JAM Project was formed in 2000, and currently is composed by five vocal artists who are veterans in the anime and tokusatsu music industry; they are: Hironobu Kageyama, Masaaki Endoh, Hiroshi Kitadani, Masami Okui, and Yoshiki Fukuyama. They did the OP for One Punch Man, "THE HERO!", and the OP and ED for the GARO series including GARO: Vanishing Line. Honey-chan went to New York City to attend to Lantis Matsuri 2019 at AnimeNYC where she got to meet JAM Project's members one day before their show.
Masaaki, Masami, Hironobu, Hiroshi & Yoshiki
Interview with JAM Project
Please tell us how you feel ahead of the New York performance on November 15?
Masaaki Endoh: Personally, I’m excited because this is my first time in New York. Sure, there are lots of amazing places in the United States, but New York is the most famous, and it’s the place you always see on TV, so I’m looking forward to it.What will it be like singing anime songs in the heart of America? I'm psyched to find out!
Masami Okui: This is also my first time in New York. Although I’ve been to Canada before. America’s a big place, so I’m guessing the atmosphere is different in each area, but my image of New York is one of sophistication and style. We’ll be performing together with idols this time, so I guess we can expect lots of young people in the audience? I’m nervous but looking forward to it. And of course, I’ll give it my best.
Hiroshi Kitadani: I performed solo at Anisong World Matsuri in America last year, but I’m glad to be back with the JAM Project gang.
Yoshiki Fukuyama: This will be my third time in New York, but my first concert here. Wherever we go, JAM Project will sing with all our power! I’m looking forward to seeing how the American audiences react.
Hironobu Kageyama: Like Hiroshi, I participated in the Anisong World Matsuri as a solo artist last year. I finished that show with “THE HERO!!” from One Punch Man. I remember wishing that I could come again with JAM Project, and now, one year later, it looks like my wish has come true.
How did you feel when you first heard that you would be singing the opening theme song for One Punch Man?
Hironobu Kageyama: I had a funny experience with that. I go to English conversation classes a few times a month, and when I ask my teachers, “Why did you come to Japan?” Many of them mention anime as one of their reasons. So, I was discussing music and movies with this one teacher named Nick, and he told me, “There’s a manga that’s really popular right now. It’s badly drawn but really funny!” Of course, he was talking about the original One Punch Man comics. So, when the offer for the opening theme song came, I remember thinking, “Ah! That one!”
Masaaki Endoh: One Punch Man has a really interesting story. It’s the simple animes that usually take off overseas, but at the end of the day, nobody can predict what will sell, and we didn’t know if our music would be a good fit, so it was a miracle that it all worked out. I’m really grateful. The music video was recorded in San Francisco, and I remember it being really cold. In the beginning, I’d never heard of One Punch Man. They told me it was a major title, but when they said, “One-Pan-Man,” I thought they were talking about Anpanman!
Hiroshi Kitadani: I’d heard of One Punch Man. I distinctly remember Saitama’s face being posted all over the place at a Japanese convention. Lots of people from around the world have watched our music video on YouTube. The viewers from overseas are larger than viewers from Japan, actually. The JAM Project 20th Anniversary Box that we’re going to release in January 2020 will also contain a Portuguese version by Ricardo’s band.
You guys have performed all over the world. Do American fans differ from fans in other countries?
Masaaki Endoh: This is just a personal impression, but I think Americans judge rock music quite strictly, so I’m a little nervous.
Masami Okui: South American fans seem to have a good time at concerts regardless of which songs you sing. It’s almost carnival-like. In Asia, the fans sing along from beginning to end in loud voices.
Yoshiki Fukuyama: People always start cheering right at the beginning of our One Punch Man song. It’s where we get our best response. You can see that it’s a hit song and that everybody knows it. I mean, sure, the video got a lot of views online, but you don’t realize just how popular it is until you’re in front of the fans. They probably also watched the DVD. And they usually call for an encore.
JAM Project formed in 2000, so next year will be your 20th anniversary. With just under two months left of 2019, could you give us a message for the fans around the world?
Masaaki Endoh: JAM Project will be 20 next year. We’ve been to a lot of countries, but there are also a lot of countries that we haven’t been to. Even in America, there are lots of places that we haven’t visited yet. I’d love to go to all those places with JAM Project. We’ll continue doing our best in our 20th year, so please support us!
Masami Okui: I want to sing in as many countries as possible. I’d also love for our overseas fans to come see our concerts in Japan. We hope you’ll get to know JAM Project through anisongs.
Hiroshi Kitadani: We’ll always create and sing anisongs for anime. That will never change. We want our voices to reach you!
Yoshiki Fukuyama: I wish we could do a full tour of America, even just once.
Hironobu Kageyama: I can’t believe that a unit I helped found when I was 40 lasted for 20 years. We’ve come a long way. I always wanted us to go the distance, but I didn’t think we’d actually make it. It’s all thanks to the passionate fans who cheered us on. Not only the Japanese fans but also the fans in the U.S., Latin America, Asia, and the rest of the world. All the fans share these feelings, and I want to have a great time with everyone!.
We at Honey’s Anime, want to extend our warmest thanks to the talented members of JAM Project for sharing their thoughts with us. After this interview we were eager to see their performance the next day.
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!