Hyper pop tunes from J-Pop trio…
3-piece outfit REOL have established themselves through a series of energetic compositions, including ‘ChiruChiru’, ‘YoiYoi Kokon’ and ’Give Me Break Stop Now’. Consisting of Reol, GigaP and Okiku. Signed to the Toy’s Factory label, their 2016 album Sigma landed a No. 6 position in the Japan charts.
Both Reol and GigaP have a background in vocaloid song composition and as creators they favoured anonymity through the use of animated visuals. Okiku introduced a bolder, more visually dynamic element to REOL’s videos, as seen in the striking promo for ’Give Me Break Stop Now’.
2017 marked REOL’s UK debut at Hyper Japan and they were kind enough to set aside time to answer a few questions…
Do you have any plans for how you’ll expand your music outside of Japan?
REOL: We don’t have any future plans for performing abroad at the moment, but we would like many people to enjoy our music regardless of where they are so we are happy to receive any invitations.
You signed to the major label, Toy’s Factory in 2014, has anything changed at all since joining such a major label?
REOL: We can make a living out of being musicians! Before then we were just students, so it was a massive life-changing thing.
How did you guys meet, was it while you were studying?
REOL: We were all kind of doing our own thing separately and about five years ago I was listening to GigaP’s music and he was listening to my music, Okiku was making videos and I saw those too, and so I initiated the conversation and contacted them over the internet so that’s how we got to know one another.
Many groups keep their faces hidden, and you did at the beginning of your music career. How do you feel about the fact that people recognise your faces now?
REOL: When I was a student I was making music online as a hobby so that’s why I hid my face, there were many things that I wanted to do but because I was a student and I wasn’t sure whether I would continue my career as a musician so that stopped me from doing what I wanted to do. But now that we signed on with Toy’s Factory we decided that we would show our faces, that meant that I could do the things I wanted to do before as a musician which I am really happy about.
You’ve got a background in writing music for Hatsune Miku, what are your thoughts on how popular she is and how it’s had an effect on the popularity of Japanese music globally?
REOL: So what’s unique about Hatsune Miku is that through this one persona many people can create things for this character but through this one channel. It became possible because unlike anime she hasn’t got anything that restricts her setting so in a sense it is understandable that it’s become globally successful.
Each member has quite a distinct role within the group, what is the collaboration process between you like?
REOL: So I write the lyrics, GigaP and I make the music together but he makes the arrangement and once that’s done then Okiku will make the videos. So, each of us have a distinct role and we try not to step on each other with these roles.
What’s the biggest inspiration for the visuals in the video for ‘Give Me A Break Stop Now’?
REOL: So, I usually start making music when I’m feeling sad but I hadn’t really explored about frustrations or anger that I feel, that song is particularly about the frustrations that I feel sometimes towards the world or even smaller things, it’s my call-out for those feelings at the time.
Okiku: I don’t have particular inspirations in terms of videos, I just wanted to make something that was memorable and didn’t just show our faces.
When you started out you made music as a hobby and since then you’ve made the band into such a live spectacle. What was it like to transition from one to the other, was it difficult?
REOL: So, when I was a primary and secondary school student I used to play the trumpet, so it was natural for me to perform in front of an audience because trumpet players often had solo parts. When I became a high school student I got bored of classical music and started to perform with bands, and I happened to become a vocalist. It kind of came naturally to me because performing in front of an audience was something that I have always done.
Speaking of performing live, earlier today there was a crazy response from the fans. What was that like for you?
REOL: It was great and everybody gave such enthusiasm, I did think about what to say on stage in English but once I was up there I forgot about it and so I was speaking in Japanese and trying to communicate with the audience. Everyone was trying to listen to it, even if they didn’t understand Japanese, and that was really great.
Is this your first time in London? What has your impression been?
REOL: This is our first time! I think the climate is great and it’s a great temperature to get by, I’ve also noticed that people eat potatoes a lot. In Japan its rice but here we’ve been eating a lot of potatoes.
The music you produced in the past was more like rock music, but now you make EDM music. What made you decide to go from a band approach to an EDM one?
REOL: My music change when I met GigaP. I didn’t know desktop music was a genre until I met him, he gave me lots of recommendations as well and I started to listen to that kind of music. Since we started to make music together we wanted to incorporate his style of music as well.
What’s REOL’s plan for the future?
REOL: In terms of scale, when we started I didn’t realise that it was going to become as big as it has and I’m grateful for that, but I suppose that it’s important for us to carry on making good music.
Note: Since REOL’s appearance at Hyper Japan, the outfit have sadly announced plans to disband to pursue their own individual paths.
J-Pop Go extends its warmest thanks to REOL, GigaP and Okiku. Thanks also to the team at Hyper Japan. Special thanks to Roxy Simons and Yuriri Naka.