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[Interview] Cyntia: “I hope that adding a new element to the tried and true Cyntia will cause a nice chemical reaction” (Part 1 of 2)

The girl band, Cynthia, did the new theme song to the TV Asahi-kei anime, “Saint Seiya Ω”. Titled, “SENKO Strings” (every Sunday at 6:30 am). The group just released their live recording, “RERIGO! RERIGO! RERIGO!” and have already completed their third full album, “Limit Break”. Guitarist YUI and vocalist SAKI explain each song on the album here.

Cyntia “Limit Break” enlarged image

■We will stay true to our rock songs roots
■We wanted to try different things

――“Limit Break” is a new direction for Cyntia.

SAKI: We wanted to add a new element to the tried and true Cyntia. We have always been into new things. We want to stay true to our rock song roots while trying new things. We all like different kinds of music, so collaborating with different genres of music seems fun. For example, what would it be like to add some jazz elements? I hope that adding a lot of new elements will cause a nice chemical reaction. This was the first step in growing and broadening our music. We thought a lot about our future with this album.

――“SENKO Strings” is the first single off the album. The whole anime theme song thing is new territory for you, right?

SAKI: We wrote the lyrics and music specifically for “Saint Seiya Ω”. We thought about Seiya in particular. It’s our song, but it is also Saint Seiya’s song.

――YUI wrote the music, right?

▲Limited edition A

▲Limited edition B

▲Regular edition
YUI: Yes. All of us love “Saint Seiya”. When I think of a Seiya theme song, I think of “Pegasus GENSO (Fantasy)” by MAKE-UP. I wanted to make a 21st century version of the song, so I thought a lot about the riff and how the melody unfolds. It was quite easy.

――It especially feels like new territory because the album starts off with this song. It’s catchy and something that you can sing to. We don’t really have any unusual or relationship songs.

SAKI: I wonder why that is (laughs). This time, the songs that everyone brought me had really catchy choruses and melodies. I could’ve written more relationship type lyrics, but I wanted to make a song that was more positive. Relationship songs don’t feel right when played live, and I think about the percentages when I write them. Out of 11 songs, I want some positive songs, some dark songs like we always do, some abstract songs, and some call-and-response-songs. I want to do them all so I try to evenly distribute them. This is how the album naturally turned out.

――I remember the song, “SUIREN TO CHO” off your previous album, “Lady Made”, so I was looking forward to hearing some really romantic relationship songs on this one too. When I heard the album, I realized that it’s really refreshing and positive.

SAKI: The release is in February when winter is ending and spring is on the way. I don’t know how a really romantic album would go over… There are graduation and entrance ceremonies during this time, so maybe we wanted as many people to listen to it as possible (laughs).

――“Ride on Time” is perfect for graduation and entrance ceremonies.

SAKI: My personal theme for this song is, “new semester”.

――I know! “GeAr.” goes perfectly right after “new semester”.

YUI: I wrote the music to this song. I thought it was important that the riff be catchy and able to be sung. Everyone called it metal you can sing. That’s why I wanted to do a more simple arrangement than what Cyntia is used to. We used to have so many notes in our songs, so I saw this as a challenge.

――I see. So that’s why the intro riff continues through the whole song?

YUI: That’s right. It’s like a sequenced phrase.

――“Karma” is what I imagine Cyntia to be.

SAKI: Ah, that’s right (laughs). We made this song while making “SENKO Strings”. It was actually in the running to be the “Saint Seiya” theme song. We all brought one song that we though to be our personal gems. The songs that AYANO and AZU brought were perfect enough to be the lead single. That’s why we contemplated putting AYANO’s “Karma” on the album. We thought that having so many punchy songs at the beginning of the album would surprise people. We decided to include it because it is a good song.

――“Plant” is a simple ballad that starts off with only a piano. This is really new territory for you.

SAKI: This is the first time we’ve done something so simple. Cyntia’s songs tend to have many notes, and each note can contain several words in them. In this song though, each note is long and we struggled with how to sing it. It took a lot of time. We got to try new things like this on the album.

――It is a piano song, but AZU made it, right?

SAKI: AZU can play piano, so she can write songs like this too. She played a grand piano for the recording. We tried to create a real piano sound using a keyboard on the other ballad, “SHION”. But with “Plant”, we chose to use a grand piano to capture the sound.

――“Night Flight” sounds like it is live.

SAKI: We all had different opinions when it came to the track order for this song. Whether to put in the first half of the album… We thought this song was going be the lead song, so we thought about putting it within the first three tracks. Then we thought it would be nice to drop it in around the sixth track when the album starts to calm down.

――It will get thick from this point, so it’s important to have a song you can explode from. It increases the metal edge too. Is “ELEUTHERIA” about asteroids?

SAKI: No, it means “liberty” in ancient Greek. Our band name, Cyntia, is the English pronunciation of “Cynthia” which is another name for Artemis. I studied a lot of Greek mythology (laughs). I came across the word “ELEUTHERIA” when I was reading a lot. I thought everybody would mispronounce this title (laughs). Even I almost mispronounce it in the song. I had them make this song as a live song. I think that live performance is an extraordinarily liberating thing, so I used a word that meant “liberation/freedom”.

YUI: This might just be me, but when a riff like that comes in after a rhythmic intro, I get excited to play it. Concerts heat up. It’s a bit like south country.

SAKI: Yeah, like paradise (laughs).

――The word “utopia” is in the lyrics too.

SAKI: YUI usually goes along with what I do, but when I asked her, “What kind of lyrics do you want me to write?”, she answered, “This song conjures up images of paradise”. So I decide to throw “utopia” in there.

YUI: When I saw the lyrics for “SUIREN TO CHOU” after saying “image of a daytime drama”, I thought to myself, “Did something happen?” This time I got “Masochist” and “female cat”, so I thought it was the right thing to leave it to her.

SAKI: I asked YUI before the recording if it was ok and she said, “Yeah, I love it!”

◆Continued in [Interview] Cyntia: “I hope that adding a new element to the tried and true Cyntia will cause a nice chemical reaction” (Part 2 of 2)

Interview & text Mikiko Ohhashi

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