Natalie [Power Push]: YuiKaori – “Bright Canary” Interview

This is the first part in our 3-part anniversary releases for January! Please stay tuned to parts 2 and 3 in the upcoming weeks!

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YuiKaori’s new album “Bright Canary” has been released.


YuiKaori’s 3rd album “Bright Canary”, according to Ogura Yui and Ishihara Kaori, is a workpiece that means To fly as high as a canary, for a brighter future. This album includes their summer 2014 guitar-rock song “Intro Situation,”, their January 2015 single “NEO SIGNALIFE,” that tells a strong message from its lyrics. An album with various songs worthy to be called a “next project” after their 1st album, Puppy and their 2nd album, Bunny. So how did they sing these new pieces that they called “YuiKaori’s Brand New Tunes?” We asked them about it.

Interview──Text / Narimatsu Tetsu

Running on the ground, jumping from the ground, and then flying into the sky.

──The first album title which released in 2011 was “Puppy”, which means a small dog and the 2nd album which released in 2013 titled “Bunny” = rabbit. And this time’s album is “Bright Canary”, it’s a canary.


Ogura Yui: We started from the image of puppies running around, and next was rabbits. It had the image of rabbits hopping around, so we came into discussions such as “What should we do next?” or “We want to fly even more, right?” and then, we came up to “Canaries are the birds with beautiful voices, isn’t it a perfect image for us?” thus, we put “Canary” on the title.


──But this time, you put “Bright” before it.



Ogura:  You’re right, if you came with “Puppy” and “Bunny”, of course it should be “Canary”, but…


──The euphony of “Puppy”, “Bunny”, and “Canary” also sounds nice, after all (laughs).


Ogura:  It’s just as you said (laughs) but now that both of us turned into our twenties, we had a concept of challenging things we haven’t tried until now, so while also following the flow up, we decided to add something new.


Ishihara Kaori: So we added “Bright”, to mean a promising future.


──After that, you selected the songs which are worth to be featured in “Bright Canary”?


Ishihara:  No, we didn’t. The songs selection and the title creation went together, right?



Ogura: Yes. Instead of us hearing everything first to choose, it was the Staff who chose them for us with the theme “YuiKaori’s Brand New Tunes” in mind. We were allowed to listen to the demo songs since all of them were fit into the theme; songs we’ve never had up to now, then we thought “Let’s add something else for ‘Canary.’” Just as what Carrie-san (Ishihara) said, the songs selection and the title creation progressed together.


The symbol of the evolving YuiKaori = “Baisoku∞Love Straight”

──And then you lined up “YuiKaori’s Brand New Tunes” that evolved from your guitar rock summer single “Intro Situation” from last year, and this year’s summer single “Ring Ring Rainbow!!”


Ishihara: However, I was a bit anxious even since we started to make this album. We’ve been making this album with hope that everyone would see YuiKaori’s growth, which is different with the one they know in mind, but every time we record the new songs and received the completed songs, I started to feel like “Will it be okay?” or “Will everyone accept it?”… But because it’s an album, when you listen to it together with the songs from the singles, you could really feel our progress, or rather, it properly becomes a YuiKaori song, so to be honest, I felt a bit relieved (laughs).


Ogura: Ever since I got the demo songs, I also felt really anxious before listening to the completed songs, like “Will this song represent YuiKaori properly?”, but now that the satisfaction is bigger, I thought “Were we able to express a new thing which only our current self could do?”


──Certainly, you could say that even from the 1st song “Baisoku∞Love Straight”, you can feel the new representation, or rather, I was surprised by it. With the recent 4/4-beat dance rock, you only did extensive word plays. The things happened in the lyrics, such as getting late, forgetting things, sitting beside the boy you like during class in campus, being without no make-up, only that. No narratives and plots at all (laughs).

OguraIshihara: Ahahahaha (laughs).


Ogura: But I thought that this song is the proof of the evolution of YuiKaori’s songs. Even while we have rock as the base, the way we play with the Chinese-like melody and ethnic melody popped on the way of the song is also new, but we also have “PUPPY LOVE!!” which was included in “Puppy”…


Ishihara: Or the song from a single that’s also in this album, “LUCKY DUCKY!!”…


Ogura: To some extent, we could say that this song is similar to our previous slapstick songs where we chattered and did word plays along the rhythm. For example, the part where we chase each other’s lines is certainly from “PUPPY LOVE!!”, I was surprised by the sound, but then it made me think “The slapstick, chatter song has finally come after a while, huh”.


Ishihara: Yeah. Even though we have something new, we also have the same things as before. Now that we have both sides, we were able to make this song our own song, it’s a great thing for YuiKaori, or so I thought.


Ogura Yui & Ishihara Kaori, thinking about their friendship once again

──Just as Ishihara-san said before, the new songs for this album actually have the roots from your previous discography. Starting from “Baisoku∞Love Straight” which has the strong novelty feels, to “Ring Ring Rainbow!!” which is about your relationships and determination towards the fans, it linked smoothly, and later on, and it continues to the lead track “Canaria”.


Ogura: This song is embarrassing!


──While the strings dramatically resounds, the two canary birds = the singing birds, in other words, it’s a song where you gently sing about your friendship, isn’t it? (laughs).


Ogura: Up until now, we didn’t have any songs where we need to sing in our own world, so I was surprised by it, and got a bit embarrassed. During the recording, I sang this song while imagining about my friends from school, the fans, or the friends of the fans. Because I thought “If I only think about Carrie-san while singing it, it’ll be very embarrassing, you know?” (laughs).


Ishihara: Ahahahaha (laughs). I also didn’t only think about myself when I sang it. If I sing it with only about Yui-chan and I in mind, I feel that this song would be a really personal song, which nobody could empathize it.


Ogura: Right? I might exaggerate it if I say that “We’ve been together in joys and sorrows” until we became the YuiKaori we are now, and were able to release three albums like this, but it’s a fact that many things had happened, and we reached up into our relationship like now. Once, I tried to put these feelings that sometimes appears inside of me into my singing, but if I imagine our episodes specifically, just as Carrie-san tried to explain, I thought that it’d be a world of a song where no one could get in to.


Ishihara: Though the reason why we didn’t stand close only to ourselves, it’s just as Yui-chan said before, because it’s embarrassing (laughs).


“Ishihara-san, you’re so easy to please.” “This, this isn’t me!!”

──Certainly, for you who have been together since middle school, and has already turned into adults now, you need some courage to confirm about your friendship and how deep your relationship is, right?


Ishihara: I’ll change the topic for a bit, but until recently, I couldn’t really grasp how to use the word “nikoichi”.


──With the meaning of ‘to combine the working parts of two or more broken machines to make one functioning machine’, it also means “We’re tied with a strong friendship like two people becoming one” wait, huh?


Ishihara: That’s right. My relationship with Yui-chan is something that’s beyond that word. I think it’s because I have this relationship with her that doesn’t need the label ‘friendship,’ anymore.


Ogura: Even without confirming it with words, Carrie-san being on my side, her existence has already become obvious, and we know about each other too much that I would think “Has she seen through me?” (laughs).


Ishihara: That’s why when we got the lyrics for “Canaria,” I felt that I’ve been seen through (laughs).


Ogura: But that’s why, there’s a meaning of why we need to sing and confirm our friendship and relationship now. I think that it’s only our current self who could sing out about how deep the relationship we’ve built and the friendship that one could feel because of the time that passed, from then until now.


──Not only that, your annual solo songs for YuiKaori’s albums are also recorded here. But they’re the opposite of the solo songs on “Puppy” and “Bunny”. Up until now, Ogura-san got the electric song, while Ishihara-san got to sing the guitar song, but…


Ogura: Ah, you’re right! (laughs)


Ishihara: I didn’t realize it at all! (laughs)


──Hahahaha (laughs). And then, on the electric dance music “Telephone Call” which Ishihara-san sings, there is this lyrics “Even though you coldly deal with me with ‘I’m busy’ or ‘I can’t’, but sometimes you come to me to be spoiled, that part of you is incredibly lovely”. If I should say it, Ishihara-san, you’re easy to please (laughs).


Ishihara: This main character isn’t me! (laughs)


Ogura: Ahahahaha (laughs).


The song I need to sing, and the song which is strange yet interesting

──So, is this main heroine, easy to sing?


Ishihara: It’s the type I haven’t able to get to sing up until now, so it was fun. You could say that singing while acting is interesting. But, this girl’s feelings, as Ishihara Kaori personally, I couldn’t understand her (laughs).


──You also said “What do you mean by ‘but sometimes you come to me to be spoiled, that part of you is incredibly lovely’!?” (laughs).

Ishihara: That’s why, contrarily, I was able to sing it fairly. If I were this kind of type,I think it’ll be the same with when I got “Canaria” lyrics, that it felt like I’ve been seen through and get embarrassed by it, but I was able to sing it in a different feeling from my own, I think it’s because of that I’m also working as a voice actor. Not only that, the songs I usually listen to are mostly dance music. I’ve been thinking of wanting to sing this kind of song for my solo, so I was really happy that it’s finally granted.


──On the other hand, Ogura-san’s solo song is “Liar Sheep”.


Ogura: I was worried about “How far I’d be immersed into this song’s world?” just before the recording…No, actually it’s until we were recording this song. It’s also because the key for this song is originally a bit high, and has a bit of a float-y feeling. I thought about it a lot, of how should I sing with a bit of soft vocal but with lyrics that has a strong message.


──It’s a bit of an ironic song where you need to act as “The boy who turns fresco”, “The boy who turns the globe”, “The old man who turns the clock”, they’re strange characters; you need to sing about the transition of time, and about no matter how many time has passed, there are people’s actions and ridiculous things which wouldn’t change, after all.


Ogura: So, I tried out various ways to sing it, but the finalization was in the condition where the key had been lowered to a half tone, so if I sing it with the current key, it’ll be a rock number which I could send the message properly; but the soft part from the original arrangement isn’t completely deleted. It became a song that can hype with the listener during a live, also a song which you could enjoy while wearing a headphone by yourself. I think it became a song that is strange yet interesting.


Although it’s embarrassing, we tried to act cool to aim for the “New World”

──Next, your song “New World” with an emo-loud type of tough sound with lyrics such as “I’ve been forgetting about important things, counting the stars, to keep running away, but I swore to myself”, “To only look ahead and cut through into my only future”, it’s a song with a strong message.


Ogura: The first time I listened to the demo song, I thought that “It’s really cool!” But after that I realized something, “By the way, this song, we’ll be the one who will sing it, right?”…


──Something like “Ah, it’s not good if only I enjoyed listening to it!” (laughs).


Ogura: Exactly (laughs). I’d say, that this song is a piece which you need to act cool to send the message, isn’t it? That’s why we need to act cool to sing it, and it’d be meaningless if it obviously sounds like “Somehow YuiKaori is acting cool”, I grabbed my head for a while because of that.


──You could finally find a cool voice style, while still being yourself, couldn’t you, Ogura-san? 


Ogura: But we have the adlib-like singing parts like “Oh no…” and “Oh, oh” in-between the verse and the bridge, I felt how interested I was during the beginning of the recording, who tried to act cool and sing the “Oh no…” and “Oh, oh” parts (laughs).


Ishihara: Ahahahaha (laughs).


──That “Oh no…” and “Oh, oh” were also cool, you know?

Ogura: In the end, I felt that I could properly act cool and sing the “Oh, oh”, but the first “Oh, oh” was really a hurdle (laughs). It’s a phrase that doesn’t usually come out from our songs after all.


Ishihara: Ah, but I think it’s the opposite for me. Because it’s the type of song that YuiKaori hasn’t been able to sing up until now, so it might be misleading, but it was near to when I sing my favorite musician’s songs at the karaoke, or something like that. While thinking of “It’s a bit difficult, but it’s a cool song~”, I was able to have fun by acting cool and singing it, and I was able to say “Oh, oh” in a high spirit (laughs). And maybe this isn’t a strong word so far, because recently we have sung “From now on, too, we’ll go forward together with everyone” in “NEO SIGNALIFE” and “Ring Ring Rainbow!!”


Ogura: That’s right. That’s why in the end we were able to sing the “Oh, oh” part.


The album making that didn’t end at the finale

──Amongst the new songs, was “New World” the most troubling song to record?


Ogura: No, it’s the last song “Billion-Carat”, isn’t it?


Ishihara: Yeah.


──Certainly, it’s not a “J-POP that adopted Electro Dance Music’s technique” or “Dubstep-like J-POP ”, nor the cool dance music; it has intense Electro Dance Music-feels, which actually is real Dubstep. I was surprised that you put this song as the last song of the album.

Ishihara: It’s not where we sing a YuiKaori-like song which everyone might think of and it goes into a “happy end”, but rather even we were surprised by how we needed more challenges for a new thing (laughs).


──Not only that, the title is “Juu-oku (Billion) Carat”, and the lyrics are declaring things such as “One day of the Billionaire heart” and “Hey, Be a Bright GEM!”, you put a blast to the listeners, which are the “jewelries”.


Ogura: I feel that I’ve been saying the same thing for quite a while, but this demo song particularly had an impact (laughs). The lyrics, title, and also the sound. “Billion-Carat” is obviously a title for a dance music, but the rules of the rhythm is different with all of the dance music songs we’ve been dancing and singing up until now.


──Electric Dance Music (or EDM) means to reach the peak. Because it keeps the rhythm on the surface of the beat, so the manner of the rhythm is different with Hip Hop, Jazz, and House music which engraves the beat, isn’t it?


Ogura: That’s why I thought something such as “I wonder where should we put a step forward to take into the rhythm?”


When our voices overlaps, I suddenly can see clearly before me.

──How did you settle it?


Ogura: It’ll be an abstract explanation though, but we tried to search something like the link between the cool part which could show how YuiKaori is, and the cool part which this song has. At first we snuggled up to this sound, we sang it in quite a serious way, but somehow it didn’t feel right.


Ishihara: I think I’ve already talked about it, but with our characters, we couldn’t show “The sexy older women who runs a club” (laughs). (Reference: YuiKaori “NEO SIGNALIFE” Interview).


Ogura: That’s why I tried a lot of trials and errors, but when I tried to change it into “Let’s genuinely enjoy this new rhythm a bit, like kids”, my impression of the song suddenly changed by itself, and I was able to sing it into a YuiKaori-like EDM very smoothly.


Ishihara: Thus, because Yui-chan has finally found her way to ‘YuiKaori-like “Billion-Carat”’, it made me a bit at ease (laughs).


──You felt at ease?


Ishihara: As for me, I kept thinking about how to show the cool YuiKaori-like way, I was really troubled by it, but it was Yui-chan who did the recording first. At the chorus, there’s a part where I need to sing in unison with Yui-chan, but when I heard Yui-chan’s voice that was recorded first, it made me think “Ah, it’s okay to sing just like I thought” and “So it’s okay with the cool YuiKaori-like I’ve thought of”. It’s not like we talked about “Let’s sing it like this, okay?”, but the way we think of it was the same. That’s why, the moment our voices are mixed together, I felt that I was able to see clearly before me.


──It’s not about the friendship we’re talking about before, but you really are able to communicate with each other spiritually, aren’t you? You also previously said “You don’t know why, but you know everything about Ogura-san” after all (Reference: YuiKaori “Ring Ring Rainbow!!” Interview).


Ishihara: Ahahahaha (laughs). The me at that time, I was close to not saying anything, wasn’t I? I really don’t know why, but I know if it’s about Yui-chan.


Ogura: For me as well, to know something such as “If it’s Carrie-san, I bet she would sing like this” or “I bet she would act like this” is a normal thing, when you said something like “you can communicate with each other spiritually”, in contrary, it made me surprised. But even though we were able to try a lot of new things for this album, it still ended up being a YuiKaori-like work; I guess it’s because we’re in unison, or so I thought.

Translations: Rurei
TLC/QC: Satsunyan
Source: Natalie PowerPush

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