Interview With Choucho
Location: Email
Interview Date: 9/16/2016

Image Credit: Twitter (choucho_)

Becoming a professional singer isn’t easy. Think about how many high school bands are out there. Now, think about how many professional signed musicians there are. The drop-off is staggering, but it is just a fact of life. ChouCho was in a band in high school (Lotus Lotus). She decided she wanted to reach a wider audience, and began releasing solo videos on Nico Nico Douga. She started with a cover of Black☆Rock Shooter on June 19th, 2008. Numerous covers followed soon after, and she earned a reputation for having excellent range.

Lantis noticed, and Choucho cut her first professional single, Kawaru Mira in July 2011. It was the Opening theme for Heaven’s Memo Pad, one of the more interesting detective anime series from this decade. She followed up with Mashiroiro Symphony theme song Authentic Symphony in the same year. Sharp-eared Falcom fans might also recognize her voice from Trails in the Sky closing theme Harmonia.

Choucho released Flyleaf, her first album with Lantis, in August, 2012. Her fans got a nice present when her second album, Secretgarden, hit stores  a year later, on Christmas Day 2013. Secretgarden contains the single that first brought Choucho to my attention, Dream Riser. Yep, that’s the opening theme from Girls Und Panzer.

With the assistance of Lantis, I was able to reach out to  ChouCho via email. It has been edited for clarity.

Anime Herald: You studied English in Canada. Can you talk about your experiences there? Was it what you expected, or were you surprised?

ChouCho: I went to Toronto, Canada to study for a half-year. People were kind to me, and the city was beautiful, so it was a good time. What I remember the most is the Halloween. It was different from Japanese Halloween in terms of the quality, which was very amusing!

Anime Herald: Since then you’ve returned to North America, performing at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas at the Lantis Music Festival. Was that a fun experience for you? Since it was your first experience in a casino, did it live up to your expectations? Do you have any good stories from that trip? Or should what happened in Las Vegas stay in Las Vegas?

ChouCho: I was happy because there were many people who love Japanese anime and anime songs in the US despite it being so far from Japan. I enjoyed slot games and roulette, but I couldn’t win at all. (Laughs)

Anime Herald: You have had the opportunity to perform with other Lantis artists. Have you become friends with any other Lantis artists? Do you have any plans to perform or release a song that is a collaboration with any other Lantis artists?

ChouCho:  ZAQ, TRUE, towana (from fhana), Kimiko (from nano.RIPE), Sayaka Sasaki, and I would go dinner together, and we are in good relationships. At the event called “Shinso-ongaku-ensokai”, fhana, nano.RIPE, and I performed a piece of music, so I hope we can release it someday.

Anime Herald: Do you have any stories about nano.RIPE? Or fhana? You performed with both groups multiple times. Was that a special experience for you?

ChouCho: Their songs and voices are really unique and I love them! (Editor’s note: Kimiko really does have a unique voice)

Anime Herald::  I see you have continued your guitar training. Will we hear you perform with it? Your father played guitar for you at home. Has he tutored you on the guitar?

ChouCho: I played a guitar on the live broadcast of the 5th anniversary concert on July 31. When I went back to my home last time, my father taught me how to slide my hands down the barrel of the guitar.

Anime Herald: Have you had the opportunity to attend any vocaloid concerts? If so, can you talk about that experience?

ChouCho:  I haven’t been to a vocaloid concert, but when I performed at Nico Nico Douga’s event, Hatsune Miku also was there, so I was able to see her on the rehearsal. I was very impressed by her performance on the stage because I usually see her on a computer screen!

Anime Herald: Congratulations on your appearance at the Tokyo Game Show. Do you play video games? If so, what are your favorite games?

ChouCho: I have loved gaming since I was a child. I like Katamari Damacy and Monster Hunter and practiced them a lot, so I was pretty good at it. (Laughs)

Anime Herald: What is an average day like for you?

ChouCho: When I get a day off, I usually spend time making new songs at home, practicing singing, playing with my pet, Sanagi (a rabbit), playing games, and going shopping with friends.

Anime Herald: How surprised were you when Lantis contacted you? How much did your life change after joining Lantis?

ChouCho: I had moved to Tokyo to be a singer. I worked hard uploading videos on NicoNico and performing on the street. Still, I was surprised by the call because I didn’t expect it, but I was very very happy!

Since I joined in Lantis, I have had more opportunities to write lyrics and songs. I now have more time to think about music.

Image Credit: Twitter (choucho_)

Anime Herald: What musicians/bands did you listen to when growing up? Did you get to see any of them in concert? Is there anyone in particular you’d like to perform live with?

ChouCho: When I was a kid, I often listened J-pop, but because I watched MTV when I was a high school student, I started to listen American pop music. Beatles, Alanis Morissette, and Oasis are still my favorites!

Anime Herald: Is there anything you’d like to share with your American fans? Do you have any questions for us?

ChouCho: I’m really grateful that you’ve chosen Japanese anime songs to be among your favorites from the vast genres of music! I will work hard to hold a concert in the US again! I want to study English more!

I want to know what anime is popular in America.

Anime Herald: What are your thoughts on the growing “otaku” subculture in North America? Before you began, did you ever see yourself finding so many ardent fans in America, Canada, and other nations across the globe?

ChouCho: I knew that the popularity of anime was growing in Asia, but I didn’t know it was also true in North America. While I was in Canada, I went to the US for fun, so I’m glad that there are many fans in the US and Canada.

Anime Herald: You often tweet photos of sweets and notes from fans. Is there a story behind that?

ChouCho: I want to let them know I got a letter from you and show my appreciation. (Editor’s note: That’s quite kind. It’s a good way for her to let her fans know that she cares about them.)

Anime Herald:  What are you currently working on? Do you plan on making any appearances in the United States?

ChouCho:  I’m preparing for live tour starting in October. I don’t currently have plans to perform in the US yet, but I want to do that again! (Editor’s note: The tour was a success. You can find links to photos of it below.)

Anime Herald: What country would you most like to perform in, given the chance, and why?

ChouCho: Definitely Canada because there are a lot of memories.

One thing that I’ve noticed is that Japanese artists are regularly surprised at their popularity in America. ChouCho was no exception. You can find photos of the tour ChouCho mentioned on her blog, or her Twitter account. Alternatively, you can check out her official site. Interestingly, I think the most recent bit of ChouCho news broke on Twitter, via the ChouCho staff account. ChouCho will be doing the ending theme for Masamune-kun’s Revenge, which premieres on January 5, 2017. Her song is titled “Elemental World.”

For those of you looking to pick up something special, my recommendation is Bouquet. It’s her 5th anniversary collection and the team did a great job with it.

I’d like to give special thanks to ChouCho and Lantis, as well as the newest member of the Anime Herald team, Naoki Hamaoka. Finally, I’d like to close with my personal favorite of all of ChouCho’s songs. Perhaps, because it makes me think of Ice Cream.