Psycho le Cému Plays at MEGACON
The forces of good and evil are separated by an invisible barrier. Only the sneeze from a demon can break it.
Cosplay Lab had an opportunity to hook up with the masterminds behind the makeup of Psycho le Cému. This unique Japanese rock band was touring a tight circuit of anime conventions in the United States, so we invited Lab members to submit interview questions. We were immediately inundated with inquiries. While their time was limited, the band members were gracious enough to answer most of your questions. Thanks to SWEET-HEART Co.,LTD and Jhouse Rock Ent. for sponsoring the band, and props to MEGACON for hosting the event. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Pyscho le Cému, pronounced psycho le shem, formed in 1999 and has since become enormously successful in Japan and abroad. Combined with a solid rock formula and hilarious stage antics, Psycho is poised to leap to new heights thanks to the support of growing legions of fans - in particular, COSPLAYERS! For English audiences, their opening act has funny Engrish dialog loaded with parodies and snippets that get the audience screaming. Once their guitars get fired up, the glow-stick dance party ignites with a surge of pure j-rock. It's a true audio/visual cornucopia.
AYA, Daishi, Lida, and seek. YURA-sama was under the weather, but recovered just in time for the concert. ^_^ Yay!
Where do you get your ideas for you costumes?
The outfits we're wearing today were designed similar to Saiyuki using a traditional Chinese design and material. We like the color because it goes with each of our personalities.
You all have very specific costume roles, Daishi as the hero, seek as the "special character," AYA as the girl, YURA-sama as the priest, Lida as whatever's leftover. Have you ever considered role-reversal or ever done it?
We have traded character roles on a few occasions just for fun during stage performances. We may decide to do it in the future also.
Victoria and Chris as AYA and YURA-sama won BEST GROUP award at
Anime Sushi's Costume Contest during MEGACON
How do you feel about people who cosplay you?
We enjoy seeing all the fans who choose to cosplay our characters. It makes us very happy and we appreciate all their efforts.
Are there any types of costumes you won't do?
We try not to limit ourselves, but always connect something fantasy-related to our outfits. We enjoy being involved in every aspect of the costume design and construction. Though we do spend many hours wearing them and posing for photos, it is always rewarding.
How long does it take for each of you to get into costume?
It takes about 3 hours for us to get dressed and put on full makeup for stage or video performances. While this process takes a long time, it is an important part of the image we portray. The fan's reactions are very encouraging.
You've worked with designers like COSPA, h. Naoto and Na+H. Are more designers asking to work with you in creating costumes? And how do you decide who you will work with?
We talk to many different designers from around the world. It depends on the particular style we are after. For example, one of our new characters is a WWF wrestling personality. We worked with the same designer who created those wonderful outfits for the pro wrestlers in America and came up with a totally wild design. We hope you will like it.
What inspires the costumes you wear in a particular song, or music video?
Each music video has a certain theme we follow. The more fantastic and surreal, the better. Then we try to match the design and color to our personalities. If we watch a movie, or see something funny on TV, that also leads to new ideas.
Do you have any say in the design, or are you just the model for them?
We design every costume we wear and have it tailored to our personal preference. Each of our costumes tries to convey our inner self and the theme of the music.
A few of the 200+ Psycho le Cému costumes
on file at CosplayLab.com
During the design stage, do you consider how difficult your costumes will be for a cosplayer to recreate?
We do like to challenge ourselves when we design new outfits, and it is always fun to see how others interpret them. We don't intentionally try to make it hard for cosplayers though. There are many very good renditions out there. We are constantly impressed with the details cosplayers include.
Do you guys ever play practical jokes on one another? If so, what's the best joke that was played?
Aya tends to be the natural target for most of our jokes, but it is has never anything too outrageous. Of course we also have fun with seek.
Do you have girlfriends/boyfriends?
We can say we don't have any boyfriends. [smiling]
In a Street Fighter match, which of you is the best video game player?
YURA-sama is the gamer. He always kills us. [shaking heads]
Natalie as seek won Honorable Mention award at Anime Sushi's Costume Contest during MEGACON
YURA-sama and AYA jump and wave as the crowd undulates in response.
Will the band be having an Asian tour anytime soon? Especially Singapore~!
Yes, we would like to be able to play in Singapore. It has been difficult to coordinate a time.
Will you be coming back to the U.S next year?
There is a very good chance. We would like to come back to the States.
What's your favorite thing about American fans?
American audiences are very enthusiastic and like to scream loud. This encourages us to have a good show.
Glowsticks move to the rhythms as fans follow the band's dance routines.
What are some of the major differences between American and Japanese fans?
Our performances are very interactive because we incorporate Para Para routines with our songs and get the audience to move with us. In Japan, everyone tends to be very synchronized with their movements. In America though, the fans tend to be more freeform. I don't think one way is better, they are both unique. Also American audiences are not afraid to show they are having fun. We enjoy playing no matter where we go.
Where do you feel most comfortable?
It is most comfortable to be in our own bedrooms.
What anime do you like the most and why?
We grew up watching all the popular anime on TV. Nowadays we mostly enjoy watching movies.
Have you ever thought about making your own manga, or anime? If so, what do you think it would be about?
We already have our own manga project in Japan. Though it is small, it has a lot of action and love stories. Again, it is something that reflects each of our personalities. Maybe you would like to read it.
Daishi's soulful solo soothes the sensations. Seriously!
How do you feel about playing at anime conventions when you travel to the U.S.? Would you ever like to play at different venue?
We enjoy very much the anime convention scene, but we are also looking to bigger venues in United States and abroad. It is natural progression.
Your latest album, "Beautiful World," showcased a wide variety of musical styles, from Metal to a little bit of Country. Are there any genres of music that you're hoping to try that you haven't yet?
Enka is a very old style of traditional Japanese music which we hope to be able to incorporate into a future album.
Many fans overseas were first able to hear about you guys through file sharing and mp3s. How do you feel about this and what are your thoughts about the current issues surrounding music sharing over the internet?
We realize the importance of the internet to promote ourselves. Our wish is for fans to use the internet to get to know us better and then come to hear us play, or buy our music. It is very expensive to travel on tour, so we like when more fans are listening.
Check out these Psycho le Cému titles available from Amazon
What Japanese artists are you into? Do you have a favorite genre of music?
This is a difficult question. There's really too many to list. Yet somehow, none come to mind.
Are there any artists, Japanese or otherwise, that you would like to collaborate with?
KISS. They rock. [nodding heads]
Over the summer you started performing as an alter-ego band, "Bad Boys, Be Ambitious!" Do you think you'll ever release anything under that name?
Our next album is due for release April 27th, 2005 and will incorporate the Bad Boys theme. Please look forward to it.
Guys, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us - your international cosplay fan club. We have a new appreciation for your creativity, your music, and your expressive style that is shaping the future sound of j-rock and costuming. You put on a great show and you really do have the best fans out there. We know you are well on your way to even more notoriety and look forward to your upcoming projects. Domo arigatou and best of luck!
Garry aka Prof.