This article is translated from an interview done with Girl Next Door by Yahoo!
Translation by Rinoa
“I seem to embrace a certain joy when I see people are buying it.” (Chisa)
A fusion of pop, rock and dance music reminiscent of the 1990’s. In other words, “the signature avex sound” that Girl Next Door seek to pursue. Transformed elements were incorporated into catchy melodies, where the song sounds like the perfect balance of pop and rock tracks. The typical band sound and the lyrics, sung by Chisa lead to the exquisite balance of familiarity one could find in a diary. It is possible to listen by overlapping it with the events that the listener has gone through, it is possible to hum, and one can manage to feel the song more deeply. They competed with 2.3 million people or more while being involved in early auditions before their debut. Their debut single Guuzen no Kakuritsu was a leading hit where it obtained the 3rd place on Oricon. Then their following two singles Drive away/Shiawase no Joken and Jounetsu no Daishou/ESCAPE reached the top three positions and received a lot of support. They have already released their first album, GIRL NEXT DOOR on December 24th. I talked to the three band members and they related their current state of mind and the story behind the making of the album.
Yahoo!: Whenever I go out in the streets recently I hear GIRL NEXT DOOR’s songs practically everywhere.
Chisa: Is it true? There isn’t such a feeling in my case.
Suzuki: Yes. I realize I am not aware at all. But since we always have to write a song, in the distant future to make things easier the company and the actual studio (avex) thought we should stay at home since being in the public would make a scene and attract television reporters. So we cannot even go out of the city and we don’t have a chance to hear our songs in the street (laughs).
Inoue: Yes, it’s right. We have a lesser chance to live out in the public and life is perfectly still for us. Thus we cannot feel the outside reaction of the people who are cheering for us, I realise I don’t have a very clear perception of what is happening out there.
Yahoo!: Your group is one of the first who set off with a bang. The phrase GIRL NEXT DOOR completely seeps too. What is it, I think if I do say to the person (laughs)
Chisa: Hahahaha. That’s right. However, every person’s reaction is not seen because during our live broadcastings it it isn’t really experienced even if we obtained the 3rd place ranking on the charts or winning an audition of 2.3 million or even being told that it’s quite an achievement. It really makes you think. I wonder why and what kind of people are listening to our music? Instinctively I am glad and I seem to embrace a certain joy when I see people are buying the CD of GIRL NEXT DOOR in shops and I greet them with a barrage of questions (laughs)
Yahoo!: So like Chisa (laughs). Is it an actual feeling, that you feel like “a large-sized new face too much?”
Suzuki:That’s not a matter of fact (laughs). However there are some unpleasant aspects, of course. Because if songs are created to be listened to, and therefore the tune cannot be created with betraying the lyrics penned and neither can be disregarded, but I feel that it’s a good kind of pressure. There’s such a thing and also I just brought canned food in the studio (laughs).
“Normally, the lyrics are written in a manner as if they are being spoken to a close friend” (Chisa)
Yahoo!: Had this album’s flow already been planned from all your singles since your debut even though it was released in three months?
Suzuki: I thought the album came out as a flow to some extent though we rushed the process when it was decided that the album would be released in December when prior to that, the album was planned to be released on the 12th January. We included new songs, even one which was made years ago as a demo for this unit. As of now there are roughly 30 songs.
Yahoo!: From Guuzen no Kakuritsu to Drive away/Shiawase no Joken and finally Jounetsu no Daishou/ESCAPE. It was a gradual development.
Chisa: It was. It was also aimed at being daring intentionally. Guuzen no Kakuritsu (Probability of chance) and was named for its’ impact of the words which is very strong. I wasn’t thinking of being glad, if it was possible to accept being in a group named GIRL NEXT DOOR but it sounded something which involved individuality. I thought this word created a certain feeling of opening a door with this word and one by one we could advance ahead too.
Yahoo!: This album also contained the songs Winter Game , Winter Garden and Winter Mirage. The theme of “Winter” is developed and featured regularly within this album.
Suzuki: Yes. The significance was due to the album being released in winter and we made the listeners aware of this by creating the “Winter Trilogy”.
Inoue: I thought the impression would be deep and transmitting. The use of the same word “Winter” was done in a manner that the impression would be different for the same winter.
Yahoo!: It left a deep impression on me. What really struck me was the different facets given to the winter. Chisa-chan sang the lyrics to three songs each with a different scenery.
Chisa: Yes. When I wrote the lyrics for these three songs, I thought I could give these three songs three unique pieces of stories and characteristics. I was constantly conscious of the theme of winter and just wrote what was familiar to me and what I usually spoke to my friends about. It was also a bit of a new challenge for me. I wrote Winter Game in the theme of snowboarding. Within the lyrics there is the phrase “Propeller of winter”, which is actually a snowboarding technique. To get the chance to write these lyrics, my family and several important people supported me sincerely to cheer on me when I got into a triathlon competition. I was impressed with that. It was also an element which gave me the strength of feeling towards the goal where players are aiming for. I tried to picture the warmth of the people behind it. WINTER MIRAGE contains a story of a girl who meets a man with whom she has separated with him on the day named Christmas. Although she is overcome with emotion of the joy that she was able to meet him accidentally, he was the one who wanted to break up and she still likes him. He would rather talk with a soft smile on his face, while concealing a gift which he reveals and for a moment she looks surprised. It does bring a lump to one’s throat and the lyrics are really sad and painful. Winter Garden is about lovers in love at their peak. This time it’s through the eyes of a man. I really feel since I’m a girl I cannot fully depict a man’s perception but I think that I illustrated clearly what he is thinking and how he’s seeing her and is surely written with a sense of perfect happiness.
“It’s so troublesome sometimes because there is so much I want to do (laughs).” (Chisa)
Yahoo!: Chisa-chan’s Winter trilogy were a product which aimed at attracting the attention of the audience to the change of expression of the voice that Chisa-chan shows.
Chisa: Even if they might not have been experienced fully, there might surely be all near experiences once for anyone. If it is possible to connect these songs to different memories, I am very happy about it.
Yahoo!: Though a big meaning that was felt in the place where in the end it is connected from the grand opening of NEXT DOOR with Guuzen no Kakuritsu.
Suzuki:The flow of connecting from this NEXT DOOR with Guuzen no Kakuritsu was conceived during the production of the album was assumed and named as the track NEXT DOOR, which was collected only through a single music video for the debut. Prior to that I only thought about it being at the end credits position of the movie when actually arranging it. However I changed it when I saw that the flow could in reality fit in quite fell in the beginning.
Yahoo!: The flow was wonderful. It’s also very dramatic.
Suzuki: What I was really aiming for was for something dramatics. When one re-listens Guuzen no Kakuritsu once again, both become a single entity.
Yahoo!: What is the desire that makes the album title ‘GIRL NEXT DOOR’ this time?
Chisa: It’s comprehensible after all. Even though it might sound quite plain, I thought about what we do best and thought it would be ideal to go towards what started it all and the title became quite obvious.
Inoue: The music we create is “now” in that state of complete vacuum. It yearns for GIRL NEXT DOOR as a title in order to fit into a specific category.
Yahoo!: Quite in the style of GIRL NEXT DOOR and I think all songs quite fit in this style. I can feel the basic sounds through really different facial expressions based on every single tune released.
Inoue: That’s right. GIRL NEXT DOOR is also the theme of sound beating from four to one in a rich variation, even within the photos. It became a work that was extensible of the variation with the axis neatly tied with a good meaning.
Suzuki: I do not think whether the number became one from which one per one stands as the same song. Because I worked on creating every song differently so that there is not comparing unfavorably about a single tune.
Chisa: Even if a whole song is completely, I wanted to relate every story really well. I wanted many people to listen to these songs and think this is a GIRL NEXT DOOR piece and they really express the feelings so they can reach many people’s hearts. Within the DVD there are all the music videos released with the singles. If you can enjoy them, I am more than happy.
Yahoo!: Any targets for 2009?
Chisa: I want to do more live performances! And to meet more people who are actually listening to me soon, I want them to sing along to our songs! The album is finished, so my ambition is to have a tour! It’s so troublesome sometimes, because there’s so much I want to do (laughs). But anyway, I will work hard to be at my best while performing!
Author’s Note: Please bear in mind that this is a rough translation and there might be some errors. I did my best to have an accurate translation but feel free to post some corrections for this article.