Boys End Swing Girl (BESG) want to get to know you, and trust us you’ll want to get to know them too. Comprising singer and guitarist Tomy, guitarist Jun, bass guitarist Shira, and drummer Sho, the J-rock four-piece have already started to make a name for themselves in Japan, and are now starting to look at the bigger picture.
Having performed in the UK for the first time this spring, Tomy met with MyM Buzz and expressed his desire to bring the band to your attention. Now, talking to us from his hometown of Narita, he’s about to tell you why you should watch out for the band and their upcoming album Keep on Rolling.
How did you first become interested in music and becoming a musician?
“I have had a passion for music ever since I was a child. Songs by The Beatles were constantly being played in my house and I dreamed of one day becoming someone like John Lennon. A relative of mine gave me my first guitar at the age of 14 and I became obsessed with playing it. The emotions I felt from that moment of my life lead me to writing our song ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Fan Club’”.
You’re signed with Nazca Records in Japan. How were you chosen to join their label?
“Have any of you heard of Nazca Records? If yes, I would like to become friends with a liar like you!
“Nazca Records is, in fact, a record label we set up ourselves. As a band we want to be able to express our music freely without any restrictions in place, such as with song writing and playing gigs. We also want to explore other ways to promote our band and to try out various new things. Setting up our own record label gives us the freedom to enjoy music and life in whatever ways we’re comfortable with.
“We’re having a lot of fun with this, even though it’s quite tough for us financially!”
Your new mini-album Keep On Rolling is set to be released in September. What can we expect from you and your band?
“This record will give you an idea of what we have achieved so far, and what we hope to become in the future. The vocals and melodies are the main appeals of this band, so we believe that listening to our music will enable you to feel something in your heart even if you don’t understand the language.”
For those who are yet to listen to your music, how would you describe it?
“The voice of the singer is very clear and soothing, like a breath of fresh air. We feel that listening to our songs on a nice sunny morning will lead you to a beautiful day ahead. We say this, but saying something like this from our own mouths often gets us told off in Japan. Hopefully the kind people of the UK are more willing to accept that description!”
You made your UK debut at Flyjam’s May event. Would you like to return to the UK for a tour with the whole band?
“Of course, I would love to go back to the UK to perform again. Everything in the UK is different to Japan; the atmosphere, the people, even the flow of time. I do love both countries, though. I am seriously considering the option of living there at some point.
“The other members of the band have yet to visit the UK, so I would like to bring them here and tell them, ‘This is how beautiful this place is!’ To be able to do this, we’re waiting for any offers to perform in the UK!”
Are there any musicians or bands that influence you? Do you have any favourite musicians/groups from the UK?
“I have always loved bands from the UK, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Oasis. Recently I’ve been listening to bands like The 1975 and Night Flowers. The main reason for visiting the UK the last time round was for me to experience the atmosphere of the place where these great musicians come from.
“However, because I love their music so much, I do not want to imitate them. I am a musician from Japan, so therefore I want to write music created from a Japanese background. With this in mind we have included many elements of Japanese Rock in our new album for you to look out for when listening to the songs.”
Do you write your own music? What do you take inspiration from when coming up with songs, if you do?
“Yes, I write all the songs for this band. Anytime I encounter something curious or strange I write it down in my note book every day. These notes become the seeds from which the tree of our lyrics emerges from. I believe it’s important to look out for the things that make you think, ‘Why?’ each day, and I think we can get inspired by just about anything from all over the world. For example, the third track on the new album, called ‘Coffee To Yuge’ (‘Coffee And Vapour’) came from the notes I wrote down when I noticed the vapour from a hot cup of coffee disappear in an instant.”
How did you and the other members of BESG meet?
“We’ve all been friends since primary school. Those of you who have visited Japan might know the name from the international airport, but we were all born in the Narita area, met up and formed a band. For this reason, we always thought about performing abroad ever since we started.”
What is the meaning behind your band name?
“We get asked this question quite often, but we don’t actually tell anyone. It seems more curious when it’s kept a secret, right? Although recently there have been rumours going round that the meaning is something adult-themed. We’re actually quite alright with these rumours, though.”
You have already released two mini albums and several singles in Japan. How has the response been to your work?
“Our first mini album, Goodbye, Teenager, was written when our teenage years were coming to an end, as the title suggests. As teenagers, we go through various thoughts and emotions, and suddenlt develop many new interests (mainly girls for us!) and we feel these years are the most eventful in everyone’s lives. There is a phrase in Japanese called ‘seishun’ which describes these teenage experiences, and this was the theme on the album which helped it receive a lot of positive feedback.
“Our new record, Keep On Rolling, is something we’re very proud to have created, and we’ll be very grateful if you could check it out. We’re planning to put it up on YouTube and Spotify so that people in the UK will be able to access it. It is an album that is suited for any moment in life, whether you’re feeling happy or sad.”
Since your debut how has the band and your music evolved?
“We’re going to put it out here that we will go on to become the number one band in Japan, and we’ll come to the UK as a representative of Japanese Rock. Our dream is to perform at the main stage at Glastonbury Festival. To anyone out there seeking a breath of fresh air: please check out Boys End Swing Girl and follow our progress!
“See you soon! We love you UK! (Apart from the guy who stole money from me at Soho!)”
If you want to check out Boys End Swing Girl be sure to head over to iTunes!
Interview by Roxy Simons, and special thanks to Yusuke Okamoto for helping translate.