Hailing from Kyoto, Japan, JYOCHO isn’t your typical progressive rock band. Their name, meaning “emotion”, “mood”, and “atmosphere”, perfectly encapsulates their unique approach that offers a distinct worldview, blending technical tracks with warmth and intensity. We received the opportunity to speak with Daijiro Nakagawa to learn more about this unique band.

For those unaware, JYOCHO emerged in 2016 from the creative mind of guitarist Daijiro Nakagawa, formerly of the internationally acclaimed math rock band Uchu Conbini, which has since disbanded. As we believe JYOCHO is still an undiscovered gem by many, especially by Uchu Conbini fans, we formed this interview around the mindset of rediscovering Daijiro’s amazing work.

Along with Daijiro on guitar, the band consist of vocalist and keyboardist Nekota Netako, bassist sindee, fluetist Yuuki Hayashi, and drummer Kojiro Yamazaki.

The band’s recent releases consist of the hauntingly beautiful ending theme As the Gods Say, for the Netflix horror series Itou Junji: Maniac, as well as the soothing ending theme Guide and Devote for the fantasy anime Shin no Nakama. In the interview, we’ve shortened the full title of the anime, “Shin no Nakama ja Nai to Yuusha no Party wo Oidasareta node, Henkyou de Slow Life suru Koto ni Shimashita”, for brevity.

“First of all, we prioritize that we as a band enjoy our own music.” —Daijiro

JYOCHO was formed in 2016, a year after Uchu Conbini disbanded. Can you tell us about what motivated you to form JYOCHO, and what you wanted to achieve with this band?

JYOCHO began as my solo project. After the disbandment of Uchu Conbini, there was a time when I was uncertain about continuing my musical journey, but it was my manager’s encouragement that spurred me on to start something new. As a former composer for Uchu Conbini, what I wanted to achieve was to compose all aspects of the music by myself because I had a desire to infuse and embody my imagination into my work, and I realized it with that project.

That’s fantastic, leveraging your past experiences as a springboard for your current project. Do you think you could elaborate a bit more on how your experiences in Uchu Conbini influenced the direction of JYOCHO and its sound?

During my time with Uchu Conbini, there were things I wanted to do a bit differently with the ensemble and instruments. With JYOCHO, I found myself wanting to craft compositions that accentuated the symbiotic relationship between the ensemble and instruments. Moreover, the restrictions on arrangement in Uchu Conbini led me to chart a direction that allowed for greater artistic freedom.

On the opposite end, what would you say sets JYOCHO apart from Uchu Conbini?

︎There are clear differences, but listeners perceive the music in a way they want to. JYOCHO respects infinity, respecting listeners’ unique perspectives within our songs, and we intend to create such songs with myriad resolutions. Whether you think two bands’ songs have their own taste and differences, or whether you think they sound the same, I’m happy either way.

It’s great to hear that JYOCHO offers such an open-minded view. We’re intrigued to hear how your approach to thinking and working as a musician has evolved throughout your time with this band.

I started working as a composer at the same time I studied, and also explored new guitar techniques. I’m learning daily about the rigors and necessities of being a professional, apart from just being in a band. Since I started JYOCHO, I’ve been deepening my philosophy when it comes to creating ensembles and writing lyrics. But first of all, we prioritize that we as a band enjoy our own music. That having said, we’re grateful if our listeners and fans enjoy our music like we do.

“For Itou Junji’s anime, my intention was to generate a chemical reaction by blending bright, cheerful, and exciting music, which contrasts sharply with the series’ creepier ambience.” —Daijiro

As you’ve previously played in a math rock band, and now transitioned to progressive pop and rock, do you ever feel the need to temper your math rock influences to cater to a broader audience?

I don’t think we have that much math rock influence in our music, but it’s an exciting style and I like it! I don’t intend to hold back any influence from math rock, and if listeners perceive our music as math-rock, that’s their choice. Also, I looked up the historic definition of math rock, but I believe it’s more conceptual. And I’m more influenced by solo guitar, progressive music and folk, so as a composer, I don’t feel that JYOCHO matches up with math rock.

It’s reassuring to hear that you don’t intend to hold back any influences, and we’re excited to witness the ongoing development of JYOCHO’s sound. Speaking of growth, how has your guitar technique and style transformed since you formed JYOCHO?

My technique and style has changed while retaining elements of my previous approach. This is inevitable given the shifts in the band’s approach to composition, music direction, and expressive goals. And our “resolution” has improved, which empowers me to express myself with greater freedom, like, “with more singing parts, I wanna do this part this way!” or “I want to maximize the potential of the ensemble and each component here!”.

That makes sense, and we would say that JYOCHO’s compositions also stands out with the inclusion of a flutist in the band. While we know you were originally searching for a shakuhachi (Japanese flute) player to infuse traditional Japanese influences, how would you describe the role of the flute today?

That’s right. Initially, I was looking for a shakuhachi player. In JYOCHO, I wanted to express ideas such as “hometown”, “memories”, and “roots”, so I was looking for an instrument with strong Japanese nuances. Within JYOCHO’s sonic palette, the flute assumes a multifaceted role, serving both as a supporting element and as a primary melody carrier. I incorporate flute parts whenever I wish to infuse the flute sounds into chords.

JYOCHO - 云う透り / As the Gods Say Maniac ver. (Official Music Video) *Netflixシリーズ「伊藤潤二『マニアック』」 EDテーマ

You’re also involved in the anime music scene as well, having created music for “Itou Junji: Collection”, “Itou Junji: Maniac”, and recently for “Shin no Nakama” with the ending theme song “Guide and Devote”. How was it working on these theme songs?

For Itou Junji’s anime, my intention was to generate a chemical reaction by blending bright, cheerful, and exciting music, which contrasts sharply with the series’ creepier ambience. I composed the ending theme for the first season of Shin no Nakama as well. I composed the theme for the second season from the purest of motives: what kind of music would make me happy or excited in season two?

I guess this piece unusually aligns with the anime on a deeper level, unlike other works of mine. I don’t have a template or the same way of making music, as I approach each work with different ideas and approaches.

Elaborating on the song “Guide and Devote”, what message did you want to convey, and what are some influences behind it?

What I put in the song is about us in the future, and how we continue to live strongly while accepting how we are doing there. As for inspirations or experiences, I included my own message that, although our lives have changed with recent global situations, we are not alone, and we overcome everything together, and we are always connected.

Additionally, I wrote about events that might await us in the future. Each of us has our own answer, so I hope you will receive my message and feel it yourselves.

JYOCHO - 導き、捧げて / Guide and Devote (Official Music Video/TVアニメ『#真の仲間 2nd』EDテーマ)

“What I’m aiming for is free-spirited and limitless music” —Daijiro

Given that each of your releases tends to revolve around specific themes, how do these themes contribute to the overall narrative or identity of the band?

JYOCHO’s lyrics, artwork, and repeated riffs consistently contain “cycles, circles, geometry”, and [the three traits that are JYOCHO] “memories, roots, emotion”, I believe that these are used and resonate, and have energy to connect through them.

That’s an interesting thematic approach, and from this, what do you hope listeners take away from JYOCHO’s music?

I don’t expect them to feel something particularly strong, but if they do, that makes me happy. I’m trying to create music that fits the experience of each listener. So what I’m aiming for is free-spirited and limitless music, not repeatedly harboring a specific message or political viewpoint.

For those who haven’t had the opportunity to see JYOCHO perform live, what kind of experience can they anticipate when they finally attend one of your shows?

I’m not sure what kind of experience our audience could have, but we can assure you that we’re always having fun and playing really hard ourselves. Our music is free-spirited, and we hope that each of you find something unique to enjoy and experience.

Looking ahead, what aspirations or goals do you have for JYOCHO?

I’ve heard that we have many overseas listeners according to subscription analytics and online reactions. So we’ll try our best to go abroad to showcase our live performances.

Before we wrap up, we wanted to mention that we came across fans online who are still expressing nostalgia for Uchu Conbini, and also those who regret only recently discovering the band.

Daijiro, as the lead composer, what do you believe are the factors that continue to resonate with people, leading them to reminisce about your music even a decade after?

I’m merely giving my all in the moment. It’s not about me being exceptional; I find those who say that about me are truly exceptional, and their encouragement fuels my creative drive. Thank you so much.

Please leave a message to your overseas fans!

Thank you for always paying attention to my activities and music, and for supporting JYOCHO! I hope you enjoy our music in your own way! This wonderful interview also showed me fans’ love for my music. I hope to see you all again!

We want to thank Daijiro for taking the time to chat with us, and for being so open about sharing his early experiences and ongoing growth as a musician. We look forward to hearing more of JYOCHO’s unique, and soothing and captivating sound.

Subscribe to new comments
Email notify on
Inline feedbacks
View all comments
  1. Guide and Devote
  2. ex human
  3. A Flourished City
  4. Counting Planets
Track 4: Re-Arraneged ver of 365
  1. As the Gods Say
  2. The Progress of Civilization
  3. Silent Prayer
  4. 366
Twitter Netako Nekota
Twitter Daijiro Nakagawa
Twitter sindee
Twitter Yuuki Hayashi
Twitter Kojiro Yamazaki