INTERVIEW: RAISE A SUILEN at CharaExpo 2019

RAISE A SUILEN is a live band from the BanG Dream! multimedia franchise. They appeared as guests at CharaExpo USA 2019, and even performed a live concert for fans at the event. Anime Trending had the opportunity to speak with the band members about their musicianship, their experiences in RAISE A SUILEN, and the international appeal of their music.  


Reo Kurachi: Hi, I’m Reo Kurachi. I play PAREO, the keyboardist of RAISE A SUILEN.

Natsume: I am Natsume, and I play MASKING, the drummer of RAISE A SUILEN.

Raychell: Hello, I’m Raychell. I play LAYER, the vocalist and bassist of RAISE A SUILEN.

Riko Kohara: I’m Riko Kohara, I voice LOCK, the lead guitarist of RAISE A SUILEN.

Thank you for returning to CharaExpo this year. Since the release of BanG Dream! 2nd Season, how did it feel to receive a positive response to your group and your characters, not only from Japan but globally as well? What did each of you think when you saw your characters for the first time?

Riko Kohara: I have been a big fan of BanG Dream!, so I was happy to see myself inthe anime that I love so much now. We started as a support band for the other bands that couldn’t play their instruments live (before the creation of the characters of RAISE A SUILEN.) When they created our characters, the characters reflected our own personalities into the anime characters, which was really interesting to see.

In BanG Dream! concerts, you have performed songs from Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, and Hello, Happy World! Was it difficult to perform these songs, since they are completely different genres?

Raychell: We have covered songs for Afterglow, Pastel*Palettes, Hello, Happy World! and Glitter*Green. Each band has its own color and its own sound. I dont think it’s awkward to perform their songs, but it is difficult to express their color with our own spice. We do love all of the BanG Dream! songs, and we would love to convey more of the greatness of BanG Dream!’s music.

Did you all come from musical backgrounds before joining RAISE A SUILEN? Can you share some experiences from before the band to now? Any similarities or differences?

Natsume: I’ve been playing the drums for a long time. I’ve actually been to America before to perform in a backing band for anime conventions. As for Raychell, she’s been singing for a while as well. The way we met was actually that I was a support drummer for one of Raychell’s solo concerts.

Raychell and I, along with Sae Otsuka from Poppin’Party, performed at a live house and that was where Kidani-san (founder and president of Bushiroad) saw us and suggested that we should be a support band for the BanG Dream! project. That’s where I met Reo Kurachi as well. She didn’t have any band experience before, but she has been playing the piano for a long time.

That’s how the four of us started the group, THE THIRD, but Sae later left the band as a support member, and that was when Riko Kohara joined us.

Riko Kohara: I have a musical background as well. I’ve never performed in America, but I was previously in a band called The Sketchbook, which performed several songs for the anime SKET DANCE. Because of that, I was glad that I could still be involved in both music and anime with RAISE A SUILEN.

Natsume: Our final member, Risa Tsumugi, our DJ, had no background as a DJ before. Since she joined this band, though, she has practiced very hard and she’s become a great DJ. She even performs as a solo DJ artist now! Hopefully, you can see all of us perform next time.

We hold a lot of polls for both anime and anime music here at Anime Trending. Your song, Invincible Fighter, has been very popular with our voters in recent weeks. It frequently placed in our Top 10 and even ranked at Number 5 in our November charts. How does learning of your popularity around the world make you feel, especially after seeing your fans here at CharaExpo?

Reo Kurachi: I had no idea that our song even made it to your Top 5! We’re very surprised, so thank you so much for telling us! RAISE A SUILEN is from the BanG Dream! Project, which is loved by everyone all over the world. Our goal is to spread our music all over the world, and we will keep trying and practicing even harder so that we can continue to do that.

We’ve read that Kidani-san once said he would like RAISE A SUILEN to expand overseas because he thinks you have great international appeal. This was just touched on in response to our previous question, but would you like to fulfill this grand expectation on such a massive scale?

Raychell: Our song, R·I·O·T, contains the lyric: “We are going to take over the world.” As the song states, we would like to take over the world with BanG Dream! and RAS’s sound. We would like to perform not only in the USA, but all over the world in the future to convey RAISE A SUILEN and BanG Dream!’s music. I’m sure there are many more people who haven’t seen us perform live before, so hopefully you can spread the word of our concert you just saw today so more people can learn about RAISE A SUILEN. That way, we can visit all of your cities and countries to bring our lives closer to you. You can go crazy about our lives, so please come and enjoy our music!


Special thanks to Bushiroad for the interview opportunity. 

RAISE A SUILEN can be found on Apple Music and Spotify. Their first album, ERA, is set to release in Japan on 19 August 2020. All seasons of the BanG Dream! anime are currently available for streaming on HIDIVE.
Interview conducted with Gamepress and The Grand Geek Gathering, with transcription assistance from The Grand Geek Gathering.

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