-- I was shocked by how cool the music video for your 1st Single, “BRAVE IT OUT,” was and was more shocked when “ANIMAL” actually trumped it! The dance portion isn’t fragmented at all.
Kazuhara Ryuto: Because it feels like it’s speeding up, this song has a lot of force to it.
Komori Hayato: As the sensation of speed and expansion became important we disregarded the previous roles the members of the group filled. The members thought about how the taste of the composition fits with the instinctual theme and gives the song an image of acceleration.
Kazuhara: For us performers, it was trial and error. We made a composition to make the vocals stand out. During the interlude we kind of spin around and around; it was my favorite part.
--Your personalities had more of a chance to stand out this time. Nakatsuka’s dance moves are particularly interesting; it looks like you’re having a lot of fun.
Nakatsuka Yuta: I try to be aware of myself and how much I enjoy dancing. I always study how I move.
--Komori’s body is quite soft, isn’t it?
Komori: I have a soft style (laughs).
Kazuhara: This time his character’s flipped. But that kind of goes along with the theme.
Nakatsuka: It’s an instinctual performance.
Komori: It’s more expressing with my body than using my mind.
--Kazuhara, last time you said you were so embarrassed you lip-synched. What about now?
Kazuhara: I was extremely embarrassed. This time the same amount of people can see it, which made it just as bad (laughs). The moment I finished, I ran off the stage. It felt like an escape.
Komori: That’s why this time he wore a hood.
--You were hiding your embarrassment (laughs).
Kazuhara: But when I’m not a performer, I don’t get as embarrassed. So, I tried wearing a hood as I sang and I screamed out while on my knees and it was fine.
Nakatsuka: It was cool~.
Kazuhara: I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to not be shy with people around (laughs).
--There’s a story in the PV where a light appears shining in the sky of Shinjuku (a UFO?).
Komori: The animals suddenly manifest in us, the city is shaken and the things we hold onto vanish so in that moment we’re able to raise up all of our power. In the scene where the performers are dancing one by one in the city, because we are dancing the street and windows change color and you can see the street begins to shake. I think it’s fun.
Kazuhara: “ANIMAL” has rapper-like lyrics, so the expressions and phrases were a little different from the usual way you sing a song. We didn’t choose pretty language in this instance; instead we sang instinctually.
--Kazuhara has a low tone that sounds like a wild animal’s roar. It’s very effective here.
Kazuhara: There are certainly places here and there where I don’t sing with my normal voice and instead sing and roar at the same time. In the second chorus with the line “Chouten mada mada don’t stop” [“Don’t stop till you reach the top”] it’s like a lion roaring. And after, in “growl like a~,” I make use of a very low voice. And (Katayose) Ryota sings very stylishly there, which I think strikes a good balance.
--Which animal does this song make you think of?
Kazuhara: It’s a title with a lot of impact to it. When you say “animal” you imagine dogs, cats, and giraffes (laughs), but when you look at the lyrics it’s absolutely a wild animal. Personally, only strong animals like lions and gorillas come to mind for me.
Nakatsuka: Animals like lions come to my mind as well. Apart from that, it has a very GENERATIONS-like vibe to it; youthful with a feeling of liveliness spring to mind.
Komori: The first time I heard the song there was a pressure to it that was serious and energetic. I could feel a powerful air in it.
--You probably get asked this alot, but what animal do you compare yourself with?
Kazuhara: Everyone says I’m a lion, and I think I want to be a lion, too. But I can sleep when I want to sleep very easily, I’m the type that can reliably turn on or off (laughs).
--In reality though, it’s the female lions that do the hunting.
Kazuhara: That’s right. But I mean more like the alpha male type. Women are easily drawn to me, I don’t think anyone can defeat me. (laughs).
Nakatsuka & Komori: . . .
Kazuhara: Oh! I shouldn’t have said that!
--Everyone... (laughs). What about you, Nakatsuka?
Nakatsuka: It’s unanimous; I’m Mr. Monkey. I start doing one thing and I never stop doing it.
Kazuhara: He’s the instinctual type who doesn’t stop thinking something is fun after the first time.
Komori: I want to become like a koala.
Komori: (laughs) I love feeling willful, like always doing things that I want to, you know? I’m the youngest member so they’re very affectionate with me but sometimes part of me wishes I was more together. When Koalas are in the zoo they don’t really have any expected role or duty. If you go to the zoo with worries on your mind, just seeing them can be restorative... That’s the kind of existence I want.
--What would you say the other members are?
Nakatsuka: (Shirahama) Alan is a hawk or an eagle.
Komori: Peregrine falcon.
Nakatsuka: It’s an intelligent animal.
Kazuhara: (Katayose) Ryota is a Chihuahua. (Unanimous laughter!)
Nakatsuka: (Sano) Reo is a chameleon. He’s so skilled at performing and dancing.
Komori: He can do it all. It’s like Shichihenge.*
Kazuhara: Gorilla, please.
--And yet you all appear together.
Nakatsuka: We’re like a zoo.
--(Laughs) The lyrics have a feeling of survival to them. Which member is the most reliable survivalist?
Komori: Maybe Ryuto... Yes. Ryuto.
Kazuhara: What? Me?
Komori: Ryuto is good at cooking, housework, and is just plain handy.
Kazuhara: That was pretty unexpected.
Nakatsuka: It’s survival. I think you could make a fire with just a single pair of underwear (laughs).
Komori: Ryuto is the one you always turn to for help.
Nakatsuka: What about Mandy?
Komori: Is he reliable? (Unanimous laugher!)
--(laughs) In this single, the B-side, “Ima, Kaze ni Natte,” is a song about a man’s strength and kindness taking shape.
Kazuhara: Absolutely. It’s a coupling track that shows a contrasting side to GENERATIONS.
--So the age of herbivore men* is at an end?
Komori: (forcefully) The end!
Kazuhara: More like it’s ending (laugh). But I feel 2013 is off to a good start. With “ANIMAL,” we overcame new challenges. It makes me wonder if we’ve expanded our potential. This year we’re going through the challenge of slowly exposing a GENERATIONS you haven’t seen.
Nakatsuka: I want more and more people to fall in love with our group.
Komori: I want us to accelerate this energy we ride on. We’re going to do our best in adding our power to GENERATIONS to make it even bigger, one person at a time.
*Shichihenge is a kabuki dance wherein the performer changes their clothes several times.
*”Herbivore men” is a slang phrase that describes men who are well-groomed and aren’t interested in relationships.