Can you believe it? Fifteen years. That’s how long it’s been since BACK-ON released their first ever single which was heard internationally thanks to its anime tie-in with Air Gear. The opening theme Chain was released on June 7, 2006, and peak ranked 139th on the Oricon singles chart and reached the hearts of many anime fans worldwide thanks to its catchy hooks and funky beats.
Fast-forwarding to March 2021, BACK-ON drops a new digital track Down which will be available on the physical international edition of their anniversary album, FLIP SOUND. We’re lucky to catch the two to reflect on their work with anime over the years, what gets them excited nowadays, and their preference for fried chicken. Let’s get to it.
Please introduce yourselves!
TEEDA: Hey guys! We’re BACK-ON! Thank you for reading! I’m MC TEEDA, and that’s vocalist and guitarist, KENJI03. We’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of our major label debut! We have a new album out called FLIP SOUND, it’s out in Europe and America on April 30 from JPU Records as a two-CD album. One disc is all of our best songs from the last 15 years re-recorded, the other disc is all of our new material released on a CD for the first time. I hope you like it!
Congratulations guys! It’s been 15 years since you debuted so let’s talk about your history. If you have to describe the BACK-ON in one sentence, what would it be?
TEEDA: A “chemical reaction” ‘cuz we’re experimenting with mixing different music genres when we make our songs. [laughs]
If you had to pick one song which you believe is the pinnacle of your life’s work in BACK-ON so far, which song would it be? Why is that?
TEEDA: Umm, it would have to be Chain, because of this song we could play all around the world.
Chain is also your first first-ever single, too! A lot of the time, artists will feel a certain way when they revisit their old work. How does it feel to listen to the first single 15 years later?
TEEDA: We’re grateful for this song ‘cuz it has allowed us to perform in many countries!
Do you have any particularly memorable stories around this release?
TEEDA: The first time we played a show overseas the fans sang along to this song, even though the lyrics are mostly in Japanese, with very little English. We were very impressed!
That must have been a good feeling. Compared to nowadays, what was recording like in the early phase of your career?
TEEDA: We think it’s easy to make music and record nowadays. So we can spend more time focusing on expressing ourselves clearly and on the detail of the sounds.
Over the years you’ve had so many anime tie-ins from Gundam, Initial D, Fairy Tail, and much much more. In past interviews, you mentioned you were excited when you were asked to collaborate on the first anime theme. What’s your most fond memory relating to an anime collaboration?
That is really cool. Okay then, other than musicians and anime, is there anything or anyone else you would love to collaborate with? We’ve noticed many sneaker photos on KENJI03’s social media.
TEEDA: Yeah, we wanna collaborate with the street culture, like gears and wear—and skaters, graffiti writers— We are open to trying all sorts of things now.
The fashion style as a band has obviously changed over time, is there anything you really don’t want to return to your wardrobe or come back in style?
TEEDA: We think you should wear what you want to wear. Fashion styles are always changing back and forth.
How about food? [laughs] On Twitter, there’s a picture of you next to Jollibee’s mascot. If you had to pick between KFC or Jolibee to eat forever, which will you choose?
KENJI03: Ummm, that’s a tough choice because I could eat both forever. [laugh]
[laughs] To us and fans, you’re both really hip, but do you have any nerdy hobbies or interests?
TEEDA: I like to modify my motorcycle to ride.
KENJI03: Watching professional wrestling on TV, and I’ve been playing Fortnite lately with my son. [laughs]
What’s your most favorite TV show or anime series lately?
TEEDA: Umm, my favorite anime is Samurai X.
KENJ03I: WWE!! [laughs]
You really love wrestling, huh? [laugh] There’s a Biggie sweatshirt that TEEDA wears which pops up often on the band’s social media. If you could work with any rapper or artist, who would you pick?
TEEDA: I love and respect Lauryn Hill.
What would you like to do if you could collaborate with her?
TEEDA: I would love to sing Lost Ones with her one day.
In April this year, you’ll be releasing a self-cover best-of album in Europe and the USA on CD, how did you pick the songs for this tracklist?
TEEDA: These tracks are representative of BACK-ON from the start to now, and we’ve wanted to remake them for a long time too.
Is there a song you would like the fans to particular pay attention to?
TEEDA: We think a day dreaming…—because I reduced the number of notes from the original and focused more on the singing style and voice.
We’ll make sure to pay extra attention to that one then! Were there any songs you wished you could fit into this album, but couldn’t?
TEEDA: Everything except the songs on this album. [laughs] We’re curious to see what would happen if we made everything with our new sound.
That’s fair enough. Did you make any goals or resolutions for this year?
TEEDA: We’d wanna try to make two albums this year! And we’re looking forward to playing shows again once the virus disappears.
Could you impart us some wisdom in how to “live your best life”?
TEEDA: We think it’s important to always have positive feelings. Before entering the stage, I tell myself, “Everything’s gonna be okay”. [laughs]
Everything will be okay! What’s the secret behind staying together and producing music continuously for 15 years?.
TEEDA: Umm… having a playful mind. [laughs]
We agree! Finally, please leave us a message for your international fans.
TEEDA: Thanks for reading! This album is representative of BACK-ON’s songs from debut to now, we also included 3 digital EPs on this album. So no doubt everyone’s gonna love this album! Please check it out!! We really wanna play shows in your country when things get safer!
Big thanks to TEEDA and KENJI03 for taking the time to speak to us! Also a big shout out to JPU Records for making this interview happen. Be sure to check out their international release of FLIP SOUND that’s out in April.
- STRIKE BACK
- Nibun no Ichi
- Sands of time
- a day dreaming...
- BLAZE LINE
- NEW WORLD
- Hikari Sasuhou
- Ultimate Adachi
- Carry on
- Laugh now
- Misty rain
- Knock knock
- WILD THING
- Good morning
- three two one
- TOKYO BE-BOP
- Shall we dance