SECONDLADY is a pop punk band based in Osaka, Japan.
SECONDLADY is Alyse on Vocals, Yuki on Guitar Yun on Bass, they formed in 2012.
They were kind enough to answer a few questions via email.
RiceburnerFM: Alyse, what brought you to Japan? How and when did SECONDLADY form?What was the thought process behind your name? Why an all-girl band?
Alyse: So I came to Japan after my husband’s mother asked me to marry her son. It was very spur of the moment, but we’ve been married for 13 years, so she must’ve known something. I started looking for bands to play with about 2 years after I moved to Osaka because I had no friends so I was looking for people to hang out with lol I responded to an online bulletin board message about this couple in Osaka looking for a vocalist/guitarist that plays pop punk, and we started playing together. At the time, the lead guitarist was a guy, while the rest of us were women. Eventually, we switched up to a female guitarist (after the old guitarist and bassist got married and left lol), but our drummer had to quit due to some medical issues. We spent the last year or so of covid looking for another female drummer, but couldn’t find any one, so right now, our drummer is the only male.
RiceburnerFM: Alyse, is there more to your meeting your future husband story?
Alyse: Oh my mother-in-law was just very up front about it lol While I was visiting over winter break, she asked if I had any plans after college, and after I told her about them, she offered up marrying her son as another possible plan
RiceburnerFM: Talk about SECONDLADY’s creative process. What do each of you bring to SECONDLADY? Who does what? Who has the final say?
Yuki & Yun: We like to do it together!
Alyse: Yeah, I would say it’s quite the collaborative process. Yuki usually comes up with a guitar riff and sends it over to me and Yun. Sometimes I’ll add a really rough drum pattern in Garage Band before we hand it over to the drummer. The vocal melody and lyrics are added after a rough version of the whole song has been recorded, then guitar solos are usually added last by Yuki. We do a whole lot of editing during practice though, so a final version usually isn’t decided on until we’ve set a date for recording lol.
RiceburnerFM: How does living in Osaka affect SECONDLADY’s music?
Alyse: I think we end up having a very fun and entertaining atmosphere for our shows. There’s a lot of laughing and joking with Osaka people, so the exchange between the audience and band is always fun. Osaka is quite different from Tokyo. Tokyo is very industry-y, if that makes sense? Everyone is trying to become an actor or model or singer and there are a bunch of people out there ready to take advantage of that. Osaka has no entertainment industry to speak of (at least not at Tokyo’s level), so a lot of the people who play music out here so it because they enjoy it and they’ve been doing it for years. The hardcore and punk scenes are very strong and the communities are pretty close. Go to one event, and you’re likely to meet band members, live house owners, bar owners and more all at the one event.
Yuki: Yeah, I think this humor comes through in our lyrics and song titles too.
Yun: Yeah, we definitely have that Osaka kind of energy.
RiceburnerFM: When did you realize that you had something special with SECONDLADY? Did everyone in the band come to that realization at the same time?
Alyse: Probably when we got our first offer from a music festival overseas. We were really skeptical at first because Japanese venues and festivals don’t offer to pay you unless you’re already really popular or have a massive following, so here we were, this tiny, no-name band from Osaka, getting offered an all-expenses paid trip to New Caledonia to play at a music festival. We even got interviews in the local paper with the headliner of the festival (which is still wild to me lol). That’s when I realized, “Ohh, people actually like how we sound and the music that we make. It doesn’t matter if we have 100 followers or 5000 followers, people who like the music will be there.”
Yuki: Yeah, I think we feel more lucky than special though.
RiceburnerFM: SECONDLADY’s social media presence:
How important is it for a Japanese band today to establish an overseas fan base?
Alyse: I suppose it depends on the band, but for bands in the melocore/pop punk scene in Japan, everyone’s dream is to tour overseas. While there are a lot of fans in the pop punk scene out here, it’s pretty tame compared to the scenes in other countries.
Yuki: Yeah, I think it’s really important.
Yun: Thanks to streaming services, it’s possible for people all over the world to hear a song, so yeah, I think it’s really important these days.
RiceburnerFM: What is your favorite Japanese venue to perform in and why?
Alyse: We actually haven’t played at that many places, but I really like this tiny live house under a bridge in the middle of the mountains of Mie. You would think it’s a pretty quiet spot, but they were quite wild lol.
I tried to look for the tiny live house on Google maps, but it looks like it doesn’t exist anymore? You could only get to it by car so a lot of band members had their wives take them so they could drink (you can’t drink and drive in Japan).
Yuki: My favorite live house is called Sakaihigashi Goith. I’ve been going to this spot for a long time since it’s in my hometown. Everyone there is super nice and welcoming.
Yun: Yeah, I think the Sakaihigashi Goith is a great spot too. The staff really make you feel welcome.
RiceburnerFM: SECONDLADY’s band practice: all business or party time?
Alyse: Mostly party lol
Yuki: Our practices are very laid back. There’s a lot of laughing, but when it’s time to get serious, we do.
Yun: Yeah, it’s pretty relaxed for the most part, but we can get serious when we need to.
RiceburnerFM: Are any of SECONDLADY’s members superstitious? Do you have any pre-performance rituals?
Alyse: I wouldn’t call it a superstition, but I almost always have a glass of whisky before our set. To help calm my nerves since I get crazy nervous every time.
Yuki: I’m not sure if anyone’s superstitious, but I don’t believe in that stuff. I just look at photos and videos of my dogs to try and relax before a show.
Yun: I like watching live videos from my favorite artists before a gig.
RiceburnerFM: Your thoughts on network television music talent shows. Is participating in any of them a good long term strategy for a band?
Alyse: In Japan, they’re mostly used by talent agencies to push their newest and youngest talent, regardless of whether they have any. We’re not so new and young anymore, so I doubt anyone would pay us any attention, but that’s okay. I think the best long term strategy for playing in a band is to find people you enjoy being around for long periods of time lol
Yuki: I think they’re a great chance for people to get to know your music.
Yun: I think if it helps people find our music, I’d like to join one.
RiceburnerFM: Has SECONDLADY played any international Japan /Anime conventions?
Alyse: No we’ve not gotten any offers from any Japan/anime conventions. I don’t think we’re Japanese enough for them sadly
RiceburnerFM: How can music fans help spread the word about SECONDLADY?
Alyse: We don’t have any merch and our CDs are only available for purchase at shows since we’re printing everything ourselves haha but if people could stream our music, tag us on IG, or follow our accounts, it would be greatly appreciated!
RiceburnerFM appreciates talented musicians of SECONDLADY for taking the time to answer these questions.