Despite the evidence of their playful videos and the profusion of pink at their concerts, SILENT SIREN, or Sai Sai to their devoted fans, has always been a band that rocked harder than you’d imagine, with plenty of walloping tom-toms and a guitar tone with more creamy, crunchy goodness than a fresh jar of chunky peanut butter. They’ve gotten better with every album, and the upcoming release of their sixth album 31313, on March 13, should prove to be their best one yet. The group has a busy year ahead with an extensive tour of Japan this March and April, but they were kind enough to answer some of our questions.
Like the album GIRLS POWER with songs like “KNiFE” the new album, 31313, seems to carry on the tradition of having a mix of more light-hearted songs like “Koi no Esper” and ones with more serious lyrical content like “Cream Soda”, which seems like a break-up song. Do you look for a theme or tone for each album?
Suu: We selected songs each of us wanted to play and put on the album. Then, we carefully looked at the overall balance among ones that were pop, rock, or ballads. We wanted to create an album where people would not get easily bored.
Although all your songs like “Go Way!” have catchy choruses, your guitar and keyboard solos are often unique and memorable and veer from the melody line. Talk a little about how you develop them.
Suu: I am always trying to make a catchy melody that listeners can remember right after hearing it.
To me, “19 summer note.” is the perfect power pop song to play at the beach with friends, and yet it also has a nostalgic feel to it and a look back to youth and youthful relationships. What was the concept behind the tune?
Suu: I made a song based on the fluctuating emotions of late teenagers, when they are not children but not yet adults. We do not want to forget that fearless feeling even after we become adults.
Songs like “Tenkaippin no teima” have impressively varied beats and time changes, but some SILENT SIREN songs also have very fast tempos that are almost old-school punk in their pace. Does the band have a favorite style to play in?
Ainyan: Quite a few Sai Sai songs have fast tempos and sound exciting during live performances. In addition, we often change the tempo during the song’s middle in order to change the view or feel.
Speaking of Tenkaippin, did you enjoy shooting the video where you got to work at a noodle shop?
Hinanchu: I worked part-time at Tenkaippin so it was very refreshing to shoot the music video with all the band members who played as store staff!
I think that the mixture of two different cultures, band music and ramen, is a very special experiment only Sai Sai can do!
Judging by the number of cover versions online, you’ve inspired many people to pick up and learn to play instruments. Some of your songs are quite challenging to play with tricky funk bass parts for example. Any advice to those just starting out? And which song do you suggest they learn?
Ainyan: I play the bass guitar with a lot of slap and octave techniques, as well as fast passages, but it is very fun once you learn how to play. Every song is easy if you just follow the chords. Even beginners should find it easy to cover “Hachigatsu no Yoru”!
How did the collaboration with Hirosehirose, the keyboard player from FRIENDS, on “Letter” come about?
Hinanchu: As he has been my friend since our high school days, we agreed to get the music scene excited for our generation! So, the collaboration was realized!
Fans always like to hear old favorites like “Sweet Pop!” at concerts. Have you changed the arrangements of any older songs for live shows to present them in a new way or keep them fresh for yourselves?
Yukarun: We sometimes arrange the originals in a different way or change the performance. But, we also play the songs with the original arrangement occasionally if we play them after it’s been awhile.
I know the band has an extensive tour of Japan coming up this spring. In 2017 you played some dates in California, Jakarta, and Hong Kong. Do you have plans for any more overseas shows and visits to new places like Europe or the U.S. east coast?
Suu: We do not have any plans at this point. We’d love to meet with all the fans from overseas that are waiting for us. We want to be successful around the world.
Please share a message with your overseas fans.
Hinanchu: I think that Sai Sai’s music can be quite exciting and enjoyed worldwide. We will work hard to be able to deliver our music to listeners all around the world. I appreciate your support!
Ainyan: We continue to send out our music so that we can be very active overseas and considered a front-line Japanese girls band.
Yukarun: I want you to listen to our music. As there are some fans from overseas that come to Japan to see our live shows, we will work hard so that more of you come see us!
Suu: I appreciate your support, as we would like to succeed overseas, too. And, please listen to our music!
If you are in Japan this spring try to catch one of their concerts and be sure to pick up or order a copy of 31313. You won’t regret it.