VKH Press had the chance to talk to Hollow Mellow after they made their US debut at Tokyo in Tulsa this past July. The band discussed the concept of the group as well as their favorite memories from the trip.
VKH: Before Hollow Mellow began, each of you had your own musical careers, or were involved in each other’s musical careers. How did each of you meet and decide to form a band together?
Iruma: I had been living up in a tower all alone, making music. The noble Rioka Family had fallen, and to repay a debt to a witch I was taken away and ordered to make music. My only friend was a stuffed bear named Honey.
Then one day, taking a walk around the tower I saw a raven that had fallen to the ground. I hurriedly brought him inside and dressed his wounds...then he took on a human shape, and started to play guitar.
And that's how I met Nemu. After that, Nemu, Honey and I flew from the tower to travel to various countries, but sometimes we'd come back to it. The witch really enjoyed my music, so we'd come back, recite my lyrics and would receive a warm welcome.
During that time, one day when we had returned to the tower, I found an injured bunny that had fallen. And wouldn't you know, I nursed the bunny back to health and just like Nemu, it took a human form and started to play the violin! I loved to think up melodies for the violin, so we quickly became friends and they became part of our group. That bunny's name was Jill. That night, to celebrate our newfound friendship, we opened up a bottle of sake, and that is the story of how Hollow Mellow was formed.
VKH: What does the band’s name “Hollow Mellow” mean?
Iruma: There's no real meaning. Awhile back, Amu, who had drawn an illustration for a CD, came up with the name, and I felt it had a good sound to it, so we decided on that.
VKH: You’ve described yourselves as a “dark fairytale band” in the past. What sort of fantasies does your music convey?
Iruma: Fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella get arranged with the Hollow Mellow-style treatment. For example, Riding Hood would ask the wolf "please eat me," and Cinderella's prince would be stuck searching for her for eternity with no luck. These are the types of dark stories I sing about, and they alight upon slick melodies. We also have original stories. If people can envision the world we create with our music, I'd be very happy.
VKH: Since performing at Tokyo in Tulsa, what do you think about the crowd’s response to your show?
Iruma: The audience's reaction was amazing! I could see everyone's smiling faces from up onstage. I feel very glad we were able to make our American debut at Tokyo in Tulsa.
VKH: Which song of yours do you believe gained the biggest response from the audience and why?
Jill: Romantique, perhaps?
Nemu: Since people are able to watch the video on YouTube, it's probably the most well-known song. It was really fun to move around onstage to it.
VKH: Since it was an anime convention, what was something you were mostly looking forward to seeing apart from your fans?
Nemu: Meeting anime voice actors as well as the other special guests. Exchanging hats with the man who did the MC at the opening ceremony was a good memory!
Jill: I was so happy to see how much everyone loved Japanese culture. Since I love The Legend of Zelda, when I found an ocarina on sale it really put me in a good mood!
Iruma: I guess I liked seeing the cosplayers. I especially loved the individual cosplayers in kigurumi! It’s not something you really see in Japan!
VKH: What was it like debuting in the U.S. as Hollow Mellow?
Jill: The live was fun and I’m so happy that many people bought our CD.
Nemu: I was incredibly surprised to see that many enthusiastic foreign fans. Hahaha.
Iruma: I think it was a good opportunity that strengthened the unity between the 3 of us. Also, since the audience’s energy was also very good I think that Tulsa was a great starting place for Hollow Mellow.
VKH: What is your favorite memory from the trip?
Nemu: I’m really happy that I got to go to the zoo! As expected of Tulsa Zoo, even in America it’s pretty large. The elephants were huge! I love elephants so I got really excited.
Jill: I love alcohol so during the tour I got to drink the local alcohol. The beer in Tulsa is so good, I was very pleased with it. The staff brought us along to liquor stores but American liquor stores are completely different from the narrow liquor stores in Japan.
Iruma: I suppose it was getting to eat catfish. During the panel, the fans told us how to eat catfish so I thought “we have to go try it!”. Especially since it’s something we can’t eat in Japan. It was sooo delicious! We also had persimmons and those were good.
VKH: Did you get to do everything that you wanted to? If not, what is something that you are hoping to be able to do when you return to the U.S.?
Nemu: I want to be on TV and when I do, I want to come out riding an elephant.
Jill: I want to perform in front of many more people.
Iruma: I would like to speak and communicate more in English. After that I’d like to expand the circle of Lolita fashion. I want to create an Iruma original brand and host tea parties.
VKH: We are nearing the end of the interview - do you have any future plans you would like to share?
Iruma: We want to tour every state in the US! We also want to release a CD there.
Nemu: That’s a great idea. That’s the ultimate goal.
VKH: Thank you very much for your time! Would you mind sending a message to our readers and your fans?
Nemu: I want Hollow Mellow’s music to resonate in the hearts of Americans.
Jill: I want to meet more and more fans face to face and play a live show before them so more people can know about Hollow Mellow. For that purpose, we’ll definitely need everyone’s help so please support Hollow Mellow! I love America.
Iruma: If I may speak seriously, do not give up on anything. If you have dreams, even if you have to sacrifice some things, please continue to diligently fight for them. I was just an ordinary Japanese girl from the countryside and yet, somehow I’ve managed to do things like travel overseas, express myself and communicate with others through music! Thank you for reading the interview till the end. Let’s meet again!
Many thanks to Hollow Mellow and MarinovichPR for this opportunity!
Hollow Mellow OHP
Hollow Mellow OHP