What makes a band visit YOUR country?
Why do some bands exclude USA in their world tours?
Does it matter when you buy your ticket?
Apparently yes, it can affect a whole tour AND future events!
You might find the answers in this interview with Jessica Öjermalm. She books and promotes Japanese artists in Europe and is founder of the avocation agency Nyanko Scandal Factory. In this interview she gives us her story of what a promoter does, funny moments between the shows and what is important to know for us who want to prevent the jrock and visual kei scene in Europe from vanishing.
Feel welcome to share!
I think this might be of great interest for all fans out there so please feel free to copy and share this interview (and please send me a note at the same time. :-))
Interview with Jessica Öjermalm
You work as a booker and promoter and run the company Nyanko Scandal Factory. Can you explain what you are actually doing?
Jessica: I’m spreading knowledge about less known Japanese bands, helping events to book Japanese artists and just recently started to manage artists as helping them to gain a fan base in Europe. I’m also open to hold lectures about Visual kei music to anyone who wants me to come to their event.
Can you mention any artists or bands that you have been working with?
Jessica: We have since 2011 worked with Japanese artists like HITT, PLUNKLOCK, ACE, lix, Keisho Ohno and tezya. But I have also booked some Swedish acts like Overworld and Yohios old band Seremedy. I support Swedish visual kei/alternative rock.
How did it all start?
Jessica: The idea that I could start to bring Japanese music by myself to Sweden started in late 2009. I was between high school and university. I didn’t know what to set my heart on, I had this anxiety for a long time. I was already interested in the visual kei genre since a while back but just thought about it as a pass time activity. And then it suddenly hit me that I really wanted to experience more of everything regarding Japanese music… only going to concerts wasn’t enough for me.
I was also worried the scene in Sweden was going to disappear if Japanese artists completely stopped to come here. I didn’t have any special experience at all when I decided to begin, I just had made up my mind to try my best. So I began to communicate with Ramen Events in April 2010 and booked HITT for a Japanese convention in Sweden 2011, after that I created Nyanko Scandal Factory.
Do the artist/band itself decide where to go? Fans often wonder why bands tend to perform in certain countries but never show up in others. What do you think is the reason behind this?
Jessica: No, it almost never happens that the band decide this for themselves! It’s the international tour managers that decide and they are basing their decisions on many different things, like amount of fans, easy accessible venues, competition from other events during same period of time and so on.
I often get questions concerning USA. What do you think is the reason why some bands, like the GazettE, do not perform in the states?
Jessica: I think the US has different rules than Europe, making it harder for the bands to make it financially. Also since USA is so big, I think tour managers are having problem with localizing the cities that would make the concerts successful. It would need many people involved in the arrangement and superb communication over state borders.
What are your focus projects right now?
Jessica: My focus right now is 110% on the first EU tour with I-ai- (I-アイ-) in January 2014! After that, let’s see what happens.
How did you come in contact with I –ai-?
Jessica: I actually found them on Facebook while I was visiting Tokyo in December 2012. I got really curious and saw that they had a live only 2 days away so I decided to go to it even though that day I was already scheduled for other meetings and only had a few hours to spare! After the concert I engaged them in some conversation.
What made you want to promote them?
Jessica: When something feels right I often go with that feeling and I think they have great potential to reach people all over the world. Their kind of music is different so I really wanted to put as much energy as possible to help them out since the competition between any kind of Visual kei band in Japan is very hard. So many bands just never get seen and that’s such a waste of talent.
Tell us some about the I –ai- tour.
Jessica: It’s the first tour for both I-ai- and Nyanko Scandal Factory in Europe, of course we will do our best to make it the best tour ever! It’s a risky project, many people don’t know I-ai- and it’s not a “google friendly” name. Even so, I hope as many people as possible comes to meet them! They will release their second album just in time for the tour.
Do you spend any time with the bands/artists before or after the concerts? In that case, what do you do?
Jessica: Yes I do, well before the concerts there is very much preparations, planning and transportation… but after, if it’s not too late in the evening and if we don’t have anything scheduled for the next day we usually go out for some food and drinks. Sometimes, if we have time, we try to do some sightseeing.
Does it cost a lot to book artists and arrange concerts? What are the costs and how do you make it all go round.
Jessica: It depends on which artist you book of course but yes it cost a lot since Nyanko Scandal Factory are still small! As promoter of an event you usually pay venue, transport, accommodation, food and fee to the band, all this has to be covered by the income of the ticket sale.
That’s the reason why we so often collaborate with others to make it work.
Nyanko Scandal Factory has something called “Focus Artists”. What is this and who are they?
Jessica: Focus Artists, is artists that we want to support a little extra, a contact for the future but not necessarily scheduled for a concert or tour with us. I-ai- started out as one of our Focus Artist’s.
Can you tell us any funny backstage moments that the fans don’t know about?
Jessica: Hmm… there are moments that are funny to me but I really can’t tell people this in regard to the artists. Backstage is private area, what happens there is private even if it’s just ordinary things. But I know fans speculate a lot what’s going on there.
If you could pick any artist/band of your wildest dreams, who would you like to work with?
Jessica: It’s dangerous to work with bands you are a fan of… but I would like to work with… SUGIZO or Kanzaki (former vocalist of visual kei band RIBBON). Kanzaki is solo artist now but I didn’t get any news about his activities in a while, sadly he had to stop almost all of his activities due to serious health issues.
What is your funniest memory?
Jessica: That’s a really hard question… I have many happy memories… but maybe they are not the same as funny ones? Also again, I have to be careful with the integrity of the artists. It’s impossible to choose a funniest one… But a fun one was when I was in Paris to visit a HITT show, we spent all day in the venue and it was very dark when we finished. In the car on the way to a friend’s place HITT asked me if it was my first trip to Paris… It was… and then he suddenly realize that we did not do any sightseeing, so he tries to show me something trough the car window and points out in the dark… but there is nothing special really and it just becomes like “Look…. a house”. Luckily I didn’t go to Paris for sightseeing.
How can fans help Nyanko Scandal Factory to keep bringing Japanese bands to Europe?
Jessica: DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO BUY A TICKET! This matter is very serious for not only Nyanko Scandal Factory! Many people do this, and it’s very dangerous… many bookers decide on the presales tickets if they should go ahead with the concert or not.
Also, fans can never spread the info of a concert or band too much! Commercial and PR is very difficult and without fans spreading… there would not be possible to keep this going. Fans need to take responsibility in this if they want this scene to stay.
What more will happen during 2014?
Jessica: There are always plans. I hope to bring something during spring 2014.
A great THANKS to Jessica who took her time to answer my questions. Please support Nyanko Scandal Factory and other organizations out there that keep jrock and visual kei alive!
Nyanko Scandal Factory Official Webpage
Nyanko Scandal Factory Official Facebook
Nyanko Scandal Factory Open Group On Facebook
Nyanko Scandal Factory Official Instagram (nyanko_sf)
Nyanko Scandal Factory Official Twitter (@NyankoSF)
I -アイ- Europe tour
16/1 2014 : France | Roubaix, Bar Live 301, TICKETS
17/1 2014 : Netherlands | Den Haag, 330live, INFORMATION and TICKETS
18/1 2014 : Germany | Cologne, MTC – TICKETS
19/1 2014 : Belgium | Bruxelles, LR6 – TICKETS
23/1 2014 : Luxembourg | Rock Box– TICKETS
24/1 2014 : France | Paris | Abracadabar – FREE EVENT! Obligatoric drink only (2 euros)
25/1 2014 : Sweden | Stockholm, Lakeside – TICKETS