Since 2016, visual kei band Jack Caper
has been releasing quirky, energetic songs that mash together rock, pop and electronic elements and lighthearted, unpredictable music videos. After the band lost three-fifths of its line-up at the
beginning of 2019, some fans may have feared the worst, but vocalist Hiro
managed to recruit three new members to revitalize the group before the year's end.
Since then, the members of Jack Caper
have also begun uploading video content each week, including everything from standard live and behind the scenes band footage to YouTuber-like pranks, challenges and parodies. While, like
most musicians, their plans for 2020 were almost completely derailed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and all five of the members even ended up testing positive for the virus, they are remaining optimistic and continuing to put the utmost effort into
both their musical activities and their YouTube channel. JaME interviewed the band recently to help introduce overseas fans to their unique world.For any readers who may not be familiar with your work yet, can you please explain Jack Caper’s concept?
“We want to make everyone in the world smile with 'mischief' as our concept!” is the enthusiasm with which we perform.
"Mischief" is our concept!
We want to make people smile with our pranks!
"Mischief" is the base concept, whereto we intersperse unique and unconventional concepts.* *Translator's
note: YG answers using old-fashioned samurai dialect throughout this interview, so his answers have been phrased to reflect that.
"Mischief" is the concept and our concerts are also unique to us.
If you had to pick just one song to introduce a new listener to Jack Caper, which one would you choose and why?
Hiro: Re:KID ROOM
I think I'd choose our most famous one, Kani Kani Carnival
The first song we released with our new line-up, Bakagera
With all gravity, our new song Cluster
is the most killer of tunes. Shuma:
I want everyone to be satisfied with the song that has the weirdest name, Bababibibububebebobbobbo
Your line-up underwent a big change in 2019 when Choco, YG and Shuma all joined the band at the same time. Now that you’ve been playing together for over a year, Hiro and Riku, what do you feel each of the newer members has
brought to Jack Caper?
Through good or bad, we’ve energetically become a really unique band. We’ve even had members whose addresses have been leaked...
We’ve added cuteness, loudness and changeable character* to the band! Also, youth (laughs). *Translator's note: Choco uses the word "gap", which is the concept of someone having multiple facets to
their character, for example, they may look hardcore but actually have a very sweet personality. Riku:
I think they’ve added unity between us!
What is your songwriting process like? Is any particular member in charge of writing your music, or do you work on songs together?
The main creator is our guitarist Choco
, but other members provide input into songs that we’ve created all together.
I usually compose the songs, but everyone has a hand in it now and then!
We’ve all released songs we’ve made by ourselves, but if that happens we all match the coupling songs to it. The main composer is Choco
It is mainly Sir Choco
, but other individuals also compose from time to time. Shuma:
There are a lot of songs where one person composes and we all arrange it. We complete it together.
While many bands started uploading more content to YouTube in 2020 to compensate for not being able to perform live due to the coronavirus pandemic, you started well before in 2019. What inspired you to focus so much energy on your YouTube channel
at that time?
The compatibility of YouTube and bands is really poor, but I believe that people who overcome difficulties have the last laugh so we carried on using it. We're uploading everything to YouTube - plans, songs, photoshoots,
edits, announcements, costs and other things - and we're not using the office staff at all, we're doing it all ourselves, so it’s been really hard, but I’m really proud we’ve continued to do it.
If we want to do something outside of concerts, as Hiro
said, we decide to do it and try our hardest!
YouTube called to us.
It is but one thing we can do ourselves bar concerts, so since we had frequently uploaded our videos, we decided to continue on with it.
Until now, I had little experience of watching YouTube or editing videos, so because it was something new, I felt very excited and tried my best!
Of everything you’ve posted to YouTube so far, which video was your favourite to film?
The jump-scare video we recorded was fun to do. And the videos where we try to play or act something in cosplay, or cover other people’s songs are also fun.
The "Championship of Sounding Dirty
"*. *Translator's note: This is a video Jack Caper uploaded where they tried to make ordinary words sound sexy.Riku:
video where we let people hit us on the butt using plastic bats
Twas the T.M.Revolution HOT LIMIT
The video where we bought every type of juice from a vending machine, mixed them together and drank it
was so much fun! Even though it was so gross I nearly
YG covers T.M.Revolution's
Assuming money was no obstacle, what kind of activity would you most want to do together as a band for a new YouTube video?
I’d love to reveal the unseen sides of the people we would be doing a collaboration with.
I’d love to do a large-scale jump scare or prank like the ones that you see on TV programmes!
I’d like to cover each member’s house with lotion as a prank.
A massive sports day with other bands!
I’d love to do a large-scale prank. I always wonder what it would be like to gather loads of people in scary face makeup and string along or involve a whole town.
You had a big concert at LIQUIDROOM planned for 2020, and even the single you released around that time,
Re:KID ROOM, seemed to be geared around the performance. How did you adjust your plans when it had to be cancelled?
Due to unforeseeable circumstances, we didn’t know whether to hold an event involving our fans, so we decided to do what we could and move ahead.
We discussed it numerous times with our staff, but we thought that our fans are the most important thing to us and changed the event.
Because the people who supported us in such a difficult time were all there for us, we were able to move towards the tour final! Thank you so much, again!
We were able to release our music, but the concerts were postponed mid-tour.
Again and again our tentative plans were upended, so we weren’t really able to easily change the event plans.
You revealed in 2020 that the whole band had been infected with the coronavirus. What was that experience like?
The day-to-day reality of having the coronavirus wasn’t broadcast on TV or the internet, so I think it was good that we were able to share our firsthand experience.
First off, we didn’t really know what to do since we felt like we were causing lots of people problems and were really sorry for that. I think we probably did cause some troubles, but since we weren’t really told what
those were, I’m not sure how it all turned out.
Having corona was scary, and having people around you watch you like something diseased was scary as well. But, on the other hand, a lot of people were really kind about it, and I don’t think I could have kept on living
if those people hadn’t been around me.
From that firsthand experience, I thought it was not entirely different to influenza until it became pneumonia.
Having it at the same time gave rise to a lot of conflicting feelings. It wasn’t something that was matter of course, so I felt it was something to learn from.
Your digital single
Cluster addresses your experience with COVID-19. For fans that don’t speak Japanese, what is the message behind this single and music video?
To try and calm the uncertainty and dissatisfaction arising around corona even a little bit, we decided to poke fun at it by making a song, since we wanted to make everyone smile. But that’s not to say we’re making
light of the situation, or trying to undermine the severity of it.
"We beat corona and we’re carrying on band activities in the best of health! We’ll try our hardest and overcome these trying times!" is the kind of feeling we were aiming for.
We wanted people to see us beat corona and to take courage from that.
: "We won against corona, and everyone shall keep on fighting without losing!" is the thought behind the music.
Although the experience was originally tough and we wanted to show that clearly, we combined that with the idea that because our fans are here for us, right now we’re carrying on activities in the best of health.
Hiro and Riku, you appeared on Ninomiya Kazunari from Arashi’s variety show “Nino-san” together before the new members joined. How did that come about, and what was the experience like?
Whatever the circumstances were, it was a good time to show that since we hadn't ever given up, we could turn a time where we were teetering on the edge into an amazing chance. Our fans rapidly increased after people
saw that programme.
One of our staff members told "Nino-san"’s producer about us, so we were able to meet him and the appearance on the programme was decided! I was so moved that I was able to be on the same show as a huge star on such a beloved
TV show! So now that I’ve said that, can I have a job, please? (laughs)
You have some very quirky furitsuke – the crabwalking during Kani Kani Carnival, in particular, stands out. Who comes up with the routines, and is there any particular song’s furitsuke that you find difficult to perform?
I am generally in charge of the choreography as the vocalist. We don’t copy other people, but we come up with our own original ideas, so it can be difficult to pick up if you’re seeing it for the first time. If you
look closely, it’s really all quite simple though, so even if you try it out a little bit during concerts, I really will be quite happy!
It’s usually the vocalist, Hiro
. I think the most difficult song is the one-man concert version of Bakagera
I think it’s usually our vocalist Hiro
, but sometimes he holds Twitcasts where he discusses and decides on the choreography with the fans! I don’t know if it’s difficult per se, but Celery Monster’
choreography is super stylish!
proposes all of the choreography. As for myself, I believe lalala...#
to have difficult choreography.
. To me they’re all difficult (laughs).
Shuma, you were a part of the visual kei idol group ZOOTTO TOMODACHI. How did you get involved with that project, and how did it compare to activities with a band? Is it something you’d try again?
It was all very sudden and by chance. We didn’t perform with instruments, and singing and dancing as a frontman was all very different. If I get the chance to do it again, I would.
Is there a meaning behind the title of your single
There’s no meaning. The concept behind the lyrics is that, even if there is no meaning, if you’re with your friends you can overcome anything, you can enjoy anything!
It’s featured in the lyrics too, but there isn’t a meaning. We decided on it in the car during travel!
I think the pronunciation is really cute. Yes.
With all gravity, I do not know.
I think that because there isn’t a meaning, it’s unique (laughs).
What was the inspiration behind the music video for
Bababibibububebebobbobbo? Did the mascots in the music video have any particular connection to the song?
As per my previous answer, even if there is no meaning if you’re with your friends you can overcome anything, you can enjoy anything! The mascots and members were all friends.
We wanted to convey "Try your best, everyone! We’ll support you!" in an encouragement song.
We wanted everyone to have fun. And it is fun, right?
Twas an encouragement song for the Olympic athletes, but partway through the process we changed it to a supporting song for everyone! I do not understand the mascots.
It was just full-on fun.
When the coronavirus pandemic is under control, do you have any interest in performing overseas? If so, assuming you could play anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
I haven’t been abroad so I really want to go. I’m really interested in the Amazon and the savannahs.
I want to go abroad!! I did a really short study abroad in Australia so I would like to go there again.
I really admire places abroad so if I was invited somewhere I would totally want to go! Please invite me! Everyone is a friend to me, no matter what race or country! LOVE & peace. YG:
I wish to tour Europe and America!!!
I definitely have an interest in it. I really admire America.
Please leave a message for your overseas fans.
Let’s lead the best, ultra-happy, smiling lives! Let’s make mischief together!
One day we will be a band big enough to hold concerts in places other than Japan so please, even though we can’t meet face to face at the moment, wait for us! We’ll try our best!
Dear cute fans I have not yet seen,
If you want love, we’ll give it to you! Let’s live on together!
Since you have come to know of us, your lives will just get even more exciting, so please do prepare yourselves!! We shall meet during our world tour! (laughs)
I wonder when we will be able to meet? Once the world calms down, let’s spend a fun time together!
JaME would like to thank Jack Caper and Chaotic Harmony for making this interview possible.
Fans can follow Jack Caper
and subscribe to their YouTube channel
to stay tuned
for more updates about their future activities.