We were able to catch some time with the Earthbound Papas after their Saturday night concert to ask them a few questions about their thoughts on MAGFest, some details on the band, and whether or not they were considering the creation of the Earthbound Mamas.
The responses are surprising!
Read more after the jump.
OSV: This is your first MAGFest, what did you guys think of the event?
Nobuo Uematsu: I enjoyed it quite a bit because they don’t have anything this big or quite like this in Japan. It’s in a great building and the event is great. I was really surprised!
OSV: How much sleep did you guys get this weekend?
Uematsu: A few hours. We went drinking and were up until 6 AM!
OSV: You received a huge response to your set last night. Were you surprised by the fan reaction?
Umeatsu: Of course!
OSV: Have you received this kind of response before? Have you seen anything like this in Japan?
Uematsu: We always get reactions from passionate fans, but people here are a little aggressive. But in a good way. There was a lot more energy here.
OSV: As a new group, it’s often difficult to have that kind of connection with fans. How does this make you feel to be so connected with your fans?
Arata Hanyuda: Maybe people more easily accept us because they accept Uematsu-san’s music and we are the followers and fellows of his music, so it’s easy to enjoy the group.
OSV: How were you booked or the event?
Uematsu: [Nick Marinelli] from MAGFest came to Distant Worlds in Chicago and approached me to tell me about an event he did in D.C., and asked if we would be interested. I said sure, why not, and it ended up happening! It’s pretty surprising.
OSV: Did you hear any of the other acts at the event, and if so, what did you think?
Hanyuda: We heard 20XX. They were good. We unfortunately didn’t get to see many of the others.
OSV: The CD you brought sold out in just hours. What happened, and do you view this as a big mistake?
Uematsu: We regret that very much.
OSV: How did you come to bring the Earthbound Papas together? I think it’s not very controversial to say that The Black Mages were owned by Square Enix and so you maybe wanted your own band separate from that. Can you confirm this, and tell us how you went about selecting the band’s members?
Uematsu: After The Black Mages I wanted to play with a band. Around the same time, Okamiya-san and Hanyuda-san left Square Enix. I asked them to join. Narita-san was also working with me at the time, and his classical taste in music made me think he’d be interesting to bring into the band, and Hirota-san also used to work at Square Enix and I knew he played bass, so I asked him to join us.
OSV: Can you explain the source of the band’s name, the Earthbound Papas?
Uematsu: We’re aliens.
Uematsu: The synopsis behind the name is that we’re aliens and we saw Earth and heard music there. We noticed people were having fun with frequencies, so we wanted to look into it and join in.
OSV: On the album, you actually have the alien language featured throughout the tracks. But that wasn’t featured in the live performance. Is that a creative decision?
Uematsu: At our concert in japan, we had a narrator, Nip-Nop, who spoke the exact language during the show.
OSV: And why wasn’t that featured here?
Uematsu: We didn’t have the budget to bring over the narrator…
OSV: You all wore pretty elaborate costumes with a variety of ethnic influences at the show. You had Chinese, Japanese, and it looked like you were wearing something African in origin, Uematsu-san. Can you tell us about these costumes?
Uematsu: We have multiple kinds of outfits. We don’t have a specific costume that we wear at shows. Hirota-san went in an Asian direction, Okamiya-san went for a Thai style, I went for an African style.
Hanyuda: As a drum player, I wore whatever I wanted as I needed to be comfortable playing the drums.
OSV: So there’s not any kind of deeper meaning about being aliens and trying to assimilate with the people of Earth?
Uematsu: Not really. We’re aliens and don’t really know what to wear.
OSV: I know this is a new band, so it may be too early to talk about spin-offs and collaborations, but are there any plans for an Earthbound Mamas?
Uematsu: I’ve been thinking about the exact same thing. I was thinking about a string ensemble with females only that I’d call the Earthbound Mamas.
OSV: Will there be any arrangements from The Last Story on the next album?
Uematsu: Yes, but I unfortunately don’t remember the name of the song right now. It will be one with a metal violin.
OSV: Are there any planned additions to the artist roster, or do you see the size of the current group to be pretty final?
Uematsu: Most recently we played with four singers in Japan, two male and two female. At Oni-Con in Houston, TX we had played with nine people. So if we had a bigger budget, we’d fly all of us out.
OSV: Any plans for a live DVD in the next year or two?
Uematsu: Japan has been shifting business to digital downloads, so we don’t sell as many copies, even if we release a DVD, so we’re not planning on doing so.
OSV: How about a live stream of your concerts?
Uematsu: That’s a possibility.
OSV: Would you guys do MAGFest again in the future?
Uematsu: Yes! We’ll go on again tonight!
OSV: Well, thank you for your time. We enjoyed your performance and hope to see you back at the event sometime.
Uematsu: Thank you.
Photo by Emi SpicerEarthbound Papas, Interviews, MAGFest, MAGFest X, Nobuo Uematsu