Beckii Cruel has become a regular visitor to HYPER JAPAN and J-Pop Go interviewed her at the earlier 2012 event. Achieving fame via her online dance videos both on YouTube and Japanese streaming site Nico Nico Douga, Beckii has also branched out into music with a brief collaborative effort in 2009 (which also saw her signed to the Tokuma Japan Communications label – home of Perfume) and then later working with Kylie Minogue and Sugababes collaborator Tom Nichols which resulted in the single You Can’t Kiss Me which reached No. 8 in the Music Week Club Chart and No. 15 in the Commercial Club Chart.
More recently, Beckii has been focussing on her A Level exams and also found time to create a new outfit that she manages called Oishii Ichigo (part of the global Oishii Project) which features Hyper Japan Kawaii star Scarlett (who won Kawaii Star of the Year at HYPER JAPAN 2011). Beckii has also recorded a track which for Alex Day’s Christmas release album. Her track will be called ‘Stupid! Stupid! (ばか.ばか!).
J-Pop Go sat down with Beckii to catch up on developments…
How did you do in your A Level exams?
Good! I thought I wasn’t going to do as well as I wanted but then I got the grades that I was very happy with and it’s just the home stretch now until a few months and I’ll be done with school forever, which is kind of a daunting thing. But yeah, it’s going well! (laughs)
Have you done your Gangham Style video yet?
Yes, I made a little video and it was on private. It was just the chorus because I’ve not learnt all of it but I might do a full-length Gangham Style in the future.
Are you going to get in trouble for doing K-Pop?
Well actually I’ve done a K-Pop dance before. There was like some sort of feuds between the J-Pop fans and the K-Pop fans, but I think it’s all stupid because it’s all music and there shouldn’t be an issue whether it’s sung in Korean or Japanese or what style of music it is. It really annoys me to be honest when people get so angry about that. Because there’s no need to have an argument and I enjoy all music.
Can you tell me a little about your collaboration with Area 11?
A few months back Area 11 got in contact with me and they asked me if I wanted to be a feature vocal on one of their tracks called Shi no Barado and I was really interested and so I said “Yes, please send me the track”. It’s very different to what I normally do. The genre is Gaijin Rock which is like J-Rock with an English style to it. We recorded the song only about a month and a half ago and it went so well and I was thrilled and it was music that really suited my voice, which is probably unexpected to a lot of people but I had so much fun. The album’s going to come out on December 15th I think. So I can’t wait for that to happen and we’ve got some really exciting things coming up in the future as a collaboration.
Any live performances lined up?
Possibly. We’ve been talking about getting over for the album launch show. So hopefully I can go and do that. If not then I’m definitely sure we’re going to do some at some point.
How did Oishii! Ichigo come about?
In 2010 myself and my friend Camille were discussing what if there was sort of…. because on YouTube there are a lot of groups of girls who get together and do dances together and they split the screen and we thought wouldn’t that be good if we did it with music and had a bit more direction to them. Because when the girls themselves are sort of in charge of it all, it tends to get a bit haywire because there’s so much to do. So we decided that we’d like to try and make what it should be and it’s going really well. We only sort of brought it back to life this year and we held auditions in May and we formed Oishii Ichigo and the Oishii Mini Cherries – who have just debuted into their new group, so they’re going to be doing different styles of music. They’re going to do rock music and very cute music and it’s just really amazing and it’s just so nice to see Oishii Ichigo performing today. It was really so heartwarming to see and it’s really a pleasure to be part of that and I’m so proud of everyone who’s put in work for the project.
I saw the performance earlier and I was very impressed.
It was the second ever performance! (laughs)
The choreography for Oishii Ichigo is spot-on. It’s very complicated but it’s very tight. It looks like you’ve been practicing quite a lot.
Thank you so much!
This resulted in the mini album GAMETIME. Where was this recorded?
In everyone’s bedrooms! (laughs) It was quite difficult to do and I mean one thing we want to do is to showcase everyone’s talents. So in future we’ll be able to save up as a project, so we’ll be able to send everyone to studios and get everything to the quality that we want. I think that everyone’s done such an amazing job, putting in all the hard work, recording their lines. You can’t really tell that it’s recorded in everyone’s houses because I think that the music sounds very good for what it is and I’m very pleased with it! (laughs)
What else have you been up to since we last spoke?
I launched my photo book Home, which is basically just shots of me around my hometown on the Isle Of Man. That went really well. It was a pleasure to shoot it. The sales went really well for that as well. It’s nice to showcase the island a little bit as well because not many Japanese people know about it, but they are interested and I think they were pleased to see it, so that was exciting to do. I’ve been doing Area 11 stuff of course. Working hard at school – of course! (laughs) And just sort of going along and kind of balancing up my time with everything.
J-Pop Go extends its warmest thanks to Beckii Cruel and the HYPER JAPAN press team.
Beckii’s photo book Home is available to order via her website http://beckii.co.uk
Oishii Ichigo’s debut single and mini-album GAMETIME are both available via iTunes and the Oishii Ichigo website.
The new Area 11 album is due for release in the New Year.
Text by Paul Browne
2nd December 2012