If you’ve been scrolling on TikTok any time in the past few months, there’s a good chance you’ve heard some music from J-pop duo YOASOBI. Producer and songwriter Ayase and singer-songwriter ikura are experiencing an explosive viral moment with their track “Idol,” the first Japanese song to ever hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Global (Excluding US) Chart. The music video (which you can watch below) is currently hovering close to 300 million views.
The two first joined forces in 2019 via Sony Entertainment Japan, and the results are exciting for the pair, who have a bit of an offbeat approach when it comes to finding inspiration. Initially using stories from social networking platform Monogatary as jumping-off points, YOASOBI are known for collaborating with novelists both established and entirely independent as the basis for their tracks.
Ayase explains their unique process works with novels indiscriminate of stature, sharing, “Our music is inspired by novels written by various amateur and professional authors. When we create music, we first read the novel and get inspired. Then, I create the melody and sounds and read the story repeatedly to write the lyrics. After that, I pass the music to ikura, who records the vocals.” If the success of “Idol,” which is based on the short story 44510 by Aka Akasaka, is anything to go by, they’ve found a recipe for success.
The chat with Consequence takes place on a sunny Los Angeles afternoon, as the duo prepare for their first-ever US performance, taking place at 88rising’s annual Head in the Clouds LA gathering. It’s a big step onto the American stage for them, and ikura mentions a recent viewing of Taylor Swift’s 2020 documentary, Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, to prime herself for the show: “As we start to step out to the world, it reminded me how I need to get prepared,” she shares.
Watch the full interview with YOASOBI above, in which they discuss what they love about performing, goals for the GRAMMYs, and the joy of sharing J-pop with the world. And, if you experience any trouble with the player above, you can catch the interview here on YouTube.