Idol group Devil Anthem. (stylized as Devil ANTHEM.) like to show both their devilish and angelic sides when they’re on stage. They formed in 2014, though Kurumi Takekoshi is the only remaining member from the original lineup.  

Ahead of the group’s ninth anniversary concert at Tokyo Dome on December 29, we caught up with her and the other members — Airi Takemoto, Akira Mizuno, Yume Hashimoto and Kaede Ando — to hear about their highlights as a group, recommended songs, favorite artists growing up and what it was like working with the former songwriter for The Mad Capsule Markets, Takeshi Ueda, on their recent single.  

1. How would you describe Devil Anthem.?  

Takemoto: I’d describe us as an exciting, authentic idol group that focuses on live performances. The most special thing about us is the sonic environment we create. The use of laser lights for our shows is another one of our features. 

Kaede Ando

2. What’s been your highlight as a group so far? 

Ando: For me, it was the surprise announcement of our major debut at our show at the Hibiya Open-Air Concert Hall in December 2022. That was truly memorable. When I heard the news, tears welled up in my eyes. I realized that my passion for this was stronger than I’d imagined. I don’t think I’ll forget that day for the rest of my life. 

Takemoto: I’d say it was when I saw our ads on display beneath Shibuya Station. I was excited to see myself in a place where many people pass by. On the opening day of the display, Akira and I took the first train to see the ads.  

Mizuno: I think it was a whole period between 2019 and 2021. It seemed like everything was moving forward at tremendous speed. We celebrated our fifth anniversary with a performance in Shibuya, played at Liquidroom in Ebisu, sold out Shinjuku Blaze and our namesake radio show began. We want to keep making those leaps without slowing down.  

3. What are the best and worst things about being an idol?  

Takemoto: I’ve come to like the music itself. The hardest thing is having to perform live either heavily dressed or lightly dressed, regardless of the weather. However, halfway through, I feel an adrenaline rush, so it doesn’t affect me anymore (laughs). 

Akira Mizuno

4. Akira, you’re the newest member of the group. What has it been like settling in?

Mizuno: I started three years ago and at first, I was seen as too serious. Fortunately, I’ve eased up nicely since. I think the different color of each member comes across in our live performances, and as a group, we’re communicating much better. As time goes by, we are becoming like a family, which makes me feel comfortable.

5. Tell us about your recent songs, “God Bless You!! and Mont Blanc to Go? 

Mizuno: “God Bless You!!” (stylized as “GOD BLESS YOU!!”) has an edge. It’s basically a hard rock song with many rap parts. It’s about that journey you take until your dream comes true. On the way, you can get lost and not know what the answer is. You ask God for help in the darkness. There’s a gap between this ideal you have and the reality of the situation. It’s a message for those who feel alone while pursuing their dreams.  

Takekoshi: “God Bless You!!” is the “moon” and “Mont Blanc to Go” (stylized as “Mont Blanc TO GO”) has an image of the “sun.” I think these two songs help make each other shine.  

Takemoto: “Mont Blanc to Go” pretty much sums up what Devil Anthem. is all about. With “God Bless You!!,” we’re breaking new ground. 

Yume Hashimoto

6. What was it like working with Takeshi Ueda on God Bless You!!?

Hashimoto: I felt far more nervous than any other recordings in the past. Yet, because he kindly gave us advice, that helped me relax halfway through and we had fun singing. It was a precious experience. 

Takekoshi: I was surprised when he said, “First of all, do as you wish,” as I thought he was going to be very particular. However, he was so sweet, I was able to relax and enjoy the recording. He was also really cool. 

Mizuno: I wasn’t so familiar with rock bands, so at first, I didn’t realize how amazing it was to work with him. The more I came to know him, the more I felt frustrated, because I was worried whether what I was doing was OK. On the day of the recording, my heart was in my mouth. However, everything was professional. You can really feel his presence in the song. I realized, then, that I’d been working with such an amazing person.

7. What other Devil Anthem. songs would you recommend?  

Takekoshi: Our signature song “Fever,” and “Futashika na Mirai” (Uncertain Future).   

Takemoto: “Minnadeiko” (Let’s Go Together). By listening to this song, I hope people who feel some bitterness in their hearts will become positive. 

Mizuno: “Emotional.” It’s a magical song. I’m sure you’ll find some phrases that you can relate to.  

Hashimoto: “Fever.” This song has rap parts. I think we can enjoy it with our fans and have fun together. 

Ando: Our major debut song “ar.” It is about stepping on the gas and accelerating towards a new stage. 

Airi Takemoto

8. Who were your music heroes growing up? And who inspires you now?  

Takemoto: I liked Namie Amuro growing up. My father was her fan and I thought she was very cool. My current influence is Atarashii Gakko! We’re from the same generation and used to perform at the same gigs.  

Mizuno: Growing up, I listened to Western music only. Artists like Taylor Swift, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Sia. Recently, I’ve been into Queen Bee, Nanawoakari, Ariana Grande, Ringo Sheena and Todrick Hall.  

Ando: When I was younger, I went to see the live shows of Mana Ogawa, who played the main character in an anime I loved titled Gokujo!! Mecha Mote Iinchou. My current favorite is Mrs. Green Apple. I watched them live, and they looked so bright and really had an aura.  

Takekoshi: Morning Musume. I love them because watching their live footage from the Rock in Japan festival made my mind and body feel chilled. It also made me want to perform live as soon as possible.

Hashimoto: I liked E-girls when I was growing up. I joined their fan club for the first time and went to see their concerts many times. 

9. What can fans expect at your ninth anniversary show?  

Takekoshi: I’m sure our fans will be excited and expect to see a fun show, so we’d like to deliver something that will exceed their expectations.  

Kurumi Takekoshi

10. What are your goals for 2024?

Takekoshi: It will be the 10th anniversary both for Devil Anthem. and for myself as a member of the group. However, I would like us to have the mentality of a group that’s just starting out and aiming for the stars.

Takeshi Ueda

Takeshi Ueda on God Bless You!!

Girl Groups, or so-called Japanese idols, are unique. When I offer songs to them, I feel like creating a bit of chaos and confusion. With this song, I was able to create that confusion with an aggressive sound against Devil Anthem.’s pop element and their unique interpretation of dance music. I think “God” might not be in a peaceful state of mind. 

The 9th Anniversary show of Devil Anthem. takes place at Tokyo Dome on December 29.