Timing is everything, or so they say, and new idol group MANACLE
certainly picked their moment to launch. It was September 2020 when some familiar faces from the Tokyo chika idol scene, Ray Imaizumi
, Risaki Kakizaki
, united to start a new group, slap-bang in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the shutdown of the live music industry, MANACLE
kept their momentum going, releasing a steady stream of new songs online over the lockdown months. Now those songs form the core of their debut album Liberation
which was just released on May 12th.
We had the opportunity earlier this year to ask MANACLE
about their formation and their future plans.
Hello MANACLE. As you are a fairly new group and some of our readers might not be familiar with you yet, could you please introduce yourselves?
We are MANACLE
, a girl group formed by Ray
on September 13th, 2020. We all have different personalities
and sing songs of different genres such as gothic or rock, and dance.
You chose an English word “MANACLE” for your name and your logo features a pair of handcuffs. What
was the thought behind this choice and how does the symbolism reflect your group’s concept?
The theme of MANACLE
is “Liberation”. It’s a liberation from suffocating everyday life which makes you feel like you’re handcuffed. Let’s forget everything and be liberated together at MANACLE
It’s us performing and the audience enjoying themselves while getting over what’s fencing us in… Our concept is "liberating ourselves from things that bind us like handcuffs". We also want to meet fans from all over
the world, so there is a point in using an English name.
The concept of MANACLE
is escaping from the everyday. While bound by handcuffs, both our hearts and our bodies are freed during live shows. It’s the same for you. Feel liberated from the everyday
when listening to our songs!
MANACLE just formed in 2020, and the timing was a bit unlucky due to the coronavirus pandemic. What has it been like trying to get the project off the ground when so much of the music industry has been disrupted and many live venues are closed?
It’s not easy to carry on with something like this under these circumstances, so we feel it’s something very special that we were born and able to continue our activities, and we are grateful for that. There
are many difficulties, but we will take our time and deal with them one by one so we can continue.
Even now there are many frustrating things, such as the pace of our activities not being what we hoped it would be, and wanting to hear everyone’s voices but vocalising being prohibited at shows. But I have started
feeling that thinking of what we can do under these circumstances is an important lesson that will help us to progress.
That’s exactly what I think. Our debut gig, and our one-man gig were both postponed. That can’t be helped. But I feel like it’s important to do what we can to the maximum right now. Our handcuffs will come open
once the pandemic is over.
While we weren’t able to do things we could do before, I personally had to feel things out as we started our activities, but I feel like we’re doing our best and enjoying ourselves so I feel like things will turn out fine
Hina, how do you feel performing with MANACLE?
Every day is a new challenge! I’m looking forward to seeing both people who have met me for the first time, and those who have been waiting for my comeback for a long time. I love singing and dancing so I’ll
continue doing my best with MANACLE
Maon, what has it been like joining MANACLE alongside the other group members who already know each other so well?
I have seen the members perform in the past, so it was an honour for me to be able to join them.
Ray, you’ve performed as a solo idol before and Risaki, you’ve been releasing solo cover songs on your YouTube account. Will MANACLE give all of the group’s members freedom to pursue their solo projects too?
I started doing my cover videos so that more people have a chance to find out about MANACLE
. I feel like my solo project is sort of training for me and I’m having fun doing it. I get many
comments from people saying that they like my voice, so I want to continue challenging myself without hesitation. I want to prioritize our group’s activities, so I will be pursuing my solo activities as time allows it.
Of course, above all I want to do my best with the group. But I will continue solo activities because I feel like they’re giving the group an opportunity to broaden our activities and ways of expression, and there
are fans who are happy to see them.
You released three tracks titled
MAHOROBA online over three weeks. What was the idea behind releasing the songs this way rather than releasing them all together on a CD? MANACLE:
That was to get our music to fans all over the world.
The three songs are all in very different styles; a ballad, EDM and gothic metal. While your songs are created by the same song writing team at producer unit Command S Inc, does MANACLE have a deliberate approach to keep everything as varied as possible and remain free to try anything musically? MANACLE:
want to continue challenging ourselves to try different genres from now on. Your first one-man live was scheduled for March 27th at Aoyama RiZM. How was it? Risaki Kakizaki:
It was a lot of fun! It was not just us,
our “Liberators” (MANACLE
's fans) made the March 27th gig together with us. There was also positive feedback to doing more things like this, so we’re going to make use of this experience in the future. Please look forward to it!
We had a wonderful time. Thanks to the support of our fans, but also to the preparations that the staff had made for us, we were able to be confident about approaching this show. I’m not going to forget the feeling
of doing our best in preparation for that day, and the happiness of that day. We will use it to expand our activities going forward. Hina Takatsuji:
I was just a bit nervous. But the show ended just like that. It was a lot of
fun. We did our best so that our power translated to those who watched the show through the stream! Maon:
Starting with the narration, I think we were able to showcase MANACLE
’s worldview. We will continue to power up
with every show we do!
You already have an international profile as idols. Do you have plans to continue building on your overseas following with MANACLE? Risaki Kakizaki:
Of course, eventually we want to go see everyone
face to face! We want to go to different countries and make it possible for everyone to see MANACLE
directly. For now, we will continue improving our performances until the day either we can go or you can come see us. We will also
do our best to showcase MANACLE
on social networks like YouTube. Ray Imaizumi:
We want to continue doing streaming events so that overseas fans can see them. But more than anything, I want to see them in
person. From the time we formed the group about half a year ago, we've been talking about how we want to go see everyone and how we want to perform overseas. Being able to show our performances to overseas fans is one of our goals. Hina Takatsuji:
know that there are fans waiting for us all around the world. I wish I could go perform in different countries right now! I want to see you all! We can’t go see you right away, but we will continue streaming and doing other interesting content on
YouTube, etc.. Please wait for us! Maon:
Once COVID has calmed down, I want foreign fans to also be able to see us!! That’s all! I want you to see MANACLE
Finally, please send a message to your fans around the world. Risaki Kakizaki:
Thanks for finding out about MANACLE
! We will do our best to go and see Liberators who we haven’t met yet! Take
care of yourselves until then. Ray Imaizumi:
Thanks for knowing about us and supporting us even though we were just formed half a year ago. We haven’t been able to return everyone’s feelings at 100% just yet. We will definitely
go to see you, so please wait for us. We will do our best to achieve this goal. Hina Takatsuji:
Hi everyone, I’m Hina
! I’m looking forward to the day that we can meet. In the meantime, listen to our songs
and be liberated from your everyday! We’re all connected! (In English) I love you! Maon:
Although the timing is bad and we can’t perform overseas, I’m really happy for your support on social networks and for you listening
to our songs! I really want you all to see our shows, but while it’s difficult for now, we will do our best to show you a stronger
when the time comes!!! JaME would like to thank MANACLE and M-SMILE for making this interview possible.
A digest audio trailer for MANACLE
's debut album Liberation
can be listened to below. Liberation
is available for purchase from MANACLE
's official webshop
and websites such as Amazon
, and the preceding digital singles can be found on Spotify
, iTunes / Apple Music
and other major music platforms.