Ore Ska Band Interview

By: Mark Triana

Ore Ska Band (translated to “We’re a Ska band” in English) is a group of six girls that specialize in Japanese Ska music. The band was formed in 2003 when the girls were still in middle school. After playing a number of local shows and releasing their first album, Ore Ska Band gained enough popularity to be signed by Sony Music in 2006. Since then, the band has graduated from high school and received much more exposure by way of appearances in commercials and animated programs.

They have released two full-length albums in Japan, and a compilation album in the United States. The Vans Warped Tour is Ore Ska Band’s first major tour of the United States. They have brought their energy and swagger along and achieved a great deal of success. I had the pleasure of sitting down with the girls following their set in Tinley Park, Illinois.

This is Mark Triana reporting for the Chicago Music Guide at the Vans Warped Tour in Tinley Park, and I’m here with Ore Ska Band. How are y’all doing?

OSB: We’re so excited!

How has the Warped Tour been so far?

OSB: Everyday there’s a live show, and everyday there’s a new audience. It’s really nice!

How many dates have you done so far? And how many dates are you going to do after this?

OSB: We’ve done thirty-four shows, and we have twelve shows left.

Have you enjoyed touring internationally? And in what ways is it different from touring in Japan?

OSB: The Warped Tour is very different from other tours. There are so many bands that are touring together. We see each other playing, right behind the musicians on stage. It’s really different. Emotionally, we get a very big influence from the other artists. This kind of festival is very unusual. It’s never happened in Japan. With regard to the audience—there is definitely a language barrier in that we don’t speak perfect English, but playing the music, and talking to the audience through the music, is basically the same thing. We can communicate through the music, and that makes us feel nice.

With the vast array of brass and percussion instruments that are used in the band, in addition to more conventional instruments like the guitar and drums, how would you describe your musical style?

OSB: Ska? When we put the band together we had no idea what kind of music we were going to play, but we found out that we could play Ska really well together. We started listening to Japanese bands and other Ska music, and we got really into it. We realized that Ska makes people happy, so we decided that we had to play Ska as a band.

Why do you think your band’s style and energy has translated to so much success overseas?

OSB: The Warped Tour is only once a year, and everybody who comes here loves music. They’re very sensitive about what bands are playing. They’re kind of expecting happiness—and to see something exciting, too. What we play is mostly happy music, so people probably like what we as a band do with our music.

Some of the bands that I’ve spoken with have recommended your band as the band to see at the Warped Tour. Are there any bands at the Warped Tour that you would recommend?

OSB: The Aggrolites. Beat Union. TAT. Broadway. Dr. Manhattan. But everybody is so cool.

Have you communicated at all with the other bands on tour?

OSB: Yeah. After we saw each other’s shows, we got much closer. We started talking a lot more.

Thank you so much for joining me, all of you. It was fantastic to see you all on stage. You’ve been my favorite set so far. This has Mark Triana reporting for the Chicago Music Guide with Ore Ska Band.

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