9nine released a new single, "Evolution No.9" on June 12th. They have performed at an event overseas during their ongoing solo tour, and will be appearing in various summer events such as a-nation and TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL 2013. We sat down to talk with these continuously evolving girls.
—First, tell me about the new song, "Evolution No.9."
Sayaka Nishiwaki: It's a very mysterious song. We have never really sung anything like it, have we?
Uki Satake: Yeah. When I listened to the track for the first time, I couldn't tell where the chorus was.
Sayaka Nishiwaki: That's right.
Umika Kawashima: It's very addictive once you listen to it, but the melody is strange and it seems like there is no chorus. It's difficult to grasp, yet very catchy. Hopefully everyone thinks so as well.
Hirona Murata: It's a very busy song with taiko and bass parts that occasionally come in. The weird chorus is hard to grasp, and then the first verse comes back in again. It's chaotic and difficult, but I hope people will give it a few listens and remember it.
—Is there something you would like fans to do when listening to "Evolution No.9" ?
Satake: I would like fans to enjoy it however they like. It's our first song that has a rock feel, so head banging or even fist pumping maybe. If we see fans into it like that, we will also do our crab dance as hard as possible. Hopefully we can all have fun together.
Nishiwaki: Exactly. We usually ask fans to "do our dances with us" but our dance for this song has a wide stance, so I wouldn't want fans to bump into each other at the show! (laughs) Just like Uki said, I would want to see people getting excited about it in a natural way—differently than usual.
—Have 9nine evolved in any way?
Satake: We evolve with every show, thinking about our performances and expressions, and how to get people excited. We even think of our own set lists now, so even though we have been on the same tour, our shows have been gradually changing.
Kanae Yoshii: When we do solo shows, we used to be allowed to be creative with our acting or to play instruments, but now we want to allure the audience solely with our performance. So, we have done a lot. I suppose going back to the basics is also a form of evolving.
Nishiwaki: Definitely. Recently, we have been putting on very simple shows, and we probably wouldn't have been able to do that a year ago. I think we still have a lot to improve, so the five of us consistently think about "what we need to do right now" or "what we lack" This manifests in our shows, and I think even the simple concerts are pleasing our fans. So that's a big part of our "evolution"
—So you think not only about your set list, but also the stage composition?
Nishiwaki: That's right. We comment on things by drawing from our own experiences; like how things from our perspective are on the opposite side of the stage relative to the fans.
—Are your fans evolving?
All: It's incredible!
Hirono Murata: The unity is unbelievable. I'm like, "oh you've practiced!" (laughs) We performed our new song, "Evolution No.9" for the first time at our recent show at Zepp Tokyo, but everyone was so into it. It's so crazy. I thought they had coordinated beforehand.
Nishiwaki: With that kind of energy, even newcomers get into it, wouldn't you say?
Nishiwaki: So people shouldn't hesitate to come to our shows.
—Compared to the last single, "colorful" the visualization for this song is completely different. What is the current theme for your costuming?
Satake: Devlis? Spies?
Nishiwaki: At first sight I thought they were strange costumes. The tights are patterned strangely and I said "these are not right!" but then Uki got mad at me. (laughs)
Satake: I let her know that, "this is what's hip! It's super fashionable!" (laughs) The tights are important, and the gloves show the back of our hands, making our arms look longer. We really get into it when we wear these gloves.
Nishiwaki: The costuming is also evolutionary. I'm like, "you're missing part of the glove! Did the tights tear wile you were making it?" (laughs) I'm not really up to date when it comes to these things. (laughs) But strange things draw the eye. People become more intrigued.
Murata: People usually see black as simple, but I think these are quite noticeable with these little twists.
—What is inside the "9 case" that is featured in the promotional video?
Kanae Yoshii: It is left ambiguous, but I feel like it can have things like "the future" or "future accomplishments" inside.
Umika Kawashima: I also think it's something like "the bright future" .
Satake: Exactly, especially since we're protecting it, carrying it, and passing it on.
Murata: We're carrying it with a stoic face the entire time, but we smile at the moment we open it, so there's probably something good inside.
Kawashima: But I think it depends on people's interpretation, so I will leave it to the viewer's imagination. It doesn't mean that what we say right, so that's another thing that makes the video fun.
—You're currently on the "CUE" Record First! 9nine Zenkoku Hyakubun "Ikken TOUR 2013". What is the response like at different venues?
Nishiwaki: It's completely different everywhere.
Satake: The way people get into the music is different, and so is the demographic.
Nishiwaki: For example, in Osaka the energy is nonstop. Whatever we do, we get a lot of crowd action. In Fukuoka, the energy increases more gradually. They watch over us at first, but then gently become more energetic.
—How about the reaction in Kansai, your hometown?
Murata: it's very nerve-wracking when you know your friends and relatives are watching. Also people from Kansai.
Yoshii: We perform many shows in Tokyo, but whenever we go to Kansai, we want people to see what we have been doing. So we get very nervous before going on stage. But once we start, they give us a warm "welcome home" which immensely comforts us. We always genuinely feel happy that we have a place to come back to.
Murata: It really feels like I'm back home when I hear the Kansai accent.
Nishiwaki: I completely understand! We also played in Hiroshima, my hometown, on this tour, and so I think I completely understand what Hirono and Kanae had been feeling. I didn't want to think about it too much, but once I got on stage, something just let loose...
Satake: Especially in the beginning...
Nishiwaki: I couldn't believe it myself, but I broke down crying with a horrible face. I must have been so emotional. Uki ran over to me and put a towel over my face.
Kawashima: You're face was fine. It was just so early! (laughs)
Nishiwaki: But after I cried at first, I ended up not crying until the very end. I was very happy when the other members told me that, "it's your Hiroshima, so you should speak. Let's have as much fun as possible! Let's all get pumped up!" But then we all messed up the dance. (laughs) It really made me feel that we are all connected. I was happy to be able to return to my hometown with this group.
Kawashima: For some reason, it felt as though we were going back to our hometown as well, saying "I'm home!" Even though we're not from there. (laughs)
Nishiwaki: I really felt the desire to go on tour again with this same group, but at an even bigger venue next time.
—I would also like to ask about the coupling track, "Anemone mone" . This is out of the blue, but do you know the meaning behind the anemone flower?
Satake: Yes! It's "to believe."
Yoshii: Uki told me about it as well. I don't know much about flowers, so at first I was like "what's an anemone?"
—Other meanings include "truth" "to love you" or "to trust and wait."
Nishiwaki: How nice.
—The meaning also depends on the color of the flower.
Satake: Red is "to love you" and purple is "to trust and wait!"
—Correct. In this song, the color purple appears in the lyrics.
Satake: Yes, the lyrics of the song also are kind of like that. Kind of like, "you're giving me a ¬¬dry attitude, but I still trust you."
Kawashima: You can listen to it in various ways. The lyrics can be interpreted in a meaningful way, but the melody is lighthearted. It's like taking a stroll.
—Finally, please each say something to all of your fans.
Satake: If this is the first time you're discovering 9nine, please come to one of our shows! Seeing is believing, so please come see us live.
Nishiwaki: I hope everyone will see our all-out crab dance. All of our songs have a different feel and dance, so I hope it will be a good opportunity for people to remember the word 9nine.
Kawashima: I really like the CD, "Evolution No.9." It's a very well balanced single, so please listen to these three songs on repeat. Thank you very much.
Murata: This is a really strange song, so please just take a listen. It should be very catchy, so sing to it, come see 9nine, see us do our crab dance, and listen to us sing.
Yoshii: This single is as enjoyable as a full-length album. I hope that everyone will listen to this song, and wonder what other 9nine songs are like, and then come to our shows. We’ll be playing a lot during the summer at various festivals, so please come!