Red Dogs are a Japanese all-girl rock/punk band all the way from Osaka, Japan. With Haruka on vocals and bass, Kazumi on drums and Maimai on vocals and guitar, these three women command the stage with an electric presence and their songs of shaken-up rock/punk. They have played the AWOD (Another Winter of Discontent,) Festival in 2015 and did a tour of the UK in 2017, performing in London, Manchester, Leicester and Derby. Three of the shows the band headlined performing to packed out venues. Rock in Japan is still seen as a primarily male genre of music, but that doesn’t discourage Red Dogs. They are aware that the odds are stacked against them but that isn’t going to stop them in their tracks. The band wants to show people the power of women and that they can be just as good, if not better. Red Dogs really want people to see their shows and think “Wow!” The band describes their music as rock with a punk tempo and some metalcore influences mixed in to their sound. The band says that even though their music uses mirror melodies, the lyrics are positive and “forwarding facing”. The band themselves sing in Japanese but it’s proof that rock music doesn’t even have to be in our native language for us to feel part of it.
Erin: When, where and why did your dream as musicians begin?
Haruka: I played from 16 years old in a live music house. I wanted to enjoy cool music. I wanted to play, too.
Kazumi: When I was 16 years old, the boy who I liked was a vocalist. I came to see his band play. At that time, watching the drum set was cool! “I want to do it!” I thought. Then I started playing the drums in the same environment three years later.
Maimai: Music is a friend of mine since childhood. I met rock and guitar and I know the fun of the band. A foolish person listens to music, a stupid person plays to music, I think both are wonderful.
When and why did you choose the instrument you did? Did this ever change, if so why? Also do you play multiple instruments, if so which is your favourite to play and why?
Haruka: I flipped (started playing,) bass in the days of 17 years old in three piece girls band and stood on the stage. I became a main vocalist afterwards in other bands. And I made Red Dogs afterwards as vocal & bass.
Kazumi: In the drum set, I chose a drum because it was cool that the drums are lining up a lot. Tapping, knowing the pleasure of rhythm, the word spread.
Maimai: Rock = guitar! Variegated expression of power! It is perfect instrument to hit the heart! I think the piano is a high degree of completeness as an instrument. It’s also amazing. I like it.
Who are your major influences? Is there a specific song, band, scene that influences you?
Haruka: Because, as for the reason that I wanted to play the musical instrument, a favourite actor of mine played the guitar. The band still goes back to look from those days.
Kazumi: A. R. B. and Hurry Scuary from Japan in both as a band and their lyrics cool.
Maimai: The Beatles are stuck in my heart forever! UK prog-rock, alternative music. The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” is always a must!!
Any successes and/or failures along the way?
Haruka: I found good members. KAZUMI & MAIMAI!!!
Kazumi: The big hit was that I could play live in the UK. Failure, when putting on a show, cymbals were bigger in the previous band and it all fell down during the performance.
Maimai: We played live in various places. And I met many people. The trouble is that I always catch a cold.
Any funny stories you’d like to share or lessons learned since you guys have been playing together?
Haruka: Red Dogs did the second UK tour in July 2017. Red Dogs did a one man show in Manchester. I made the time for a clothes change on the way. “Wait on the spot!” We were told but the English band did not come. Red Dogs disappeared once from the stage and the audience misunderstood it as when the show was over. It was misunderstood. When Red Dogs changed clothes and Red Dogs returned to the stage and began a performance, the audience came back. We felt relieved.
Kazumi: At the time in the studio, there are times when I’m like a monkey and it makes me laugh.
Maimai: One British guy bought a beer for us, but he did not buy our CD which was cheaper than beer.
What recommendations can you offer for those wanting to play your instrument or get into the music business?
Haruka: I want to get along in the present members happily.
Kazumi: Have fun and treasure members.
Maimai: I hope to pursue things that seem to be fun as well as music.
What are your future plans? Any upcoming tours, new albums, new videos?
Haruka: I want to make a music video sometime when tension is good.
Kazumi: I want to make a music video. I want to live all over the country and the whole world, various places.
Maimai: I hope I can make an uncompromising album. Also, I wish I could play in more places.
Which specific instrument did you start playing with and what is a good starter instrument? How much should you be willing to spend on this start up instrument?
Haruka: I learned piano from about 7 years old for around five years. Then, I bought an acoustic guitar for 5000yen. Three electric guitars I have are all presents. I purchased my present base at the age of 17 years old. It is a Fender U.S.A and It was 140000yen.
Kazumi: I started playing piano in elementary school for 6 years. Drums from 18 years old. I bought the cheapest sticks and pedals and imitated my favourite drummer and started with self-flow. After that, I bought a set with all 500 thousand when I was about 25 years old because of money.
Maimai: I was learning the piano in my childhood. I began playing guitar and bass from high school. That was the Les Paul I was given and the cheap Stratocaster I bought.
What do you play now? Budget range?
Haruka: I want to repair a bad bass.
Maimai: I like my SG currently in use, so I want to customise it little by little. I’d like to enjoy making an effects pedal.
What is your dream instrument/setup and how much would it cost?
Haruka: I like the bass I am using now.
Kazumi: D. W. pedal, I think if the current pedal breaks.
Maimai: If I have enough money, I will buy a Rickenbacker 325 from the 1950’s to 1960’s!
Thank you so much ladies for your time and hope to see you over in the U.K. or Europe soon!