DEADLIFT LOLITA July 14th, 2018 London, United Kingdom
DEADLIFT LOLITA is a physically powerful duo made up of Australian born Kawaiicore Idol and pro-wrestler, Ladybeard and Saiki Reika, also a pro-wrestler as well as a bodybuilding idol. Formed in February 2017, the group aims to redefine the image of ‘kawaii’ with their muscles, energy and cuteness.
Since the groups formation, DEADLIFT LOLITA have released 2 singles and 5 music videos, with the most recent being Its So Time!, released in April this year. Despite being only a year into their tenure, DEADLIFT LOLITA have performed not only in Japan, but the US, China, Taiwan and Spain. In July this year alone, the group has made their debut in both Brazil and the UK before embarking on a return trip to Taiwan for a special collaboration with Desu Rabbits.
This year DEADLIFT LOLITA stood as the headlining act at Hyper Japan Festival 2018, a convention based in London’s very own Olympia Exhibition Centre. With two outstanding performances – one quintessentially idol, the other wrestling-centric – DEADLIFT LOLITA made a striking debut on the HYPER Stage for all who watched, and only further showcased their talents, energy and humour the more they performed and interacted with the crowd. At one point, Reika even mimicked throwing her sweat towards people in the crowd when one eager fan cried out “Keep the sweat!” in response to Ladybeard stating that they would both dry off before the meet and greet began.
The live performance was a success on both the Friday and Saturday, and the groups popularity was undeniable when the meet and great was underway. A line of fans snaked around the designated area for meet & greets and beyond that, winding back into the performance area close to the stage. During the first evening’s meet and greet with DEADLIFT LOLITA, Hyper Japan staff had to reject a few fans for fear of running over the 30 minute allocated time given. The second day was even more overwhelming in terms of attendees, but throughout DEADLIFT LOLITA were gracious and friendly, trying their best to speak to, hug and take pictures with each and every fan that came to meet them.
After a long day, an electrifying performance and one hectic meet and greet, Selective Hearing had the opportunity to sit down with DEADLIFT LOLITA at the end of Hyper Japan’s first day to discuss the groups London debut, their style and the inspiration they bring to their fans.
(Interviewer’s Note: During the interview, Ladybeard translated the questions for Reika and summarised her answers in English.)
R: Reika Saiki
– I am currently at the London based convention HYPER JAPAN where fans can come together and celebrate their passion and hobbies in one space. One of the key features about HYPER JAPAN is that it brings together both professional and amateur idol performers, and today I am both blessed and delighted to speak with Japan’s very own Kawaii-Muscle duo, DEADLIFT LOLITA!
R: Yahoo! DEADLIFT LOLITA!
L: We are DEADLIFT LOLITA! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
R: Yoroshiku onegaishimasu~
L: Hi, I am Ladybeard
R: I’m Reika!
L: Together we’re DEADLIFT LOLITA, great to be here!
R: Yes! (determined)
– Thank you very much! Your performance earlier was amazing.
L: Oh, you’re very kind, thank you.
R: Awww~ Thank you.
– I really enjoyed it, it was my first time watching you, so I was waving both your colours with my penlights.
L: Aw, bless. Aw, Thank you, sweetheart!
– It was really enjoyable, you guys are so amazing.
L: Aww, you’re very kind, thank you!
R: Thank you!
L: You’re amazing! You’ve got flowers in your hair.
L: You look beautiful.
R: Yay, so cute!
– (Laughs) Thank you so much!… So, first of all, welcome to the UK and also Hyper Japan!
L: Thank you.
– It’s your second time here?
L: It’s my second time at HYPER JAPAN, that’s right.
– And Reika, it’s your first time?
R: My first time, yes.
– So, how does it feel to be here and to be performing to a whole new crowd?
R: I had a great time today. In the front row, I saw a fan with a homemade DEADLIFT LOLITA flag in the crowd. This has never happened before, it’s the first time it’s happened for us.
L: We are very grateful, thank you very much.
– That’s amazing.
R: The fans are very dedicated here.
L: Yeah, it’s a good time. Nah, I loved it, before we went on stage all I could hear from the fans is ‘EIYAAAAI’ outside and said ‘Yeah, it’s gonna be a good one’.
– Everyone was excited to see you.
L: Aw, bless.
– So, you’ve just performed in… is it Brazil?
L: Yeah, we came from Brazil.
– How was that?
L: It was bonkers! They’re awesome down there, Holy moly, Brazil…
R: They have passion.
L: The passion of Latin America in general cannot be compared with anywhere else…
L: … and we’re on stage and I said ‘So… we’re told that Brazilian fans go crazy’, and for the next five minutes just ‘EIYAAAAH!’ ‘AAAAH!’ and I’m trying to talk and they just won’t stop screaming. We were like ‘these people are amazing,’
– Oh my gosh, that’s so good.
– I mean it seems that we (the UK fans) can’t compare at the moment, but tomorrow might be a bigger crowd so…
L: No, you guys are doing a good job, you’re like throwing down.
– Well, we’ve really enjoyed it, honestly.
L: Thank you, sweety.
– Well, I want to ask, but I doubt this is the case: For anyone that doesn’t know you, can you tell us what DEADLIFT LOLITA is about, and what your music style is?
L: So we are DEADLIFT LOLITA, the worlds physically strongest idol unit. So, as you can see both of us combine our strength and power and jacksdom with kawaii, super-sweet cuteness you see.
L: So we are expanding horizons by putting these two elements together and encouraging those who would normally stay away from strength and fitness and going to the gym, encouraging them to live a slightly healthier lifestyle, and those already involved in a healthier lifestyle – encouraging them to maybe explore the sweeter side of life.
– That’s really good. I like that.
L: Thank you beautiful girl.
R:Yeah, thank you~
– That’s amazing. I like what you two are doing, it’s really unique and it’s really different. I liked what you were doing with LADYBABY, but I like this as well.
L: Aw, thank you sweety.
– So, obviously you are both really well known for your cute look and deadly muscles, so what got you both into bodybuilding and wrestling respectively?
R: I am also part of another dance unit called Cheer ♡ 1 and we perform for Wrestle 1. I started to hang out with a lot of wrestlers because of this and started to diet for the group alongside my fitness training. I then started kickboxing for the sake of my diet and fitness, and from there I joined the gym and eventually came to pro-wrestling.
L: It’s amazing, right?
– That is amazing.
R: Aw, thank you! (Laughs)
– And Ladybeard, what is it that got yourself into wrestling?
L: So, when I decided to make the leap from casual crossdresser to professional crossdresser, I was living in Hong Kong at the time and, yeah, they’re a very conservative society and I realised that – well, this was going to be the case anywhere I think, but particularly in Hong Kong – the more I could emphasise my masculine features like naturally with my body, but then emphasise femininity with my clothing, the bigger the gap between the two would be and hence the more impact my, y’know, my image and my character would have. So that’s why I started getting there and working hard in the gym.
– Ah, that’s really good.
L: Yeah, thing is as well when I started pro wrestling, y’know, when you start pro wrestling… I realised – cause in Hong Kong, everyone’s pretty small, right? – I got in there and I was already the biggest person there
L: – so I looked like a giant next to the other guys, but I was like ‘Yeah, but if I beef up I’ll really look like a giant soon’, y’know, so there was no one else filling that role there, being the big guy in the wrestling club in Hong Kong, so I was like alright, I’d better do it then.
– Oh. That’s really good, that’s quite inspiring actually for a lot of people, and you crossdress as well, so for a lot of people that’s also inspiring, to see someone who has such a big impact, not just in Japan but the whole world to be doing this.
L: I’m grateful for that, actually, I’m very grateful that I’ve been accepted and embraced by, y’know, the global – for lack of a more inclusive term – LGBT Community, you know, I’m very, very grateful for that. I was worried when I started this that it would be the other way round, like they would interpret what I do as a piss-take of something that they take seriously. So, it’s not of course, but I was worried that that’s how it would be interpreted, so I’m very glad that’s not the case.
– That’s good, and it is nice that they’ve accepted you, I mean everyone else is accepting of it and are just so supportive of what you are doing and what Reika is doing as well. It’s so nice!
– So, obviously we’ve just finished the live performance, how did you feel the UK fans would be and did you think that they would have a different reaction to any of the other countries you’ve performed in?
R: I didn’t expect the English fans to go crazy like they did, because we’re in the land of the Gentleman, right? I thought that everyone would be gentle and applaud quietly…
L: (Booming laughter) Ahahaha! So Reika!
R: … but everyone was going ‘WAAAH, YEI!’ instead, so I’m very appreciative for everyone’s reactions today (laughing).
L: Well, I understand that we’re in the land of Soccer (football) hooligans, so I loved it, I loved it!
– Well, we do have this representation in England where we do look quite proper in a sense,
– In a way, we’re similar to the Japanese in how reserved and how shy we act sometimes, but…
L: When it’s time to throw down, it’s time to throw down.
– But we’re also, like… are we home of Metal in some way? We’re home of Rock music, I think.
L: Oh yeah, definitely! Like Black Sabboth, and everyone, they originated here, right? No, I think definitely you guys have got that title. One of my friends works with the BABYMETAL team and he’s like ‘Tell you what, come to London. The fans in London, there are just no Metal fans in the world as mental as the ones in London’.
– Yeah, it’s home to that. We really have some of the biggest festivals here based around metal,
– And rock, and such.
L: You’ve got all of them! You’ve got Reading, you’ve got bloody Glastonbury… You’ve got all the big ones. What’s the big metal one here? The Golden Gods get held here, don’t they? I can’t remember…
– I’m unsure as well, I don’t know them all, I don’t go to them… But you should go to them. I hope that you can perform at them one day.
L: Aw, thank you. I, erm… thank you. That’d be awesome. You know, we’ve got to spend some more time on this side of the Earth. We need to go to Europe a bit more.
R: Yeah, I want to do that.
L: So, the two of us together it’s only been Spain and the UK so far, so we’ve got to get over this end of the world a bit more.
– Yeah. Go to France, go to… Sweden.
R: Mhm… We want to go.
L: Right? Yeah, I think the Scandinavians would freakin’ go bonkers I think.
– I think they’d love it.
L: We’re friends with a freakshow from Norway, and they invited us to go and do shows at their place.
L: So I think they’ve got their own theatre and what not, and yeah… that sounds great, they invited us and are trying to get us into Hellfest in Denmark and whatnot. Yeah. Yeah, we should do that.
– Wow. Right, well I’d better get back to the actual questions on hand (laughs), but I’m enjoying how comfortable it is with you guys, I feel so relaxed with you two.
L: Oh good, good!
– So obviously, Reika, you’re adorable –
R: Aw, thank you! You too~
– (Laughs, taken aback)
L & R: (Laughs)
– What made you get into the cute kind of clothing. Are you into cute styles normally, or do you dress really cool in your personal life?
R: I really love kawaii fashion, and the most important thing about my style is no-sleeve one pieces. I don’t like wearing sleeves, so it’s really annoying that I have to wear them during performances. Grrr! (Laughs)
L: (Laughs) So hilarious, Reika.
– You’ve got show off you’re the biceps.
R: I have the heart of a girl, so being kawaii is important to me.
– You’re very honest with your feelings and your expressions, and that’s something I really like. I love that.
L: Aw. That’s sweet.
R: Thank you very much!
– So, this one is for Ladybeard. Obviously, you have been on the idol scene for a few years now and you have experience so much through it. So, do you have a favourite part from your career that you can share with us?
L: Oh, God. There have been a lot of highlights… I mean, just in general the favourite part of the work is always meeting the fans cause they are, you know, wonderful and it’s like… I very much appreciate being able to meet the fans face to face, cause that’s when you really understand whether or not you’re actually doing something worthwhile in the world. One of the interesting things about being an entertainer is whatever value you provide to the world is all intangible, you know, so it’s not like – y’know, you’re a doctor, someone knows what you do, ‘I’m sick, I go see you, you fix me, you did a good job’, you know – when you’re an entertainer it’s all so subjective and intangible, that having the ability to meet the fans and talking to them face to face, hearing them say thank you, or hearing them tell us – like, they tell us a lot of things like ‘oh, I started working out because of you,’ and so forth, that is easily the highlight the work across the board.
We got an email from a guy the other day – he was in America, somewhere – because of us he started going to the gym.
L: He lost over a hundred kilos! A hundred kilos!
L: That is a whopping amount of weight.
L: That’s whopping, right? So things like that happen, you’re like ‘God damn’, y’know, that’s when you kind of go ‘Okay, well cool, we’re doing something worthwhile in the world’, y’know.
R: A lot of people are getting inspired by us to go to the gym.
L: Right? So I’m proud of that, a lot of people are getting inspired by us to go to the gym who weren’t working out before. Yeah, we’re very proud of that, that’s er – yeah. It makes me proud. We had that today as well.
– I might start going to the gym now.
L: Yeah, get in there! You gotta get in there, sweety!
– Get rid of the bat wings (laughs).
L: Buff up, buff it up!
– So, in terms of your performance, is there an aspect about it that you want people to watch out for when they first see you, and what do you want them to take away from the DEADLIFT LOLITA experience?
L: I just think to enjoy the show and embrace the show and hopefully get involved, if you want to dance with us and whatnot, we’ll be very grateful.
– (Begins doing some of the ‘PUMP UP JAPAN’ choreography at this point)
R: Hey, PUMP UP JAPAN! (Laughs)
R: Please watch out for the energy! (During performances)
L: Yeah, watch the show, hopefully you’ll get some energy from us, hopefully that’ll pump you up a bit and make you feel good. If people feel good I think we’ve generally done a good job, you know. So, that’s kind of the mission. Right?
– That’s true, give them the energy and give them a reason to move.
L: Yeah, just have a good time, that’s what we’re all about, good times.
– So, we’re coming up to the last few questions… So, as you’re in the UK are there any sights or places you want to visit? What have you done so far?
L: Ahhh. I already know Reika’s answer.
R: Tower Bridge! (Claps) I went to see Tower Bridge! In a manga I read called Kinnikuman (Muscle Man) there is a character called Robin Mask who is from the UK. He has a technique that is referred to as an ‘Argentinian back breaker’, but he calls it ‘The Tower Bridge’. The idea is that you lift someone up over your shoulders facing the sky, and you break their back over your shoulders in the same way that the tower bridge raises. Yes! (Clapping happily)
L: Yesterday we went over there and got to see the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, and Reika’s very excited. See, Reika does that – she does the Tower Bridge in her matches, you see.
– I’ve seen a picture.
R: Oh, really?
– I was so amazed.
R: Oh, yes~
L: She was very excited about that.
R: Oh, yes, it was so beautiful, with all the blue and yellow…
L: Oh, Reika (laughs). It looks like it’s got the Japanese flag on it, when it dips down it’s got these little, like, white and red circles on it, right? Like the Japanese flag.
L: I think it has nothing to do with Japan in the planning, but I’m going to observe that and put my own interpretation onto the monument, that’s what I’m doing. But for me, just being in the UK is awesome because my heritage is from her, right? So yeah, so coming here – the first time coming here for HYPER JAPAN three years ago, I understood Australia, my own everything so much better after coming here, because lik, just walking around here I’m ‘Ahhh…’ – Like, they really did, 200 years ago, they really did just take the UK and just dump it in the Southern hemisphere.
L: That’s really what they did. So for me it’s really quite a profound experience, actually, walking around and seeing the architecture and whatnot and recognising ‘Oh, this is where the old architecture in Australia comes from’, and now I kind of… in the way I hear people talk and the way people communicate, it kind of makes every – everything that I grew up with kind of makes more sense to me. Last time we were here Naoko and I went looking for my ancestral roots up in Lancaster, which was great fun, but I got off the train and I just, like, it was like a city of my Grandad. All I could see was my Grandad everywhere the whole day, the vibe of the whole place I was like ‘wow’. So for me, just being in the UK is quite amazing, so I just like soaking it up.
– That’s so good. And, kind of like, our slangs similar too, like ‘Alright, mate’.
– Things like that!
L: Yeah (laughs).
– I’m going to ask this – this is what the owner of the site has asked me to say… He was like, can you ask them ‘Do you even lift?’
L: AAAAH, cheeky monkey! How dare her, oh my – he or she.
– He (laughs).
L: Tell him to come down here and say that to our faces, tell him to come down here!
– (Laughing) He’s in Canada
– Canada, yeah. (At this point, Reika didn’t know what was going on in the conversation, so she sat there a little confused).
L: Oh my God.
– So, you’ve got to go up there to Canada.
L: I – no, he’d better get swimming across the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic or Pacific, which one have they got there?
– (Laughing) Poor Reika, she doesn’t know yet.
L: Oh, this is gonna be difficult to explain…
R: Don’t worry about it.
L: (Laughs) So, this is my reply to him:
L: This is my reply to him.
– I’m going to have to take a picture of that and send it to him.
L: Please do.
– I’ll need to do it in a moment, once my phone’s not in use.
L: Well, it’s been lovely to talk to you Kelly, thank you so much for having us today.
R: Thank you!
– Thank you. Do you have anything you want to say to your fans at all, or to those who will become your fans?
L: Particularly in the UK, or everywhere?
R: Everybody, please come and see DEADLIFT LOLITA’s live show, move with us, get refreshed and kick out your jams, and we would like to kick out jams all over the world, so please invite us to wherever you are from and we will come to you and get you pumped up!
L: Everybody, thank you so much for your support and your ongoing support. We hope that we can do a little bit to bring some smiles to everyone’s life and, yeah, we hope you’ll smile, hope you lift up something heavy and put it down again. Hope you have a jog, Have a smile, that’s the main thing. We hope everyone’s hearts get stronger from our work, yeah, hope your heart starts jumping.
– Thank you so much!
L: Thank you Kelly, we’ve had a great time.
R: Thank you!