We are very excited to share with you this exclusive interview with Reis O'Brien FUNKO's Lead Designer and also an awesome BABYMETAL fan. Reis share with us information about FUNKO, Metal Music, how and why BABYMETAL is his new favorite band, and the upcoming projects between FUNKO and BABYMETAL! Yes, the figures are coming soon!! We hope you guys like the interview.
Newswire: Hey Reis, first of all thank you very much to take some of your valuable time to answer some of our questions.
Thanks to a couple of Interviews "Somewhat Nerdy" did with you, but mostly the last one, i found that BABYMETAL is your favorite band, that's awesome! But before talking about that, i would like to know more about you.
Reis O'Brien: "Well, first of all, I do have to make it clear that Babymetal is my favorite NEW band. They're the only CURRENT group that I keep listening to over and over, sometimes obsessively."
Newswire: Awesome anyway! Tell us about your work, you are designer for FUNKO (http://funko.com/), and for those who never heard about FUNKO give us a little background of the company and your work.
Reis O'Brien: "Yep, I'm a Lead Designer at Funko, which is a toy company specializing in collector vinyl type of stuff. Funko started back in 1998 (I think) and originally focused mainly on bobble heads, but these days most people would know us for making Pops, Dorbz, Mystery Minis and many of our other popular lines. It's pretty much a dream job."
Newswire: I was stalking your Instagram and noticed that you like Slayer, actually you had a tattoo in your right arm! That makes me think that you are a metalhead, but maybe you like more genres. What are your favorite bands and what do you look for in bands and music?
Reis O'Brien: "I'm a dyed-in-the-wool old school metalhead for the most part. Black Sabbath is my all-time favorite band, ever since they cracked open my skull in 9th grade with their song "War Pigs". Later, I became completely devoted to Slayer and craved more speed and heaviness. I have many other musical interests, like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and other types of rock. I also have a place in my heart for such varied genres as blues, new age and orchestrated movie soundtracks, but metal is my true love. Always will be."
Newswire: So, how did you found BABYMETAL and why they are your favorite band?
Reis O'Brien: "I saw the video for "Gimme Chocolate" sometime last year, and when I first watched it, I didn't get it. I thought it was a joke, a silly gimmick, and I wrote it off and didn't think anything else about it. Then, around Christmas of last year, I found myself watching the video again (I think someone posted it on Facebook to make fun of it) and for some reason it just clicked it my head, it all made perfect sense. I felt like I understood what they were trying to achieve by combining the two styles of music. I got a copy of the album (mostly out of curiosity) and two weeks later I realized that it was the only album I had been listening to. Like, non-stop, for two weeks. Something that I originally wanted to laugh at suddenly seemed brilliant, inspired. I haven't been that crazy about an album in years. Not since I first heard Tool or System of a Down."
Newswire: That is awesome! Great number of fans from this side of the world found them with "Gimme Chocolate" too and they also have been through something similar.. What it's your favorite song and why?
Reis O'Brien: "It's hard to pick just one, but I think I'd pick "Akumu no Rinbukyoku" (Akumu No Rondo, Rondo Of Nightmare) because it is the most creepy sounding but with a lot of sadness in the vocals.
But I also love "Megitsune" because it kicks off the album so well, let's the listener know what they're in for. The vocals soar through the chorus and the drums sound like a machine gun. "
Newswire: Now obvious question between BABYMETAL fans: Which of the three BABYMETAL is your favorite?
Mine is Suzuka Nakamoto (Su-Metal).
Reis O'Brien: "I can't pick a favorite! All three are equally important to the sound and look of the band! They are a perfect team-up, and each of their roles are integral to what makes Babymetal what it is. Also, people must not forget that the band that backs them up is straight up legit. Brutal, precise and ruthless musicians. The entire band is an exact equation and no one is less worthy than anyone else in the band."
Did you see them live already? If so, what do you think about their live shows?
Reis O'Brien: "I have not. They need to tour in my area of the US! But I do listen to the live album often. That'll tide me over for now."
Newswire: Last year FUNKO on Facebook asked what figures they want us to see, and several said "BABYMETAL!" (me included), someone from FUNKO replied that a few of their staff members love them, seems like you are not alone there. Did you spread the word about BABYMETAL on FUNKO? How was the reaction of your friends or co-workers?
Reis O'Brien: "Ha! I've tried with very little success. I am the lone Babymetal fan here. But I'll keep trying. I think Babymetal's look and sound is just too strange for some people, and it makes them reluctant to give them a chance. I mean, even I laughed at them at first, but then I listened to them again with an open mind and fell in love. Maybe the fact that not everyone loves Babymetal is what makes us fans special? We understand something that other can't or won't? Either way, it's their loss."
Newswire: According to your Instagram, you got some of their t-shirts, one of those was released by Hot Topic, also you got "Gimme Chocolate" T-shirt. As an artist, what do you think about BABYMETAL's art? They are very creative!
Reis O'Brien: "Babymetal's art is amazing, mostly because it pays homage to classic metal. I love their take on the old Slayer logo! But my favorite shirt is the upcoming Funko Pop Tee, but I may be a bit biased."
Newswire: Speaking of art and speaking of FUNKO, Hot Topic released an interview with Brian Mariotti (FUNKO's President) on Youtube and Brian mentioned that you guys are working on some new designs more "Kawaii" (more cute) that made me think that FUNKO is getting interested more and more on Japanese art or Japanese artists (perhaps BABYMETAL?) and he also mentioned that FUNKO will release Pop Collectible Tees and just a few days ago Hot Topic published the BABYMETAL "Metal Resistance 2015" Pop! Tee. Are you or FUNKO working on some more BABYMETAL designs to be released in the future?
Reis O'Brien: "We only have one Babymetal Pop Tee planned so far, and once we see how that does, we will know better as to wether or not we will make more designs. Our relationship is very new with Babymetal, so we're still in the early planning stages for product. I did design some small Babymetal "kokeshi" style of vinyl figures, but those are only in the concept stage at this point. However, the Babymetal Pops are coming soon! Babymetal fans are going to LOVE them!"
You just made our few thousand of followers very happy! We all are looking forward to the next release, because most of us are not only BABYMETAL fans, also FUNKO followers and collectors. Back to you, do you have anything you would like to promote or recommend to our readers?
Reis O'Brien: "I don't have anything in particular, but I would like to encourage Babymetal fans to go back through the history of metal and learn where it all came from. There would be no Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slipknot or Mastodon if it weren't for Black Sabbath and the other forefathers of metal. The same is true for Babymetal. To properly understand a band like Babymetal, you need to learn about the bands that built the foundation upon which they stand."
Newswire: Not sure if you know this but BABYMETAL's community is full of great artists, some fans make incredible drawings of the girls or FOX GOD, so as a successful artist, i would like you to give some advices for those guys out there looking for some inspiration of advices from people like you.
Reis O'Brien: "My advice to every artist is to NEVER STOP DRAWING. Find something that you love, that inspires you and embrace it. Let the art that you love lift up your own work. Also, see things through to the end. Every project I work on I hate about halfway through, but I keep pushing to the finish line and that's where I fall back in love with it again."
Newswire: Woow, that was beautiful! Thank you very much Reis in name of our community for this awesome time, but also for sharing this exclusive about BABYMETAL Pop Vinyls! We can't wait! Oh and one more thing, as BABYMETAL fan please recommend us your favorite BABYMETAL Music Video to add at the end of this post!
Reis O'Brien: "Megitsune!"
Interview by: Maik Gianino.