Poppin' Party is a girl's band from the multimedia franchise “BanG Dream!” (Abbreviated as Bandori). Led by Toyama Kasumi (voice by Aimi) on the guitars & vocals, Poppin' Party has conducted their activities mainly centered around live shows and performances, and other musical events. They released their 15th single “Initial/Yume wo Uchinuku Shunkan ni!” on Jan. 2020, placing on top of the ranking of the Oricon Chart for the first time.

We took the opportunity here at Anime! Anime! to interview Aimi at the same timing as the collaboration between the Bandori's smartphone game app “BanG Dream! Girls Band Party!” and Marui Group for the Epos credit card takes place on Feb. 7, 2020.
We discussed topics including the future of Poppin' Party and the details about the collaboration.
[interview by: Enomoto Makie / photos by: Kamata Hitomi]

■”..the studio mood is always friendly.”
–First, could you start by telling us about the character you play, Toyama Kasumi?
Aimi: Aimi is the guitar player & vocal of the band Poppin' Party. She is a cheerful and earnest girl, sometimes she is way too sincere and that ends up shocking the other members sometimes (laugh). She is always looking out for exciting and joyful things, caring a great deal about her beloved band comrades and friends.

–Whichare some difficulties you faced when playing this role?

Aimi:I struggled to find a way to express her affection and love towards the members of band and the others around her. I also tried as much as possible to make her personality traits more appealing than simply earnest and cheerful. I have a friend who really resembles Kasumi personality-wise, so I used her as a reference!

–How is the atmosphere during the recording sessions?

Aimi:Bandori has various different bands under it, so we end up being separated by bands mostly、however Roselia and we at Poppin’Party are seated very closely inside the studio, so more often than not we have opportunities to talk to them.
They are always talking about something interesting among them, so we end up joining the conversation (laughs).

During the recording session for “BanG Dream! 2nd Season” there were new members in RAISE A SUILEN performing for the first time、so I was a bit tense at first! But usually, we communicate a lot with each other, and the studio mood is always friendly.

— The collab between “Girl's Party” and the Epos Card has been finally done. Have you seen the card already?

Aimi: I was always attracted to the idea of a collaboration with them, so I'm happy we finally did it. There are 2 types of illustrations! And they are so cute! Not only the vocals are in there, but also all the 25 girls and their instruments as well.

It'd be nice if the fans felt a sense of closeness to the bands by acquiring the card. I'd like to tell them to use the card when buying tickets for our concerts.

–Do you have any special memories with Marui?

Aimi: We did an event “BanG Dream! feat. Girls Band Party! in Shibuya Marui”. I had a lot of fun in it, so it's been in my memory ever since.

Also during my off-time, I'm always going to Marui's department stores to shop for clothes. There was also a period in which I used to go to Shinjuku Marui Annex because they were holding an event campaign of a character I like (laughs).

–As a gift to yourself, what is one thing you would buy from Marui now?

Aimi:Western-style clothes! I really love them, Marui has a huge diversity of western-style clothes, so I always enjoy shopping there (laughs).

■ Bandori! Live events “.. a place of growth for me.”
――Is there a particular Bandori live event that was outstanding in any way to you?

Aimi:The one at Nippon Budoukan. Poppin’Party had the opportunity to perform there twice, and those were memorable. During the 1st time, we were very nervous, but for the 2nd one we had a lot of fun and it was exciting. They were really enjoyable as well, and I feel that we were able to mature as a band during these live events.

Also, during the crossover concert between Poppin’Party and SILENT SIREN during last year's May, we performed “NO GIRL NO CRY” at the MetLife Dome. We were able to absorb various important lessons from Sai Sai(SILENT SIREN's nickname).

――What kind of lessons could you explain in details?

Aimi: Mainly the way to stir up the crowd during live events.Sai Sai values the synchronicity with the fans、and this was transferred as a valuable lesson to Poppin’Party. We observed that Sai Sai was very meticulous during the planning stages of how to involve and incite the fans during the concert、so we saw that as a good example to emulate.

During last year's summer “ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL 2019”, there were a lot of first-time spectators,and by using what we learned from Sai Sai、 we improved a lot our techniques of getting a response from the crowd.

――In May of this year, all the 6 bands will finally perform together for the first time on “BanG Dream! Special☆LIVE Girls Band Party! 2020”, can you tell us a little about it?

Aimi: I'm really looking forward to it! It will be the 2nd time that Poppin’Party will perform at MetLife Dome, but I feel we will get a totally different outlook by standing side-by-side to the other bands on the stage. It was also announced that the total songs played will be 33, I wonder what kind of live event it will be(laughs). We're still in the process of creating the setlist.

――I imagine it must be hard choosing songs for the setlist.

Aimi: Yes. It would be a good idea to insert songs that will agitate the crowd、but I think the other bands will probably do the same, so maybe it will be better to go in the opposite direction and choose more moderate ones, I wonder. Another important point to consider is the songs that the fans actually want to listen to, so there will be a lot of discussion and decisions to make before coming up with the final list.

――What kind of significance do the Bandori's live events hold for you?

Aimi: It's a place of growth for me. The more we practice, the more it becomes apparent for whoever is watching. It's a direct way of showing how much effort we are constantly putting for the fans out there.

This is a type of quality that exists in the band itself. Our love and enthusiasm are delivered by taking the shape of sounds. It's very common that we received compliments about how energetic we were during the performances(laughs). I'm really glad about all the support we gathered so far.

――What are Poppin’Party's plans from now on?

Aimi: To be a long-enduring band. Even in a distant future, I'd like to be gathering and doing live concerts. We will do our best to keep growing and keep evolving so as the Poppin’Party that exists now in the present, and the Poppin’Part in the future years ahead will have a unique quality, inherent to that moment in time.

――The live concerts are the core of the band aren't they?

Aimi: Exactly. It's very important to always keep close contact with the fans. Last year the concert movie “BanG Dream! FILM LIVE” was released, but next time it would be great to be in an animated feature film too.