Earphones’ 6th Single, Churata Churaha, is released on 3rd July. This song, chosen to be the theme song for the Anime Fight! Space Attendant Aoi is a swinging track sung entirely in a whisper voice. It is a song made to strike points in the brain to make it feel comfortable, akin to an ASMR.
In this interview translated from Natalie.mu, they sat with Rie Takahashi, Marika Kohno, Yuki Nagaku of Earphones and Endou. of Gesshoku Kaigi to discuss the concept of Churata Churaha and their upcoming 4th Anniversary Live Culture Club and their thoughts looking forward to their 5th year.
This interview is the second part of a series of 3.
You can check the first part here.
Voices that make the listener skip a beat
On the other hand, with a whisper voice, you can’t stretch out your voice while singing, and you’d think the range of your vocal tone would be limited as well.
Takahashi: You’d think there might be restrictions for a whisper, but that’s not the case. Singing Churata Churaha was very close to me relaxing at home. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. Removing all that unnecessary extra strength from my voice feels like a whisper to me, so I didn’t feel any difficulty in it…it’s a little hard to explain. What about you two?
Kohno: I felt that: “is it okay if we didn’t add any acoustic pressure?”
Takahashi: “The mic won’t catch it, right?”
Kohno: Yes, yes. When you let out a voice, regardless if it’s a song or a line, for it reaches the listener’s ears, the sound has to hit them in the chest, or it wouldn’t work. We discussed together on a lot of things in the recording from the way we let out the acoustic pressure, how much the consonant sound grazes, and how much lip noise is caught by the mic. Personally, plosive sounds such as Ta, Te and To are part of lip noise, so if ASMR is pleasingly capturing sounds like this, how much of it should I let out? That’s the challenging part.
Nagaku: I didn’t know of the word ASMR when I first did the recording, but I had imagined the mic stand as someone’s ear and thought of how best to get them excited and make them skip a beat through my voice. That’s why at the beginning I imagined a character and started singing but…
Nagaku: And they told me “actually, being your plain self is fine”. (laughs) Also, I brought myself closer to the mic than usual, in some parts you can hear and others you can’t, and in later sections, I use my natural voice. Also in the same whisper voice, I thought of what the best way to let my voice out and what seasoning would fit it for this song.
It was a new experience, but on the other hand, for the “Chu Chu” part with the plosive sounds, it required skills from my daily job as a seiyuu, so I enjoyed singing that.
Endou.: As a seiyuu, I’m sure they have experiences romantic scenes. So as Gakkyu said, that’s why they can make the listener’s heart skip a beat. This skill is something your usual singer would have. On the sound front, it is made so that the girls’ whisper voice would resonate well and I thought they did an outstanding job in being able to do that.
The arrangement was very fresh too. It’s a piano trio with a vibraphone, and you can hear some strings layered occasionally.
Endou.: Thank you. We put in the effort to express them cutely and not get in the way of their voices.
I can become one with sound.
It feels refreshing to hear Earphones sing a song that’s a pure pop yet jazzy song. You had a jazz element in Risokyo Monogatari, but the rhythm had a more Showa feel to that.
Takahashi: For Churata Churaha, I felt that I had a sense of “becoming one with sound.”
Endou.: That sounded very cool.
Takahashi: For Risokyo Monogatari, I thought of pulling the song through with my voice, but for Churata Churaha I felt it was okay to drown into the song or, leave your body to the music. The song is about space, and my image of it is jumping into the sea, slowly sinking to the bottom.
Endou.: Nothing but punchlines, especially “it was okay to drown into the song.”
In a sense, it’s like saying you feel that your voice should be treated akin to a musical instrument.
Takahashi: Something close to that. That’s why for me, as best as I can I would love only to produce good ingredients.
Endou.: Taking a long breath can also be used as a sound effect.
Takahashi: We’ve been working with the people who record our voices for four years already, so I’m sure they can prepare it well due to our mutual trust. In a sense, it’s like: “Use it however you like!”
Nagaku: The interim song for Churata Churaha was very comfortable to listen to.
Endou.: That’s done by Acchu Iwata from Gesshoku Kaigi.
Nagaku: However, as good as the interim song is, it’s also a hurdle for us to cross. But, as Endou. said it’s a song that makes the vocal stand out so, I have to bring out the best voice I can for this. Therefore until the recording date came, I made sure to wear a mask when I sleep and take extra care of my throat. Typically, I play with my throat to train it up, but I dial it down for days like these.
Endou.: I’m delighted you prepare so much for this.
Kohno: I usually listen to rock songs daily, so for Churata Churaha there’s a huge gap. I felt that “I want to listen to this song forever”, but also it was perplexing because I don’t sing this type of song usually.
Nagaku: Of all the things, Earphones, right?
Kohno: Exactly. That’s where regardless of what genre I have to sing I do my research, and I tried my best to open up something I could dig out, but I honestly couldn’t find anything. I kept listening to the interim song and searching, thinking “what do I have to reach in to find something to please everyone?”
Judging purely on what I’ve listened, I felt like you picked up the right thing.
Kohno: If you say that I’m glad.