BE:FIRST is a seven-member dance and vocal group featuring SOTA, SHUNTO, MANATO, RYUHEI, JUNON, RYOKI, and LEO, signed to renown Japanese rapper, SKY-HI’s management company and label, BMSG. Each member has a high level of ability and potential for singing, dancing, and rap, along with a musical sensitivity reflected in their songwriting and choreography. BE:FIRST recently released their first single of the year, ‘Boom Boom Back’, which shows a different side to the group with an old-style sound.
BE:FIRST has achieved so much in 2022. What was one highlight of 2022 that was memorable for you?
ALL MEMBERS: We had great performance opportunities in 2022. It’s hard to pick just one or two, but here are some shows we had great memories: NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen, BMSG FES’22, the very first day of our BE:1 Tour, release of our first album, BE:1, and performances at Japan’s three greatest rock festivals (FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL, SUMMER SONIC, and ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL)
What has everyone been up to since the release of your debut album, ‘BE:1’?
ALL MEMBERS: We had our first BMSG FES in September, and our first tour started immediately after that. So, we have been surrounded by music all the way till now. We are grateful that there have been many opportunities for us to see BESTY (BE:FIRST’s fans) on our tour and other music festivals. At the end of the year, we were able to perform at a couple of prestigious music events like Asia Artist Awards and NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen. It truly has been truly amazing from the very beginning until now. (When answering this interview) We are about to complete our first tour and are ready for new songs. What a great way to start a new year, 2023!
For fans overseas, could you tell us what the members of BE:FIRST did on the first day of 2023?
ALL MEMBERS: We all spent both New Year’s Eve and the New Year together and enjoyed celebrating the countdown!
What does the phrase ‘Boom Boom Back’ mean to you?
ALL MEMBERS: Another big wave coming before the current wave goes back. It has been an incredible year for us with lots of achievements and receiving amazing support from fans. However, knowing where we are heading to, there is no time for us to slow down or spoil ourselves with our current status. So the phrase ‘Boom Boom Back’ means we keep moving and are ready to add even more records and achievements on top of what we already have. It also has a hidden meaning of ‘return the boon’
CEO of BMSG, SKY-HI shares the process of coming up with this new single and working with a global team this time. How different was it from working on previous music?
SKY-HI: “When recording or producing a song in Japan, we have in-person recording sessions in the studio with people like beat-makers or melody makers. This time, the process was different. We sent our recordings, and they sent them back. We went back-and-forth several times to complete the song. I personally believe in outcomes from instantaneous in-person situations, but I really enjoyed our remote communication and production process as we were able to keep the artwork just as fresh as doing so in person. I also learned new ways of creativity. This was something completely new to me as well. Not only for BE:FIRST, but also for me, it has been a great opportunity to work and learn together with talented people who are overseas.”
What is one word or phrase that came to mind when you first listened to the demo of ‘Boom Boom Back’?
SOTA: As soon as I heard the intro, it excited me as I enjoy listening to music from the 90s. When I kept listening through it, I realized current trend and BE:FIRST-ish connections here and there, which widened my imagination of the world of “Boom Boom Back”.
SHUNTO: “Another new music genre for BE:FIRST” is what I initially thought. Also, I knew it was definitely going to be fun singing and dancing while performing to this song.
MANATO: I immediately loved the intro, having the sound of the ‘new jack swing’ feel to it. I was also excited thinking about how to present a fresh sound for BE:FIRST through this song.
RYUHEI: I thought both the intro, which reminded me of the 90s sounds, and how the song flows towards the hook are very cool!
JUNON: I was excited for the new song as we were able to show another side of BE:FIRST. When I listened to it, it reminded me of wanting to create this type of music.
RYOKI: At first, the intro reminded me of the 90s hip hop tunes, but then, as the song runs, there are lots of other elements involved, which made me think the hook will be catchy to anyone who listens to it.
LEO: I got super excited as soon as I heard that 90s sound and vibes in it!
What motivates you to do better every day?
SOTA: Listening to lots of music. Music gives me all the reasons why I should work harder.
SHUNTO: When I meet and chat with other dance and vocal group artists, they inspire and motivate me.
RYOKI: Imagining myself several years from now motivates me.
LEO: Loving music no matter what and BESTY are my motivation.
You must have been very busy with lots of activities. What is something you do to refresh yourself?
MANATO: Though it has been a rare case, I recharge myself whenever I go back to my hometown.
RYUHEI: When I get a day off, I simply go out and breathe in and out the fresh air. That will do it for me.
JUNON: Going to a spa or a sauna has been a great solution for me to get refreshed and recharged.
With music and dance being a core influence for all of you, could you name 2 artists or dancers whom you look up to either growing up or current.
SOTA: Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson
SHUNTO: UVERWorld and AAA
MANATO: Trey Songz and iri
RYUHEI: JIMIN from BTS and Koharu Sugawara
JUNON: Motohiro Hata and Michael Jackson
RYOKI: Kis-Mt-Ft2 and BIGBANG
LEO: Bruno Mars and Eminem
Could you tell us about the music video for ‘Boom Boom Back’?
ALL MEMBERS: The theme is “Shibuya Culture” from the late 1990s through early 2000s. Critical elements in creating this video were to capture what has changed since then and what has not changed to date. Each of us were assigned with a fictional character and teams each belongs to, and therefore, every character has his own bonding with others. The video is not just about letting people look back but also making them realize how cool it is to live today connected from the 2000s. We want people to enjoy the music with the video by paying attention to the details in each scene. We are happy to be able to share this video with everyone!
What are BE:FIRST’s plans for this year? What can fans worldwide expect from the group this year?
ALL MEMBERS: Hello, BESTY! It may be a while before we get to see you guys in person, but we will continue making good music. We will work hard to show great performances and are looking forward to performing in front of you one day! Please continue supporting us. If you have a chance, please check out our latest music video and our first tour’s recorded live stream. Thanks as always!
Twitter (global): https://twitter.com/BEFIRST_global
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/BEFIRSTOfficial/
thank u so much for the interview😍I love BE:FIRST and really looking forward for their first abroad gigs! can u pls also do an interview with OCTPATH?? they are also my other ults🥰 thanks before!