Earphones’ 6th Single, Churata Churaha, is released on July 3rd. 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.
Earphones are the three of us being tested together
From the listener’s point of view, there’s an image of the creators using Earphones as a device to do all sorts of tests.
Endou.: That’s right. This is the first time as Gesshoku Kaigi that we have made a Shibuya style jazz-inspired two-five chord progression song. As I mentioned earlier, Space Attendant Aoi is an anime about working but, when you talk about a working film that involves three girls, the drama Nurse no Oshigoto comes to mind for me. Therefore, I imagine a slapstick comedy with Arisa Mizuki, Yuki Matsushita and Uno Kanda. In that drama’s soundtrack, there’s a scat song featuring that three singing in a whisper voice.
Endou.: “Ahh, that’s it!!” and it came to me. I created it from learning by imitation but, in a sense, I can thank Earphones for letting me learn through this experience.
Kohno: Endou. once said that he “wanted to make an Idol song.” Won’t you make one for Earphones?
Endou.: That order never came.
Endou.: Of course, I would love to take the simple approach and make an idol song, but Earphones is overflowing with an adventurous spirit that we always want to make something special. Well, that’s what makes it interesting after all.
Nagaku: I think it’s exciting too. As Marinka (Kohno) just said, it allows us to meet music we don’t often listen to. Being able to express that as Earphones tests our ability as a seiyuu, and through that process, it helps me to build newer experience to draw upon slowly.
We’re still in the state where we can stock up all these experiences, so it’s best to be positive about it. However, I always think about “what happens if it’s live?” Atashi no Naka no Monogatari written by Miura Koshi (□□□) springs to mind in particular.
Takahashi: Yes, yes.
Nagaku: Immediately after we finished recording Churata Churaha, I asked: “how are we going to do this live?”
Endou.: We wondered many times during creation “this will eventually be sung live, correct?” We’ll think about it when the live happens. In the meantime, we’ll “focus on making an awesome sound!”
Nagaku: Atashi no Naka no Monogatari ended up spectacular during the live, so while I’m not sure about Churata Churaha, I’m pretty sure we’ll enjoy singing it live.
Kohno: For us, we have our acting ability and vocal tone, and the way we face the songs are always tested but this (for Earphones) is not as an individual but as a team of three.
So, it’s not about me singing at the best of my ability. What’s important is how we process while balancing amongst the three of us. However, thinking that “if the two of them will probably sing this way”, It’s enjoyable to search for the best way to position me.
Nagaku: We are a unit, after all.
Kohno: In a sense, our ability to express as an individual may be restricted, but this kind of limitation always follows us as a seiyuu. As a seiyuu, what role we are, what type of anime, we are tested on our ability to act based on the limitations set on us.
Using Atashi no Naka no Monogatari as an example, the song has the current me (Kohno) meeting the future me who has chosen the “path of adventure” (Takahashi) and also meeting the future me who has chosen the “path of stability” (Nagaku). Both Rieri and Gakkyu play roles who are two extremes of The Future Me. Therefore, as The Current Me, I have to play a character who is approaching both of them. However, I was the first to do the recording.
Takahashi: That’s right.
Kohno: If those two recorded first, it would’ve been easier to model my role to approach theirs’. So without a model, I was imaging what kind of character they would play and at the same time, finding the role I should act. I had a lot of experience through doing that. This could only be done due to the months and years we spent together and going forward, we would continue making music the same way.
Nagaku: For some reason, we are never together while recording, right?
Takahashi: But the first song Endou. wrote for us, Anata no Omimi ni Plug-in!, was the first time we recorded together.
Kohno: Oh! Was that the first and last?
Takahashi: Well, we won’t know if it’s the last time. (laughs) At that time, we were separated into three different booths, but we were able to see eye to eye during recording.
We had that experience in the beginning, and through our experience during the lives, when we hear the song before a recording I’d think “I’d like to sing this part!”, the two of them would naturally leave that part for me. I’m usually the last to record on most occasion, so I typically enter with “Thank you!” in mind, and I feel we are very good at connecting like that.
The matured Earphones
As mentioned earlier, Endou. has not only been working with Earphones since the beginning but he has worked as the backing band for their lives.
Endou.: That’s right. I’ve been with them since they were young.
Takahashi: We’re still brimming with energy. (laughs)
Endou.: Well, you have a more prominent presence now.
That’s the kind of talk we wanted to hear. Do you feel a change occurring in the unit from someone close to the unit for four years now?
Nagaku: I’d like to hear it.
Endou.: A change, huh? As seiyuus with four years of experience piled up, whether it’s a live or a rehearsal, everything’s polished up well. They lost the rookie aspect a long time ago, in a sense they’ve matured well and are almost becoming delicious. Since they’ve experienced all sorts of genres, their musicianship is, in a sense, all over the place but, as a seiyuu, their core has not wavered.
Going forward, they’ll challenge even more songs and it’ll be a great learning experience for them. I won’t talk lightly like “Sup, it’s been a while. You been eating well?” When the three of them enter, I instead take the initiative and say “Earphones are entering!”
Earphones: No no no!!
Takahashi: However, when we enter the studio, Endou. will be the first to appear and greet us “Morning!” in a loud voice. That’s one thing that never changed.
Endou.: If I don’t start with a proper greeting, we’ll lose. (laughs)
For the Earphones girls. Looking back the past four years, do you feel the change in yourselves?
Nagaku: Hmm, better ourselves…
Takahashi: If we’re not told we may not know.
Kohno: Well, for me, when it’s the three of us, I can spill out my complaints. In the past, if I wasn’t good at dancing or singing, I’m the kind of person who’d never say it. Even now, I often think that “compared to them, I’m no good.” In the long run, it’s something I need to climb over by myself, but in that situation, I borrow my strength from them and that way I can better improve myself. That’s probably thanks to Gakkyu’s influence in part…
Nagaku: Eh? Me??
Kohno: Amongst the three of us, Gakkyu is the type who would let her thoughts hang out. It’s because of this that Gakkyu makes me want to be more honest about my feelings. On the other hand, Rieri, when I say I am not good, she’s the kind who would understand it even without me speaking out about it. However, she’s in the position where she’s worried whether she should say it or not…that made me start to cry.
Nagaku: It’s okay! It’s okay to cry sometimes!
Takahashi: Someone!! Someone give Marinka a tissue or handkerchief!!
Endou.: What a beautiful sight…
Nagaku: That’s right. Sometimes Marinka can pretend to act strong.
Takahashi: I try not to show my weaknesses so on the flip side, I feel that I should know my strengths instead. For example “What are you holding in right now?” or asking her if her complexion isn’t looking good. Even so, I try not to show my weakness to Marinka.
Kohno: To pile up on their discussion, I always have this feeling that “how much can I say to them?” All three of us are from different agencies; our hobbies and musical tastes are different. Having this entirely different three girls as a unit has had many good things but, I also feel that there have been many difficulties to cross too.
That’s why it was challenging to tighten the distance amongst us. Throughout these four years, the three of us matured if even just a little bit, so we were able to get closer to one another naturally.
Taking the next step as Earphones, together
This interview was done immediately after the “EVIL LINE RECORDS 5th Anniversary FES. EVIL A LIVE 2019” but three months from now your 4th anniversary live CULTURE CLUB is coming up.
Takahashi: There could be some fans who are probably reading an Earphones article for the first time after the EVIL LINE fes. If that’s the case, Churata Churaha is an excellent way to start! (laughs)
Kohno, Nagaku: *Agrees* (laughs)
Takahashi: As Marinka had just said, with Earphones facing their 4th anniversary, the three of us has our backs together looking forward, and it’s a great atmosphere to be in. We’d be glad if you appreciate this version of Earphones.
Of course, for the Earplugs (Earphones’ fans) who like the hectic, all over the Earphones, through this 4th anniversary live we’d like to tell them “Right now, we’re doing our best to do what we want!”, “What do you think of our music now?”, and hope that they will continue to look over us.
For those who began with Churata Churaha, it’ll be surprising for them to see the colossal climb that is Some Dreams.
Takahashi: Right? Considering that Marinka begins shouting “Several billion light years since we departed from our home, the blue fruit planet!” in a loud voice after all for Shin Jigen Kouro.
Nagaku: Since Earphones’ lives are few and far in-between, there’s all the more reason so that we have to put in 120% worth of satisfaction for every live so that fans will leave saying “I want to go to an Earphones live again!” For our 4th anniversary live, it’ll be their first experience for fans who saw us for the first time at the EVIL LINE fes. And for the Earplugs who have supported us all this way will be a showcase of 4 years of experience. I wonder what’s the best way for us to appeal to both of these groups…
Takahashi: We have to think of something.
Nagaku: Hmm. We haven’t thought of anything in particular yet, but at the bare minimum, we want to have fun, we want to do our best. There’s a more significant meaning to words, and through our producer and staff, we want to make something out of it together.
Kohno: Gakkyu has surrounded us with a calming presence, and Rieri, the leader who’s always pushing us to look forward has been my support all this way. Looking at our upcoming 4th anniversary, I want to once again express to everyone why I am still doing this with the two of them.
And as for the 4th live, as Gakkyu said our emotions would be as one, we will have to make this our first big step going forward to our 5th year. On top of that, we want to go ahead together with the Earplugs and make a live that everyone can walk towards, together.
Earphones 4th Anniversary Live CULTURE CLUB
Date: October 12th 2019 (Saturday)
Location: Tokyo Stellarbowl