Arriving in the UK with a Bang at this summer’s Hyper Japan, CHARISMA.COM’s own unique electronic music approach certainly made an impact.
Although they had been friends at school, it wasn’t until Itsuka and Gonchi left that the pair entertained the idea of doing music together. The result was Charisma.com – a curious combo of electronic music and rap that took inspiration from Japanese hip-hop outfits such as Astro.
Charisma.com’s own particular style of electro-rap is fueled by a particular aggressive approach to the lyrical content, such as their classic tune ‘Hate’. The insistent electropop beat of ‘Hate’ underpins a litany of bitching, which rapidly became Charisma.com’s stock-in-trade. The belligerent approach that Charisma.com employ also carries over to their visual style, as the madness that is the ‘Hate’ video testifies.
Charisma.com won audiences over at their UK debut for Hyper Japan with their theatrical stage style and ridiculously addictive beats. J-Pop Go grabbed them post-performance for a chat…
This marks your UK debut for Charisma.com, how have you enjoyed the experience so far?
Itsuka: Well it’s only been a day since we’ve arrived (laughs), but out of all the places that we’ve been abroad, this stage and these audiences here are the most energetic ones.
The enthusiasm of Itsuka certainly had an effect on the crowd!
Itsuka: Maybe it was a little bit too forceful! (laughs)
Not at all! I thought the ladder was a nice touch too.
Itsuka: We couldn’t bring one from Japan, so it had to be especially made and painted in red for this. Thanks to the Hyper Japan staff we could use that.
I’ve noticed that your performances have a sense of confidence and energy. Is this something that you have built up over time?
Itsuka: We weren’t really always conscious about it, but suddenly I’ve found myself being like that.
What are your thoughts on the contrast between working in an office environment and your performances on stage?
Itsuka: It is hard and bad! I hardly go to work anymore, but of course the difference on stage and working in an office is huge. It’s probably the same for everyone, but if you’re working for a company then you can’t always say what you want to say. For us, the performance is an opportunity to express ourselves, say what we really want to say.
Some of your lyrics obviously revolve around office life. Have you ever had any problems with people in the places where you’ve worked being worried because some of the lyrics might be about them!
Itsuka: It happened exactly like that! (laughs) The CEO of the company spoke to me and they were playing the radio in the company and Charisma.com came on and he said: “Well, a few things that you mentioned – it feels like it was about me!”
Ha ha! And you still managed to carry on working there?
Itsuka: Well my name is still there, just my name, because, maybe they’re really scared that if they sacked me straight away, then I’m going to sing about it! (laughs)
Well if you get sacked, there’s a whole new album there straight away!
Itsuka: I think they would be good songs.
Obviously ‘Hate’ was the song that brought you a lot of attention. Were you very surprised by the response?
Itsuka: We were very surprised and I’m still not sure if it’s that successful, but I’m surprised in how many people have viewed the video.
Would you like to see Charisma.com continue to expand your profile abroad?
Itsuka: I’ve never been satisfied fully, so I’d like to try performing abroad as well as domestically.
Do you do many live shows in Japan?
Itsuka: Now, we do once a week.
Gonchi-san, are you happy just being on the decks? Because I noticed that once you came out from behind the decks you were equally energetic. Would you like to do more of that or are you happy to stay behind the decks.?
Gonchi: If possible, I prefer to stay behind the decks, but I would like to try come forward. If you ask me I will come forward!
J-Pop Go extends its gratitude towards Itsuka and Gonchi of Charisma.com, Manabu Yamazaki and also to the staff at Hyper Japan. Special thanks to Roberta Roccato.