Backstage Sotokanda Icchome – Produce

Backstage Pass

Release Date: August 1, 2012

Track List

  1. Produce
  2. Tobitate! Starship
  3. Produce (Off Vocal)
  4. Tobitate! Starship (Off Vocal)


Backstage Sotokonda Icchome are more commonly known as Backstage Pass. They are an idol group formed from Tsunku’s venture into the maid cafe business. The point of this maid cafe is fairly simple. The employees of the cafe are aspiring idols. You, as a customer are a “producer” and you gain points through purchases at the cafe.

Some of you may think what the hell? But it’s actually a rather interesting concept that perhaps AKB fans who are used to the Senbatsu system may be familiar with. Sure it might be a bit skewed and a complete money grab but damn if ain’t a hell of a lot of fun.

Just to show you I’m dead serious about this whole thing, here’s my producer card:

Producer Card

Anyway, you can use your accumulated points to vote for your favorite idol wannabe to give them an opportunity to sing, be part of promotional materials, and videos. Yes, I hold the fate of some cute Japanese girls in my hands along with many other greasy looking motherfuckers. =P

This leads us to this, their debut single Produce.

Even though this group technically does not have an affiliation with UFA/Hello! Project they certainly have a similar sound to groups out of that camp. So while Tsunku doesn’t really have his leathery hands in on this it kind of feels like he does. Or at least someone in UFA does.

The traces of the UFA idol sound can be felt all over this whether anyone likes to admit it or not. Thankfully it’s the remnants of the golden years of Hello! Project that drive both of these songs to infectious levels. It’s quite difficult to choose one song over the other in this case since both have their redeeming qualities. Both can satisfy the discerning idol fan’s tastes so I’ll say either are guaranteed enjoyment.

Now the thing is I’m probably going into this review with a huge bias since I saw this group perform live and got to talk to a few of them as they were doing the rounds around the cafe. Most of you should know that I probably wouldn’t be gushing if they weren’t the real deal. Especially considering who is one of the founders of the venue where these girls work.

Thankfully my fears about Backstage Pass have been alleviated and just to show my appreciation I bought the CD from them in the cafe instead of Tower Records. Who says I don’t show my support for groups I like?

I highly suggest you give this group a go and if you’re in Akihabara, check out their cafe on the 6th floor of the Akiba Zone building.

Produce (Regular Edition)

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Produce (Limited Edition)

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Greg is the creator, administrator, editor, code monkey, overlord and general jack of all trades at Selective Hearing. He can be found lurking among the overseas Asian pop fandom and bumming around Japan every year for some reason or another.