SHOW-YA: “When We Decided To Reunite [After 14 Years], We Went Into A Studio… It Was As Natural And Comfortable As If We Had Been Together The Previous Day”

Show-Ya 2021

Lucky Number 13

Japanese Heavy Metal act Show-Ya is set to release their 13th studio album Showdown on Metalville Records. The release coincides with Show-Ya’s 35th anniversary. The band has certainly shifted in both sound and image throughout the years, but one thing is for sure, this female quintet has hit their stride when it comes to Heavy Metal music. Showdown may just very well be their pinnacle album. I had the chance to catch up with Show-Ya before the album’s release.

Metal Express Radio: If I knew absolutely nothing about Show-Ya, how would you describe the band’s music to me?

Miki “Sun-go” Igarashi (guitar): I would describe it as “Rock Band.” No extra adjectives, no genres, we don’t really fit into anything. Just simply a “Rock Band”!

MER: Show-Ya is set to release their latest album Showdown on November 12, 2021 through Metaville Records. The album coincides with the band’s 35th anniversary as a group. Not a lot of rock bands make it 35 years. What would you attribute the band’s longevity to? 

Satomi Senba (bass): There have been many twists and turns over the past 35 years, but I believe that the members, along with the staff, have been able to respect each other, grow together, and continue for a long time because of their love for the band SHOW-YA and the power of the love from the fans.

MER: The first single released from Showdown is “Eye to Eye.” Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song?

Keiko Terada (vocals): The song is about sorrowful love, and the word “Ai” in Japanese has several meanings, such as “sorrowful”, “love”, “fit into”, etc. The lyrics are a combination of the English word “eye”, which means that sorrow or passionate feelings can be seen in the eyes, and that feelings can be conveyed through the eyes without words. The kanji characters in the lyrics are a Japanese way of expressing the sadness of love.

MER: Another notable song from Showdown is “Heavy Metal Feminity.” It features the legendary Doro Pesch as a guest vocalist. Can you talk about the inspiration behind this song?

Keiko Terada (vocals): To put it simply, I wanted to convey the “power of women” together with DORO. In the lyrics, there is a part that says, “In a dark mirror I see…” This is an image of DORO and myself. “Strength” may not be apparent from the outside, but everyone has something hidden inside. For example, if you were to ask me, “Is what I’m saying here only applies to women?”, the answer is “NO”. It applies to everyone, so please listen with that in mind!

MER: How did Doro Pesch get involved?

Keiko Terada (vocals): Nozomu, our producer for this album suggested to work with DORO, and when it finally happened, I was very excited and honored at the same time. DORO is a legend that is known widely in Germany and Europe, and when we decided to release a song for the world to hear, I felt very grateful to be able to work with DORO, who already established presence in the world. In fact, DORO and I have husky voices, are about the same age, and feel sympathy for each other because we are both active in the world of hard rock. I want to say a huge thanks to DORO for participating in the song!

MER: Are you planning to release any more singles or videos from Showdown?

Show-Ya: From this album two singles will be released, “TOKYO, I Scream” and “EYE to EYE”, and we also made music videos for each. So far we only have these two, but we hope you will take the time to listen to this album, which we are finally able to deliver to you after 3 years of production. Of course, after our 35th anniversary, we will plan to release more albums, and we already have planned some live concerts in the near future, so we hope you will look forward to them.

MER: The pandemic lockdowns have made it difficult for bands to perform live. Have you been able to schedule any shows to promote the new album?

Show-Ya: We have done some live concerts before and after the album release within Japan, however we haven’t got any plans for live concerts overseas, with audience. However, the live performance on the day before the release of the album was broadcasted live to the world with the audience in attendance, and as long as we have the timing and opportunity to perform overseas, we’d really like to go see our fans around the world. We’d love to hear from anyone who is interested!

MER: How did your record deal with Metalville come about?

Show-Ya: A Japanese record label chose Flying Dolphin, but we decided to go with them right away because they also manage DORO. They have released a lot of artists as well. We’re really honored to have signed with them because we also believe they can help us with our future activities in Europe.

MER: Is there a story about how the band settled on Show-Ya for a name?

Show-Ya: Before we changed our band name to SHOW-YA, we couldn’t win any band contests, so we decided to change our band name. At the time, we were very concerned about it. We thought that our strength was our live performance, and that it was not just about standing on the stage, but about each member’s different movements on stage and performing in a way that would leave a lasting impression on the audience. So, with the theme of “captivating” the audience, we decided to create a live SHOW for you! So we named it SHOW YOU=SHOW YA!

MER: Let’s go back to the start of Show-Ya 35 years ago. Prior to the band’s debut album in 1985 Masquerade Show, you had a single featured in a commercial campaign for Coca Cola entitled “Suteki ni Dancing.” How did that opportunity come about?

Show-Ya: At the time, we were still in the process of turning from amateurs to professionals, so we didn’t know what we should do, and we did whatever the agency or record company told us to do. We were willing to do whatever it took to sell the albums. In terms of music, the first single was not hard rock, but we played it because we were convinced that it was a sound that would be accessible to many people at the time, and we embodied it by wearing colorful, pop costumes and embracing a so-called girlish appearance.

The company at that time decided to use our song in the commercial campaign for Coca-Cola, it was very unusual for us but there was no reason to refuse. We were also able to be in the commercial ad as well. This in itself was a great honor for us, as we were not yet successful professionals, and we were ready to do it. The music and visuals are completely different from what we are now, but the songs are still great and we still play them live. The experience of starting a band with such top-notch people has made us who we are today, and we don’t think we would be here without it.

MER: What do you remember about the time you recorded Masquerade Show and the events that follow shortly after its release?

Miki “Mitten” Tsunoda (drums): I remember very well how happy I was when our debut album appeared in the stores for the first time, and I actually bought my own copy of it. Recording late at night at EMI Studios (the record company’s studio at that time) in Tokyo, witnessing the mix down process at the “Abbey Road Studios”, the live performance at “marquee club”, and being able to see Live Aid in 1985 at the venue became important experiences for all members. Shooting the Coca-Cola commercial, which was the tie-in to our first single, was also a new experience for us. I remember that each of them was fresh and shocking.

In-demand rock producer Andy Johns was brought in for your 1987 album Immigration and he also produced your 1988 release Glamour. What did Andy bring to the table and did you learn anything special from him?

Miki “Sun-go” Igarashi (guitar): As a great admirer of LED ZEPPELIN, I was honored and happy to have Andy’s involvement. Since we were also able to play songs written by Jonathan Cain and Tom Keifer, and I think we were able to bring out the color of the band more like a live rock band on the record.

This was the first album where we did pre-production in Japan and recording in the U.S., although we mainly mixed with Paul and recorded only English lyrics. It was the first time we recorded an album in the U.S. and did the pre-production in Japan. “Hard Way” turned out to be more profound and we were able to have the sound we were aiming for at the time, without talking through a translator.

MER: Show-Ya’s 1990 release Hard Way was produced by two other popular rock producers, Beau Hill & Paul Winger. How did this opportunity come about and what do you remember about working with them?

Miki “Captain” Nakamura (keyboards): At the time, I really liked the sound of Winger’s album and wanted to work with the producer, Beau Hill, so we approached him. Beau Hill introduced us to Paul Winger, and we ended up working together on the album.

During the recording process, we had a strict schedule where we would go into the studio in the morning and finish in a few hours. If we got little stuck or worried, we would just quit right away and do it the next day. It was completely different from the previous recording sessions where we would stay in the studio until midnight. We were able to go into the studio feeling refreshed and relaxed.

MER: Show-Ya broke up shortly after release of Hard Way due to creative differences. The band reunited in 2005 for Show-Ya’s 20th anniversary. Besides the fact it was the band’s anniversary, were there any other events that brought everyone back together?

Miki “Captain” Nakamura (keyboards): When we decided to reunite, we went into a studio, and even though it had been 14 years since the five of us had played together, it was as natural and comfortable as if we had been together the previous day. I think that by playing, all of us were able to realize once again that we are SHOW-YA.

MER: Show-Ya’s back catalog of music isn’t available streaming, nor is it easily available for purchase. Is there a chance for all of the older albums to be available for streaming or purchase again?

Show-Ya: Many of our past works are not on from our own label, so we don’t have a lot of control over that part of our work, but we’re thinking of actively distributing what we put out on our own label in the future, so we’d be happy if many people could listen to them. We’re sure we’ll do some self-covers like “I Am The Storm/WATASHI WA ARASHI”, so we hope we can create similar opportunities where everyone can listen to our past works.

Show-Ya is

Keiko Terada – Vocals
Miki “Sun-go” Igarashi – Guitar
Miki “Captain” Nakamura – Keyboards
Satomi Senba – Bass
Miki “Mittan” Tsunoda – Drums


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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