Chai (band)

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Chai
Chai (2019). From left to right: Yuuki, Mana, Kana, Yuna.
Chai (2019). From left to right: Yuuki, Mana, Kana, Yuna.
Background information
OriginNagoya, Japan
Genres
Years active2012—present
LabelsOtemoyan, Sony Music, Burger, Heavenly, Sub Pop
Websitechai-band.com
MembersMana, Kana, Yuuki, Yuna

Chai are a Japanese rock band from Nagoya. The group consists of four women—Mana, Kana, Yuuki and Yuna. Formed in 2012, the band released their debut studio album Pink in 2017.

Biography[edit]

Chai was formed in 2012 in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, by twin sisters Mana and Kana, alongside Yuna and Yuuki.[4] Mana, Kana, and Yuna are all from Nagoya, and were in the same class at high school.[5] The three were members of the light music club at their high school, performing covers of musicians such as Tokyo Jihen and Aiko.[6] Yuna introduced the other band members to Japanese music that did not easily fit into the traditional definition of "J-Pop", such as the band Cero or Kimyō Reitaro.[6]

After the members graduated and went to university, Mana became friends with Yuuki (originally from Gifu Prefecture, who had moved to Nagoya), and asked the four friends to form a band.[5][7] The band's name comes from Russian tea (known as chai). Kana drank the tea with jam with her Russian literature professor at a Russian restaurant, which she thought was cute.[8]

At first, Chai performed mostly around Aichi Prefecture, but eventually moved to playing venues around Tokyo.[9] The band started releasing singles independently in 2013, and held a tour of central Japan in the summer holidays.[10] Their first large concert was performed at Zepp Nagoya, when the band were finalists in a college band competition.[10]

The band's debut extended play Hottaraka Series was released in August 2015, exclusively at digital retailer Ototoy and as a tour exclusive CD.[11][12] In August 2016, the EP was released to streaming services globally, with the song "Gyaranboo" reaching number 36 on Spotify's UK top 50 chart.[13]

The band moved to Tokyo in 2016 in order to focus on becoming full-time musicians.[6] In October, Chai was signed to Sony Music Japan after winning a competition in order to find acts to perform at Japan Nite at the SXSW festival in Austin.[14] In December, Hottaraka Series was given a nationwide release.[15] After their US SXSW tour in March 2017,[16] the band released their second EP, Homegoro Series,[17] distributed through Otemoyan Record, a record label imprint founded by Chai.[18]

Chai released their debut studio album Pink in October 2017, reaching number 41 on Oricon's albums chart[19] (the fourth highest selling independent release on the week).[20] Pink was well received by critics, being chosen as one of the 10 finalists at the 2018 CD Shop Awards by record store staff from across Japan.[21] In February, Pink was given a US release by Burger Records, who signed Chai after being impressed by their music video for "Boyz Seco Men".[22]

Chai had decided from very early in their careers to pursue music globally, and they considered it strange that many Japanese musical acts only focused on selling music domestically.[23] The band completed their second tour of the US in March.[20] In the UK, Chai was signed to Heavenly Recordings, and toured the country in October as a support act for Superorganism.[24] In February 2019, the band released their second studio album, Punk.

The band was signed to US indie label Sub Pop in October 2020.[25] In 2020, Chai collaborated with Gorillaz and JPEGMafia on "MLS," a track on the Gorillaz album Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.

Artistry and influences[edit]

Chai performing at the Treefort Music Fest (2019).

Mana is the primary vocalist for the group, while the other members sing back up vocals.[4] Mana plays the keyboards, Kana the guitar, while Yuna and Yuuki are the band's drummer and bassist respectively.[4] For most songs, Mana and Kana compose the songs together using the voice memo app on their phones, while Mana sings and Kana composes on the guitar.[26] Yuuki writes the lyrics, and all members create the arrangements for each song.[2]

The band describes themselves as a new exciting onna-band (ニュー・エキサイト・オンナバンド, "new exciting woman band") or "NEO".[5] They aim to redefine the definition of kawaii ("cute") as "neo kawaii",[4] feeling that everyone around them was striving for a narrow definition of cute.[6] They believe that everyone is cute in their own way, and wanted to express this through their music.[8] As a theme of the band, the members of Chai decided to wear pink. They felt that actively choosing to do this was liberating, as they did not believe that the color suited them naturally.[27][23] The band uses psychological complexes as inspiration for their music.[6]

Japanese band Tokyo Jihen's Variety (2007) was an early influence for their music, inspiring them to make sure that every song on a release is distinct.[28] The band lists Basement Jaxx, Jamiroquai, Gorillaz, and CSS as some of their major influences.[29] On Pink, Chai drew influence from The Chemical Brothers, and electronic groups such as Chvrches and Justice.[27] Yuna was inspired to become a drummer by Katchan from the Okinawan pop/rap group Orange Range.[6]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak positions
JPN
Oricon

[19]
JPN
Billboard

[A]
Pink 41 45
Punk
  • Released: February 13, 2019
  • Label: Otemoyan Record, Burger Records, Heavenly Recordings
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP, cassette, streaming
50 72
Wink
  • Released: May 21, 2021[33]
  • Label: Sub Pop, Otemoyan Record
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP, cassette, streaming
TBA TBA

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak positions
JPN
Oricon

[19]
JPN
Billboard

[A]
Hottaraka Series (ほったらかシリーズ, "Irresponsible Series")
  • Released: August 22, 2015[11]
  • Label: You Peace, Grand Pacific Work
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Homegoro Series (ほめごろシリーズ, "Backhanded Compliment Series")
  • Released: April 26, 2017
  • Label: Otemoyan Record
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Wagama-mania (わがまマニア, "Selfish Mania")
  • Released: May 9, 2018
  • Label: Otemoyan Record, Burger Records[34]
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP, cassette, streaming
33 43
"—" denotes items which were ineligible to chart.

Singles[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
JPN
Oricon
[19]
"Chai"[10] 2013 Non-album singles
"Kōsui (My Name Is Chai)" (香水〜My name is CHAI〜, "Perfume")[10]
"Chūburarin" (ちゅーぶらりん, "Dangling")[35] 2014
"Sound & Stomach"[13] 2017 Homegoro Series
"Boyz Seco Men" (ボーイズ・セコ・メン)[13]
"N.E.O."[36] 135 Pink
"Sayonara Complex"[36]
"Great Job"[37] 2018 62 Punk
"Wintime" (ウィンタイム)[37]
"Choose Go!"[38] 2019 126
"Future" (フューチャー)[38] Wagama-mania / Punk
"No More Cake"[39] 2020 Non-album singles
"Ready Cheeky Pretty"[40]
"Keep On Rocking"[41]
"United Girls Rock'n'Roll Club"[42]
(Chai / Hinds)
"Donuts Mind If I Do"[25] 153 Wink
"Plastic Love"[25] Non-album single
"Action"[43] 2021 Wink
"Maybe Chocolate Chips" (チョコチップかもね, Chokochippu kamo ne)[44]
(featuring Ric Wilson)
"Nobody Knows We Are Fun"[45]
"—" denotes items that were ineligible to chart on Oricon singles chart, or items that did not chart.

Promotional singles[edit]

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
JPN
Oricon
[19]
"Gyaranboo" (ぎゃらんぶー)[46][47] 2015 Hottaraka Series
"Pichiku Pachiku Cuchiku" (ぴーちくぱーちくきゅーちく)[48] 2016
"Horechatta" (ほれちゃった, "Fell in Love")[49] 2017 Pink
"I'm Me" (アイム・ミー)[50] 2018 Wagama-mania
"Center of the Face!"[51]
"Let's! Gonjiro" (レッツ!ゴンじろー)[B][52] 2019 136 Non-album singles
"Theme of Tenkorin" (てんこりんのテーマ, Tenkorin no Tēma)[C][53] 2021
"—" denotes items that were ineligible to chart on Oricon singles chart, or items that did not chart.

Guest appearances[edit]

The following songs are not singles or promotional singles and have not appeared on an album by Chai.

Title Year Other artists Album
"Make Up! Make Up!"[54] 2018 N/A Chatmonchy Tribute: I Love Chatmonchy
"Summer Time Chill Out" (with Mana & Kana)[55] Yap!!! Bichrome
"Follow the Big Wave" (with Mana, Kana & Yuna)[56] Rei Rei
"MLS"[57] 2020 Gorillaz, JPEGMafia Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (Deluxe Edition)
"FYO"[58] 2021 Michelle N/A

Songwriting and production credits[edit]

Year Artist Album Details
2019 Momoiro Clover Z Momoiro Clover Z Yuuki: lyrics, Mana: composition, Chai: production ("More We Do!")[59]
Batten Showjo Tai BGM Yuuki: lyrics ("Killer Killer Smile")[60]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sources for chart positions are as follows: Pink,[30] Wagamamania,[31] Punk.[32]
  2. ^ Split single with Demon Kakka, for the anime Kedama no Gonjiro.
  3. ^ Theme song for the anime Oshiete Hokusai!

References[edit]

  1. ^ "CHAI – PUNK (Burger Records) | God Is In The TV". godisinthetv.co.uk. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "ガールズバンド「CHAI」に注目 全米ツアー大成功のワケ" (in Japanese). Magazine House. May 14, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "CHAI: PUNK Review | Pitchfork Media". pitchfork.com. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "BIOGRAPHY" (in Japanese). Otemoyan Record. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b c "With BABY-G Vol.20 ニュー・エキサイト・オンナバンド CHAI". Girl's Party (in Japanese). CASIO COMPUTER. November 16, 2017. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e f Fumiaki Amano (October 25, 2017). "CHAI「PINK」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "インタビュー:名古屋発ニュー・エキサイト・オンナバンド、CHAIを直撃 - CDJournal CDJ PUSH" (in Japanese). CDJournal. December 18, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Hisamoto Chikaraishi (January 24, 2018). "カワイイ旋風を巻き起こす、オンナバンドCHAI。" (in Japanese). Societe du Figaro. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Live" (in Japanese). Chai. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ a b c d "Zepp Nagoya出演者 - 大学生バンド枠" (in Japanese). Nihon Keiongaku Renmei. Retrieved August 25, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ a b "ほったらかシリーズ(24bit/96kHz)" (in Japanese). Ototoy. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "NEW EP !" (in Japanese). Chai. August 15, 2015. Archived from the original on August 28, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b c "CHAI、両A面シングル『Sound & Stomach / ボーイズ・セコ・メン』がハイレゾ音楽配信サイトOTOTOYで1位" (in Japanese). Synchronicity. March 10, 2017. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ Sony Music Japan (October 12, 2016). "【速報】「グランプリ、いきなり米国フェス出演オーディション」グランプリはニュー・エキサイト・オンナバンドCHAI!" (in Japanese). PR Times. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "CHAI / ほったらかシリーズ" (in Japanese). CDJournal. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Au, Johnny (March 18, 2017). "THE COOLEST ARTISTS FROM JAPAN SET TO ROCK SXSW AND US IN MARCH TOUR". Hello Asia!. Heath Media. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ "CHAI / ほめごろシリーズ" (in Japanese). CDJournal. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ Koichi Kamiya (July 14, 2017). "次世代ロック研究開発室・石川大氏が語る、"尖った才能"との出会い方「大切なのは気づく力と描く力」" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ a b c d e For most releases: "CHAIの作品" [Chai Products]. Oricon. Retrieved August 2, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link), for "Let's! Gonjiro": "けだまのゴンじろー". Oricon. Retrieved August 2, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  20. ^ a b "BIOGRAPHY" (in Japanese). Otemoyan Record. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ "「CDショップ大賞」入賞10作品が決定" (in Japanese). Natalie. February 2, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ "CHAI - Pink". Burger Records. Archived from the original on April 23, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ a b Fumiaki Amano (October 25, 2017). "CHAI「PINK」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ "NEW HEAVENLY SIGNINGS CHAI MAKE AN ELECTRIFYING INTRODUCTION ON 'N.E.O.'". DIY. August 21, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ a b c "CHAIが〈Sub Pop〉と契約 第1弾シングル「Donuts Mind If I Do」ゲリラ・リリース". Spincoaster (in Japanese). October 2, 2020. Retrieved October 2, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ St. Michel, Patrick (March 9, 2018). "Rock act Chai has no time for your definition of 'cute'". The Japan Times. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  27. ^ a b Fumiaki Amano (October 25, 2017). "CHAI「PINK」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved September 1, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  28. ^ "CHAIと亀田誠治は両思い? お互いへの熱い想いを語り尽くす!" (in Japanese). J-Wave. August 3, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  29. ^ "CHAI" (in Japanese). 2YOU MAGAZINE. August 1, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  30. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot Albums". Billboard (in Japanese). November 1, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  31. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot Albums". Billboard (in Japanese). May 16, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  32. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot Albums". Billboard (in Japanese). February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  33. ^ "CHAIの2年ぶり新アルバムは「WINK」リック・ウィルソン、マインドデザイン、YMCKがゲスト参加" (in Japanese). Natalie. January 19, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  34. ^ Burger Records (June 19, 2018). "BURGER RECORDS on Instagram: "NEW @Chai_official OUT THIS FRIDAY ON BURGER!!! Get the "WAGAMA-MANIA" EP on cassette and get pumped for the picture disc vinyl in the..."" (in Japanese). Instagram. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  35. ^ "Music" (in Japanese). Chai. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  36. ^ a b "N.E.O. / sayonara complex (7inch analog / クリア・ピンク盤)" (in Japanese). Amazon. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  37. ^ a b "CHAIニューシングル詳細決定、来週「THE KINGS PLACE」で初OA" (in Japanese). Natalie. October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  38. ^ a b "【7"シングルレコード】CHOOSE GO!/フューチャー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved December 28, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  39. ^ "CHAIが1年ぶりの新曲リリース、5月からは長岡亮介や中村佳穂ら迎えた東名阪ツアーも" (in Japanese). Natalie. March 2, 2020. Retrieved March 27, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  40. ^ "CHAI、STORESのCMソングを配信リリース" (in Japanese). Natalie. April 27, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  41. ^ "CHAI、工藤遥主演映画「のぼる小寺さん」の主題歌「keep on rocking」配信リリース". Natalie (in Japanese). June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  42. ^ "CHAI、スペインのガールズバンドHINDSとのコラボ曲を配信&7inchアナログでリリース". Natalie (in Japanese). August 3, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  43. ^ "CHAI、3rdアルバム『WINK』5月ワールドリリース。先行シングル「ACTION」本日配信" (in Japanese). Barks. January 19, 2021. Retrieved January 19, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  44. ^ "CHAI、Ric Wilsonをフィーチャリングした新曲リリース+アルバムツアー開催" (in Japanese). Barks. February 24, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  45. ^ "CHAIが先行シングル「Nobody Knows We Are Fun」をリリース、MVも公開" (in Japanese). Eyescream. April 1, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  46. ^ "二ュー・エキサイト・オンナバンド! CHAIが"ちゃんとした"MV「ぎゃらんぶー」公開" (in Japanese). Ototoy. November 10, 2015. Retrieved September 8, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  47. ^ "ほったらかシリーズ  2016/12/7" (in Japanese). 一般社団法人全日本アーティストグッズ協会. Retrieved September 11, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  48. ^ ""ニュー・エキサイト・オンナバンド"CHAI、1stEP『ほったらかシリーズ』から「勘違い女」MVを公開" (in Japanese). Ototoy. August 18, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  49. ^ "ほれちゃった(24bit/96kHz)" (in Japanese). Ototoy. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  50. ^ "CHAI 新曲「アイム・ミー」MVを公開!" (in Japanese). Music Booster. March 19, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  51. ^ "CHAI、前代未聞"鼻"の曲「Center of the FACE!」MV公開" (in Japanese). F.B.Communications Inc. & Magnet Co.,Ltd. April 24, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  52. ^ "CHAI&デーモン閣下、アニメ『けだまのゴンじろー』テーマソング7月発売" (in Japanese). Natalie. June 7, 2019. Retrieved June 12, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  53. ^ "CHAI手がけた「おしえて北斎!」主題歌、配信開始" (in Japanese). Natalie. March 18, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2021. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  54. ^ "CHATMONCHY Tribute ~I Love CHATMONCHY~" (in Japanese). Joshin Web. Retrieved August 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  55. ^ "Yap!!!とCHAIのマナ&カナ、雨上がりの夏の夜を歩く" (in Japanese). Natalie. September 19, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  56. ^ "Rei初のフルアルバムにKenKen、みどりん、ちゃんMARI、CHAIら参加" (in Japanese). Natalie. September 20, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  57. ^ "GorillazアルバムにCHAIが参加、ジェイペグマフィアと共演「すごくかわいいかっこいい曲になったよ」" (in Japanese). Natalie. September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 11, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  58. ^ Hussey, Allison (April 8, 2021). "CHAI Remix MICHELLE's "FYO": Listen The Japanese group bring a new verse to the New York–based collective's January single". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 8, 2021. line feed character in |title= at position 36 (help)CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  59. ^ "ももクロの歌声が"NEOかわいい"曲に溶け込む、CHAI提供「MORE WE DO!」MV" (in Japanese). Natalie. May 14, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  60. ^ "ばってん少女隊、CHAIユウキ作詞「Killer Killer Smile」MVで和装に挑戦" (in Japanese). Natalie. May 14, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]