The scene walking up to the Microsoft Theater on Friday evening was strikingly similar to the same area during Anime Expo weekend, complete with dedicated fans and cosplayers. But these people made the trek Downtown for Miku Expo, the North American tour of vocaloid character and icon Hatsune Miku featuring bitpop group Anamanaguchi.

Entering through the doors to the main theater, everyone was handed a Miku-branded glowstick for the show. Larger, color-changing sticks were also available, and many brought along their own. These die-hard fans knew exactly what they were about to experience, but everyone else — mostly parents and significant others — was likely left incredibly confused.

miku_expo

Anamanaguchi’s opening set featured plenty of identifiable crowd favorites, and if I were to envision an ideal Anamanaguchi live experience, it would be in a venue this size. The sea of glowsticks swaying in rhythm to the poppy expressions of the group was mesmerizing, and the band’s songs sounded stunning played through the huge, high-quality sound system at the Microsoft Theater.

The previous times I’ve seen them play were in significantly smaller venues, and while I do love the intimate shows, this was pure Anamanaguchi sound. There was a certain sense within the bass and drums I hadn’t felt elsewhere, and the group deserved every inch of the large venue.

The crowd’s remaining pent-up energy came out in full force once the main set kicked off, and I was on the edge of my seat throughout the Hatsune Miku performance. The dynamic set’s lighting, technology, talented musicians, and enthusiastic crowd kept me entranced, and to experience this type of show is to become instantaneously involved in it all. Miku was joined by Anamanaguchi for a few songs during the encore, and that collaboration was particularly remarkable.

Before the show, I had the privilege of sitting down with Anamanaguchi to talk Miku, synesthesia, and clickbait. Read on for more from the electronic artists themselves!

So you’re in the early dates of your tour with Hatsune Miku, playing some nights in support of Miku and headlining others. How have your shows opening for Miku differed from others?

Luke: Physically, it is different because we are so spread out over the stage.

Pete: There are a lot more people, and I’m much further away from James. Bigger stages.

James: We have in-ear monitors instead of regular monitors. That’s new for all of us.

Ary: She’s very high maintenance. She has lots of boundaries you can’t cross.

Luke: Nobody’s saying she’s not worth it.

Any word on the turnout for the show tonight?

Pete: I think there are going to be like 5,000 people here tonight.

Earlier this year we saw the release of the Capsule Silence XXIV game. The overall environment in-game felt very fitting. Do you tend to picture similar environments for your music?

Pete: I think in music, as an extremely auditory experience, the mind likes to fill in blanks with visuals. It can make associations come to life. We love all sorts of the senses working together, like synesthesia, to make a whole environment out of music.

You can be anywhere, and listening to music will change that experience no matter what. If you’re in the jungle listening to Scatman, it’s probably different than being in the jungle listening to birds or something.

We always aim to make a big, sensational experience whenever we’re putting out music in any way, either on our past records or our live shows. We put great attention into things like artwork, and often times inspiration can come from an image, too. We like blending those two worlds.

Capsule Silence XXIV game

Like most artists, your styles have evolved from your origins. You’ve still managed to hold onto root stylings, but continue to expand and individualize. In what ways do you feel you have evolved, as musicians, as artists, and with your Internet presence?

Pete: I think we’re mostly reacting to the world as it changes and, of course, as we change, too. When Anamanaguchi began, Hatsune Miku was not what she is now. What was on the radio was, like, I don’t know…Nicki Minaj didn’t exist, for instance.

Ary: Dark times.

Pete: Yeah, dark times. I think BeyoncĂ© was just getting out of Destiny’s Child.

Ary: We’re exposed to so much more stuff. We get to experience a lot more stuff, and that obviously makes you want to try more stuff. Just as a simple equation.

Luke: That goes for Internet presence, also. Everyone on the Internet has infinite ways to interact with everything that’s out there. The obvious thing to do should be to try to apply yourself to everything in some distinct way — make your voice heard through any platform.

Pete: Well, online, you have no voice. It’s more about, for me or Anamanaguchi, trying to find a way where we can sit comfortably in a virtual space online. There are so many things that have changed. Like, what Facebook is today is a new thing.

I think the biggest change is working closely on a computer and moving outside of chip sounds, which comes with a built-in limitation to it. Writing music on a laptop is kind of like a document of the conversation that I’ve had with that laptop for that amount of time. I don’t know if Ary would agree, but that’s how I see it.

I think my laptop is on its last days, maybe. Together we’ve been downloading files and inputting MIDI. It’s a very different experience than picking up a guitar and doing things that way. That’s what I mean when I say we have no choice but to react to a changing world, since it changes very quickly.

What would a clickbait title be for your live shows?

Ary: That we get to write or that someone else would write?

Pete: I mean, I don’t think we would ever want to write clickbait.

Ary: Nor would we want anyone to write it about us.

Pete: I feel like clickbait is an imposition.

Luke: How about whichever one we would be fine with?

Pete: I don’t think I would be fine with it, but it would we some kind of “Neon Dance Party. WARNING: Seizure Ahead.”

Ary: It would be like “Nerd on Acid” kind of terms.

Pete: Yeah, maybe something like “Mario at a Rave” or “21 Reasons Why…”

Ary: “…Mario’s at a Rave.”

Pete: “21 Reasons Why Mario’s at a Rave.”

Luke: I think that we would be more prone to “These People ‘Do This’ and You Won’t Believe What It Looks Like.” There’s a full sentence.

Pete: “What happened next shocked us. Skip to 3:00.”

James: “You won’t believe number 7!”

Luke: “And as soon as they took the stage, I died.” People like to talk about that kind of shit. Insane hyperbole.

Pete: I don’t know, even this kind of hyperbole seems dated to me now. This is very 2015. Those are very Upworthy, and they come with a little picture of a person who has a weird haircut and can just be anybody.

Luke: Yeah, maybe you’re right. So would it just be “Anamanaguchi Is Daddy”? It’s still hyperbolized.

Pete: The thing is, any clickbait article about Anamanaguchi would be targeted to a niche set of fans, because Anamanaguchi doesn’t work with the power law dynamics of Taylor Swift, Entertainment Tonight, or even, like, Buzzfeed.

Luke: Yeah, but the kind of person writing this wouldn’t give a fuck about that anyway.

Pete: But they would, because Parks and Rec will get written about because it is on NBC, and it will get the kind of headline about bacon that we want. This would be more targeted. Something about a specific set of parties or a specific set of music. I don’t know. I don’t even know what articles are anymore.

Luke: Sorry, is this an article or a headline? I’m imagining someone attaching this to a video. Like a live performance of us.

Or you could have a top 20 list of gifs.

Luke: Exactly. I don’t think it’s an article at all. That’s where the surprise is.

Pete: In order for it to be effective clickbait, my pants would have to fall down or something.

James: What about, like, “Four Fashion Interns Meet at the Rave. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next”?

Luke: “The Result Will Make You Weep Tears of Joy”?

Pete: “Anamanaguchi Is Daddy.” Let’s go with that. “Anamanaguchi Is Daddy. You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.”

James: Who’s the father?

Ary: I’d use “clickbait” in the title. “This Band Is the Clickbait Of…”

Luke: Like self-referential?

James: “You Won’t Believe You Clicked This Link.”

Ary: “Clickbait at a Rave.” That’s our genre.

Pete: “Clickbait In Miami at a Rave…”

Luke: “In The ’80s…”

Pete: “At a Strip Club and All of Your Parents Are Very Proud of You…”

Luke: “And They’re All on Acid. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next at This Party.”

James: I clicked a really bad article that I regretted that was “Power Rangers Actors: Then and Now.”

Pete: Oh! We can do “Anamanaguchi Characters: Then and Now” and have a slide-over where it’s us in 2009 or something. At the bottom, there’s a bonus new song that you can download.

Luke: I like how inconsequential that one is. Like, we moved apartments, and that’s it. I look almost exactly the same as I did when I joined this band eight years ago.

Pete: I’d click everything we just said.

Are there any exclusives for the nights with Hatsune Miku you guys are doing?

Pete: Yeah, it might make sense to mention that we wrote a song with Miku that we’re going to be performing. The song is called “Miku,” and you will see it if you make it to the end. You won’t believe what will happen next.

For more info:

Anamanaguchi