© Chai. All rights reserved.


From Nagoya we have CHAI, a group who aim to challenge our ideas of kawaii, starting a NEO kawaii movement with the belief everyone is kawaii and that our insecurities make us who we are. The members consist of: Mana (Vocals and Keys), Kana (Vocals and Guitar), Yuna (Drums and Chorus), and Yuki (Bass and Chorus). Now signed to major label Sony Music Japan, the band have released 2 albums and 3 EPs at the time of writing. Luckily for us their music is distributed by Heavenly Recordings in Europe, having toured the UK before they also have another UK tour lined up in May, be sure not to miss them!


Describing CHAI’s sound is something I really had to think about. It’s quite a unique blend of indie, alternative, punk, and a bit of J-Pop. Even then, their songs are quite varied, with a few base concepts to keep the consistency. This mainly revolves around the vocals, delivered in a more alternative straight way, with the backing vocals creating a catchy chorus and an overall more J-Pop feel. It’s interesting that the chorus vocals create the J-Pop feel, despite not following the stereotypical melodic singing. Indeed, it is a refreshing twist and makes the chorus really pop out in the track. The more straight delivery of vocals works with the instrumental to drive the alternative rock-techno feel that dominates the overall track.

Beyond that, there is quite a bit of variation in the instrumental. The rhythm tends to be slow and steady, driven by the drums. The bass, playing more complex riffs with energy behind them and a strong presence throughout. The guitar and keys are quite varied, adapting to be whatever the song needs them to be. Contributing to a more alternative garage sound, particularly the guitar is usually programmed to have a harsh sound. There is also quite a bit of use of electronic production to give it a more alternative rock out there vibe, bit of a throwback to stuff from the 80s. However, there is so much variation, it isn’t really something you can fully confine. Broadly speaking it is quite an alternative sound with the production focusing on a rough sound. Yet this brings out the whole aesthetic of the band, challenging ideas and preconceptions, that alone should make you check them out.

My Top 5 Hit


  1. ぎゃらんぶ

  2. アイム・ミー

  3. ヴィレヴァンの

  4. ボーイズ・セコ・メン

  5. N.E.O.


Music is distributed by Heavenly Recordings, making physical copies of their album available in the UK, the rest of their discography is available digitally.

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