Wednesday, January 14, 2015

J-pop group interview- 4TE

Hi there everyone. It has been a long time since there was a post on Review Carnival. However, here I am today, interviewing j-pop group 4TE. 4TE is a very unique group in that they are a concept group where all members met and collaborated over the internet, to finally release their single More/Ippo zutsu. I was really excited when I heard of something so novel so I decided to interview them. Here is the interview. The details of their first single are at the end. There are 4 members in this group: Jenny, Chii, Micchi and Mei.

Some Trivia about the members:

Name of member- Jenny
Favorite color- Red
Zodiac sign- Capricorn
Place of your dreams-  Osaka
Favorite artist/singer- Utada Hikaru

Name of member- Chii
Favorite color- Pink
Zodiac sign- Taurus
Place of your dreams- Harajuku
Favorite artist/singer- Mariko Goto

Name of member- Micchi
Favorite color- Blue
Zodiac sign- Aries
Place of your dreams- Akihabara
Favorite artist/singer- °C-ute

Name of member- Mei
Favorite color- White
Zodiac sign- Taurus
Place of your dreams- Shibuya
Favorite artist/singer- Beyoncé

The interview

1) Your group concept is very unique and all of you are from very
different backgrounds. Just to make it clear to your fans, can you
describe what you do (or used to do)  and how you met the other members of
the group?

Chii: Living in a Mexican community that values its rich heritage, it was
difficult to find other fans of Japanese music and like many others, I
turned to the internet to reach out to like-minded people. I started a
youtube channel where I uploaded primarily anime theme songs and Showa
Kayou. I knew most people wouldn’t listen to my songs if the videos only
featured audio so I decided to give MV-type videos a spin. Naturally, the
more time I invested in this hobby, the more I took it seriously and
learned more about lighting, cameras, recording etc. Without even feeling
it, I had invested all of my attention in music production and all of the
things that follow it. Eventually, I was contacted by a net-idol group and
through that, met the other members of what would finally become 4TE.

Mei: Before I became a part of 4TE, I was auditioning for commercial
acting and singing gigs. I owned a Youtube channel, but had only stuck to
solo covers and originals. The amount of collaborations I’d done online
were close to zero. One day when I was searching for auditions, I found
one for a net-idol group - and it was through this project that I had met
the other talents and staffs in 4TE. I honestly felt like the whole “idol”
image wasn’t my thing, it felt way superficial (now that’s not saying
nothing else in the music industry isn’t, haha!) - but it wasn’t me. So
after we left, we decided that we were going to create a J-POP group that
didn’t restrict us to one image, and this was perfect for us. We’re
artists, we create, each of us are unique, and each of us have something
artistically different to offer. Not being bound by one image gave us the
freedom to create this beautiful mish-mash… thing that we call 4TE, and I
love it.

Jenny:  I originally started off on youtube as mainly a vocaloid cover
artist (utaite or youtaite as they call it in the community). I met the
rest of 4TE after I auditioned and became part of a “net-idol” project
over the internet. On our own, we decided that we wanted to start our own
thing and follow our own path into J-pop so we created our 4 member group,

Micchi: I had been a fan of anime since I was a little girl, and I
eventually discovered Japanese pop music through youtube. When I saw that
people were posting recordings of their singing and dancing online, I
wanted to join the fun and made my own channel when I was 12. I also had
been taking various dance lessons, so my love of dance and performing
inspired me to make videos. To this day, I’ve been posting singing and
dance covers of Japanese songs to youtube. The J-pop youtube community was
very small when I first started out, and it’s amazing to see how much it
has grown since then! I auditioned for the net-idol group that everyone
else was in, and from there, I joined 4TE.

2) Producing and releasing a single is hard work. How did you share the
work? Who wrote the song, who produced it and how did you record it and
get a label to release it since you are all in different places.

Chii: If there is anything unique about this group, I’d definitely say
it’s just how much we all individually take part in the creative process.
Anything from music to video production, we all have a strong voice in the
matter. One song may feature the writing of Mei , for example, and another
may be all of us. In “MORE”s case, our producer (known as promwolf on the
internet) created a short concept and Jenny and I worked at coming up with
a vocal melody on top of it. Turns out, we both really liked how ours
sounded together! So, we went with: intro, verse, spoken part, written by
me, and chorus, ad lib, written by Jenny. From there, promwolf extended it
and wrote based on the structure that was being formed. Some little
snippets of instrumentation thrown in were actually parts I wrote myself
too. (such as the piano part and a synth heard in the background of the
chorus) Our other producer (Felipe) contributed to the chord progression
in the chorus to give it more energy. Once lyrics were completed in
English, our manager Berry wrote the Japanese lyrics. I mix the vocals in
the first stage, and it gets sent back to Promwolf to master. In short, we
certainly all do our part in bringing our music to fruition.

Jenny: We have a few producers working with us. Our producer, “PromWolf”
is mainly responsible for our sound. He’d come up with a demo and we’d
kind of pass it around and record melodies over it, we listened, and tried
to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Then when it came to recording
the real thing, we’d have to do it seperately in our own homes and then
send it to Chii who would mix everything together to create the final
product. As of right now though, we actually aren’t apart of any label.
We’re what people would call “Independant” and all the work and
distribution is done by both the members, producers, and managers.

3) When did you decide that you wanted to be a singer and what advice
would you give to aspiring singers who want to pursue their dreams?

Chii: I grew up being too afraid to sing. I only began to seriously work
towards it once my confidence went up and I finally pushed myself to
publicize my growth. My biggest piece of advice to aspiring singers is to
find a balance between high confidence to keep going,  taking risks even
when the outcome is slim, and having humility to continue improving.

Mei: In elementary school, we were taught to memorize dozens of patriotic
songs, and in second grade, I remember having to sing in class with
everyone else. My teacher noticed my singing (or wailing at the time, I
can’t honestly remember how I sounded in second grade.) and told my mom I
could sing. Not long after, I found myself awkwardly singing on top of a
desk in front of the school, swallowing my mic while singing the national
anthem. That was my first performance, and since then, I had been working
towards my goal of becoming a singer. My advice to singers who want to
pursue their dream is to keep going. You’re going to get a lot more “no”s
than “yes”es. Sometimes it is you, sometimes it isn’t you, but regardless
of the reason, keep working on your craft, be in the know (knowledge is
power), and always aim to better yourself.

Jenny: For a long time, singing was only a hobby for me. I originally
wanted to go into Illustration haha but I’m honestly not very good. It
actually wasn’t until I met my fellow members that I really decided to go
for it as a singer. The best advice I could give to other aspiring singers
is to educate yourself in as many aspects of the field as possible. It’s a
bit cliche’ to say I know, but I can speak from personal experience that
the classes I’ve taken in music business, sound engineering, and vocal
training has proven it’s worth time and time again.

Micchi: I mainly focused on dancing, but I would always enjoy singing my
favorite songs everywhere I went. I never took singing too seriously until
I started posting song covers online, and my singing started to improve
over years of making videos. Joining 4TE was really what caused me to push
myself further in singing, and my parents also helped in supporting me! My
advice for aspiring singers would be to just have fun and to never give
up. If you really love what you do, then that will truly inspire you to
keep going at it and keep improving no matter what obstacles you face!

4) What are your future plans? Are you planning to release more singles,
or maybe an album?

Chii: We’ll probably release a couple more singles to get ourselves
established and then we’ll have enough of an audience to release a full
album. That’s just my thought process anyway~

Jenny: We have a lot of songs in the works! I wish we could show everyone
everything we’re working on! But they say patience is a virtue so… haha

5) Where can fans watch you perform live? Do you have any plans of touring

Chii: Although we wouldn’t necessarily associate our music with anime,
there is much more of an appreciation for J-pop in that community here in
America so we will most likely make plans to tour at cons in the US.  As
for Japan, there aren’t currently any solid plans but we are certainly

Mei: Right now, we’re aiming for performing at cons. However, if the
occasion arises, we would also be open to performing at events - music,
fashion, anime, anywhere that you can possibly imagine hearing J-POP
performed. We do have touring in the works, and if it were to happen,
we’ll probably have something up and running towards the later half of the

Jenny: We would like to try and book a small tour at the end of the summer
in texas at different anime cons. It would be nice to spread out from just
cons but time will tell!

Micchi: Conventions are definitely places we are aiming for. It’d be
exciting to be able to perform in front of an audience that shares our
love of Japanese music! As we continue to grow as a group, hopefully our
venues will expand as well!

6) What message would you like to give your fans?

Chii: We promise to be an ever-growing group so please stick around to
witness it! Thank you for all the support.

Mei: You guys are freaking awesome! Thank you guys so much for all the
help and support. Every bit of support pushes us to work harder. We love
creating art that you all can enjoy, so we hope that you continue to
support us!!

Jenny: Thank you so much for the overwhelming show of support for our
group. We did not expect to gain as much attention as we did. I really
hope you truly enjoy what we do as much as we enjoy doing it for you and
please look forward to hearing more from us in the future!

Micchi: We truly appreciate all the love and support we’ve been getting!
We have so much more amazing things to share with you all, and I hope you
continue to stay with us along the way. Thank you all so much!

And as promised here are the details for their single:

"M O R E / 一歩ずつ "
released 08 January 2015
Debut Double A-side Single

1. M O R E
Melody: Christi Arredondo, Jennifer Diaz
Lyrics: Berry Risa, Christi Arrendondo
Music: Richard Garza, Felipe Vilches, Christi Arredondo
2. 一歩ずつ (Ippo Zutsu)
Melody: Christi Arredondo, Jennifer Diaz, Mei Sasmita
Lyrics: Berry Risa
Music: Richard Garza, Christi Arredondo
3. M O R E (instrumental)
4. 一歩ずつ (Ippo Zutsu) (instrumental)

Right now it can only be purchased through the group's site  but there are plans for an iTunes release. 

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