The highlight of Hyper Japan 2013 was the UK debut of Yun*chi. Having strong musical roots (her mother is also a singer) was a clear indicator of where Yun*chi wanted her career to head.
Originally part of the Harajuku modelling scene, she was also part of Julie Watai’s Hardware Girls project before making the leap to music.
As part of ASOBISYSTEM, Yun*chi is part of the team that produced Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Una. She’s also closely associated with producer and songwriter Kz (livetune), particularly for the energetic reworking of the popular Kare Kano theme song.
J-Pop Go had the opportunity of firing off a few questions to Yun*chi at Hyper Japan to discuss her current work and plans for the future.
How did the project with the IroKokoro Project come about?
It started when the girls saw my videos on YouTube and other streaming websites and I was really happy that they were listening to what I was doing. So then we had the proposal with NHK to get together and talk with them to create a song with Japanese lyrics from things that they proposed.
So we got together for them to submit their favourite Japanese words and we created the song from that and then obviously they are singing the chorus in Japanese in that. I think that it’s quite rare to find something like this, we’ve got girls from 27 different countries, all over the world, and to have so many people singing on a record like this is really rare in Japan, so I think it’s really important and a really great experience for everyone.
Are there any Japanese musicians that you listen to today that you particularly admire?
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, of course. I like her a lot. Chara. There’s group called Sekai no Owari (The End Of The World), I really like them, they’re great.
Are you surprised by the interest in Japanese music outside of Japan?
It is very surprising, but more than that just a pure feeling of gratefulness to everyone. I just don’t know how to say thank you to everyone, it’s just saying “Oh arigatou!” all the time to everyone around me, it just blows me away. It is a great feeling, I’m really happy.
What’s it like working with Kz?
It’s really great working with him. We have a lot of fun together. He said that my personal voice, my way of singing really fits with his sound and I really like his sound as well, I think it goes really great together so yes it was great fun.
What’s the reaction been to your first 2 releases in Japan?
It was great. There were a lot of people listening to the records and when I’m performing them live, everyone was singing along. Hopefully more people can come along and see them and we can get a bigger fanbase, more people coming to see me. That would be really great for the future to build on what we’ve got.
Can you see yourself returning to the UK for more live concerts?
I really want to come back here. This time I didn’t have much opportunity to go out in the evenings and at night and see places like performance venues and clubs and stuff like that. So if I come back I’d really like to be able to see that scene and bit more as well.
Any plans for an album?
It’s still a big secret, but yes we’re working on it!
J-Pop Go extends its warmest thanks to Yun*chi, Briarley Van Zyl and also to the Hyper Japan team.
Top pic by Briarley Van Zyl. Other pics and video by Paul Browne