Natalie [Power Push]: YuiKaori – “NEO SIGNALIFE” Interview

In celebration to Ishihara Kaori’s birthday, we have decided to translate this gem as a present to her and to each of her international fans. Please enjoy!

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YuiKaori’s new single “NEO SIGNALIFE” has been released.

Ogura Yui, Ishihara Kaori, for both of them, the title for their first release in 2015, and this song boldly betrays YuiKaori’s image up to now, (in a good way). With a tough and quick digital beat, making it their own “new” (NEO) to “define” their start (SIGNALIZE), being a word which guides them towards the new “way of life”, it becomes a cute and powerfully striking song.

Ogura, Ishihara, which has been described in various way such as “cute”, “lovely”. While both of them had to overturn their public image midway, did they make their spirit and personal thoughts into words? And so we ask both of them.

Interview-Text / Narimatsu Tetsu

A Quick-paced And Extremely Fun 2014

──How could you describe 2014?

Ogura Yui: As YuiKaori, I think it was a year when we’ve mostly improved a lot, or where we rapidly changed, something like that (laughs). Anyway, I really feel that we’re moving in a quick pace.

──During the interview in summer (Source: YuiKaori “Intro Situation” Interview), Ogura-san had graduated from high school and said that the release pace has turned quick. In fact, they have many releases since a year ago, “LUCKY DUCKY!!”, thereafter, a single, “Intro Situation” in July, and DVD/Blu-ray “YuiKaori LIVE ‘BUNNY FLASH’” in October.photo01

Ishihara Kaori: The release of CDs and DVDs are also like that, and even before Yui-chan had graduated from high school, I felt like our whole activities’ pace has risen. We took “LUCKY DUCKY!!’s” recording when Yui-chan was still in high school, we also had a live in a larger venue than usual, Pacifico Yokohama, in February……

Ogura: We also had Anisama (Animelo Summer Live) in summer, and we have a tour, “HEARTY PARTY!!” that will be starting in Fall…

Ishihara: That’s why I feel like we’ve been together as YuiKaori for the whole year, I also feel that I kept meeting you (laughs). That’s why, it was really fun!

Ogura: Yeah!

A “Subtle” And “Vague,” Yet “Powerful” Self-Produce

──And now, your first work in the beginning of the year, this single, “NEO SIGNALIFE”……about that, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say that you’ve carried it over from the tide of 2014. You’ve raised the gear higher, right?

OguraIshihara: Fufufufufu (laughs).

──Both of you were laughing over “Intro Situation” ’s coupling dance tune, “MIRRORING DESIGNS” ’s lyrics and said “To think that YuiKaori would sang something like ‘ambition’ and ‘privilege’”, but “NEO SIGNALIFE” is even more tough both in the beat and phrases. You even sang “Shockin’ REVOLUTION” “Do now, I know TARGET” since the beginning of the song. In this term, both of you weren’t even holding a vague feeling of “ambition” anymore, and we could clearly see that it turned into something you aimed for.

Ogura: This time’s song concept is certainly about “To show a strong intention in proceeding to the next level.”

──Didn’t you need courage to declare something like “It’s a revolution”, “We will do it now”, “We know our target” ?

Ishihara: But we also have the feelings such as “We will move forward” and “We will aim for the next”.

──Though, the one who wrote the lyrics weren’t both of you, but Hata Aki-san who also wrote “MIRRORING DESIGNS” ‘s lyrics, right? Was it something like, the label staff and Hata-san, also the composer Ono Takamitsu-san had joined up and made your spirit into a song?

Ishihara: It’s kind of complicated.

Ogura: Yeah. It’s unclear.

──“Complicated” and “unclear”?

Ogura: Certainly, it’s not like that we haven’t talked directly to Hata-san about it before, but…

Ishihara: Ever since the live in Pacifico, we have been participating in the YuiKaori-related meetings, such as goods production, and now we could give our own opinions to the staff, like “We want to show something like this”.

Ogura: And of course regarding this time’s single, ever since the production had begun, we always talked about things such as “We have experienced a lot of things as YuiKaori, that’s why we have something we could do now” or “I want to express something different than the usual YuiKaori has been.” I feel like our feelings has finally been granted.

The Whispering Voices That Has Been Granted

──Was that “A proposal where we considered ourselves,” that was made by both of you? Or was it because the staff has started asking your opinions?

Ogura: I think it’s also ‘complicated’ and ‘unclear’ (laughs).photo05

Ishihara: We’ve been asked something like “What do you two think?” since a long time ago, but when I was still a freshman in university, I’ve never thought that my opinions would match [the theme], so I didn’t really have a confidence to say it……

Ogura: Yeah. I was also thinking that “I’m only a high-school student”, so I had no confidence. Thus, and during my junior high-school and senior high-school days, I spent my days embraced by people’s kindness and affection, and yet I still could really experience a lot of things so I thought “Maybe it’s okay to stay this way.”

Ishihara: But even though it’s obvious, YuiKaori is our group, so we must do it with all of our might, and it’s because we have something we want to do, that’s why during those times, we didn’t say our thoughts loudly, but we did do something like muttering things (laughs).

──Hahahahaha (laughs). And what makes those whispering voice change into a loud voice?

Ishihara: Because the staff had actually heard our whisper. “So you thought of something like that?” “Then, it’d be better if you discussed it before”, they started to tell us something like that, so I realized and thought “What, so I don’t need to take it too seriously and just propose it?” And then, when I looked at Yui-chan beside me, it looked like she caught the same thing, that’s why we went, “Well then, let’s say it together!” or something like that (laughs).

Ogura: Yeah (laughs). After that, we actively participated on the meetings and such, and it’s really fun to see how the things which Kaori-chan and I had said become real. Since then, we reached up to the point where we made things together with the staff.

Ishihara: That’s why the reason is ‘complicated’ and ‘unclear’ (laughs). Even if the loud voice of “We want to do it like this!” came from us, it isn’t like someone told us to “Say it with a loud voice!”

The “Embarrassed” Yui And, “I Feel Embarrassed But I Won’t Be Embarrassed” Kaori

──On the previous interview, Ishihara-san said that when you sing YuiKaori’s songs, you don’t stand on the heroine’s point of view. Instead, you’re trying to grasp the full view of the heroine by looking at her from afar.

Ishihara: Yes.

──Then, Ogura-san said that she is visualizing the world of the lyrics inside of her head, and think of how the heroine will sing in that visualization. But with the lyrics of “NEO SIGNALIFE”, your approach won’t work, right?

Ogura: That’s right. Because this time, it’s a song where we need to sing about our intentions, we couldn’t catch the lyrics into a narrative point of view. About my voice, too, I also thought that I only used my strong part and core part of myself.

──“I thought”, so rather than facing yourself, it’s more like you let out your inner self?photo04

Ogura: It’s something like that. It’s the type of lyrics which I haven’t received until now, so when we started the recording, I got embarrassed, or rather, if I don’t get fired up I couldn’t sing it properly, but I also like songs with strong words, so in the end I felt like “Ah, I could sing it”. Also, during the recording, both the staff and I are worried about “You act a bit too show-off, it might be different with the usual”, but when I finished singing, I got “Ah, it’s still YuiKaori’s song. It’s okay.”

Ishihara: Heee~! Even though I sang it without getting embarrassed, even if I did get embarrassed (laughs).

──Ahahahaha (laughs).

Ishihara: It’s obvious because it’s a song where we want everyone to listen to our intentions, but I could also sympathize over the lyrics “we express our problems that we have now and the feelings which we couldn’t rub off, and how we will go to the future up ahead”. “I understand it~”, while thinking about that, I could be myself and express my own feelings without fiddling (laughs).

Seeking YuiKaori’s Way Of Being Stylish

──Please tell me about the tracks, too. From the information, it also said something about “An electro-tune from YuiKaori which has a reputation of dancing”

Ishihara: No~! (laughs)

Ogura: Ahahahaha (laughs).photo02

──But in fact, the same goes for “MIRRORING DESIGNS”, you aren’t actually only cute. But you are a unit with a lot of strong beat, dance tunes.

Ogura: There is that, and this time Kaori-chan, the staff, and I had also decided that the theme would be “dancing” since the start.

Ishihara: This is also a new trial for us, to choose a song which would suit the theme, and we are also allowed to discussed and witness what to do with the arrangement.

──Did the chosen song do well?

Ogura: There were really a lot of songs we got for the demo, but all of them matched. We went “Ah, this is nice” together while choosing the “NEO~” demo.

Ishihara: We felt like “this is it” and smoothly decided on it. We advanced it to “let’s change the tempo so you could dance more stylish” or something like that. Both Yui-chan and I, even though we’re supposed to choose the song from various points of view, not only about “we can dance it”.

──“Various points of view”?

Ogura: It’s been a while since we have a dance number for our single, we also thought of how the fans think of YuiKaori’s image.

──What do you mean by YuiKaori’s image which the fans think of?

Ishihara: How should I put it? “Lax”? (laughs)

Ogura: You’re right. Even on the radio (Bunka Housou “YuiKaori no Mi♪”), to everyone who know the way we talk, I’m sure they will say “lax” (laughs). Then, because both of us are “lax”, we are aiming to be stylish, but we still couldn’t become cool and sexy no matter how hard we tried…

Ishihara: Because there is a limit to what we can do (laughs).

The “Fuu~!” Becomes A Proof Of A “YuiKaori-like” New Innovation

──Ishihara-san, what is your “point of view” of the chosen song?

Ishihara: It’s the same for Yui-chan, too, because we were intended to unveil it during the tour which started in November, so we wanted “a song which can pump up the live”.

Ogura: Yeah.

──In fact, how did the audience react to it?

Ishihara: This time, it was the first time that we have a part where we have to do something like a dance battle in the choreography……

──You did a solo dance during the guitar solo, after the 2nd chorus, right?

Ishihara: This song was unveiled on the first day of the tour in Nagoya (November 22nd, Aichi-Nagoya Congress Center Century Hall Live), during that solo part I could hear some audience making a sound like (with a high pitch) “Fuu~!” (laughs).

Ogura: I heard that, too! When I heard that “Fuu~!” I got really impressed and thought “It reached the audience!”

──Certainly, the audience in Nagoya could “understand” it. If you saw before and after from the making of the PV and the dance battle, you could embody the image of “NEO SIGNALIFE”. Before taking (the dance battle part), even though Ogura-san kept saying “I will win over Kaori” with a posed look, Ishihara-san only said “I won’t lose to you~” with a surprisingly carefree tone. And right after that, Ogura-san also blew off her posed look (laughs).

Ishihara: That’s why I thought it’s very YuiKaori, but we were still able to show the cool part, too; a new song in our way, too (laughs).

Yui And Kaori’s Miraculous Way To Of Being Out of Sync

──The coupling song, “Orion Kara no Message” (lit. Message from Orion) is a complete change. The lyrics is written by Matsui Goro-san, and the composer is CHI-MEY-san, it’s a four-key and sentimental ballad.

Ogura: To be honest, because YuiKaori has never sung this kind of bittersweet ballad, it was really refreshing, and I thought it’s really nice. I felt like I was becoming an adult, or something (laughs).

Ishihara: Ahahahaha (laughs). But certainly, it’s the most bittersweet song from all of YuiKaori’s songs, and it’s the most adult-like song.

──How did you deal with that bittersweet and adult-like song?

Ishihara: It’s the same with “NEO~”. I felt that I could sing it proactively. I, myself, is the type that will listen to a bittersweet song to calm down, and think “let’s do our best again”, and the lyrics have scenes like ‘the frozen roadside trees’ or ‘the sound of a mail echoed from the pocket’, which are realities everyone would know, so I thought maybe I should put my own feelings into the song.

Ogura: As for me, when I sing “Orion~”, it makes me feel a bit strange. I could imagine a scene of a picture book inside my head. And when the heroine on the book feels a bit sad and walk in-between ‘the frozen roadside trees’, this song is like a heaven-sent music, something like that. From above or beside her, it’s a bit vague, but I feel like I’m singing this song near the heroine.

──On one side, you were singing it as a heroine, and on the other side you became a specific character, it’s unclear, but in fact you sang it while committing to the world of the song, like that?

Ogura: Somehow it turned out really different (laughs).

Ishihara: Right! Even though I thought that Yui-chan would also sing with the same feelings (laughs).

Ogura: But we tuned in (laughs).

──That’s right. Because the chorus work of this song also becomes an important point.

Ogura: Because we are often told “you resemble each other” about our appearance and personality, we resemble each other but we’re actually really different.

Ishihara: Like when we are singing, our way of thinking about the scene we visualize is different.

Ogura: Although we’re out of sync, for example with Kaori-chan’s way to bulge and my way to feel down, it feels good. When we go through it, we are perfectly in sync. I think because YuiKaori is that kind of existence, that’s why we can perfectly sync our voices, too.

YuiKaori’s Target For 2015

──Going backwards on our topic, but just as written on “NEO SIGNALIFE” about “I know TARGET” which you sang, what kind of “target” will you aim for in 2015?photo03

Ishihara: I wonder what we should aim for. (laughs)

Ogura: Right? (laughs) But, I think that how we can finally say the things we are thinking of is also one of them, and since our activity as YuiKaori 5 years ago, I feel like we finally know what we should do or what we want to do.

Ishihara: Yeah. But something like the trend of the time, the things I should do or the things I want to do will sometimes change depends on the circumstances, so I can’t say something like now “I will aim for this”, “I will be heading to this” specifically, and I really can’t imagine of what kind of existence I will be, but I do think of how I want to extend my outlook. If I have a wider outlook, I can have various patterns of ideas. Even though the circumstance is changing, I can’t do anything because I’m being tied by the stereotype; I think something like that should be gone.

Ogura: Then, taking that something which sometimes will happen into account, I hope that we could find a ‘target’ we could aim for that time. For the sake of that, choosing the song, the live, the talk, and also something I can do now, I hope I can do all of them. With that, we could think “This time we could do this, that’s why next time we can also do this and that” and the range of the places we can aim for and head for will also be widened.

Translations: Orihara Rurei
Translate Check/Proofreading: Satsunyan
Source and Photos: Natalie Power Push

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