YANAKIKU is a female vocal duo formed in 2012. They have performed for international audiences at Hyper Japan London 2013, TIFFCOM 2013 in Japan and J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2014 in San Francisco.
Known for their unique costumes named KIMOCOS (Kimono Cosplay) and their live Japanese calligraphy, YANAKIKU’s high-energy performances and bright, funny personalities are winning over music fans worldwide.
Selective Hearing had the opportunity to talk with YANAKIKU about their debut album YANAKIKU NO ENBAN, their appearances outside of Japan and their future goals.
Please introduce yourselves to the readers of Selective Hearing.
YANA: I’m YANA. YANAKIKU’s theme is Japan, and our goal is world domination (to unite the world with YANAKIKU’s music).
KIKU: I’m KIKU. We, YANAKIKU, take in Japan with everything from songs to costumes, hoping we can introduce Japanese culture to people overseas in the YANAKIKU way.
Firstly, congratulations on releasing your first album, YANAKIKU NO ENBAN. How does it feel to have completed your first album?
YANA: I am so happy that we can finally deliver the compilation of our work from the past 2 years since we formed YANAKIKU.
KIKU: We put a lot of thought into the CD booklet, and it became like a mini guidebook for Japanese sightseeing! I would be happy if you enjoyed the whole package, not just the songs.
The songs on YANAKIKU NO ENBAN contain a dance music touch that includes influences from sub-genres such as EDM, Dubstep and House. (To name a few.) What was it like writing for such varying styles of music? Which songs were the hardest to write?
YANA: When we create songs, we always decide on a theme first, and we have fun as we bring each other’s ideas together. We always look forward to how a song comes out. For this first album, I think we could express who YANAKIKU is with different types of dance music as the base.
KIKU: The hardest song was “Orihime.” We changed the melody and chorus lines many times and rewrote the lyrics until the final “Orihime” was created! I’m satisfied, and it’s my favourite.
What are your favourite songs on YANAKIKU NO ENBAN? Which ones would you recommend for those new to YANAKIKU?
YANA: My favourite song is “Hito Hito,” and I like “Game Controller” for live shows. I recommend “Fujiyama Disco” for those new to YANAKIKU.
KIKU: My favourite is “Game Controller”! “Fujiyama Disco” is my recommendation for people who are listening for the first time! Same as YANA!!
You have made appearances outside Japan, including visiting London twice (Hyper Japan) and last year’s American debut at J-POP SUMMIT in San Francisco. What has been your travels’ most memorable moment or experience so far?
YANA: I have great memories of each country. In London in 2013, my first time going overseas, everything I saw was so exciting, and I remember it well.
KIKU: Same as YANA. The most memorable time was when we were in “Hyper Japan” for the first time and discovered that so many people are interested in Japan. I was both surprised and happy at the same time.
Do you have any plans to go overseas again soon? Are there any countries or places you would like to visit?
YANA: I want to go sing in any country at any time! We are waiting for the offers!
KIKU: I want to tour in America! The country I’d like to visit is France. “Japan Expo” in France seems like the gateway for artists who travel to the world from Japan, so I would like to participate there.
Do you have any unique or hidden talents that not many people know about?
YANA: I have a very keen sense of smell.
KIKU: Tongue stretching. (*laughs)
If you had not formed YANAKIKU, what do you think you would be doing today?
YANA: Since I love animals and kids, I’d be a veterinarian or a kindergarten teacher.
KIKU: I love clothing, so maybe a sales clerk in a retail shop.
What other Japanese artists are you listening to now?
YANA: I listen to foreign music mostly, but for Japanese artists, I listen to Mariko Takahashi.
KIKU: I like idols, and my favourite is Shiritsu Ebisu Chuugaku.
Thank you very much for your time. Is there anything you would like to say to your overseas fans?
YANA: I would be happy if you like YANAKIKU and Japan even more through YANAKIKU’s music and live shows!
KIKU: I’d want people from many countries to know YANAKIKU! I want to have a live show in America again this year! Everyone, please support us!
NEW MV “Sabon no Yuwaku”
MV “FUJIYAMA DISCO”
TOWER RECORDS in-store promo
NEW ALBUM “YANAKIKU NO ENBAN”
We would like to thank RESONANCE Media and YANAKIKU for this interview.