Japanese animation dancer Bang is on a roll. Since first speaking to MyM BUZZ in April (you can read that interview here) he has performed on Britain’s Got Talent, won two competitions in New York, and has now performed over the whole weekend of Hyper Japan to great acclaim. It seems like thing are just getting better and better, so it was great to catch up with the man himself at Hyper Japan.
How have things been since we last spoke?
“I’ve been a really busy. Most of my activities have been in London and it’s going well. Last month I was in the Apollo Theatre in New York and it’s went going well so I will be going back next month. Also this month I will go to Los Angeles, and I will also go to Japan for a very big event there. I’ll be really busy and getting a lot of flights!”
What event are you going to do in Japan?
“There will be a rock event linked with Harley Davidson in Japan, and I might also do a solo concert in Japan.
You have been on Britain’s Got Talent now. What was that like?
“The day of the audition was a lot of fun, but I am not so happy with how it came out on TV so I would like to do it again.
Why didn’t you like how it came out?
“It’s an issue for most dancers I think, but I make most of my music myself. I usually mix a lot of tracks together like a DJ, but sometimes due to copyrights they can’t use those tracks on TV. They changed the music and they also made my performance shorter as well. Cutting it was okay but the dance goes specifically with the track and goes well with the music. Changing the music means it just looked like random movements. They didn’t tell me before broadcasting it so watching it on TV was the first time seeing that they changed it as well. But I learnt from it at least and next time I am going to make the music from scratch.
What was it like with the judges?
“They gave me four yeses. Also, on the day I was using an interpreter and I talked a lot. We recorded interviews for 12 hours so I think I need to improve my English.”
You won twice at the Apollo in New York. What kind of dances did you do there?
“They were almost the same as what I will do here. At the Apollo Theatre performances can only be three minutes long, and normally I dance for 30 or 40 minutes, or even an hour. In those long performances I don’t get too tired, but at the Apollo Theatre, because you have such a short time, you really have to grab the audience and in those few minutes I would get so tired I thought I would collapse.”
How did you come up with your new routines?
“At first I choose the music and then I think about the moves I’ll be doing in my head. Any of the moves that I don’t think I can do I practice so that I can do them. Then I show what I’ve created in different platforms and I brush it up as I go along in order to complete it. In Japan I sometimes do work in progress shows so I get the audience to see the unfinished dance and I give them a questionnaire to fill in and tell me what they think.”
Here you have managed to get the audience involved quite a lot with your dance. Why did you want to do that?
“Before I was a dancer I was in a rock and Visual Kei band. Up until now I want the audience to feel like they are in a rock concert, so rather than sitting there and just watching quietly I would rather they felt more like they are having lots of fun. For this event people are sitting down so I had to think of movements that they could follow while they were sitting down, so that’s why I thought of the finger movements. Once they have mastered that I hope to keep improving their level so that everyone becomes a professional.”
Why did you decide to use a backing track of your voice, rather than speak directly to the audience?
“I’d like to make every part of my performance to a high-level: from how I walk onto stage, the costume, the video, every single part of what the audience is watching needs to be at a high level. If even just one element of the performance is lower that is where the audience will see you from. For example, even if you were the best juggler in the world – even if you were the world champion – but you dropped a ball once, the audience will not be sure if you are that good. Even if you did a lot of tricks afterwards they won’t watch you in the same way. So I need to make every part of my performance to the same high level. With my performance my English level and the part where I MC is probably the weakest part, so I thought I would do that in advance and record it on a CD so that my performance would be as good as when I do it in Japan, where I can speak Japanese.”
Since you want your performance to be perfect, are your clothes also made by you especially for the performance?
‘Yes, I have all of my costumes order made from two brands in Japan.”
Do you design them yourself?
“We kind of make it together, so I go to my designers with my ideas and a theme for a costume and we will talk back and forth and have meetings until we decide we will go with a particular outfit.”
How do you think the response went yesterday?
“It was good! It’s the first time that I put the voiceover onto a CD so I was a bit worried about how the audience would react to it, but they liked it a lot and that made me happy.”
How do you like the event so far?
“It’s interesting to see what kind of things about Japan that people from other countries see and like, even things I haven’t seen in Japan like 3D gaming. So it’s interesting to see another aspect of Japan.”
Interview by Roxy Simons