Japanese punk band CHAI is the epitome of Neo Kawaii. A Nagoya-based group formed in 2012, who went against the Nagoya music scene, pushes a new concept called Neo Kawaii.
CHAI is a Japanese band comprised of four young females who are twin sisters, high school friend, and college classmate who live together in the CHAI house. As fun and intriguing as the name, the songs and videos they created are all also very far from dull. They self-produced all of their songs, with a whimsical approach to songwriting, and opted to always be involved in concept-brainstorming, choosing their outfits, and makeup for their music videos.
Mana, Kana, Yuna, Yuuki coined the term Neo Kawaii to describe their look and sound – Neo meaning Neo Excite Onna-band and Kawaii is cute – and the term itself truly redefines Japanese beauty standards. As written on their website, it means that “All girls are pretty from the moment they were born, and that there is not a single girl who is not kawaii. You should be who you are. Our insecurities make us who we are. The insecurities become art. Kawaii is a never-ending journey!”
They are inspired by artists like Tom Tom Club, CSS, Justice, The XX, Basement Jaxx, Passion Pit. If you are a fan of the usual Japanese rock trappings, CHAI steers clear of it as all of their songs are about that raw punk energy, a blend of post-punk sounds and electro hip-hop. Most of their songs discuss about food, psychological complexes, cats, and other unusual neo kawaii topics. Embracing complexes and weirdness, all of CHAI’s amusing and super-catchy songs are filled with cheeky lyrics and energetic beats. Their way of attacking the stereotypical idea of “cuteness” is by unexpectedly turning a mundane topic into something wild and challenging. They refuse to make cliché romantic love songs and would rather write a love song about gyoza, something that all of the members can relate.
Set to release their debut album on October 25 – as it uses a lot of pink in the visuals, from the clothing to make up – the album will be called ‘PINK’. The album will feature eleven songs, like ‘Boys Sex Men’, ‘Flat Girl’, and ‘Sayonara Complex’.
What makes CHAI different is the fact that they are indeed, different. They don’t really want to be boxed into any genre, their videos are artistic, fun, and very aesthetically pleasing, they present the important messages they want to say in the lyrics and wrap them in a realistic and humorous way, and most importantly they celebrate all types of beauty. As CHAI says, “everyone is kawaii in their own way.” (Text Kirana Ardhia)
Check out more of their stuff on their exciting website: chai-band.com