If you saw my mention of indie idol group RYUTist on my recent Top Idol Releases of 2013 article and wondered what this group was all about, I recently got a chance to interview them and ask some questions regarding their style and activities. Before getting to the interview, here’s a little background on the group.

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RYUTist was formed in 2011 in the Niigata prefecture of Japan, and all the members are native to this area, with most of their activities centering around this area. The group is often produced by members of the NSG group of college schools in this area, with many attendees and staff handling the video, music, and image production for the group. They use many of the facilities owned by the schools to hold their concerts and events, and this factor gives their activities a very home-made feel, with their music feeling very organic for idol music, instead of leaning towards the bigger, more over-produced studio sound that’s popular with so many idol groups now.

They have performances once a week at their home theater in Niigata as well as releasing singles a few times a year, and have also gotten the chance to perform in many other areas of Japan in the last few years, including two major appearances at Tokyo Idol Festival, where they even got to perform at the main stages of the festival in 2013. With these appearances, their popularity and recognition is rising across the country and they just keep getting better.

I have a lot of respect for them in the way they’re handled and think they’re a group that everyone will be seeing a lot more of in the next few years if things keep going how they are now. RYUTist does things a little differently than most idol groups out there right now, and I’m glad to see they’re getting more recognition.

Without further delay, here’s the interview, with my questions being in bold and their answers following in regular text.

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1.) Please introduce yourselves individually and say a little about yourself:

Nonno: I’m Sato Nonoko, or Nonno, I’m 18 years old and a senior in high school. I’m the leader of the group!

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Tomochii: I’m Uno Tomoe, or Tomochii, I’m 14 years old and in 3rd grade of junior high school. I love to sing and play piano!

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Wakka: I’m Oishi Wakana, or Wakka, I’m 14 years old in 8th grade. I love dancing! 

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Muutan: I’m Ikarashi Muu, or Muutan, I’m 12 years old and in 7th grade. My role is to give more energy to our live performances!

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 2.) Based on your ages, most girls your age are still in school, are you all still in school right now?

RYUTist: Yes, we’re all still on full school schedules, and we have a lot of fun there!

 

3.) I’ve read that Nonno will graduate high school soon, do you have any major plans for after graduation?

Nonno: Yes, after graduating, I’m going start going to college for a music degree.

 

4.) I noticed that RYUTist do a lot of live harmonies when performing songs, which is very rare for idol groups and I wanted to ask how long does it take to practice these things before you can perform a song live?

RYUTist: We have 2-3 singing lessons every week, we work very hard at it. Since we never lipsynch and always sing live, we also have to train specifically at singing while dancing as well, since it is different than singing without moving.

 

5.) What is an average week’s schedule like for the group members? I’ve seen the the group does a live performance almost every week, so how much more of the week is devoted to working?

RYUTist: We have a live every Sunday at our live house, but we also try to have them on Saturdays if we have time that week. We try to do as many shows and practice sessions or lessons as we can without being absent from school.

 

6.) I’ve seen that the group also does many cover songs at your live shows. Do the group members help in choosing the cover songs that you perform?

RYUTist: The producers do let us all choose the cover songs! We also get requests and sometimes do covers of the other groups we perform with at our live shows.

 

7.) Since the group appeared at Tokyo Idol Festival this year with hundreds of other idol groups, can you share some of your experiences of general thoughts of getting to perform there?

RYUTist: There were so many idols there it was almost overwhelming! There were so many people there watching our lives, it was crazy to see so many people there supporting us. There were many more people than we usually see at our own live shows.

 

8.) Who are some of your favorite idol groups that you enjoy or look up to? Did you get to perform with any of them at Tokyo Idol Festival?

RYUTist: We really like our fellow Niigata-based idol group Negicco. Not only did we get to perform alongside them at Tokyo Idol Festival, but we also get to appear with them at some local events here in Niigata.

 

9.) I’ve seen a lot of overseas idol fans talking about RYUTist after the Tokyo Idol Festival appearance, I think it worked very well for exposure. Do you have some future plans for overseas appearances or activities for us fans from overseas?

RYUTist: We’re hoping to set up a live in America soon, but we don’t have an appearance set up yet. We’ll be sure to announce it as soon as we get the details.

 

10.) I really like all the music I’ve heard from you, I’m excited to hear more in the future, so do you have any upcoming releases for Japan as well?

RYUTist: Thank you so much, we’re glad you’ve enjoyed our songs! We don’t have any new releases planned at the moment, but we surely will soon, so keep an eye out and we’ll be announcing more soon.

 

11.) Since you all live in Niigata prefecture, what would you say is your favorite part of living there and what would you encourage people who go there to see or experience?

RYUTist: We love all parts of Niigata, but the Furumachi district in Niigata City is where our home is and where we perform most of our lives. If you ever come here, please come to Furumachi and spend some time here, we’re sure you’ll enjoy it.

 

12.) Do you have any major future goals for the group as a whole? Where would you like the group to be in 5 years?

RYUTIst: Our main goal is to reach as many people as possible with our songs and activities, as simple as it sounds. Looking towards the future, even within 5 years, we want to perform in as many different areas as possible, since we already perform in Niigata a lot, we’d like to branch out and play in other areas of Japan as well as other parts of the world.

 

13.) Do you have a message for overseas fans and info on how to follow RYUTist to get further updates about future releases?

RYUTist: We have a Twitter account as well as our YouTube channel and website where you can get lots of information on us. Please continue to follow and support us, we really appreciate all your backing. We hope to meet as many overseas fans as we can in the future, so please watch out for some announcements and hopefully we’ll be able to meet you all soon!

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For more info on RYUTist, you can follow the links below and be sure to follow their Twitter and YouTube accounts for tons of updates on the group. Thank you to the members of RYUTist, their staffs, and NSG Colleges for your time and we hope to see you in the US soon!

PV for “Rariri Reru”:

PV for “Beat Goes On!”:

PV for “Arashi wa Nichiyoubi”:

RYUTist Tokyo Idol Festival collage video:

 

Related links:

RYUTist Official Twitter Account

RYUTist Official YouTube Account

RYUTist Official Facebook Page

RYUTist Official Website

RYUTist Official Blog

NSG Colleges website, with information on programs for anyone who wants to study in Japan