Chai (band)

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Chai
OriginNagoya, Japan
GenresPunk rock, alternative rock, dance music,[1] post punk
Years active2012—present
LabelsOtemoyan Record, Sony Music Entertainment Japan, Burger Records, Heavenly Recordings
Associated actsSuperorganism
Websitechai-band.com
MembersMana, Kana, Yuki, Yuna

Chai (stylized as CHAI) are a four member all-female band from Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Forming 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 Yuki.[2] Mana, Kana, and Yuna are all from Nagoya, and were in the same class at high school.[3] The three were members of the light music club at their high school, performing covers of musicians such as Tokyo Jihen and Aiko.[4] 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.[4] After the girls graduated and went to university, Mana became friends with Yuki (originally from Gifu Prefecture, who had moved to Nagoya), and asked the four friends to form a band.[3][5] 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.[6] At first, Chai performed mostly around Aichi Prefecture, but eventually moved to playing venues around Tokyo.[7] The band started releasing singles independently in 2013, and held a tour of central Japan in the summer holidays.[8] Their first large concert was performed at Zepp Nagoya, when the band were finalists in a college band competition.[8]

The band's debut extended play Hottaraka Series was released in August 2015, exclusively at digital retailer Ototoy and as a tour exclusive CD.[9][10] In August 2016, the EP was released to streaming services globally, with the song "Gyaranboo" serendipitously reaching number 36 on Spotify's UK top 50 chart, even without any active promotion in the UK by the band.[11] The band moved to Tokyo in 2016 in order to focus on becoming full-time musicians.[4] In October, Chai were 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.[12] In December, Hottaraka Series was given a nation-wide release.[13] After their US SxSW tour in March 2017,[14] the band released their second extended play, Homegoro Series,[15] distributed through Otemoyan Record, a record label imprint founded by Chai.[16]

Chai released their debut studio album Pink in October 2017, reaching number 41 on Oricon's albums chart[17] (however, it was the fourth highest selling independent release on the week).[18] Pink was well received by critics, being chosen as one of the 10 finalists at the 2018 CD Shop Awards, an award chosen by record store staff from across Japan.[19] 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".[20] 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.[21] The band completed their second tour of the US in March.[18] In the UK, Chai were signed to Heavenly Recordings, and toured the country in October as a support act for Superorganism.[22]

Artistry and influences[edit]

Mana is the primary vocalist for the group, while the other members sing back up vocals.[2] Mana plays the keyboards, Kana the guitar, while Yuna and Yuki are the band's drummer and bassist respectively.[2] 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.[23] Yuki writes the lyrics, and all members create the arrangements for each song.[1]

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".[3] They aim to redefine the definition of kawaii ("cute") as "neo kawaii",[2] feeling that everyone around them was striving for a narrow definition of cute.[4] They believe that everyone is cute in their own way, and wanted to express this through their music.[6] 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.[24][21] The band also tries to use psychological complexes as inspiration for their music.[4]

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.[25] The band lists Basement Jaxx, Jamiroquai, Gorillaz and CSS as some of their major influences.[26] On Pink, Chai drew influence from The Chemical Brothers, and electronic groups such as Chvrches and Justice.[24] Yuna was inspired to become a drummer by Katchan from the Okinawan pop/rap group Orange Range.[4]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

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

[17]
JPN
Billboard

[A]
Pink 41 45
Punk
  • Released: February 13, 2019
  • Label: Otemoyan Record, Burger Records, Heavenly Recordings
  • Formats: CD, digital download
50 72

Extended plays[edit]

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

[17]
JPN
Billboard

[A]
Hottaraka Series (ほったらかシリーズ, "Irresponsible Series")
  • Released: August 22, 2015[9]
  • 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[30]
  • Formats: CD, digital download, cassette
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
[17]
"Chai"[8] 2013 Non-album singles
"Kōsui (My Name Is Chai)" (香水〜My name is CHAI〜, "Perfume")[8]
"Chūburarin" (ちゅーぶらりん, "Dangling")[31] 2014
"Sound & Stomach"[11] 2017 Homegoro Series
"Boyz Seco Men" (ボーイズ・セコ・メン)[11]
"N.E.O."[32] 135 Pink
"Sayonara Complex"[32]
"Great Job"[33] 2018 62 Punk
"Wintime" (ウィンタイム)[33]
"Choose Go!"[34] 2019 126
"Future" (フューチャー)[34] Wagama-mania / Punk
"—" 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 Album
"Gyaranboo" (ぎゃらんぶー)[35][36] 2015 Hottaraka Series
"Pichiku Pachiku Cuchiku" (ぴーちくぱーちくきゅーちく)[37] 2016
"Horechatta” (ほれちゃった, "Fell in Love")[38] 2017 Pink
"I'm Me" (アイム・ミー)[39] 2018 Wagama-mania
"Center of the Face!"[40]

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!"[41] 2018 N/A Chatmonchy Tribute: I Love Chatmonchy
"Summer Time Chill Out" (with Mana & Kana)[42] Yap!!! Bichrome
"Follow the Big Wave (with Mana, Kana & Yuna)[43] Rei Rei

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Sources for chart positions are as follows: Pink,[27] Wagamamania,[28] Punk.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ a b c d "BIOGRAPHY" (in Japanese). Otemoyan Record. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Live" (in Japanese). Chai. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b "ほったらかシリーズ(24bit/96kHz)" (in Japanese). Ototoy. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "NEW EP !" (in Japanese). Chai. August 15, 2015. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "CHAI / ほったらかシリーズ" (in Japanese). CDJournal. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "CHAI / ほめごろシリーズ" (in Japanese). CDJournal. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ a b c d "CHAIの作品" [Chai Products]. Oricon. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "BIOGRAPHY" (in Japanese). Otemoyan Record. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "「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.
  20. ^ "CHAI - Pink". Burger Records. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  21. ^ a b Fumiaki Amano (October 25, 2017). "CHAI「PINK」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  22. ^ "NEW HEAVENLY SIGNINGS CHAI MAKE AN ELECTRIFYING INTRODUCTION ON 'N.E.O.'". DIY. August 21, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  23. ^ St. Michel, Patrick (March 9, 2018). "Rock act Chai has no time for your definition of 'cute'". The Japan Times. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  24. ^ a b Fumiaki Amano (October 25, 2017). "CHAI「PINK」インタビュー" (in Japanese). Natalie. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ "CHAI" (in Japanese). 2YOU MAGAZINE. August 1, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  27. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot Albums". Billboard (in Japanese). November 1, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  28. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot Albums". Billboard (in Japanese). May 16, 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  29. ^ "Japan Billboard Hot Albums". Billboard (in Japanese). February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ "Music" (in Japanese). Chai. Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2018.
  32. ^ a b "N.E.O. / sayonara complex (7inch analog / クリア・ピンク盤)" (in Japanese). Amazon. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  33. ^ 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.
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ "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.
  36. ^ "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.
  37. ^ ""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.
  38. ^ "ほれちゃった(24bit/96kHz)" (in Japanese). Ototoy. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  39. ^ "CHAI 新曲「アイム・ミー」MVを公開!" (in Japanese). Music Booster. March 19, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  40. ^ "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.
  41. ^ "CHATMONCHY Tribute ~I Love CHATMONCHY~" (in Japanese). Joshin Web. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  42. ^ "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.
  43. ^ "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.

External links[edit]