes out so much more smoothly in cool songs like Dempagumi.inc's "Keijijougakuteki, maho." But then the NemoPero songs are super cutesy, and they're so much harder to sing...

Mofuku-chan: Even on the new album songs, the most emotional part of "Hoshi furu hikikomori no yoru" goes to Perorin this time. The end of the chorus in "Ai no katachi" is Perorin, too, so she's gotten where she can do a passionate voice at the appropriate parts.


──Emo Perorin.

Mofuku-chan:
I won't let go of EmoPero (laughs).


──What about Nemo-chan?

Mofuku-chan:
She has reliable singing skills, like, yep, that's Nemoto.

Nemoto: Ahaha.

YGQ: She was very stable even when running around the venue when singing "Ai ga chikyuu sukuun sa! Datte Dempagumi.inc wa family desho."

Mofuku-chan: Even when she's running, it's like CD-quality vocals (laughs).

Nemoto: I didn't think I was running that hard (laughs).

Mofuku: I think Nemoto is actually in pretty good shape.

Nemoto: You put on some muscle just by doing all the release events for NijiCon (laughs).


──It was at Makuhari where NemoPero debuted with "Shuki shuki shukipi ♡ ga tomaranai...!" but where did the idea for NemoPero come from?

NemoPero


Mofuku-chan: We talked about letting the members all do individual sections at Makuhari, and Risa-chan (Aizawa Risa) has her unit LAVILITH, Pinky (Fujisaki Ayane) was having her birthday so we should let her do a solo, Mirin-chan (Furukawa Mirin) should fly (laughs), Eitaso (Naruse Eimi) should do her part from the anime Pretty Cure, and so on. Then, you know, we realized NemoPero didn't have anything to do, but then we thought well, love that era of Hello!Project where they did those spin-off units.

YGQ: That's right (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: At first we wanted to do something like Sannin Matsuri. Something a little cute, a little sexual. We absolutely wanted to do something that hadn't been done in Dempagumi so far. We decided on the catchphrase, "Put NemoPero together and the boobs come out." Then came the song (laughs).

YGQ: We started first thinking that we would only do it at concerts.


──And yet, 3 months later, you came out with a CD.

YGQ:
We did it live, and the audience reaction was very positive. From there, it seemed like we were going to make it into a coupling track.

Mofuku-chan: We made it at the speed of light.


──How do you two, Nemo and Pero, feel about being called a unit?

Nemoto:
I like watching 2 or 3 person units, personally. But I never imagined I would get to be part of one, so I was super surprised, but really happy. I've known Perorin for a long time so she already knew what my disposition was like (laughs).

Kaname: Hehe.

Nemoto: She'll say so many funny things, I have lots of notes of them saved in my phone (laughs). Sometimes I'll share them with Eitaso-san and we'll laugh together.

Kaname: Ei-chan has been writing down funny notes ever since I joined (laughs).


──Perorin, why do you tolerate them observing you like this (laughs)?

Kaname:
No, I'm happy that I can make them happy, somehow.... (laughs).


──What do you think about doing NemoPero?

Kaname:
We've both been doing gravure from the start, so we got this super cute image made for us, and we got lots of welcome words from the fans. I'm very happy that we're going to be doing new material.


──What was it like being so invested in the photobook and MV, both shot on location in Okinawa?

Nemoto:
It has to sell... We have to sell it...

Kaname: This time it was just the two of us, so we felt more responsibility. Like, it has to be beyond what anyone expected. We want to be able to do this for a long time, not like a limited time thing, so we needed to put everything into it to get those results, so we said, "Okay, let's do our best together."


──"Shuki shuki shukipi ♡ ga tomaranai...!" and "♡Yoru fukashi otome no dokidoki happy days♡" both have a Motown sort of melody, don't they? Where did the idea to have them sing a song like this come from?

YGQ:
As far as rough construction goes, we did a Shibuya kind of sound, then the two of them would give it a cuter feel.

Mofuku-chan: We always had the image of Motown. Thinking of the most famous Motown songs, we put a lot of that into Furukawa Mirin-sensei's ancient solo song "♥Otome Trick♥." Murakawa-kun (Motonari) composed that song, but when we first discussed it 12 years ago, we both got really excited talking about how much we love Motown (laughs). We discussed how, for a Motown feel, girls have to sing in a little bit of a sexy way, but that's really the sweet spot for an idol, like, "Motown and sex: wow!" That's it.

YGQ: We had the intent, from conception, to aggressively throw in buzzwords like "shukipi" [TL: slang along the lines of "I wuv you"] and "pien" [TL: slang along the lines of "cryin a little"]

Mofuku-chan: The song "Kuchidzuke kibonnu" was the same, but if we make the lyrics like that sort of, "This phrase is going to go out of style but if we sing it now it will scratch that itch," maybe it'll make it a bit more emo. For "shukipi" and "pien" they've been going for 2, 3 years strong now; they're aging like cheese, I guess (laughs).

Kaname: They're maturing (laughs).


──So you've given the two of them an aging cheese (laughs). The lyrics were by Murakawa-san, too, but there's a fairly coquettish idol image here.

Mofuku-chan:
That's what he's best at.

YGQ: For Murakawa-san, his mind is really that of a young girl's, isn't it? Like the song really seems like the inner workings of Perorin's mind (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: Is Perorin an old man, or is the old man a young girl? (laughs)

YGQ: We asked him to write it without giving him any particular details, but nothing about this perspective felt out of place when they sang it. Their brains are the same.


──When NemoPero got the song, what were your feelings on it?

Kaname:
I was happy that I could sing something that seemed like it came out of my own imagination (laughs). And I was happy that Nemo-chan was obligated to sing it with me.


──In pop music from 2019, 2020, there really hasn't been anything that screams "sexy!"

Kaname:
Because puberty is over (laughs). There really isn't anything to be embarrassed of, and as art it's really great, so I feel grateful that this is something we get to do.

Nemoto: I don't really like the word "pien..."

All: Ahaha!

Nemoto: I was anti-"pien," but it's there in the lyrics... (laughs). I was like, "I don't want to say it!"

Kaname: But that's your part.


──And in front of all those people at Makuhari.

Nemoto:
Yeah... (laughs). But when I'm singing it, it's like, "Okay, pien is a good word" (laughs).


──You weren't brainwashed, were you (laughs)?

Nemoto:
I don't know if the song was a turning point or what, for me to stand by that...

Mofuku-chan: I think that from the start, the funniest thing about NemoPero is this composition of Perorin being hyper and Nemoto having to suffer through it, so it's funny to have this feeling of Perorin's inner thoughts being allowed to develop and then Nemoto is forcefully brought along for the ride (laughs).

YGQ: They're being forced together by joint responsibility (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: That balance and character difference, I wonder if the fans will think it's funny (laughs).


There's nothing shameful about material that's sexual

──As it were, you put out this photobook, and there was some controversy in taking photos with sexual elements, correct? Even though I believe Dempa's philosophy was, "How much to take it off?"

Mofuku-chan:
It's funny. Even though we took it off for photobooks and magazines quite aggressively, I guess at the time there was no Instagram and cell phone quality photos were bad, so there wasn't any culture of putting these swimsuit photos out on social media, so how it's accepted now is completely different from how it was before.

YGQ: The point is from the start, Dempagumi's debut album had them in swimsuits.

Kaname: It sort of went past being sad for me and I just got little offended (laughs).

Nemoto: I ended up laughing (laughs). Like... I guess... I want them to understand it.

Kaname: I've always done gravure so my own feelings may be off base here, but I've always thought of gravure as art.


──Could it be that the generation of the fans has changed?

Mofuku-chan:
It's completely changed, hasn't it? But the truth is, NemoPero fans have increased by a lot. I think that growth is so important. But I do understand the opinion like, "it's inexcusable to have your boobs out like that!"

NemoPero: Ahaha.

Mofuku-chan: Among girls, there are those who hate it, but they're incredibly split on it. The relatively young and the newcomers are very, "Super cute! Your breasts are so pretty!" The 80s and 90s were the heyday of eroticism; it was all over TV, like, "What's wrong with being sexual?" Boobs were out, butts were out, it was just part of the times, like I guess because it was the Bubble Era, it was fine. Now, there are all sorts of things tying you down, right? Like you'll get a firestorm of comments on a blog, a ton of complaints will come in from a TV show.


──So for NemoPero, you're putting out that kind of 80s, 90s energy?

Mofuku-chan:
Dempa is fundamentally the same, though. Arranging what was great about 80s and 90s culture in modern styles, that hasn't changed. "Sexual" hasn't really been used since the 80s with Onyanko Club, has it?


──That's true, I haven't heard idols described as sexual in about 30 years.

Mofuku-chan:
That's why I want people to remember that 30 years ago idols were sexual, or something like that (laughs). That there's nothing shameful about material that's sexual.

YGQ: In the 80s there were even dramas that were sexual (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: Like, "Kanchi, let's have sex!" (Tokyo Love Story)

YGQ: Nowadays if you said something like that, you'd have a storm of complaints, "Apologize now!"

Mofuku-chan: Compliance is smugly adjusting their glasses all the while (laughs). I'm sort of fighting against that type of thing.


──Is NemoPero going to continue on after this?

Mofuku-chan:
Well, as long as there's demand... the answer lies with you, I guess (laughs). Like, is it okay for Dempagumi.inc to have a completely different form? The other 4 members feel like, about NemoPero, "Oh ho, they're going a sexy route, they're so cute," and so I really think that, as the current Dempagumi.inc, that's beautiful.

YGQ: I think that if people who don't know Dempagumi.inc start to like just NemoPero, and then after go, "Huh? They're attached to the unit Dempagumi.inc," then that's a good range to be in. I really think NemoPero have potential, and they both commit to plans without hesitation, which I think is so important for being an idol. If you have too many strange hangups about yourself, it'll put the brakes on your creativity, and there's none of that with the two of them. They commit 120% (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: So admirable (laughs).

Kaname: We're just like, "Oh, do it like this now!?" (laughs)

Mofuku-chan: Otherwise you'll end up taking too many clothes off, if we don't tell you so (laughs).

YGQ: I think for idols, having a creator who can amuse themselves with the raw material is huge. In NemoPero's case, this time ZUMI-san did the visuals and the MV and the photos, and his motivation was incredibly high.



Mofuku-chan: ZUMI-san loves NemoPero so much. Isn't that great? He even made t-shirts by himself (laughs).

Kaname: I was shocked, like, "woah, can I have one!?" (laughs)

Nemoto: I was so happy...

YGQ: That's such an important driving force. For me, too, as BOZO & YGQ we had no money for the "Kuchidzuke Kibonnu" MV but we took polaroids and everything on our own. I believe that sort of passion is so important, and I think NemoPero definitely have that.

Nemoto: This is the first time I'm hearing this... (laughs). It makes me happy.

Kaname: I'm so happy to hear those words coming from him... (laughs).


Like, "After all, nothing says family like the supermarket, right?"

──So, the new Dempagumi.inc album, "Ai ga chikyuu sukuun sa! Datte Dempagumi.inc wa family desho," comes out very soon. First, you put out the "Moshimoshi, Internet" MV. The 16 year old Yukichi Kasaku/men wrote and composed the song, and the 17 year old malloon directed the MV, and the whole thing is very vaporwave, is it not?



YGQ: Yukichi Kasaku/men wrote "Keijijougakuteki, maho" for us and we got amazing feedback on it, so we asked her to write one more song for us, this time with the themes of "love" and "family" expressed in the song. Then, she came back to us, "Is it okay if I write something with the internet as the theme?" And this is what she came up with.

Mofuku-chan: (Kiyoshi) Ryuujin-san or Takashi-kun (Asano) or Hyadain have their outlook on family, and right now at our age I think that image we have hasn't changed, but for Yukichi Kasaku/men to try doing things from our generation, that sort of thinking is completely alien, don't you think? (laughs) For a teenager to hear "family" and "love" and come back with "internet" is such a Reiwa thing, I think. I think the power that these teenage kids have is so important. Looking at the MV, too, it has to break down your own perspective, like, "Aren't we better off leaving it to the teenagers? We don't know the answers."

YGQ: I sent a DM to a teenage creator I found on Twitter, malloon, and I asked her to work on the Yukichi Kasaku/men song and it was naturally very harmonious.

Mofuku-chan: It's the power to show adults how old they're getting, I guess (laughs). But, the moment we uploaded this song's MV, people who had never reached out to me before told me, "Dempagumi.inc's MV is so good!" Like, we caught a pulse that we didn't know existed (laughs).


──Right now, in a global sense vaporwave is really popular, but there are people out there saying, "No, no, vaporwave is over." I think it's a big deal to accept that and put this out.

Mofuku-chan:
The discussions around vaporwave are infinite, but for this we tried not to think too hard about it, that if the teenagers put it out there, then that's the right answer. The biggest thing for us was, "Don't tell the 17 year olds what to do."

YGQ: With that in mind, the 90s internet wasn't real-time, I don't think they know things like that, but if you adopt what they intuitively believe will work, then I don't think you should add unnecessary noise like, "No, this is the history behind the culture."


──For NemoPero, how did you feel about someone younger than you participating like this?

Nemoto:
I like Vocaloid, and a lot of the biggest songs from Vocaloid were made by young people. That feeling of seeing a Vocaloid scene and going, "This is genius...!" and then getting to feel that with idols, moreover Dempagumi.inc, makes me think this is such an amazing time we're living in.

Kaname: For me, too, I've come to understand how an adult feels, more or less, but to see so closely this young perspective, from a teenager, that gap is so... (laughs). Oh, but I just remembered something...

Mofuku-chan: What did you remember (laughs)?

Nemoto: She's coming down, she's coming down (laughs).

Kaname: Like... from my school days... (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: Ahaha!

YGQ: A bygone era? (laughs)

Mofuku-chan: But I feel like the ones who most drank in Yukichi Kasaku/men's worldview were NemoPero. Nemoto, especially; she was the first person to hit the like button on the new song (laughs).


──The intro of Murakawa Motonari-san's arrangement of "Family World" is very digital, very fresh. But there are lots of sound effects in there, too.

YGQ:
Up until now the first song on every Dempa album has been an instrumental, a gorgeous orchestral piece or something like that, but this time we wanted it to be just so, I mean, "After all, nothing says family like the supermarket, right?" A lot came out of that initial idea, and then came themes of north Kanto, motorcycles, and young punks (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: Because they have this image of forming their own families from a young age, because of the sights along the national highway.

YGQ: You can hear the buzzing of insects when you reach the road home.

Mofuku-chan: People who are so strong-willed like that, they actually live way out in the country, quickly start a family, and find love. Searching for the strike zone in Japan's most straightforward family image (laughs).

Nemoto: You perfectly described my older brother... (laughs).


──Your brother is already married?

Nemoto:
He's married with a child and he's started his whole life over that way...

Mofuku-chan: This story is so funny, but when Nemoto was around 15, she told me, "My older brother is a punk and it bothers me, he comes home with a steel pipe" (laughs). That's Ibaraki for you. I'd always ask what her brother was up to after that.

Nemoto: He drives a super low-suspension car now.

Mofuku-chan: That's amazing!! That's really how I pictured the life of a punk in north Kanto. Even though they were super free-spirited, before they know it, they're married and have a kid. I've been making a point to keep looking after the life of Nemoto's brother these past 5, 6 years (laughs).

YGQ: Even though you've never met him (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: But in just 5 years, to go from a punk to marriage to a child to a low rider (laughs).


──Seems like this is an album for Nemo-chan's brother (laughs).

Mofuku-chan:
It is, it is (laughs).

Nemoto: How unexpected...

Mofuku-chan: The secondary theme of "Family World" is wanting to put sound effects on this family image at the heart of Japan (laughs).

YGQ: We recorded and mixed in different sounds from the supermarket, and actually all the members' voices are in there, too.

Mofuku-chan: We started from that clatter, that sort of image of a time in your life when you're strong-willed and free. Then, family is after all out in the country, like you're going home to where you can hear the insects. That's that 1 and a half minutes.

YGQ: There are things in a person's life that they're connected to, with each family: an older brother who's a punk, you can hear that sprinkled in; a mother going to the supermarket; a daughter walking home from her after-school activities; a father walking along the national highway again. We were able to capture that feeling.

Mofuku-chan: We told Murakawa-kun to make a racket! (laughs)


I wish I could have played this for my younger self

──You uploaded the MV for "Ai ga chikyuu sukuun sa! Datte Dempagumi.inc wa family desho," which was written by Maeyamada Ken'ichi-san and composed and arranged by Asano Takashi-san, and it definitely carries the themes of love and family. What surprised me was the song Nigami 17sai made, "Nama Dempa," which is funk, isn't it? The way the voices are put in is exactly James Brown's "Sex Machine," and that's seems like where the year 2020 is going to go.



YGQ: We didn't ask them for anything specific for this song, either.

Mofuku-chan: Yeah, I've always liked Nigami a lot. We asked them to make a song that they liked, without worrying too much about Dempagumi.


──How did NemoPero feel when they got "Nama Dempa"?

Kaname:
This was my first time hearing of Nigami and my first time hearing a song like this, so my horizons were broadened.

Nemoto: It's super cool. It was my first time experiencing music like this, and I'm so glad I got to encounter Nigami. Props for introducing us.


──This quickly turned into "mad props."

Mofuku-chan:
That north Kanto blood will always come out (laughs).


──Shinsei Kamattechan's Noko-san wrote and composed "Hoshi furu hikikomori," right?

Mofuku-chan:
Noko-san was the only one on the whole album where we told him to bring out the original spirit of Dempagumi.inc. This time, I wondered if we'd be putting off teenagers or people in their early twenties who sort of prickle at the idea of these themes, like what even is family at that age? So with Noko-san, we got a song that's able to fuse both the old spirit of Dempa with the concept of family.


──The lyrics contain modern phrases like "communication disorder" and "SNS," too.

Mofuku-chan:
That's right. But they're set up in such a kind way.

Kaname: It really cuts deep. It's definitely got something that will reach kids today. It's a song that really hits close to home.

Nemoto: For me, it opened a part of me that didn't really comprehend the concept of love. It has this feeling, like, "I guess I did leave a little something behind." It's a song with a lot of emotion, a song that I wish I could have played for my younger self.


──You want your younger self to hear it, you mean.

Nemoto:
I ended up feeling like I was in north Tohoku, I say it like it's a poem (laughs). I do feel like I want to play it for myself during that point in my life when I shut myself in. Another song Noko-san wrote, "Os-Uchuujin" (Elio o kamattechan) hit me super hard, too, so his lyrics really stick with me.


──"Sakura ga saku koro ni" was written, composed, and arranged by Kai Takahashi of Lucky Tapes, and outside of the chorus, it's largely a rap song.

YGQ:
When we were making the album, we created a sort of music map chart, and we classified the songs as different things, like "high BPM," "emotional," "intense," "cheerful," and we realized, hey, there's something missing here!

Mofuku-chan: We said, "That spot's practically empty!"

YGQ: An emotional song with low BPM. There wasn't a single song like that, so we decided to make one.

Mofuku-chan: We specified the BPM in the ask.

YGQ: I personally really like Lucky Tapes, and slow and emotional is definitely them. I had nothing to lose so I reached out and that's where it started.


──How was rapping for you, Perorin?

Kaname:
I've done rap parts in meme tokyo., but this was my first time doing slow emo rap. I was also given the opening part of the song for the first time. That's really exciting but also sort of stressful... (laughs).

YGQ: Perorin is good in "Sakura ga saku koro ni."


──And what about rapping for you, Nemo-chan?

Nemoto:
The BPM is slow so there's a good bit of breathing room in the rap, and that's very much my jam (laughs), but as fan, being able to hear this kind of song coming from Dempagumi.inc makes me super excited. I play this song all the time as background music when I'm in the bath or outside on a walk.


A documentary component would be really strong for us, wouldn't it? For Dempagumi.inc

──There's the song "Watashi no koto o aishite kureta takusan no hitotachi e," which Mirin-chan performed at Zepp DiverCity (TOKYO) concert on September 18, 2019 where she announced her marriage, and then we continue with that from the same writer, composer, arranger Kiyoshi Ryuujin-san, we have "Kekkon shitemo MAMA ni nattemo kimi wa eien ni boku no IDOL♡." I feel like there was a strong drive in this album to turn her marriage into entertainment. I've never heard of anything like this from a Japanese idol album before.



YGQ: We had two choices, the first of which was to go on without really saying anything about her marriage. The other was, more than announcing this in front of the fans, to have resolve and bring this to the stage as entertainment. With that decision in mind, we made this kind of song, it seems. "Kekkon shitemo MAMA ni nattemo kimi wa eien ni boku no IDOL♡," even among the members there was heavy discussion on whether to sing this or not, to be honest.

Mofuku-chan: Originally, Dempagumi.inc was about being picked on but bringing your true self out, without hiding, and getting people to like that about you; that defiance (laughs) was the concept of the group, you know? Now, you can't even imagine it, but when we first formed the group, that was a time period where it was humiliating to be outed as an idol "otaku" or anything like that! That's why, for me, I felt it was inevitable to put something like this out. A documentary would be really strong, for us, wouldn't it? For Dempagumi.inc. But to quickly disregard getting married, it sort of makes me feel gross, like we're faking the concept of Dempagumi, personally speaking. I absolutely understand that there are fans who don't like it, but it was the same when were doing "W.W.D," I feel. Seriously, there were tons of people at the time who were very judgmental, like, "What is this, idols singing about being bullied?" (laughs)

YGQ: There were, for sure.

Mofuku-chan: So we were spat upon by those sorts of people. "You ain't an idol if you're married," "you ain't an idol if you're a MAMA," those are the people that we have to sing these songs for now. It wouldn't be Dempagumi.inc if we didn't. For me, doing this as a female producer, I'm making idols that aren't disposable, something you can't do in a huge production company, and I hope that that message gets out there in Reiwa. I know that there are still people, like young kids and people with resentments, who still definitely won't digest that. But I hope that in 10 years or so everyone can understand; I hope that in 10 years, when you go through everything from "W.W.D" on, people will see what an incredibly consistent unit we've been. I think now even as creators we've entered an era where you can't lie to anyone anymore.


──Meaning?

Mofuku-chan:
I guess, like, using how interesting YouTubers are as an example, it's because they're not hiding anything. Even if they get a flood of angry comments, they double down and say, "Well, I'm sorry, but this is who I am. Peace." That's so strong and I think so interesting. So, that's really what Dempagumi.inc have done, or at least wanted to do.
Since "W.W.D," we hit a point where we would sing these Dempagumi.inc-types of songs. But it's over now, honestly, that point in time when we'd shout that we'd run full speed ahead, both as an era and as far as the energy level of the members goes. When I think about Dempagumi's life-sized songs now, it was inevitable. "Kekkon shitemo MAMA ni nattemo kimi wa eien ni boku no IDOL♡" is "W.W.D."




──You're saying Dempagumi.inc is a group that sings about the lives of its members.

Mofuku-chan:
There are definitely people who hate songs with that message of "this is our stance, please support us with this," and so we got a lot of abuse from "W.W.D." But on the other hand, there are people who feel braver because of it, like, wow, idols can really sing something like this?


──It seems like "Kekkon shitemo MAMA ni nattemo kimi wa eien ni boku no IDOL♡" made some ripples even among the members. What did NemoPero think about it?

Mofuku-chan:
The other members are all caught up in it (laughs).

Kaname: My very first impression was, is this really okay? I was a little worried. But I was able to understand where they were coming from, and now it's at a point where I want to sing it live. I'm sure there are lots of things that only Mirin-chan understands, but I want to get through it together, I want to... support her, too... (laughs).


──Why are you half-laughing? (laughs)

Mofuku-chan:
Ahaha, that's how it goes.

Kaname: I felt awkward... I'm sorry (laughs).


──What about you, Nemo-chan?

Nemo:
My impression at first was that it was a good song, to be frank. But honestly, I also worried that it would be too shocking to the fans when they heard the lyrics, but I won't put out songs that don't have meaning because people won't spare any effort for things that don't have a point to them. I thought it was definitely something we needed to do, but I hated that it was set up in such a way that Mirin-san would be the only one who would get hurt. I thought it over a lot, and there was a discussion on LINE... well, I missed my timing to get into the discussion so I couldn't say anything (laughs). I wrote something out and erased it probably 5 times (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: So emo.

Nemoto: When we tried recording it, it felt right, I'm glad we're singing it. It gave me a sense of calm inside, like, "This really is essential."


──Seems like there was some hesitation up until the recording.

Nemoto:
I was a little conflicted... I was really just like, "Mirin-sa~n!" Mirin-sa~n...


──The extraordinary thing about "Kekkon shitemo MAMA ni nattemo kimi wa eien ni boku no IDOL♡" is that Kiyoshi Ryuujin-san decided to write how the fans feel by himself.

Mofuku-san:
Ryuujin-san is, well... uncontrollable...

YGQ: We sent him all of the album songs this time, asking him to make the closing track, and in the end he came back with this. Like, what!?

Mofuku-chan: When we offered him the denouement to an album with themes of love and family and this came back, it really was like what was he thinking?

YGQ: But than, wait a minute? This song...

Mofuku-chan: It's actually good?

YGQ: That's how it went (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: Ahaha!

YGQ: This might actually be the song?

Mofuku-chan: It took us all a while to process it, but that's the risk you take with Ryuujin.

YGQ: That's very true.

Mofuku-chan: Even with "Dear☆Stage e youkoso♡," he took it upon himself to record like he was actually going into the cafe, and that move is part of the Kiyoshi Ryuujin I have trust and faith in, so we ended up saying, "Let's go with what Ryuujin thinks."

YGQ: Ryuujin and malloon are the same in that way, you have to entrust the creators with control.


It's a highly conceptual album

──In the MV for "Ai no katachi," which Tamaya2060% wrote, composed, and arranged, it's just the members all going to Miura beach and eating, but I ended up getting teary when I was watching it.



Mofuku-chan: This was another mysterious move to make after the "Moshimoshi, internet" MV came out (laughs).

YGQ: That mood swing is very strong, like how are we supposed to feel now? (laughs) As for Tamaya-san, we asked him to make something like this and he did.


──Looking at the entire album, it's like a documentary of Dempa since Nemukyun graduated.

Mofuku-chan:
Things were very intentional this time, weren't they? I think this is a highly conceptual album compared to everything before it (laughs).

YGQ: It feels like we did everything more conscientiously since "Inochi no Yorokobi" came out.

Mofuku-chan: It's almost annoying to keep saying this, but it's almost too conceptual, it's a very heavy album (laughs). Right now, on the contrary, nobody knows what Dempagumi.inc is, but it's an album where if you listen all the way through you'll understand that the current Dempagumi.inc is a term for this sort of thing. It's inevitable that some people may hate that, but this is a litmus test of sorts for that, this album (laughs).

YGQ: We're thinking about having a writing challenge, "What do you think it means to be Dempagumi-ish?" "Is Dempagumi this image everyone has of them, with crazy melodies and having that Dempagumi feel in their MVs? I don't think so." I have an idea of that sort of presentation.

Mofuku-chan: Taking on different styles of music is one part of it, and having lyrics like in W.W.D that are really close and personal for the members is one part of it, and there are so many individual pieces that say this is what Dempagumi is, and pulling them all together is just adding tags to the idea.


──For NemoPero, with Nemukyun graduating and Mirin-chan getting married, have you processed these extreme changes?

Kaname:
Joining the group was the biggest upheaval for me, so honestly my memory is a little... (laughs). Nemu-san was someone who would bring the MCs back to me, and she was definitely a huge presence in the group, so my sense of responsibility grew a lot when she said she was going to graduate. At the very beginning I was desperately searching for what I could do in the group, and at times I was doing a lot all for nothing, but in time I came to understand my place. We were told when we joined, "We want you to break Dempagumi.inc, in a good way, bring a whole new life into the group." I was very reserved at the time, and I really wondered if that was something I could do. I was afraid of what Dempa fans would say about it, and I did get hurt, but now I have confidence and can say, "Huh? What did you say? Come on, then!"


──Do you have any strong feelings about this album, being that it is like a documentary of things since Nemukyun graduated?

Kaname:
Up until now I've felt very dark, like W.W.D, and I cried a lot at the thought of showing people my true self, but now I'm even more emotional, full of love and cheer. If the whole world could be like this there would definitely be peace... (laughs).

Mofuku-chan: This conversation has gotten bigger and bigger in scope (laughs).

Kaname: If people are kind to you, you can be kind to yourself, too, and even in my daily life I have a lot of love. People these days forget about that feeling, don't they? I think there's always a time in people's lives when they can feel love or kindness, so I want them to listen to this album and remember that feeling. Hehe.


──You want people to remember love. What a wonderful discussion this has become.

Kaname:
When I talk I get very global in scale (laughs).


──What about you, Nemo-chan?

Nemoto: Nemu-san was sort of this essential figure for subculture, like she's someone who brought in things from a world that none of the other members were a part of, and I think she was a real leader in terms of doing jobs that idols hadn't really done before. For someone who represents all of that to no longer be there, I was worried. Vaguely... (laughs). But, even though I was worried, there were a lot of things with work that I was grateful for. I couldn't imagine a Dempagumi without Nemu-san, but it gradually took shape, and we made this album about a year later. Looking back at the songs, I feel like I really went for it. I'm glad I have these signs of everything I went through.


──To wrap things up, please let us know your expectations for NemoPero.

Mofuku-chan:
Once we put Pinky and Moga (Mogami Moga) in the group, things got all jumbled up, and they were doing completely different jobs (laughs). NemoPero both move independently, and I hope we can bring in different outside things for them. As a unit, they're like little sisters, and I mean that in the best possible way, and I think that ties to the current theme of family. The 6 member lineup we had before with Moga-chan and Nemu-chan, they were more like comrades in arms, but everyone feels like family now that NemoPero have joined. I think that's what's interesting about the current Dempagumi as a unit, as a lineup, and more than expecting something from the two of them, I just want them to feel at ease (laughs).

YGQ: I think it's inevitable to say that Dempagumi is a family. Right now it's like an amoeba connected to so many different things, Nemo-chan with NijiCon, Perorin with meme tokyo., Risa-chan with LAVILITH. We've finally come to a state where now we can say that all of that together, we're a family. As for NemoPero, I think there are still interesting things about themselves they haven't shown to the world, so I'd like them to bring out more of their fun through their activities.
 
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