CHAI is a little bit of Japan popular culture at Roskilde Festival. At the same time, they are everything at once. An abundance of what’s possible.
Mana, Kana, Yuki and Yuna are the four members – two identical twins and two friends. They play an exuberant, sleek mashup of pop, R&B, funk, rock and hip-hop (we did say everything, right?). In Japan they are signed to major label Sony and have achieved lots of success.
CHAI are also enjoying a cross-continental indie success at the moment. Two albums, Pink (2018) and Punk (2019) have been released by respectable indie labels in the Western world, Burger Records (US) and Heavenly (UK).
The Japanese band’s self-stated mission is to dismantle and subvert notions of ‘cuteness’ that its members feel are so repressive in Japan. Instead, they prefer to celebrate human imperfection. Basically, it’s about empowerment! According to one review, CHAI “bring to mind the Go-Go’s playing in a vast games arcade” – their weapons are optimism and energy, and they welcome everyone to join the game.
When CHAI perform live, they dress in matching bubblegum pink jumpsuits, and they trade simple synchronised dance moves. Their music is a fizzy, funky cocktail of pounding drums, squelching synthesisers and sugar-sweet vocal melodies. Their tunes shapeshift, ping-ponging from one idea to the next with dizzying speed, so you need to hang on and go along for the ride. We can guarantee you this: it’s impossible to go through a CHAI concert without cracking a smile and enjoying yourself. These four women certainly know how to throw a party!