YOLO, YOLO A Pirate’s Life for Me
Chanty first sailed into the Tokyo visual kei scene late last summer, when they shocked us with their hilariously imposturous introduction profiles. But we soon found out that Chanty were anything but imposturous. In just under a year they have pierced our hearts with their light, catchy melodies and left us wanting more.
Shattered-Tranquility.net got the opportunity to chat with Chanty just before the release of their third single, “Mabayui Hikari,” which just came out on July 2nd. Read on if you’d like to discover the YOLO pirate spirit of this fresh new band, as well as learn about their upcoming plans for summer and beyond.
Translation: Shannon, Yayoi
Photographs courtesy Chanty
Not for republication.
―Since this is the first time we’ve interviewed Chanty, can each of you please tell us your name and what part you play?
Chitose: I’m Chitose on guitar.
Shia: I’m Shia on guitar.
Naruto: I’m Naruto, the drummer.
Akuta: I’m Akuta on vocals.
Taku: I’m Taku on bass.
―To begin, how did the members of Chanty meet and form the band?
Taku: The band started with Akuta, and all of the members gathered together from there. First—
Akuta: We probably shouldn’t drag it out.
Akuta: Starting with me, I met Taku. Taku met Chitose. Chitose met Shia.
―Then you became 5 members when Naruto joined, right? So what do you think is Chanty’s most defining trait? What’s Chanty’s concept?
Akuta: Our concept is “piercing.” “Piercing music” (stabbing gesture).
Akuta: Music that somehow pierces your heart. Our lives get pretty crazy; in Japanese we call it kire kire (stabbing).
―What is the origin of your band name, Chanty?
Everyone: Louder! Say it! (laugh)
Shia: A chanty is—I don’t know in Japanese if it’s the boatmen of a boat, or the captain, or the passengers, or the crew, or pirates (laugh)… who sing them on a boat—but it’s a rhythmical kind of working song.
Akuta: It’s a song pirates sing to get their spirits up. It’s representative of Chanty in the sense that it says “Everybody get up and go!”
―When I first heard your band name, the word “oshantii*” came to mind.
Akuta: We’re that too.
* “Oshantii” means the same as “oshare,” or, “stylish.”
―When the band first formed, the profile pictures on your homepage weren’t of the band members, but of DJ Yonkhon. What made you decide to use that picture?
Akuta: He’s a friend of a friend (laugh).
―Our readers were really surprised. It went over rather well, though.
Akuta: It didn’t go over well (laugh).
―Oh, really! Our readers thought it was funny. It wasn’t well-received in Japan, though?
Akuta: Maybe it was meant for overseas fans (laugh).
Chitose: It didn’t go over well.
―It’s been almost a year since Chanty started activities. You’ve accomplished a lot, but what has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
Taku: In my opinion, being able to do this kind of interview.
Chitose: Correct! Correct!
―So, entering your second year, what kinds of things do you want to accomplish?
Taku: Having another interview! (laugh)
Akuta: This is the second time you said it (laugh).
Naruto: So fast! (laugh)
Akuta: As long as we have a lot of people supporting us, we can do anything!
Taku: Whatever we want! Like playing a live in America?
―That’d be wonderful! Speaking of lives, you have a lot planned, but you’re having your first anniversary one-man on September 16th. What kind of performance can we expect?
Akuta: There will be a lot of exciting things packed into it, like a Disneyland kind of feeling. Like a show you never get tired of.
―Well, a first anniversary calls for a special performance, right?
Akuta: There are still a lot of things about it that we have to keep secret, but it’ll be a show that you don’t see bands usually do.
―Turning to your single, your third single Mabayui Hikari is being released shortly on July 2nd. The name of the single doesn’t match any of the tracks, so how does this name encompass the meaning of the tracks included?
Akuta: To sum up our previous works, we started by making songs that would express Chanty’s desires. But this time, we went with a completely opposite theme. Like [the title] Mabayui Hikari implies, we collected together all of our songs about dazzling, overflowing light, being embraced by that brightness. That’s how we decided on the title.
―I see. The songs are very soft and give off an authentic, Chanty-like feeling, but compared to your previous works, how did you compose this single lyrics-wise or music-wise? Was it different than usual?
Chitose: This time, I made it while discussing it with Akuta. It wasn’t just my style, but also mixed in with Akuta’s ideas, and I think that a lot of the melodies turned out differently than usual.
Akuta: Yes, like he said, this was a radically different theme than our second single. However, we didn’t want people to think this is purely the bright side of Chanty, so we decided to do everything we could to spice it up with our Chanty-like poison.
―So this time it was mostly the two of you who wrote the songs?
Akuta: There are songs that Chitose brings in and ones that I bring in. But we make a lot of songs together, too! We think it’s important for us to balance our styles. I’ve been at Chitose’s place for how many months now? Seven? Six? Five? Five months.
Akuta: Seriously! Yeah, that was how we made it.
―As for the lyrics, do you write a lot of them from personal experience?
Akuta: There are a lot of songs based on personal experience, but Chanty is more about fantasies and words inspired by my own ideals. So rather than personal experience, it’s more about how I want to be, the kinds of things I want to experience, the kinds of things that make me angry – the things that I want to show to everyone.
―Like the feeling of being in a dream?
Akuta: Yeah, like you’re having a dream. I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer, but compared to previous works this one feels particularly fun and bright and imaginative.
―I see. Please tell us what each of you would like fans to listen for on the new single.
Chitose: What I want them to listen for? Um…there are just so many…oh! The guitar! The twin guitars!
Chitose: Because I’m a guitarist!The special twin guitar sound that only Chanty has.
―Is this the first time you two have really used twin guitars as Chanty?
Akuta: Yes, the two of them were in different bands before.
Shia: Hm, what I want them to listen for… Um… Twin guitar! (laugh)
Akuta: Think of something on your own!
Shia: Alright then, [I guess that] the lyrics are all dirty (laugh).
Shia: I’d really like people to listen for that.
Akuta: Yeah. “Yannacchau” is actually a really erotic song, so that’s close.
Naruto: [I want people to listen to] the lyrics and the melody. They’re rhythmical, easy-to-hum melodies that will get stuck in your head. If you listen for its catchiness, you’ll understand what Chanty’s all about.
Taku: What I want people to listen to is the vocals. I’m not a vocalist, but I want you to listen to the vocals. Akuta’s voice is really great, so I want you to listen to that.
Chitose: Akuta, aren’t you going to add anything?
Akuta: I was going to say something but I forgot what it was. I was so nervous that it just flew away. Um…what was it…listen to my amazing songs.
Akuta: Spiderman. My amazing voice. My voice that overflows with light and hopes and opens up the future. Basically, what Chanty is all about is taking once-in-a-lifetime chances, and we’ve met a lot of people and grown a lot up until now, so it’s a true case of YOLO!
Chanty: YOLO! YOLO!
―YOLO! You just sounded really American (laugh).
Chitose: She got it!
Akuta: Along with that, we also really just want to become closer to everyone.
Chitose: YOLO! YOLO!
―Sounds like true YOLO-thinking to me.
Akuta: That kind of thinking is at the very core of Chanty. So listen to our songs and take a ride on our boat!
―That’s great! Returning to the single, is the ship/boat depicted on the jacket cover meant to be symbolic of the meaning of “Chanty” as you described before?
Akuta: Well, the design was done by Shia, who also has that sort of YOLO pioneer personality.
―Oh, Shia drew the cover?
Akuta: He didn’t draw it, but he came up with the design idea.
Shia: Right, the kind of setting we wanted the picture to be in. Up until now we’ve been a pure white Chanty—well, in the 3 works we’ve released so far—but this symbolizes the end of a pure white Chanty…it’s more summer-like and refreshing. We’re sketching and adding colors to the white canvas of Chanty from here on out. Thinking of a very Chanty-like image is how we decided on the jacket.
―Speaking of pure white, your costumes are also pure white, right? What kind of concept did you aim for when making costumes this time?
Naruto: We decided on white as a theme [from the beginning], and for our third costume, we also decided to keep it white. But this time we also wanted to depict a sort of warmth without being too nature-themed. We wanted to use a different kind of white than before, and in the end–it’s not like we decided to go along with it because of the title Mabayui Hikari, but…how should I say it, like a natural shining light…sort of.
Shia: Just say mori girl, mori girl*!
Akuta: The Japanese fashion style mori girl.
Naruto: Like you’re floating on dazzling light.
Akuta: We’re like a band of fairies.
* “Mori girl,” or “Forest girl,” is a kind of Japanese street fashion.
―Fairies? Like magic?
Akuta: Like we can use magic.
Naruto: Like Aladdin?
Akuta: No, not like Aladdin (laughs) Like we’re floating on magic. Chanty isn’t gaudy or in-your-face like other bands. Chanty is airy and light (cloud-like gestures).
―So you guys are fairy pirates then?
Akuta: Yep, we’re fairy pirates (laugh).
―Do you have any plans to make a PV for Mabayui Hikari?
Akuta: Well, about that…
Taku: About that!
Akuta: We’re making one now! We’re in disagreement! (laugh)
Taku: We’re making a PV, but there are some complications (laugh).
Akuta: After just a little while longer, we can show it to everyone.
Taku: After just one more dispute, we’ll let you know if we can or can’t show it (laugh).
―We’ll be looking forward to it. The first song, Flight, is featured as the opening theme to the smart phone game, “Prison Prince: Nigete, Kakurete, Koi wo shite.” How did this collaboration come about?
Chitose: The director of the game really likes Chanty.
Akuta: The creators said it would be disappointing if the theme wasn’t done by Chanty. They would throw a fit if it wasn’t Chanty doing the theme. That’s how it started; they asked if there was any way Chanty could do it, and we held a meeting, and then they came to talk to us about it.
Shia: We made a lot of money off of it.
Akuta & Taku: Don’t say that! (laugh)
Akuta: We didn’t really make a lot of money from it (laugh). But when they asked us for the favor, we thought that’s what would happen, right?
Akuta: So they said please, as soon as you can, make Flight for us!
―Prison Prince is an otome game* I’m sure you guys don’t play those, but–
Akuta: (raises his hand) I do!
* “Otome games” are dating sims intended for girls
Akuta: I like otome games.
―Which ones do you like?
Akuta: They’re really old, but I like Mukashi Tokimeki Memorial and True Love Story. Have you heard of them?
Naruto: I have.
Shia: What’s that?
Akuta: I really tried hard at those games. I like otome games.
―So you’re a maiden at heart?
Akuta: I am. I have a feminine side.
―You understand a woman’s heart.
Akuta: …Let’s move on to the next question (laugh).
―Then, are there any members who like games besides otome games? What are you into recently?
Shia: Disney’s Tsumutsumu. I love Disney!
Naruto: Final Fantasy.
Taku: I like online games like Monster Hunter.
―There are a lot of people into Monster Hunter now.
Taku: Yeah, I spend a lot of money on it.
―Turning back to the single, it brings back a lot of summery memories like festivals and fireworks. Can you tell us about a special summer memory you have?
Akuta: Summer memories, huh? Well, I didn’t date anyone until I was twenty (laugh). So… No, it’s common knowledge. Really. So for this song, I didn’t really have a lot of real summertime memories, so it’s a song I wrote about what kind of love I’d like to have [in the summer].
―You’re referring to Yannacchau?
Akuta: Yes, that song. It’s something I would really like to experience from either the boy’s or the girl’s perspective in the song– like my ideal summer. I’d like to make some summer memories like these lyrics!
Taku: I’ve hated summer since I was little. I don’t leave the house.
―It’s hot, that’s understandable.
Taku: Yeah, but I’m like that all year round (laugh). I don’t like going out.
Chitose: Well, whenever I went to summer festivals, especially when I was in high school, I always ended up in fights with yankii* so I decided to not go very often.
Taku: [in English] Fucking guys (laugh).
Chitose: Yeah, fucking guys (laugh). I get caught up in fights with yankii (laugh). Little gangs pestering me for money (laugh).
Taku: In the slum part of the city.
Akuta: In Chiba city.
Chitose: Haha, that’s the easiest spot to run into them. And I ran into them a lot because of the way I used to dress.
* “Yankii” are Japanese punks
―Well, besides special summer memories, are there any foods you like to eat or things you like to do during the summer?
Shia: Hmm, things I like to eat in summer… Ironically, I like to eat hot foods in summer.
―Really? Like what?
Shia: Nabe. When it’s hot, I like to do things to make me even hotter and sweat like a masochist.
―So are you the type that likes to go to hot springs in the summer?
Akuta: Hot springs feel great in the summer.
―Wow. That must be really hot.
Akuta: He’s a hot guy.
―Is there anything else you like to do in the summer?
Naruto: I eat watermelon every year. I chomp it down, seeds and all.
Akuta: What, really? You eat it all?
Naruto: Like omnomnomnom.
Shia: You’ll get appendicitis.
Shia: That’s what I’ve heard.
Akuta: Yeah, I’ve heard that if you eat watermelon with the seeds in it, you’ll get appendicitis.
―So this year you’re hosting your homemade series of lives, right? At your Tanabata show on July 6th at Ikebukuro EDGE, do you have any summer-like plans in mind? Like wearing yukata or…?
Akuta: We’ll be wearing yukata at the in-store event before it. We’re still planning for that show. But right now I’m wondering if I’m allowed to bring bamboo or bamboo leaves into the live house. I want everyone to write their wishes.
* Note: On Tanabata (July 7th) it’s traditional to write down your wish on a special piece of paper and tie it to a bamboo branch.
―If everyone could write their wishes that would make for a really memorable show.
Akuta: Wouldn’t it? But I might get in trouble for taking bamboo from groves or private property (laugh). so I need to figure out where to get some.
―We’re looking forward to it. Speaking of Tanabata, what do you think you’ll wish for this year?
Akuta: To get an American girlfriend!
Chitose: To play a show in America!
Taku: To have another interview this year.
Naruto: I want to go to America.
―Is America the country you want to go to the most?
Naruto: [I want to go] to Las Vegas!
Taku: I want to go to Las Vegas, too.
―You’ll lose all of your money in Vegas. (laugh)
Taku: I want to do it!
Shia: (raises his hand)
―What’s your wish?
Shia: In America, when people hear the words “Japanese band,” I want Chanty to be the first band that comes to their mind.
Akuta: That’s a really good one!
Shia: But first we need to play a show there (laugh).
―Lastly, can you give a message to your fans and all of the readers at Shattered Tranquility.net?
Akuta: For us to cross the sea, we need everyone’s power. We want to make it overseas within the year. So, we hope to see you soon!
Shia: [in English] I need you!
Akuta: Yes. “I need you.” And Chanty, with our YOLO spirit, are always thinking of you.
We’re always by your side!
Naruto: We’ll definitely make it over there.
Chanty attended their July 5th in-store event clad in yukata, and many fans matched their attire for both the event and the July 6th live. The live was also Tanabata-themed, with fans writing their wishes on strips of paper to attach to a tree in the lobby of the live house. After the live, the band personally saw fans off on the way out instead of performing an encore.
Stay tuned for to see what the future holds for this bright, piratey band — and be sure to follow @Chanty_Akuta, @Chanty_Chitose, @Chanty_Shia, @Chanty_Taku, and @Chanty_Naruto on Twitter for the latest updates straight from the band.