Takahiro Kanazawa |May 21 2022
May 21 2022
The band’s latest album ‘Afterglow’ is the soundtrack of a brighter future.
It’s a warm day in early spring, and Tokyo-based band She Her Her Hers are working on their fabric mist, one of the new pieces of merchandise they’ve produced for the Afterglow tour.
“Venues are not the only place to enjoy music. Good music can exist more casually in daily life,” says drummer Taiki Matsuura. The band believes that fabric mist plays a big part in helping their music sit closer to our life. Mist sprayed onto fabric perfectly represents how the band's mellow and smooth sounds can subtly engulf aspects of our lives.
Formed in 2011, three-piece band She Her Her Hers has released several albums and EPs so far. However, when their 2018 EP SPIRAL was released, things changed dramatically for the band. They received an unexpected love letter from a music label in China, which led them to a nationwide tour in the biggest country in Asia. “It came as a total surprise. None of us expected our music could be found in other countries. But the whole experience guided us in the right place as a band,” vocalist Hiroyasu Takahashi recalls.
The Glow talked with She Her Her Hers about the latest album, their China tour, and where the band sees themselves headed next.
Live photos by Yui Fujii
The Glow: You guys had your first performance in years at the SYNCOLONICITY festival at the beginning of April. What was it like performing in front of that audience?
Tomasong [drums]: It felt so good, as it was the first time we performed in front of a full capacity audience in almost two years.
Taiki Matsuura [vocals, guitar, synth]: We always think that shows are not just a place to showcase music, especially when we have streaming services like Spotify. Instead, we believe shows are raw interactions with people through music. Real live shows should be able to give more than what Spotify could offer on devices, and that's how it should be. She Her Her Hers is mellow music that might be categorised as bedroom music. However, human-driven performing skills are still essential for us. We are serious when recreating our sound on the stage.
Hiroyasu Takahashi [bass, chorus]: That's why we needed eight people to perform with. We didn't have many chances to play shows in Japan, but I think the past two years were enough to prepare for the next stage. We're ready.
What did you guys learn from the China tour?
HT: If I'm being honest, I didn't think the tour would happen, and it was such an exciting experience. This experience taught us that people who understand will understand no matter where they are, which also simplified our mission: to keep making good music.
Tomasong: Of course, we gave everything we had to each song and album, but it happened to be a Chinese label that found us at that moment. It was an interesting thing to happen. It also gave us confidence that our music is universal even though our lyrics are Japanese.
TM: I enjoyed how each city was different, but Nanjing was the most memorable place for me. We felt very welcomed in each city, but I thought this city could be a totally different experience. Many things happened historically between Japan and Nanjing, and Japan did many brutal, horrible things in the past. So I wouldn't have been surprised even if no one showed up. However, it turned out that hundreds of people came to our show and it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. The China tour helped us build our own style and helped us realise that we should head anywhere we are needed, whether it's in Japan or not, instead of setting goals or planning the future. That's the right thing for us. We are always a Japanese band, and we are proud of it. Like-minded people will always support us, like those we met during the China tour.
Could you tell us about this new album, Afterglow?
HT: We spent a lot of time working on music right after the China tour due to the pandemic. Since 2021's single “Wolves”, Keity (Keito Taguchi) from the Japanese band LUCKY TAPES joined to play the bass for us. We pursued a feel-good sound with his bass, and She Her Her Hers became more beat-heavy music.
TM: Although we are a mellow music band, I'm obsessed with the raw sound of human-driven instruments. Artists we admire, such as Arlo Parks, Tom Misch, or even rapper Anderson .Paak recreate their sounds on the stage by having actual instrument players instead of DJs playing pre-recorded beats. I think that's what makes music unique and unduplicatable. So, the songs from the album would sound different at live shows compared to what you hear on the streaming services.
How do you guys write lyrics?
TM: Tomasong and I write lyrics, but we have different styles. I like rapping and sometimes I am being political by talking about how life feels hard to live or even showing my weakness in lyrics. I'm making a confession rather than looking for someone who can relate to me. I want to sit next to people going through the same thing. I'm not just passively accepting how things are in society. We are not just a mellow music band – we have some thorns.
What does Afterglow mean to She Her Her Hers? Is it about the China tour?
TM: Actually, it's not about the China tour but all the good things that will happen in the future. It wasn't easy to pay attention to small joys in daily life for the past few years, but a whole new chapter of life is kicking off. Afterglow is a message from us that we're looking ahead and ready for more adventure with this album. Ups and downs, or people and places we've never seen before. For fans, Afterglow could have the same meaning as a dictionary if that's the case. There is no clear definition. It's an abstract image like lights or music.
Any other plans for the rest of this year?
TM: How well the Japanese band CHAI is being receiving in America is delightful news and gives so much hope. We are planning to work with bands in other countries for collaborations. For example, there are a lot of Chinese indie artists that we want to work with. Some of them are not afraid of being political, even in China. You don’t have much freedom and access to information in the country, but Chinese fans found us. I think it's our mission to introduce good musicians to the Japanese scene like they did for us.
Tomasong: Collaborations will surely help us reach more and more overseas audiences, too. I'm aware that there are countless great musicians out there who we just don't know yet. We would love to actively engage them and meet future fans.