“I don’t know about the world but I know me, I don’t hide my weight,” sings CHAI’s Mana on “I’m Me”, a joyous, glittering tune on Japanese foursome’s second album PUNK. Punk is about challenging expectations and subverting all cultural and societal norms, and CHAI do so with their gleeful, sugar rush-propelled pop, rejecting traditional ideas of what’s ‘kawaii’, while advocating ruthless self-love and embracing those around you.
Hailing from Nagoya, the four-piece band first formed in 2012, and consist of twin sisters Mana and Kana (the lead singer, and keyboardist and guitarist, respectively), bass player Yuuki, and drummer Yuna. With battle-of-the-bands competition days behind them and two stellar albums in, CHAI continue to throw boundless, kinetic energy behind their ‘neo-kawaii’ revolution – a mission to reimagine the dominating aesthetic of Japanese culture for the world. Their live shows are a maximalist dream, and with chaotic synths, galactic guitar lines, and bright, big vocals, CHAI and their soul-affirming art are impossible not to love.
“We want to continue making music that fuels the soul and hope to change the values placed around ‘kawaii’ simultaneously!” says Yuuki. “We want to be the face of Asia, and of course, have more people know about CHAI!” So what’s next? Even bigger tours in Europe and Japan are in the works, while they dream big for a Grammy and their very own theme park, CHAI-land.