They’ve been rocking out for most of their lives and now the BRATS sisters, Rei and Aya Kuromiya, have their sights set on world domination. Their new album, Karma, was released last year and is currently available to buy or stream. It is guaranteed to blast you away with soaring vocal melodies, crunching electro, guitar riffs, and hard rock grooves. Having already had their songs picked up as themes to several anime shows and performed internationally in Asia and America, they are surely on the edge of greatness.
Their next online live show is Ambitious Girls Rock 2, broadcast live on March 20th (see the end of the interview for more details).
Hi, BRATS! So, tell us about who you are and what is BRATS?
I am BRATS vocalist – Rei.
We used to be a 4 person band, but after many twists and turns, currently we are just the Kuromiya sisters, with me and my sister Aya.
I am Aya and I play bass for BRATS.
I am very happy to receive our first ever UK interview invitation. Thank you for presenting BRATS to the English speaking world!
What is it like to be in a band with your sister? Do you get on?
Now I feel like it’s perfectly natural to start a band with your sister. Even though Aya is my sister, she’s also like a friend who I’m in a band with because we love music equally.
It’s been 10 years since Rei and I started the band when were about 10 and 12 years old respectively. Now it feels perfectly normal. I would say, since we’re sisters we’re really close and it’s easy to share our opinions and feelings.
When did you start out playing rock music? Have you ever been interested in playing other genres?
I first started listening to rock when we started our band in the second year of middle school. But back then, our producer at the time had his own preferences, so at the beginning it was more about pop than rock.
In 2017 we met a new producer, and we took a year out from playing live so that we could find the sound we really wanted to play.
Because of that we don’t really feel any desire to play other genres.
I started to listen to rock music in elementary school and the biggest influence on me was the Japanese girl band “SCANDAL”. Before then I had never even heard of an all girl band and I just thought “What! This is so cool!! This is what I want to do!!” (lol).
How did you choose the name BRATS?
When we first started we asked our fans what they thought we should be called and picked the name we felt fit our personalities best.
Since I was still in elementary school when we chose the band name, it was about how we felt at that time. I thought it was cool that BRATS meant “bad kids”!
But now that I’m older, I feel a bit embarrassed by it (lol).
How will it look if we’re still using this name in our thirties or forties? Will we still have the attitude to pull it off?
In the UK, the Rolling Stones have been doing the same rebellious rock and roll for over 50 years, and they’restill going, right? There are loads of long-running cool bands outside of Japan. I want to be cool even when I’m a little old lady too.
Please tell us about your latest album Karma. How was creating this album different from your first release?
For our first album recording we, had a very standard recording method – rhythm section, guitar, vocal laid down separately and then mixed together. But for Karma, we all played together, and then finished off each part afterwards.
First, when you’re all playing together it’s easier to get into the groove of the song.
You have also just released an essay featuring your thoughts about many issues which face young women in Japan. What prompted you to write it, and what sort of topics are important to address?
I started writing the essay because of an invitation from the publishing company.
I posted some pretty extreme stuff on Twitter, which had caused a backlash, but even then I didn’t stop tweeting. I wanted to put my thoughts into print, so I was glad when the publishers got in touch.
I know that I can’t speak for all teenagers, but I can express at least some of what the younger generation is thinking and feeling at the moment.
With this essay, I just want people to realise that these different ways of living and ways of thinking are out there.
Does Aya always use drop D tuning?
Yes. Always drop D.
A question or two for Rei and Aya.
How do you feel emotionally when performing live? What do you like most about performing live?
When I’m playing live, I am able to forget everything. I love being able to see the passion and the emotion from our fans.
At the shows, I love to see everyone’s faces, their smiles and the moments when we jump and shout together.
What did you take away from your show in L.A. last January?
There was a way bigger crowd than I expected, so that got me energised. There were loads of people, and I was surprised that BRATS are so well known in America! The way that everybody enjoyed the music in their own way really had an impact on me.
COVID-19 must have had a big impact on your band activities. Please tell us what you lost and what you gained.
We haven’t lost anything, but we have gained a feeling of isolation.
We’ve lost the ability to have our usual crowded live shows with a full audience.
Since we’ve started doing our online streamed live shows, we’ve gained fans who wouldn’t be able to come to our regular live shows. Especially all our overseas fans!
What is your ultimate goal for BRATS?
Basically I want to play as many live shows as possible! Then just keep touring and playing.
I want everyone to know about BRATS! Then I want to go to all the countries where they found out about BRATS through online streaming and play proper live shows!!
So if you’re ready to rock out, jump on your favourite streaming service and dial up BRATS. Don’t forget to send some love to the Kuromiya sisters via social media and check HYPER JAPAN for more interviews with Japanese musicians!
For all you BRATS fans, don’t miss their next online live show, Ambitious Girls Rock 2, on March 20th (live online at 4am GMT if you’re an insomniac) and available on demand until March 28th. Find more information here – http://brats-official.com/archives/8148
BRATS Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brats__official/
BRATS YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/bratsofficial
BRATS Music: https://avex.lnk.to/BRATS_PLAYLIST
Recent release Information:
AMBITIOUS GIRLS ROCK 1
Live concert albums from the first series of the East Asian girls band event ‘Ambitious Girls Rock 1’ featuring BRATS have been released worldwide to Europe and America.
Featuring songs such as long-time live show favourite “Excuser”, international fan favourite “No more, No more”, concert highlight “Ms. Downer”, the hard grooving “Fate”, the alternative/punk crossover “Jigyakusei Loop” and a re-recording of the live classic “Kimarigoto -Version 2020-“