Kanami Tōno

Kanami Tōno - Band-Maid


Born in a town near Yokohama, Japan, Kanami began playing piano at the age of 3. Though she continued her keyboard lessons for more than 20 years, it wasn’t until she saw a female guitarist that she found her calling. Under the tutelage of this inspiration, she was a quick learner and found herself pursuing various genres: hard rock, latin rock, funk, fusion. Upon entering college, feeling that finding band members who all had the same skill level and same musical direction would be challenging, she found herself performing solo gigs.

It was about this time that the videos she had posted to YouTube caught Miku (“Kobato”, Band-Maid founder)’s eye. She would get to play lead and wouldn’t have to sing, just the perfect criteria for Kanami. Thus, Band-Maid was born.

Her favorite guitarists include Carlos Santana and Larry Carlton. She credits Carlos for her own use of pentatonic scales in her lead solos.


PRS: BAND-MAID worldwide popularity grows rapidly, but for our readers outside of Japan or who may not already be familiar with BAND-MAID, how would you best describe the group’s sound?

KT: BAND-MAID is a band that cranks out hard rock while adorned in cute maid outfits. Don’t let our outfits and appearance fool you, if you haven’t heard “maid rock” before, please check us out.

Watch "Play" by Band-Maid below:

PRS: Clearly, BAND-MAID mesmerizes its audience with its unique visual style. What was the inspiration for forming a rock band infused with maid service aesthetics?

KT: Guitarist/Vocalist (and founder) Miku Kobato used to work at a “Maid Café”. It was Miku that first thought “I like the cute maid outfits, and I like cool music. It would be really fun to combine the two!”, and that’s how BAND-MAID was born.

Kanami Tono on stage

PRS: BAND-MAID is scheduled to perform at the world famous concert mecca, NIPPON BUDOKAN, in February 2021, a huge gig! Congratulations! What does this opportunity mean to you?

KT: Thank you so much! We feel that it is such a big accomplishment to be able to stand on the stage of the Nippon Budokan. It has been a dream of BAND-MAID’s. But we don’t want to be complacent with this achievement, and hope to take what we learn and grow from the Budokan experience to future live endeavors. We hope to see many of you and share in the miracle with us!

PRS: Are there currently any plans for the band to play arena festivals outside of Japan next year?

KT: We don’t have any definite plans yet. We pray that it will be soon that we will be able to serve our masters and mistresses (which is Japanese “maid-ese” for 'can’t wait to perform live for all of our fans!')

Kanami Tono on stage

PRS: What PRS Guitars do you currently own, and what models would you like to possess in the future?

KT: I currently play a Custom 24 with Korina neck and back, and a Custom 24 with Mahogany neck and back. I would really like to play a 509 next!

PRS: What initially attracted you to the electric guitar? You play keyboards on some of BAND-MAID’s tunes, do you play any other instruments?

KT: I have been taking piano lessons since I was quite young so I can play a little, but I don’t play any other instruments. What first attracted me to the guitar was… I used to be very shy, but deep down I really wanted to become a cool chic! The minute I heard and saw someone playing the guitar, I thought this could help transform me into someone new.