Home Made Kazoku (translated in English as Home Made Family) is a popular Japanese hip hop trio signed to Ki/oon Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music. Home Made Kazoku is a trio, consisting of members Micro, Kuro, and DJ U-Ichi. The band was originally formed in 1996 under a different name. The band was in a state of flux with regard to membership until 2001, when they settled on becoming a trio with the name Home Made Kazoku. From 2001 to 2003, the band performed in various Nagoya nightclubs. In early 2004, the band was chosen to be part of a country-wide tour known as the Japan Club Tour. During the tour, the trio gained a large portion of their Japanese fanbase, and were also signed on by the recording company, Ki/oon Records.
Vocalists Micro and Kuro are originally from the United States. Micro spent a portion of his childhood in Kentucky, while Kuro stated that he lived in the U.S. until he was twelve in Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after being signed on by a recording company, the group released an album containing the song “Home Sweet Home (Reborn),” which became one of the most requested songs on Japanese radio stations for the rest of the year. In July 2004, Home Made Kazoku released their first single, Summer Time Magic. Summer Time Magic ranked 15th on the Oricon record charts for nearly 10 weeks. After a series of singles, including Thank You!!, which was used to as the second ending theme for anime Bleach, and Shōnen Heart, used as the second opening theme for the anime Eureka Seven, the band’s first full-length album was released.
“Rock the World” entered the Oricon charts. The record was in fifth place on the Oricon chart for its first week, and would stay in top 20 for the next eight weeks. Rock the World sold 191,744 copies and became the 78th best selling album of 2005. After their first album, the group went on several tours and concomitantly released several singles. They also released their second and third albums, “Musication” and “Familia”. Of special note, tickets to their second tour were sold out within the span of one hour, a record in Japanese music. In January 2007, it was announced that they would perform the first ending theme to the anime Naruto: Shippūden entitled Nagareboshi Shooting Star which entered the Oricon charts at 10th place. One of the member, Micro, was featured on the Abingdon Boys School song “Lost Reason” as it appeared on their self-titled album. Home Made Kazoku has performed for a promotional commercial for a product called “Walky Walky” with their song “Easy Walk”. In addition, Home Made Kazoku’s single, No Rain No Rainbow, is the movie theme for the second Naruto Shippūden movie. In 2011, Home Made Kazoku returned to Naruto Shippuden for the third time with the song “FREEDOM”, which was the 17th ending theme. The band played their first show in the USA at Otakon 2010 in Baltimore, MD, and returned for Otakon 2013 alongside T.M. Revolution.
Is it your first time having an event in South East Asia? Is there anything you want to do in Singapore?
U-Ichi: Yeah, this is our first time. One of my childhood friend who is staying here in Singapore, I’m happy I could meet him, since he was my football teammate back there.
Micro: First time coming to SIngapore. We have day-off tomorrow, so we want to go somewhere, is there any recommended place to go? I heard about “Night Safari” and “Marina Bay Sands”, sounds great! We’re going to take a picture with the waterfall.
Kuro: Yeah since this is our first time, we want to eat some local foods.
Where does the name “HOME MADE KAZOKU” comes from? Why did you choose that name to be your stage name?
Micro: Long time ago when we were still indie, we often made the demo or mixed tape in Kuro’s house. We created new music there, we recorded the songs, and made the demo tape also. We didn’t go to music studio or something like that, all progress done at home. So his family member said that we’re just like a family (Japanese: Kazoku) that often doing music project together at home, just like a home-made music, isn’t it? So from that occasion, we decided to change the name of our group to a home-made family or in Japanese mixed language is “HOME MADE KAZOKU”, isn’t it so suited well?
Kuro: That’s right! In addition, we abbreviate this group as HMKU not HMK, like you know, in our twitter account. Because actually there’s another former member, Hoze who got involved with us also in the past, and later Yuuichi (we called him Yuuichi but his stage name is U-ichi) joined us. So it comes from our name Hoze Micro Kuro U-ichi stands of HMKU from HOME MADE KAZOKU.
So Kuro and Micro were spending their childhood in US, how do you all match each other and make this band?
Kuro: Basically we’re on the same age and same university, only different blood type LOL. We’re Japanese anyway, so we didn’t experience any significant difficulty to make some projects together. In any coincidence we got same music sense and when we were returning to Japan, Yuuichi joined us and we made this group in my house. And wow, we got contract offering and we’re very happy about that!
Micro: I’ll add some stories. Kuro born in Chicago and he lived in US for like 12 years, then returned to Japan. While I was growing up in Kentucky for around 4 years. On that time, we were in the same age when rap and black music started to boom in US. We’re inspired by that kind of music and when we were returning to Japan, we studied on the same college in Aichi. One day, Yuuichi came to our performance, he said that he really likes our music, and after that we know Yuuichi also on the same age, and his college also in Aichi. We started works together since then.
Keeping your career in music industry is not easy thing to do, what is the key for your sustainable career?
U-Ichi: First of all, you should have a goal, it definitely helped us to maintain our career. Beside that, fellow artist and musician, also support from fans made us continue our music career. The longer you stay in this industry, you must have know how to challenge yourselves. Thanks a lot for supporting us!
Micro: This group is like family, we saw that many groups had disband because they have internal conflict maybe, then finally ended their music career, but we feel this group is like a family. In family we trust and understand each other.
For each member, who is your favorite musician that become your inspiration?
Kuro: Michael Jackson. I like him so much. For me, his style is so inspiring. I watch his movie many times, I like to imitate his dance “ee-hee” and his performance too LOL
Micro: TM Revolution. I was in high-school when first time I know about him. He is a funny guy, and very friendly to everyone. Great singer, multi-talents, I just can’t imagine how come there’s a guy like Nishikawa-san! I’ve seen his shows many times back there. It was like a dream when we could stand on the same stage with TM Revolution back there in Osaka. Very happy to be together again in Singapore, he really inspires me a lot.
U-Ichi: Bruno Mars. His old kind music brings me some memories, especially in his latest album. I like it very much, it gives me some inspiration to create music here and I could learn much from him.
Beside Bleach, Naruto, and Eureka 7, is there any anime you want to join as the anisong singer for soundtracks?
Micro: One piece! I’m kinda not sure between Dragon Ball or One Piece, but if I should answer then I choos One Piece. I want to make a song about friendship and adventure
Kuro: Shingeki no Kyojin! I think that anime is very hype lately and I want to try to make a song that suited to titan-themed anime LOL
U-Ichi: Bleach, again. The new version. I want to make a song once again for Bleach.
Which song from Home Made Kazoku has the deepest meaning for each of you?
Micro: New song, titled “Tsunaideikou” I like this song the best, it’s about family. You know, sometimes life is tough, we must overcome our trouble. We want people not to give up, because your life is a gift. Everyone is gifted. Your live is a gift from God, from your father and your mother. That’s the truth, right? If you got a present, will you take a good care of it? Or just throw it away? Same thing as your life, it’s all connected. This song tells a story about that connection of life. Please send this message to another fans, okay.
Is it true that Home Made Kazoku will hiatus next year? If so, what do you want to do before hiatus?
U-Ichi: Actually it’s kinda difficult to continue with this current level and status, we’re hoping within this hiatus we could make like a scrap and build, something new and different will be born later. We will make a last live in Nagoya, and we’re happy to have this great opportunity, performing in overseas.
Kuro: I know to hiatus means to make over from the start point again, but we decided to have a break time to get fresh air, 20 years has passed and we should increase our individual skill. We will definitely come back and make a reunion again later.
Is there any plan to release new single and album within this year?
U-Ichi: New album, yeah maybe as you all already know “Last Forever Best” will be released on Nov 30th.
Micro: Not only new songs in this album. The songs inside the album had been chosen by all fans, it’s like our top hits combined into an album.
What will be the highlight of your “Last Live”?
U-Ichi: In these last three live, you will see the totally Home Made Kazoku there. It will be the moments to share your happy time and have fun together. We will sing all songs in best album and also another songs too.
Kuro: Last three shows, you can see us with. Maybe this will be our last show for this term. But we don’t want to be sad, and we don’t want our fans feel sad either, we’re not going to break-up, just take a break a while. So please have fun with us together! It’s still one month later.
Tell us about your memorable live ever!
Micro: Having concert in Singapore! LOL
Kuro: Actually I think the show in Budoukan, it’s very memorable. Most Japanese artist want to perform at least once in Budoukan, and we did it!
U-Ichi: We ever do the Japan Live Tour for all over 47 prefectures in Japan, and for me that’s our greatest achievement.
So what point of the new Home Made Kazoku after hiatus?
Micro: That’s what we try to figure out. For one year ahead I’ll do solo career, Kuro will create new songs and join a band with his brother, and Yuuichi will DJ-ing around Japan and produce a lot of songs. When we come back, we’ll become stronger as a group after we upgrade our personal skill. Please wait for us!
Special thanks to :
SOZO Pte Ltd. ANIME FESTIVAL ASIA 2016
Asia PR Werkz Pte Ltd