To the interview of Neko Nation! Below are questions asked by fans, friends and random people over the last year. Some may be weird (wouldn’t be a proper interview if it wasn’t) and others are more intricate.
Let us BEGIN!
The owner of this amazing event is well known as Neko to most but those who know him personally call him Craig. Whilst trying to hide the fact he is secretly a cat in human form (minus the sleeping in uncomfortable spots), being a resident DJ/Promoter and manager for Neko Nation (Phew!) he enjoys a good spicy burrito and while travelling adores the more intriguing noms such as cheeseburger sushi and Crocodile Karaage (weird right?). Amongst other things he likes waking up late in the afternoons because he is a bit of a sleepy head but with Uni, Neko Nation, Work and other things in the background who wouldn’t be? Though watch out for those cat allergies Mr. Neko! So let’s see what gets this kitten going and all the nitty gritty questions the fans, friends and random people have asked!
What inspires you to get up every day and keep making such mind blowing events?
My alarm clock, jokes, I’m a sleepyhead and wake up at 2 or 3pm >.>. All the attendees and fans since without them this event wouldn’t exist and the fact that people would support this event is the cheesiest and cliché response I could make……On a more serious and interesting note, I love the event concept, while the event idea isn’t 100% original since while I’ve put my own spin on the concept, Japan has being doing this for a while. It’s something unique and new to Australia and I think it’s great to see something interesting and new happening
Where do you find such gorgeous and sexy outfits from…? Really? They’re just wow!
Thanks for that, it does vary, sometimes I buy my cosplays online (I’m too lazy and time poor to make my own). It varies and there’s a few places but I’d say my most well-known PVC outfits (including the bunny outfit) are from an awesome online store in Canada called Artifice Clothing who do absolutely amazing outfits
How did you decide on the name “Neko Nation?”
Because “Cat Country” didn’t quite have a ring to it? Actually the name came back from when I had my dread business “Hairlucination” in 2010 and I decided I wanted to have this show rhyme with it so people could remember both names in terms of doing both, which didn’t mean much since Neko exploded and I closed Hairlucination down to concentrate on Neko Nation. Neko is Japanese for cat, so with the Catgirls included it just stuck really well and seemed easy to remember, there was never any other alternative names I looked into, Neko Nation was perfect.
Neko Nation is 3 this year (CONGRATS!) did you ever think it would get this huge and far?
Definitely not! We turned 3 last February and considering Neko Nation started off originally as a side project in Uni holidays and I was only hoping that it would even succeed since it was the first time I ran an event. The most optimistic outcome I had when I first started was to be doing events every 6 months in Perth, funnily enough two days after the first show there was already a business plan to bring the show to Adelaide and well the rest is history
SO, as the founder and owner of an event that went from a little bar in Purrth to now an interstate venture, how does this make you feel knowing you have so many followers?
It’s pretty crazy at times, I remember leaving Perth not too long after the first show in 2011 and I only had a handful of people who wanted to see me off. I moved back to Perth in 2013 and so many people wanted a piece of me and see me, it’s insane. Having fans and followers is definitely a nice thing though, it’s really good to see that I’ve made a difference in people’s lives and without them, I definitely wouldn’t be here today
Most ventures such as Neko Nation generally start with a quick mention to a friend to the effect of “you know what would be really cool?”… How did this occur with Neko and what inspired your decision… Clearly cat related but we have to ask!
I’ve been inspired and seen a few events like it over the years but I think what really kicked things off was after going to Wai-Con I thought it would be awesome if there was an after party like an anime nightclub event that I could go too. I pretty much hit up Google and expected there would be some super cool club I didn’t know about there was nothing in Perth, so I tried looking up all of Australia, nothing.
I was sort of surprised since the anime scene was huge, I presumed it was most likely because people thought that geeks wouldn’t want to go out but you’d have these huge attendances at cons. We had Guitar Hero get into pubs, we had Mana Bar explode in popularity, so I thought this could actually work and if somebody else won’t do it then I’ll do it.
Is there more to Neko Nation then dressing up as a cat and playing music?
Definitely, there’s the Catgirls serving free sushi, the Catboys serving free candy, lots of awesome DJ’s, amazing sound, lighting, visuals, prizes, competitions and a really amazing environment and atmosphere. I’d say the best thing is being able to meet up and party with cosplayers and anime fans alike since a lot of anime fans and cosplayers can be intimidated by the idea of clubbing and having to try to fit in, with Neko Nation they can be themselves, have lots of fun with finding people with like-minded interests and dance to music that is quite unique to our event. There’s definitely a huge feeling of acceptance and having fun in a very safe and accepting environment. Plus it’s an absolutely awesome party.
We all know that maid café’s, cat café’s and anime café’s exist but how on earth did you decide on Catgirls serving sushi? Such a brilliant idea (and eye candy too!) – And now Catboys serving candy… *drool*
So we had DJ’s playing Japanese music on a basic level but I wanted to make it a bit different to other club events and also fit in with the whole anime and Japanese theme. I also want to combine both an intense dance event of music but also combine a laid back lounge atmosphere so I decided to add in free sushi and originally have maids serve it like the maid cafes in Japan but it was something that we had all seen at cons here and I wanted to do something a bit different. I’m not quite sure when it happened but I saw a few pictures of Catgirls and decided that would be perfect, cute, sexy, fun and it was also creative in terms of the different Catgirls outfits we’ve seen. We’ve had a fair few people apply to become a Catgirls but in more recent times we’ve had Catboys applications so we’ve put that into our show.
What goes into the planning of an event as huge as Neko Nation and now Neko Planet? We know it cannot be easy especially with INTERNATIONALS!
Lots and lots of planning. I think the biggest challenge is keeping everyone on the same page and let them know what is going on and happening, I’m usually dealing with up to 50 people per event and trying to set everything up can be stressful, although I’ve got an awesome team who make my life a lot easier with shows. It takes around 6-10 weeks to plan and put on a show.
Neko Planet is a lot crazier, it was the first time that I’ve brought over internationals for a show, so there comes new logistics of flights, accommodation, transport, visas, translators, on top of the regular show plus it’s 5 shows in 5 nights, so I was organizing all 5 shows at once and the schedule was insane in terms of non-stop work but it was all worth it!
What is Neko Planet? We all know what Neko Nation is, but everyone wants to know what this new event is made of! TELL ALL!
Neko Planet was a Japanese music festival which focuses on internationals and live acts, whereas Neko Nation is usually focused on local DJ’s. Neko Planet feautred 3 main acts, the absolutely fabulous and insane DJ SiSeN (JP/GER), the beautiful and dark melodic GPK (JP/AUS) and the cute and adorable bubblegum break beat J-Pop sensation LELE. They were supported by awesome local support acts, which varied from anime cover bands to burlesque to harsh industrial and even gothic Lolita rap.
There was free sushi served by Catgirls and on one night we had them serving shots to the crowd it was insane! And we still had all the absolutely amazing sound and lighting, prizes won from our awesome sponsors including Kiss Me Kill Me, the first time we’ve had an international (French) sponsor come on board. We decided that 3 years later we want to do something different and huge and getting big internationals to perform was something we’re very excited about!
What is in the works for Neko Nation over the next year? Anything HUGE planned… We all like secrets and I bet there are a few. Tell us one! Even If it is as tiny as a newborn kitten… KGO!
For the rest of the year we are planning to go on hiatus and focus on Uni. We were hoping to come back to AVCon this year to do another awesome convention after party there since AVCon is by far my most favorite con in Australia and it’s really awesome that they have let us do an after party inside the con. However, now that has been put aside we will be focusing on even more hardcore setups for the usual shows and who knows, even a couple of surprises in store!
The rest of the year I have a few interesting things planned, in particular excited about doing Nekobook again, really want to do a Catboys calendar as well this year on top of the Catgirls one since we couldn’t do one last year since we didn’t have any Catboys apply, so hopefully that changes this year!
What is one thing you ultimately want to see/ want to happen at a show? Let us bring YOU, our creator, some fan service and see if we can get it done!
I personally joked that we should do a fetish event called Neko Domination and have shibari rope performances. For the record we’ve actually done an event in a fetish club and had a night called Neko Domination, we’ve had cat girl burlesque although the shibari acts haven’t happened (yet).
Putting my fetishes aside for a second, I’d definitely would love to see things done on a stupid, crazy and insane level, we’ve already seen things like cats shooting laser beams, a pillow fort and some crazy decor but would love to expand to an event that had arcade machines, bouncy castles, ball pits, a Skrillex-esque DJ setup (look up his Spaceship video from Ultra 2012) basically I kind of want to have this mega adult playground sort of feel to the show. There’s a lot of things that are stupidly expensive that I’d love to do and while I’m happy to lose money over an event to make it awesome, I don’t want to go to the point where I’m bankrupt to get to this stage. XD
What is one thing at the end of the day that you will take away from this venture as the biggest achievement?
To put it bluntly, It is too early to say. Neko Planet was definitely right up there putting aside all the sleepless nights and exhaustion and making the 3 year mark …. PANTS! I mean, what? In all seriousness though, I think the biggest achievement would be to see this get to 5 years and have one HUGE MASSIVE celebration show in each state to mark it and even if it all folds it will definitely be one of the best experiences of my life.
Are there any words of wisdom, random quote or general something you would like to say to your fans?
I’d like to say thanks to everyone who supported us with Neko, it’s been absolutely amazing how far it’s come thanks to everyone’s help. I think it’s really awesome to see the anime scene getting together and having loads of fun and partying, especially since it’s nice to smash the stereotype that those two can’t mix.
As for last words of wisdom, if Neko Nation has taught me anything is that you can get quite far with what may seem like a ridiculous idea when you first think about it. I definitely did not come up with the idea for an anime nightclub in Australia but I was definitely the first to seriously not care and risk it all on what seemed like a ridiculous idea at the time when nobody has any idea if this would succeed.
Success isn’t necessarily about being the best, it’s just coming up with a unique idea that people like, look at the likes of Kyary, PSY or even the Harlem Shake, I’m sure these videos sounded ridiculous on paper at first but look at how big they ended up getting. In closing those stupid ideas you come up with your friends or post on Facebook, one or two of them could really be the start of creating something special.
So there you have it people! The Cat Lord hath spoken! Thanks ever so much to Craig for his time to do this as we can appreciate hectic things have been recently and we wish you SO much luck for the next coming year and congratulate you on Neko Planet!
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