The Lady Spade is not only one of the best indie idol acts working the circuit now, but one of the best unsigned music acts in Japan period. I admit that the sight of cute girls dressed in cosplay style uniforms may not seem particularly groundbreaking at this juncture in human history, but believe me, whenever The Lady Spade commands a stage, the difference is immediately apparent.
First of all, their music is really, really good. Songs like “You Must Obey Me” and “Wakaranai” are monster dance tracks that sound like chart ready J-pop (or K-pop) smash hits. Also, the ladies – ATG, Tiffany, and Lotta by name – give 100% in delivering this material with high spirited dancing and razor-sharp choreography. The end result is FUN, FUN, FUN!
From left: Lotta, ATG, Tiffany
Best of all, The Lady Spade is fully equipped to airlift their act overseas, and has performed on US soil several times…and is about to again!
The Lady Spade will be at Anime Matsuri in Texas from 3/29 to 3/31. For this occasion, I spoke with The Lady Spade’s mastermind, their skull faced DJ, composer, and producer known only as SLF!!…
How would you describe The Lady Spade to someone who has never heard of them?
Well, the world is at its end anyhow, so consider us your final gift! Magic spells and glistening artificial sweetener have been aggressively blended to create a confection like a powerful medicine…totally cute, totally fun, but a little sad, and a tad frightening too. I'm sure you'll like us. You'll like us, right? Riiight? Sooooo before you break down and stop working, before you fall apart, please listen to our songs.
Vulgar Display of Beauty
Magical Electric Doll
THE LADY SPADE
I guess this isn't enough for you to understand, huh? From the realm of two-faced girls — truly sweet, truly scary; sparkly, cute magical girls, the dark and sexy goth world — we're a unit that combines kawaii, sexy, otaku, anime, cosplay, fashion, art. We perform our electric sound high on teenage delusions.
How did the group start? How has it changed over the years?
At first we were using old anime songs and '60s spy movie themes from the West as our motifs, but about three years ago we added member ATG for vocals so the style changed to magical girls and the gothic world. We incorporated a club sound with electronic music and were largely reborn.
What are some of your musical influences and inspirations?
Lots of electro club music and anime songs. We're also influenced by a lot of other things besides music, like fashion and illustration, photography, other art…
How would you describe each member of the group? What are they like on stage and off?
ATG - Vocals
The 666th doll made for kicks by the 8 million gods.
She has an upside down heart that is pure black — the shape of a spade.
She was abused and violated by the gods for such an insanely long time that she became broken, and can't do anything except sing and dance.
TIFFANY - Dancer
A superior familiar who sees to ATG's needs. When she gets mad, she'll make you drink poison. Loves rock 'n roll, the Twist, and doing experiments on ATG.
LOTTA - Dancer
A robot from the 2-D world of manga. She is crazy about ATG, but always messes up and ends up torturing her. Loves doujinshi.
SLF!! - DJ, All Sounds & Design
The skull-mask wearing scientist who implanted ATG's upside-down, pure black heart. He's always tinkering with something in a dark place. Loves meat.
The dance choreography for the Lady Spade's live is really impressive. Who does the choreography and what are rehearsals like?
Thanks! We're so happy to hear you like it. ATG creates the movements and we all practice together. Instead of a band playing, we want people to enjoy a dance performance, so we take choreography very seriously.
The Lady Spade has performed in America before. What was that like?
We appeared at the “Sweet Streets” art reception in Los Angeles in April of 2011 and at the APAHA (Asian-Pacific American Heritage Association) festival in Houston in June of 2012.
Did anything fun or crazy happen when you guys were in the USA?
When we were in Hollywood, ATG was wearing a bikini so lots of people stopped to take pictures (of course young people and kids, but even old ladies!) and one of them was the art director for The Boondock Saints, whom SLF!! loves.
Also, we were surprised when Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins came to our signing event (although he may not have really known who we were *laughing*)
In Houston we were happy to see lots of cute Lolitas and young fans who were good at Japanese. I don't think we would have been able to tell from Japan that there were so many people who like anime and otaku culture even in Texas.
What do you think of American otaku compared to Japanese otaku?
I don't think there are that many differences! "Otaku" is a culture the world shares now, so we cross national borders and love everyone. If something is good, they call it good — I'm really happy we have this shared sense of otakuness. For example, "Striped panties are so cute!" *laughing* On the other hand, sometimes they interpret things in an ultra-fresh way, very different from Japan. We were really excited to find that out! For example, gyaru culture and otaku culture don't mix in Japan, but the idea that 'they're both are kawaii so I'll like both' is really wonderful.
What's next for The Lady Spade?
In March we'll be at Houston's Anime Matsuri 2013 doing one kawaii show, one dark show, and also a maid cafe party. The maid cafe party is the event we put on Shibuya as "Spade Lounge."
Do you have any special message for our readers?
The things you like are wonderful things, crucial because they make you you, and at the same time crossing all kinds of boundaries to connect everyone. Let's spread otaku culture even further together by continuously making discoveries and meeting new people.
Going forward, we want to meet all sorts of people by doing shows in the states for starters, but also many other countries! First off, we’ll be waiting for you from March 29th-31st at Houston's Anime Matsuri 2013!