With the unique four-octave range of their dual vocalists and fantastic dance performance skills, five-member group Da-iCE is making waves in Japan’s music scene.
Consisting of Sota Hanamura, Yudai Ohno, Taiki Kudo, Toru Iwaoka and Hayate Wada, Da-iCE have been busy this past year. They have released a series of new music for six consecutive months since August 2020, with the guiding concept of delivering “entertainment to stimulate all five senses.”
Their singles have been used as theme tunes for various hit TV shows, including top anime series ‘ONE PIECE’ and Nippon Television drama series ‘Gokushufudo’ (‘The Way of the Househusband’).
Each release has also rocked the streaming charts and received acclaim from critics and fans alike.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic made it challenging to hold concerts at the group’s usual high pace, they instead found ways to connect with their fans through regular music releases, online shows, interactive video promotions and streaming.
Da-iCE’s new album ‘SiX’ is the culmination of these continuous releases. The album is titled ‘Six’ because it goes beyond the five senses to stimulate your sixth sense, too. It is also their sixth album.
Read on below for a song-by-song guide to all 13 songs, including five chart-topping singles – all sung straight from the five members’ hearts.
Track-by-track commentary: ‘SiX’ by Da-iCE
Sharing the album’s title, this track themed on the sixth sense draws listeners into the world of ‘SiX.’ It opens the album on an uplifting vibe, with the danceable beat and impressive vocals that are unique to Da-iCE and lyrics written by Taiki Kudo.
02. ‘EASY TASTY’
The fifth single in Da-iCE’s six-month series of monthly releases, ‘EASY TASTY,’ is themed on the sense of taste. It’s a dance tune with a heavy City Pop dose that conjures images of hitting the town at night. Taiki Kudo and Sota Hanamura wrote the lyrics.
03. ‘DREAMIN’ ON’ – the theme song from the anime series ‘ONE PIECE.’
‘DREAMIN’ ON’ was the first single in Da-iCE’s six-month run of releases and was used as the theme song to the anime ‘ONE PIECE.’ The lyrics were written by Sota Hanamura, about the importance of having friends and having dreams, and finding the courage to take a step forward. The members of Da-iCE are big fans of ‘ONE PIECE,’ and Hanamura felt tremendous pressure when writing this song; it didn’t feel real to him until he heard it playing during the anime’s opening on TV. The music video for ‘DREAMIN’ ON’ has accumulated over 6 million views on YouTube. Since the song’s instrumental version was made available for free, many fans have shared their videos on YouTube and TikTok.
04. ‘Time is Life’
A song based on the theme of time. This pop tune was written by Toru Iwaoka, Sota Hanamura and Hayate Wada. With all five members singing in unison, yet with each of their voices distinctive from one another, it is a rich song filled with passion.
05. ‘Found it.’
This song has multiple connections within the album. It was initially released as the bonus track with ‘DREAMIN’ ON’ at the start of Da-iCE’s six-month run of releases. It also combines with the next song on the album, ‘amp,’ to tell two parts of a story: ‘Found it’ is a tale of “encounter,” while ‘amp’ depicts “parting.” The song was written and composed by Taiki Kudo, themed on the sense of sight.
The second single from Da-iCE’s series of 2020 releases, ‘amp,’ features a mid-tempo melody and lyrics themed on the sense of hearing. Touching on the love between adults and dripping with sex appeal, this is a very different, grown-up sound for Da-iCE. Taiki Kudo wrote the lyrics.
A collaboration between Shunichi Tanabe from the Japanese rock band BLUE ENCOUNT and Taiki Kudo. The two musicians composed the song together, while Kudo wrote the lyrics and BLUE ENCOUNT arranged and performed the music. This is an aggressive rock tune, the kind that could only be created by a collaboration between a rock band like BLUE ENCOUNT and a dance/vocal group like Da-iCE.
08. ‘Love Song’
A song written by Takahito Uchisawa of the Japanese rock band androp. Featuring lyrics that translate as “The world will be full of love songs” in its chorus, this is a heartwarming ballad that is perfect for a cold winter’s night, making you feel the closeness that only love can bring. The lyric video to ‘Love Song’ boasts beautiful imagery as it follows a paper plane that flies through landscapes around the world, making for a great online vacation.
The third in 2020’s series of single releases, the music and lyrics to ‘image,’ was written by Sota Hanamura, themed on the sense of touch and a message of “the first touch of love, connected forever.” This is a tender love song that follows the story of love through the first meeting to the proposal, while its chorus delivers a memorable melody line over a range of three octaves. When it is not always possible to touch one another in a period of history, this is a ballad reflecting on the irreplaceable time spent with a lover.
The fourth single in Da-iCE’s six-month run, ‘CITRUS,’ was used as the theme song for the Nippon Television drama series ‘Gokushufudo’ (‘The Way of the Househusband’), starring renowned actor Hiroshi Tamaki. ‘CITRUS’ is a rock ballad themed on the sense of smell, written by Taiki Kudo and Sota Hanamura.
With heartfelt lyrics that sing of following the path, you believe in no matter what, the pair sang with all their souls, delivering a powerful melody tinged with nostalgia that pierces the heart. In the three months since its release, the song has racked up over 10 million streams, and at the time of writing, it has ranked for 53 consecutive days on Spotify’s Japan Viral 50 chart since November 16.
On YouTube, the lyric video was played over 3 million times within its first two months, while the free instrumental made available via Da-iCE’s website has enabled fans to post their versions on YouTube, TikTok and karaoke services.
11. ‘Special One’
A positive and stylish R&B number, ‘Special One’ is a song with light lyrics and a comfortable groove that lingers in your ears. On an album that offers many varied courses, think of this as the special dessert. Yudai Ohno wrote the lyrics.
A medium-tempo song with a beautiful piano melody, with music and lyrics written by Taiki Kudo. The lyrics evoke strong emotion, inspired by Kudo’s feelings for the group’s fans as they face hardship during the global pandemic. As such, it is a song that sings of the bond between the five members of Da-iCE and their fans – six sides of dice or six essential parts of a whole.
13. ‘I’ll be back 2020.’
A self-cover of Da-iCE’s first single was initially released in 2013, way back before their major-label debut. This newly recorded version closes out the album while allowing fans to reflect on how far the group has come since that first release.
6th album: ‘SiX’
Release date: January 20, 2021
Streaming/download links: https://avex.lnk.to/Da-iCE_SiX
● Taiki Kudo
Born June 28, 1987 in Hokkaido
Instagram: @da_ice_taiki / Twitter: @Da_iCE_TAIKI
● Toru Iwaoka
Born June 6, 1987, in Chiba Prefecture
Instagram: @da_ice_toru_iwaoka / Twitter: @Da_iCE_TORU
● Yudai Ohno
Born April 1, 1989, in Aichi Prefecture
Instagram: @da_ice_udai / Twitter: @Da_iCE_UDAI
● Sota Hanamura
Born August 15, 1990, in Hyogo Prefecture
Instagram: @da_ice_sotahanamura / Twitter: @Da_iCE_SOTA
● Hayate Wada
Born February 3, 1994, in Gunma Prefecture
Instagram: @da_ice_hayate_wada / Twitter: @Da_iCE_HAYATE
Da-iCE is a portmanteau of “dance,” which is a significant element in the group’s appeal, and “dice,” a six-sided object representing the group’s five members plus their fans. Further exploring the six-sided them, the group has released music for six consecutive months since August 2020, culminating in releasing their sixth album ‘SiX’ on January 20, 2021.
Da-iCE is a dance and vocal group consisting of dual vocalists Yudai Ohno and Sota Hanamura and Taiki Kudo, Toru Iwaoka and Hayate Wada. Hanamura has a four-octave vocal range, meaning that the all-male group can sing melodies in keys that would usually only be reached by female singers. In contrast, their extremely polished dance skills and highly musical self-written songs have brought them acclaim throughout their career.
The group broke through with their early performances at a small club in Tokyo’s nightlife district Shibuya and made their major-label debut in 2014. In 2015, they received the Best 5 New Artist accolade at the 29th Japan Gold Disc Award.
By 2020, Da-iCE had grown so much in popularity that they performed two arena shows at Yoyogi National Gymnasium to crowds of 20,000 fans each night, while their first national arena tour has been announced for 2021.
In 2020, their collaborations with artists such as Official HIGE DANdism member Satoshi Fujihara and mega YouTuber Raphael drew significant attention, along with an exciting appearance on ‘CDTV Live! Live!’ together with comedy duo EXIT.
Meanwhile, the group’s spirit of delivering strong live performances saw them tackle new challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with highly acclaimed online concert series ‘Da-iCE×ABEMA ONLINE LIVE TOUR 2020 -THE Da-iCE-‘ held in July, August and September 2020, each with a different setlist and unique production elements.
Their current six-month consecutive run of releases began in August 2020 and is based on the concept of “entertainment to stimulate all five senses.”