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Marking the sixth release – the first in three years – from the Kyoto, Japan-based band JYOCHO, the new eight-track project “Let’s Promise to be Happy” was recorded in Japan at StudioSHIKARI and Studio 246 KYOTO and released on last February 16th.

The quartet — Daijiro (guitar/chorus), Netako Nekota (vocals/keyboard), Sindee (bass), and Yuuki Hayashi (flute) — premiered an album sampler (click here to listen), produced by the graphic designer and photo manipulator ISAMYU, also credited for designing the cover art for the new album. We had the pleasure of interviewing the producer and founding member Daijiro Nakagawa. Check it out!

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This is JYOCHO’s first release in three years, how was the album development process?

In JYOCHO, I basically create all the parts as demos using DTM. After, I share the pieces with the rest of the band to develop JYOCHO tracks. It was so much fun to come up with a lot of ideas when we recorded the album!

According to you (Daijiro Nakagawa), this is the band’s most intuitive work. How did the concept for Let’s Promise to Be Happy come about?

While my previous works have been written from a macro perspective, this album is more direct and personal. It focuses inward. In addition, the music is more straightforward in terms of the sound and lyrics.

Let’s Promise to Be Happy
Let’s Promise to Be Happy / Cover art by ISAMYU

For our readers who are having their first contact with the band, which album do you recommend they start with?

I think listeners should experience JYOCHO in chronological order to see the band’s growth, and so, I would say, start with the 1st mini-album, “A Prayer in Vain.”  Or, since the latest album “Let’s Promise to be Happy” is the most confident work, I would be happy if you listened to it.

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Is there a specific inspiration that contributed to the creation of this project?

I was inspired by the philosophical question of self-care. I imagine that the starting point is the microscopic part of our own transmission, and from there, how do we mix with the world around us, and how do we come to terms with ourselves and the world.

How was your first contact with music? Do you remember your first guitar?

My father and brother are guitar players, and that’s where it all started. My first guitar was a TAKAMINE!

Is there an artist or work that played an important role in your musical influence?

My main influences were solo guitar songs and folk, progressive rock, indie, and emo. The most influential artist in Japan was Tipographica.  I also like American Football, of course! I think solo guitar is the most influential! I specifically respect Kotaro Oshio and Pierre Bensusan very much.

When not involved with music, what are your favorite activities?

I like to drink coffee and look at plants when I’m not playing music. I also like to read into the state of the economy.

We know how much the pandemic has made social interaction difficult due to restrictions, especially for artists. How was the process of adapting to this phase?

Our live concerts have been canceled, and many other events have been affected. Our overseas concert was postponed. However, we are resuming live performances and creating new works when we can in this COVID-19 pandemic. I would be happy if I could cheer up those who are in the same situation. We will continue our activities without being defeated!

Have you ever had contact with Brazilian music? Do you know Brazilian guitarists like Kiko Loureiro or Mateus Asato?

Of course, I know Kiko Loureiro or Mateus Asato?! Mateus Asato is super cool, and, I talked about him in Guitar Magazine quite a while ago!

What are the plans for the future? Is there a possibility of more releases or a JYOCHO tour?

I can’t tell you just yet, but many new things have been decided!

A word to define JYOCHO? What is the message you want to pass through music?

I think it’s something like the Japanese word “jyocho,” meaning: memory, me, living, law, and the universe. The band name “JYOCHO” comes from the Japanese word for emotion, which I think is an atmospheric and emotional word. Still the Japanese word “jyocho” has other meanings as well. As a Japanese person, I wanted to convey the poetic quality and dynamic sound of emotion to people in Japan and around the world.

Thank you so much for the interview! Please send a message to our Brazilian readers and fans.

Dear Brazilian people: I know you are going through a difficult time right now under the COVID-19 situation. We are also thinking and living our lives to the fullest under this hard time so that we can still grow day by day. We hope to see you all again someday, so until then, let’s keep each other healthy! All the JYOCHO members are looking forward to meeting you all someday!

Jyocho
Photo: Shoko Ishizaki

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