By Jin Kiyokawa / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterBiSH started in 2015 and were known as “kuso aidoru” (crap idols), albeit for promotional purposes. Fast forward to today and BiSH is a girl band where each of the six members boasts a sparkling personality and her own artistic strength.
They are involved in writing high-quality lyrics and choreographing, and they can sing complex songs with heavy and hard sounds. Having established its distinctive style as a “punk band without instruments,” BiSH released a new album this month, a masterwork featuring both aggressiveness and tenderness.
The members are AiNA THE END, the band’s choreographer who sings in a husky voice that represents the BiSH sound; CENTCHiHiRO CHiTTiii, the musical and psychological facilitator of the six; MOMOKOGUMiCOMPANY, an intelligent lyricist who has written a book; HASHiYASUME ATSUKO, who wears glasses to hide her face and plays the role of comic relief; LiNG LiNG, a self-contained loner who goes ballistic during concerts; and AYUNi D, the newest member who is fast gaining popularity. The members’ ages are kept secret.
Last December, BiSH performed in front of 17,000 people at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. It was the first time for the band to perform on a stage surrounded by the audience in all directions. BiSH gave an utterly powerful performance. It was as if the concert represented the momentum they had during 2018. The band reached No. 1 in the weekly singles rankings, and artists from various genres openly said that they are BiSH fans, including Nobu of the comedy duo Chidori and actor Toma Ikuta. These factors helped dramatically raise BiSH’s profile.
It was a surprise to this reporter that AiNA, when asked to reminisce about that concert, impressively talked about the lyrical ballad “Life is beautiful.” AYUNi and LiNG LiNG performed a theatrical skit during that song.
“When I saw the performance on the DVD, it looked like a beautiful story starring the two,” AiNA said.
“When I heard that some of the audience members cried while watching it, it made me feel good that we could deliver,” LiNG LiNG said.
The artistic quality of the performance was outstanding as well. Images were shown on a scrim, or a semitransparent curtain, and the members were accompanied by a group of more than 30 musicians, including string players.
Giving their all
BiSH’s third album, “CARROTS and STiCKS,” was released by Avex on July 3.
“It’s our most powerful album so far,” said CHiTTiii. “We put everything about BiSH into it. I think few other girl bands can equal us in expressing things at the polar opposite of each other.”
Both the music and the video for “Tsuini Shi” (Death finally), one of the tracks on the album, are intensely fierce. MOMOKO appears in the video playing the role of a character who is killed many times.
“I was covered with fake blood and asked, ‘How should you die next time?’” she said. “The filming was over at 2 a.m. and we were in a ruin. It was cold and scary like a real hell. The circumstances were completely different with the song ‘I am me.’ We filmed that video under the sun with a cute girl.”
“I think ‘Tsuini Shi’ is very good because it’s innovative and over the top,” AiNA said. “It was the first experience for me to record while a distorted voice was being played. The lyrics are crazy, and the choreography evokes zombies, but we all happily raise our arms and create a chaotic atmosphere during concerts.”
BiSH made its major-label debut in 2016. The group’s fans are dubbed “Cleaners.” The group enchants fans with bold ideas and sheer musicality, helped by producer Junnosuke Watanabe and sound producer Kenta Matsukuma. Watanabe is also the president of the entertainment agency the band belongs to.
Looking back on the group’s history, what the members have gone through are the opposite of a glamorous lifestyle.
“I used to skip classes when I didn’t feel well,” said LiNG LiNG, adding that she was shocked when she was told to wear a cold compress and to appear in a concert despite having a 40 C fever.
“I had a hard time singing and dancing because I was bad in gym class and music,” MOMOKO said.
AYUNi could not communicate well with people. Two months after joining BiSH, however, she appeared at a concert at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in Hibiya Park in Tokyo.
“There were more than 20 songs to sing when I joined,” she said. “I didn’t even know what a prestigious venue it was and it amazes me that I manged to stand onstage.”
“Promise the star,” the band’s second major-label single from 2017, is a pleasant piece featuring piano and strings. The song’s profile gradually rose higher and higher. Animation director Makoto Shinkai of “Kimi no Na wa” (your name.) fame praised the camera blocking in the video. It was soon decided that the song would be used for a TV drama series and an animated show.
The band continues to be a hell-raiser. In June 2018, on the day of the release of a new single, the group also unexpectedly released an unscheduled single, “NON TiE-UP.” Immediately after concerts in Yokohama for two consecutive days, the band filmed a video for the song.
The schedule was so tight that ATSUKO moaned, “It was so tough that I couldn’t maintain my policy of not falling asleep during makeup.”
What’s more, vulgar words usually thought of as unsuitable for a girls’ group were used in the lyrics of the song’s chorus.
CHiTTiii doesn’t care about that, saying: “I thought that it was straightforward and feels good, and that it was the first time this kind of song had been done in a while. If we do only acceptable things, it makes us feel uneasy. It’s one of the good things about BiSH that we can throw a curve into society.”Speech