Wednesday, 25 September 2019

The Support Behind 6 Years Of History: "Because It's LONDON BLUE" - An Interview with Kiyoshi Hayashi (Manager of LONDON BLUE) (19/08/2019)

I would like to begin this post with my gratitude towards Kiyoshi Hayashi for agreeing to do this interview with me via e-mail, and for patiently awaiting its translation. I would like to further my thanks towards him for continuing to work alongside me with these kinds of interviews, and also for his continued hard work as the groups producer, manager and also one of their lyricists.

Beginning their activities on September 11th, 2013, LONDON BLUE have been singing cool & cute songs together for 6 years. Now, with KANA graduated and ending  5 year history within the group, LONDON BLUE has transformed and stands with one member who will continue the groups history on her own shoulders until another member joins.

But behind this history there is Kiyoshi Hayashi, the brain behind the group that brings J-pop and British music together. Whether he is acting as their manager, teaching them how to play an instrument or penning lyrics for one of their songs, Kiyoshi is always doing something, and today he has allowed us to have a talk with him.

But first, let's learn a little more about him before we talk.

(Photo courtesy of @londonblue2013)
CEO, manager, producer, guitarist and the occasional lyricist, Kiyoshi Hayashi seems like he has a lot going on, and you are probably right in thinking that. As the creator of LONDON BLUE - the cool & cute girls unit who focus on music that fuses British pop, rock and R&R with Japanese bubblegum pop - Kiyoshi focuses a lot of his time on his project that has spanned 6 years, and can only see them going further now that they have completed their 6th Anniversary One-Man Live.

But with a new member continuing the future of LONDON BLUE, Kiyoshi continues to envision all he can do with LONDON BLUE. Though he may be a busy man, - what with being the CEO of Birdland Music Entertainment and Fine Promotion, Inc. - the passion he holds for LONDON BLUE is burning brightly, and with a new era beginning, I thought that it would be as good a time as any to ask him a few of the questions on my mind regarding LONDON BLUE, their future and whether or not he will teach the new era how to play a few instruments...

The Support Behind 6 Years Of Music: "Because It's LONDON BLUE"
- Interview With Kiyoshi Hayashi -

(Photo courtesy of @londonblue2013)

*This interview was conducted via e-mail in mid-august
You created LONDON BLUE 6 years ago, but at the time what made you decide to create a group inspired by Japanese and British music?

Back then I thought that it would be interesting to create music that blended Japanese pop and British pop-rock, especially the music that followed with the British pop-rock movement from bands such as QUEEN, THE BEATLES, Oasis... etc.

Have you always been a fan of British music?

I've been a fan since Jr. High School.

As both their manager and producer it is obvious that you care deeply about LONDON BLUE and their success. It must feel overwhelming to watch the group enter their 6th anniversary this year.

There are many Japanese idol groups out there that can't last a year. So 6 years is truly a great thing. I think that it's because I was blessed with both good music and good members that we came this far.

LONDON BLUE performed overseas and released their first major single in 2018 as well. How did it feel when you watched them achieve this goal?

It was very exciting. I still have many dreams, and I want to make those dreams a reality with LONDON BLUE's new member.

So LONDON BLUE has more that you would like to see them achieve?

I'm still in the middle of my dream. One of them is actually a European tour (the UK, France, Germany, etc.)

A tour throughout Asia is also something I have in mind.

And is there anything that you want LONDON BLUE to try next?

I would like them to attend the COOL JAPAN Idol showcase. I also want to do activities with an overseas perspective for the group.

(LONDON BLUE at Hyper japan Festival 2018 in London, England)
KANA and KYOKA's graduations are in motion, but when they both announced their graduations to you, were you surprised at all?

Because it's a common thing for idol groups to go through, there really was no surprise.

It feels like LONDON BLUE is changing dramatically, almost.

I think it will continue to change in the future. One of those changes will be in both costume and music.

And with a new member continuing in their stead, LONDON BLUE will begin to feel like a completely new group. It must be exciting to see a new era come to life in a group you created so many years ago.

Since there is a history that spans 6 years, there are good points that I want to see the group continue to pursue and new things that I want to challenge.

One of the things I noticed is that LONDON BLUE has a very unique system. Instead of feeling like a ‘group’, the members feel like family instead and support one another even after graduation or withdrawal. Did you want the group to have this type of close bond from the start?

I think it came naturally.

Even if you graduate down the line it's important to create something together, and it becomes exciting when you can see and feel that growth between the members.

With that growth, we can be even more creative.

Is it a bond that you would like to see the new member continue to be a part of once they debut?

Of course.

(Photo courtesy of @airi_momomofuuu)
Will the new member, AILI, learn how to play instruments on stage as well?

For now I'm unsure.

AILI would like to learn how to play the guitar, however.

*AILI recently began learning how to play the electric guitar

I’m actually curious to know why you decided to teach some of the past members how to play musical instruments.

I wanted to teach them from the basics, and to allow one of them to become a future bass player.

I taught KAORU the bass, because you can always teach someone something in your free time.

Do you think that AILI can accomplish things that the LONDON BLUE from before couldn’t?

I think there are many things that they can achieve. Not because it's 'this' member or 'that' member, but because it's LONDON BLUE.

Is there anything that you have to say about KANA and KYOKA?

KANA → A winner who never quits.
KYOKA → Tomorrow is another day.

And what would you like to say to AILI, who will continue LONDON BLUE’s legacy?

You are not the rolling stones, but a gem. More specifically, a LONDON BLUE.

*London blue is a type of topaz, and one of the most valuable varieties

Before we end, please can you tell me the happiest memories you have with LONDON BLUE?

The expeditions in Taiwan, London and the performances we have held all around Japan.

Finally, please leave a message for LONDON BLUE's fans.

Thank you for your warm support, for supporting the group and members both past and present. I will always remember you.

Thank you very much for all your answers!

(Photo courtesy of @londonblue2013)

Do you have a favourite London Blue song?

bang! bang! bang!
Special My Love

Do you have a favourite instrument that you like to play?

The Electric guitar.

Who designs the groups stage costumes? They are all very interesting!

The members think about the costumes in their own time, they consult with us about the costumes, etc.

There are a variety of people who create and design them.

One of the stage costumes reminded me of a rain coat. Was it inspired by the British weather? (lol)

That was KANA's idea. It's an impressive design, even amongst the costumes from the past.

And what about the Japanese weather? Because there's a lot of rain here, too.

Finally, do you have a favourite English word?


(Photo courtesy of @londonblue2013)
I want to round off this post with this: I am aware that my recent content is more or less an abundance of LONDON BLUE posts, however I have had these posts planned in advance since August at least, and I wanted to get the interviews out before both KANA and KYOKA graduated completely. That said, I also never anticipated to release both interviews so late. For that I will apologise.

In regards to the interview above, I want to say that I feel excited that I could send over my questions to Kiyoshi and have him answer them. Though I have never done it before, it feels rather refreshing to interview the brain behind the group and get some of their insight on what they are planning, how they view the group, etc. And whilst the questions themselves may not be the most creative, I am happy I could ask them, and I am even happier that Kiyoshi answered and gave me pretty fleshed out answers that explained how he felt and what he thought.

With this Interview I feel like I understand LONDON BLUE more, but also I have come to understand that for Kiyoshi this isn't the end. Personally, the most surprising answer I was given has to be about how Kiyoshi would like to see LONDON BLUE on a European tour, something I couldn't have imagined myself, even as a fan of the group. He has set his sights on a goal, and honestly I hope that he reaches it.

And hey, let's be real - if LONDON BLUE ever came to the UK again and travelled around Europe, too, I would probably follow them on that very tour.

As a group, I think that LONDON BLUE is pretty great. They may not be the biggest group out there, or the most popular, but in 6 years they have achieved a lot. From an album release to a major debut, their first live in London and even learning how to play the instruments, LONDON BLUE has accomplished a lot and they are still going strong. I suppose this is the strength of not only LONDON BLUE, but Kiyoshi Hayashi, too; though small, LONDON BLUE is mighty, and with Kiyoshi Hayashi's support and dreams backing them, they will always be running ahead even when it looks like they are far away.

(Photo courtesy of @londonblue2013)

I would like to give one final thanks towards Kiyoshi Hayashi for not only participating in this interview, but for allowing me to continue to work with him more than a year on. Thanks to his help I can continue to support and promote LONDON BLUE in a way I could have never imagined, and through things like this my love for the group continues to grow.

My gratitude is eternal, not only to LONDON BLUE and Kiyoshi Hayashi, but to all of you readers as well. Thank you for everything, whether it is in reading this blog, looking back at old posts, clicking on the link or simply cheering me on from the sidelines. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you very much~

LONDON BLUE Official YouTube

Until the next post. Please take care!
Chiima / Kelly~

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