Formed in 2012, Wednesday Campanella is a three-member Japanese music unit consisting of director Yasutomo Fukunaga (commonly known as Director F., stylized as Dir.F), songwriter Kenmochi Hidefumi and lead vocalist Utaha, who replaced Komi (stylized as KOM_I) in 2021.

Intertwining various music genres including EDM, pop, hip-hop and experimental elements, Wednesday Campanella’s songs incorporate fairy tale elements, famous historical figures and multicultural folklore with clever Japanese wordplay. TW recently caught up with the group to chat about their upcoming Nippon Budokan show and their plans for the future.

Utaha, how did you feel coming in to replace Komi, and how comfortable do you feel now, two years on?

UTAHA: I didn’t think too much about it until I started researching Wednesday Campanella, Komi and her history, and the weight of my answer became clear to me. I had some doubts, wondering if I could do it. Even if I felt uneasy, ultimately, there was nothing I could do about it. I decided to embrace this strong feeling of the unknown and take the plunge without overthinking.

I still feel like I haven’t completely adjusted. There are parts of me I don’t want to change, but when your environment alters, you go with it. Sometimes there’s external pressure to change. I’ve always liked maintaining my style and being myself, so there’s still a clash within me between the need to change and the desire to stay the same.

Are you concerned about making music that’s different from mainstream trends?

UTAHA: It’s challenging to find something that everyone will unanimously agree with or support. That’s why it’s important to know what you love and value. You should be able to love what you do naturally. I don’t want to force people to love Wednesday Campanella. It’s true that we’re somewhat different. There’s always this fear of standing out negatively, but there’s a place for us. I hope, in a time of need, people find our music and appreciate it.

DIR.F: In the beginning, when Kenmochi and I were first working together, we had a certain niche style that we found cool and enjoyable, different from what most people listened to. I think that resonates with people who like discovering something new. It’s important to find a balance when it comes to keeping up with the latest trends while staying true to our unique style and creative core. We don’t want to compromise the essence of our music.

Utaha, how would you describe your appearance in one word?

UTAHA: Love. Fashion carries self-love. I prioritize what I love about myself more than seeking approval from someone else. I get comments like, “You’d look cuter if you wore a more ordinary outfit.” Valuing what I love and what represents me is more important than conforming to someone else’s standards. Truly loving yourself and appreciating what you love is what leads to self-expression and loving others.

How excited are you about performing at the Nippon Budokan in 2024?

UTAHA: It feels like we reached the Budokan much faster than anticipated. The idea of performing there hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I want it to be like our usual live shows. I hope people can come to our concert and leave with a smile, having had a good time. Of course, because it’s the Budokan, there are new and cool things that we can do. I want to bring the best and make it special.

KENMOCHI: It was surprising for all of us. We were really rushed and stressed the first time we played there in 2017. This time, I’d like to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the live music and the faces of the guests.

DIR.F: We’re grateful. It’s a memorable place for us, and it’s amazing to be able to change things up for the second time. I’m excited to see how the group changes in the future after the performance.

There’s quite an age gap between you. How does that affect the dynamic in the group?

UTAHA: It’s clear we each have our own individual goals and perspectives when it comes to creating music. We all have our own motivations, so we collaborate and work together to achieve them, each contributing to the process through our own skills. Everyone’s input is valued in the creative process. This dynamic provides a good work balance, and we’ve collectively found a good rhythm. It’s helped us maintain a healthy distance while working together.

Any goals or hopes for 2024? Can we expect a new full album?

KENMOCHI: There’s nothing set in stone. We’re not actively pursuing anything, but we’re performing at Joyland Festival and Clockenflap in November and December. They’ll be Utaha’s first overseas festivals. It’s a chance for us to see how we’re received abroad. If we meet any cool artists or bands, we’re open to collaborating. We’re curious to see what possibilities may arise, and I’m eager to meet cool artists in 2024.

DIR.F: The landscape for Wednesday Campanella is changing, not only in terms of venues but also in the broader societal and cultural context. 2024 is the year to expand our live performances internationally. We’re also exploring new approaches in our music. With these shifts in mood and perspective, I’m looking forward to new changes in the coming year. Letting the newer generation shape things their way can lead to the birth of something more interesting. There’s a lot we can learn from one another.

KENMOCHI: We don’t practice and make music together around the clock like a typical band. It lets us divide our strengths in a way that doesn’t lead to constant clashes or conflicts. We each have our own areas of expertise and don’t interfere too much with each other’s domains. We always try to complement and enhance each other. That’s why we have a good working relationship. This spirit of always thinking about how things can become better or more intriguing is what keeps us evolving.

DIR.F: There’s a 20-year age gap with Utaha, so we come from entirely different generations and values. We don’t impose a “this is how it was in the old days” perspective because it’s more interesting to let Utaha have her own interpretation. Letting the newer generation shape things their way can lead to the birth of something more interesting. There’s a lot we can learn from one another.

Is Wednesday your favorite day of the week?

UTAHA: The weekend is, actually. I hate Wednesdays. It’s the roughest day because it’s the hump of the week.

KENMOCHI: I love Friday nights, the anticipation of going out for the night and having fun.

DIR.F: I love Saturdays because there is the subconscious thought that you still have Sunday. Saturday is the most invincible day of the week.

UTAHA: 2024 will be a year of stepping forward. I want to be more creative and live a more fulfilling life as an artist. An upcoming album hasn’t been discussed yet, but there might be a chance to release one after our Budokan performance. Similar to our previous two albums, I’d like to create something interesting and meaningful. It’s like crafting a unique, chaotic yet captivating gift for our fans.

More Information

Find Wednesday Campanella and their music at and on YouTube at @wedcamp.

This article was originally published in the TW November-December 2023 issue: