Since releasing their debut album Pink in 2017, four-piece band Chai have built a name for themselves due to their fizzy sound and playful live shows. 

Pink was followed by Punk in 2019 and Wink in 2021. The latest album offers a more considered affair, with slower melody lines and contemplative lyrics packaged in the group’s signature pink, surreal vibe. 

The band’s music and ‘neo kawaii’ aesthetic has been described by The Guardian as “one giant, chaotic hug.” They have also been referred to by The New York Times, as “professional purveyors of whimsy.”

While Chai’s music is outwardly poppy and its reinvention of the color pink appears frivolous, they have a deeper message. In a culture where being kawaii is seen as an aspiration, Chai members spread the message of body positivity and self-love. 

This can be seen in an early music video for “N.E.O.” and continues into the present with the band’s most recent single, “Marugoto” repeating the hook “be kind to yourself.” Let’s see where they find inspiration. 

1. Tell us some of your proudest moments?

Mana: I got to perform live for Tiny Desk and did a video for them. I loved it so much; it was my dream.

Kana: I love Gorillaz so much so being able to feature in one of their songs. It was like a dream. I still think it’s incredible that we were able to collaborate.

Yuna: Thanks to this group, I have been able to perform as a drummer in various places and on various stages.

Yuuki: Being a musician, fashion designer and painter at the same time.

2. Who or what inspires you?

Yuuki: I get inspired by Harry Styles, Verdy and the friends around me, in how to live life through my mindset and the way I express myself. 

3. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

Yuna: I want to go to space. I want to experience the Earth’s wonders from above. It would change my outlook on life. 

4. Your top song to listen to at the beach?

Kana: “People Everyday” by Arrested Development. 

5. Best karaoke song?

Mana: “Sweet Memories” by Seiko Matsuda. I also sing these a lot: CoCo, Zard, Dreams Come True, Mariya Takeuchi and anime songs. 

6. What does this year mean to you?

Mana: I’m going to keep being me, living every day my own silly way.

Find out more about Chai via their website, here.