CharaExpo: D4DJ Talk Stage Interview

d4dj stage

D4DJ is Bushiroad’s (BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!, Revue Starlight) next hit multimedia project. It will consist of live performances, an anime, and a mobile game.

We had the opportunity to speak with Peaky P-key’s Aimi, and Reo Kurachi, and Photon Maiden’s Haruki Iwata and Hinata Sato about the project and their roles.

D4DJ’s first single “Dig Delight!” released on January 29th, 2020 and features songs from all 5 DJ groups, including Peaky P-key’s “Electric Chaos★Countdown” and Photon Maiden’s “Photon Melodies.”

D4DJ Introductions

Can you give a brief introduction as to what D4DJ is and what fans can expect from it?

d4dj

From left to right: Yamate Kyoko, Shimizu Esora, Towa Hanamaki, and Fukushima Noa.

Aimi:  D4DJ is a multimedia project consisting of DJ lives, anime, and a game. The voice cast actually sings, dances, and DJs in real time during the performances.

Can you give a brief introduction of the groups Peaky P-key and Photon Maiden, as well as the personalities of characters you play in them?

Aimi: Peaky P-key is a unit comprised of incredibly popular girls in their high school. The character I play is Kyoko Yamate. She’s the leader of the leader of Peaky P-key and has a very charismatic personality. She’s very talented, but also hard-working and never misses practice.
Reo Kurachi: I play Esora Shimizu from Peaky P-key. Esora is a true and natural entertainer while also serving as the group’s self-proclaimed “lovely” member. She hangs out with Kyoko’s unit as a DJ not only to amuse the audience, but also herself. She’s rich and doesn’t hold back when spending money. She’s also a schemer who’s good at catching people off guard to discover what they really think.
Haruki Iwata: Photon Maiden is an up and coming DJ unit produced by the agency.
Hinata Sato: Our musical style is more cyber and electric and the costumes try to match that style.
Haruki: The character I play, Towa Hanamaki, is a character associated with her hometown’s youth group and is very involved with the local festivals. She’s a massive fan of idols and loves to attend their performances. She spends her time researching and studying everything she can about them. She’s usually very careful, but she can act a little air headed at times.

Hinata: The character I play is Noa Fukushima and she adores cute things. She’s very knowledgeable and will talk forever about things she’s interested in. And personally, I love her design!

How is D4DJ different?

What challenges do you face when preparing for D4DJ lives when compared to live performances for other Bushiroad franchises such as Bang Dream and Revue Starlight?

Aimi: I find it difficult to portray the overwhelming charisma and energy that Kyoko expresses while both singing and dancing. I’m still researching how to do it properly!

Reo: The D4DJ project began with the musical aspect of the franchise before the game or anime, so it took some time to imagine the characters and develop their personalities from the songs.

Haruki: I’m also a part of the Revue Starlight franchise and those performances are more focused on singing, dancing, and acting. D4DJ feels more freestyle. It’s important to focus not only on the song’s choreography, but also how we entertain the crowd. It adds a new layer of challenge to the performance and I’m still learning to master it.

Hinata: I have this habit of stopping while I sing and not moving again until I have to dance, regardless of what franchise I’m performing in. However, I had to break this habit in D4DJ since Haruki and myself are the main dancers in Photon Maiden. We have to move throughout the entirety of each performance and since our sets are usually a mix of all of our songs, they can last up to 10 minutes. Needless to say, we sweat a lot!

How does it feel to see so many D4DJ fans here in the US despite it being such a new project?

Aimi: I was so surprised! Some people already knew the dance moves and I thought to myself “Wow, this is the power of YouTube!”

Hinata: Each unit’s music is really catchy, so even if people can’t understand the lyrics, it’s easy to feel the beat and follow along. I think that makes it easy for foreign fans to get into it.

Thoughts on DJ'ing

Q. How much did you know about DJing prior to getting involved in the D4DJ project?

Aimi: I had absolutely no knowledge about DJing… but I’ve always been interested in it! My character, Kyoko, doesn’t DJ, but I’d love to try pressing one or two buttons if given the opportunity!

Reo: I’m also a member of RAISE A SUILEN from BanG Dream! and we have a DJ, so of course I already had some familiarity with what a DJ does and how they operate. However, it wasn’t something I ever did myself, so I didn’t have too deep of an understanding. Joining this project allowed me to see the intricacies of being a DJ and I can appreciate it even more now.

 

Haruki: To be honest, I hardly knew anything about DJing beforehand. My image of a DJ was always just someone shouting “Yeah! Yeah!” at a club while hyping up a large crowd of people swaying along to the music. Then I joined this project and that image completely changed! The way that the DJ mixes the track can entirely change the atmosphere and doing it well is super important for keeping the crowd excited.

Hinata: My image of DJs was formed when I saw a Zac Efron movie a while back and it made me think “Wow, Zac Efron is DJing? DJing must be pretty cool!” During Photon Maiden performances, the DJ plays a really important role, especially when leading in from one song to another. This transfer needs to be done well and impacts the mood of the entire set.

Inspirations

Q: Are there any artists you draw inspiration from while performing and who is your favorite artist?

Aimi: Kyoko has her own style unique to her, so it’s difficult to use anything else as a model. However, I do study my own performances so that I can improve. This has nothing to do with DJing, but my personal favorite artist is Bump of Chicken.

 

Reo: I also don’t have any particular artists that inspired my DJ style, but I really value expression while performing. I always try to incorporate not only Esora’s edginess, but also her cuteness, whenever I have the opportunity.

 

Aimi: I often use Reo-chan’s performances as a reference. I learn so much from her!

Reo: Ahh, thanks! I’m flattered.

Also, my favorite artist is Yui Ogura!

Haruki: Photon Maiden features Risa Tsugumi as the DJ, and myself, Ami Maeshima, and Hinata Sato as the dancers. Needless to say, dance is a really important factor in this unit’s music style and performances. Our instructor stresses that we all need to be in sync, so we all try to watch each other’s movements and work to inspire each other. 

As for my favorite artist, my father used to listen to Queen a lot and I’ve grown attached to them thanks to his influence.

Hinata: Photon Maiden is special in that each member of this unit is already experienced with singing and dancing on stage, so instead of trying to copy or follow other artists, we try to show our true selves. We have to be careful with this, though. Although we’re trying to express our true selves, we still have to ensure that we’re all on the same page.


And my favorite artist is Suzuko Mimori! She’s so cute and every time I watch her perform, it makes me so extremely happy. Even when I’m on my way home after a live, I’ll think to myself about how amazing her performance was or how cute she looked. I love her so much! Oh, and I also like the band EGOIST.

Differences Between Peakey-P and Photon Maiden

Q: Can you tell us a little about what sets the style of each group apart?

Aimi: There are two angles to look at this from. Musically, I’d describe Peaky P-key as “sharp.” Even the characteristic Peaky P-key “P pose” is sharp and it gives them a unique flavor. Visually, Peaky P-key has this B-girls hip-hop style and this style helps bring out the true nature of each girl in the unit. I think these features together are what make the group memorable and easy to recognize.

As for our songs, so far we have two original songs, but we hope to have more in the future, so please stay tuned!

 

Hinata: Photon Maiden visually has this more cyber look, but this unit is filled with a cool, sexy, and mature style. I believe that watching one of our performances would give an excellent explanation of what makes our group special, better than what could be expressed with words.

I hope that we can have more songs in the future that depict different aspects of our unit, so please stay patient.

 

Messages for Overseas Fans

Q: This was the first time that D4DJ was featured at an event in America. Do you have any message for your overseas fans?

Aimi: Thank you to everyone who came to see us at CharaExpo USA! D4DJ has the type of content that can be performed anywhere, so I hope that we get more chances to perform not only in Japan, but all over the world. I’d love to come back to the US again some day!

 

Reo: Yes, thanks to everyone who came out to CharaExpo USA. Although D4DJ is a relatively new project, I was pleasantly surprised to see that so many people showed up to our event today. As Aimi just mentioned, D4DJ’s content can be enjoyed by everyone, so hopefully each unit can come to the US someday.

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Media Editor and Site Developer.

Represents GamePress at conventions and conducts interviews, typically in cosplay. Fan of Metroidvanias, retro games, and game dev.

Also a Roboticist, Chef, and Mad Scientist. It's so cool.

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