Yuka & Chronoship

Yuka & Chronoship has recently released a wonderful & refined prog rock album with bits of 70s & 80s progressive music, which is titled “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles”. We had the chance to interview the group’s mastermind, composer, pianist/keyboardist & vocalist Yuka Funakoshi so as to get more info about the new album and the band in general. Yuka was very kind and told us various interesting things… check below for more.
Yuka & Chronoship band pic

Hello Yuka. First of all, congrats on your new, magnificent album “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles”…
Y: Thank you very much.
As you know, the third album is like a barometer for every band. What did you have in mind to achieve while you were writing the music?
Y: I didn’t have the pressure in making the music itself at all. However, it was hard to make up a theme as well as the image & the title before dealing with the music as always.
Do tell us… what’s the concept behind the album?
Y: The setting of the band’s 3rd album is the Earth or the third planet from the Sun. “The Third Planetary Chronicles” is a grandiose concept about scientific/technological revolutions in the human history.
Which are “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles” and how did you come up with the album’s title?
Y: At first, concerning the third album, “the third planet” originated from number 3. Then, “The Martian Chroniclethe” of Ray Bradbury came to mind so I thought of “a chronicle” about human evolution.
How is the cover artwork related to the album’s title? What does that woman on the cover indicate?
Y: The cover artwork is designed by producer and bassist Shun Taguchi. The woman on the cover shows Western Maria fuse with Oriental Buddha.
Please describe each track with a couple of words or so…
1. Birth of the Earth – Collision: 4.6 billion years ago, planetesimals had gradually formed into the primitive Earth through collision and accumulation.
2. Stone Age: In the Stone Age, human beings did not know any metal other than those in the form of iron ore. When human ancestors started to make weapons and tools with stones, and began to hunt and gather food, there was no human being existing on the Japanese islands.
3.Galileo I – And Yet It Moves ( E Pur Si Muove): In 1632, Galileo Galilei published the “dialogue of the two world systems” which claimed that the Earth revolves around the Sun. On June 22 of the following year, Galileo was sentenced to death for spreading a false knowledge of the universe. “E pur si muove” (and yet it moves) are the words whispered by Galileo after being forced to abandon his belief in the Inquisition.
4.Galileo II – Copernican Theory: Copernican Theory is where it all started out. This tune, which was completed before the recording, provided the album’s whole concept. “The Earth is round” is such an astonishing inspiration.
5. Birth of the Earth – Merger: When planetesimals accumulated into the primitive Earth with a diameter of 1,500km (20% of the current size), it was covered by atmosphere in its first form.
6. Age of Steam – I. Pastoral Garden – II. Machine City: Portrayed in the tune is the drastic change in scenery from an expansive pastoral landscape into a machine city caused by the wave of mechanization.
7. Wright Flyer 1903: This tune illustrates how a biplane flies; at times dangerously and at other times elegantly. The “Wright Flyer” built by the Wright brothers is deemed to be “the world’s first airplane”. In its first flight on December 17, 1903, the longest distance covered by the Wright Flyer was 260m with the flight time of 59 seconds.
8.On the Radio: It is almost impossible to imagine a world without TVs, radios, the internet and mobile phones now. But it was just about a hundred years ago (November 2, 1922) when a radio broadcast for the first time in the world.
9. Birth of the Earth – Magma Ocean: When the Earth grew to about half its current size, its surface was covered by the dense Magma Ocean.
10. E = c?m: 2015 is the centennial year of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. His grand theory that fundamentally changed the contour of physics in the 20th century is one of the biggest revolutions in the history of physics. As homage to Einstein’s formula E=mc2, this tune is made of only two chords: E and C#m.
11. I Am Thee (Awakening of Cloneroid): With its title coming from the passage (“I Am thee”) in Earnest Hemingway’s novel, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”, the tune has to do with genetic manipulation.
12. Birth of the Earth – Embryonic Planet: The collision of planetesimals subdued, and the water vapor accumulated in the atmosphere was turned into rainfall on the ground. In a little less than a thousand years, the Earth was covered with water. This water planet has become “the Earth”.
Why did you decide to feature a few vocals on the album and mostly “ethereal voices”, as I like to call them?
Y: I think that my voice is one of the musical instruments. The use of few lyrics aims at drawing a theme, and this is because the tone of the musical instrument produces a main melody. A song with vowel sounds only produces a very primitive uplift beyond family and language. I want to express something like a cry of the soul in “vocalese”.
Where did the recordings take place and who produced, mixed and mastered the album? The sound is very clear and full, I must say.
Y: The recording was done in Tokyo and Kanagawa pref. The producer (& bassist) is Shun Taguchi, the mix engineer (& guitarist) is Takashi Miyazawa, and the guy that did the mastering is Mitsuo Koike, who is said to be the great master of mastering in Japan.
Which are your touring plans?
Y: The concrete plan has not yet become clear. However, we would like to make a tour in foreign countries, particularly in Europe in the next several years.
Which are your music influences in general?
Y: The base of my music is nature and the tradition of my hometown where I was born and grew up. In addition, I’ve loved classic music since my childhood.
How would you describe the music style of Yuka & Cronoship to someone that hasn’t heard your music before?
Y: I would like you to feel the beautifully severe scenery of nature which everyone has in their memory, the emotion to swirl in each environment or endless longed-for space and the upcoming unknown future through the music of Yuka & Chronoship.
Do you believe that this kind of prog rock (instrumental) albums can still be appreciated by people today, since mediocrity and “fast-food music” rule the media?
Y: It is surely a complicated feeling when I think that simplicity is given priority over music. However, we have a great deal of pride in our completed music, like all the other musicians. How our sound is understood by people in the current era? I really want to know it. (hahaha…)
What are your expectations from “The 3rd Planetary Chronicles”?
Y: It is a great thing for us that the album is released via a UK label. I think that this 3rd album is an important album, which is a greeting to everyone all over the world through our music, like a business card.
Do you believe that being from Japan is a plus for you, since Japan is a very big rock/metal market in general, or do you feel a bit cut off from the European & the US market & audience?
Y: We receive a lot of feedback about our music from overseas in comparison to Japan. We have no intention of pushing a Japanese claim into our music at all. When it reached it from a reaction warm powerfully when I had the audience really see our performance abroad, I noticed that we are Japanese through the sense of the sound that had been cultivated in the environment where I was born and raised. And we feel that we could be impressed with everybody beyond the borders.
How does a woman feel in a music kind which is dominated by men? How do your fans react when they come in touch with you for the first time?
Y: I am very glad that everybody is nice to me, but I wonder how it would be if I was a man. Surprisingly, children always call out for me. I am really glad to hear their feedback such as “Hi Yuka! Great!”.
Time for our “weird questions”!!! Which one of the Muses would you like to be and why?
Y: I might be Clotho who spins fate, because I spin a sound.
Which is the most underrated musician of all time?
Y: It is difficult to answer this question because the world of art and music is not to be evaluated. It is the background of a person and the era that person lives that affects music. Some kind of factors gather and the evaluation may be bad or good.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
Y: Of course it is this 3rd album!
Fill in the phrase… “Prog rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
Y: If we cannot take in a tradition and the sound of the present and the future…
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
Y: I want to become nobody. I am the only person who exists at present.
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
Y: I’d go to the past. I would like to watch any composer who is still loved by many people.
Who is the sexiest Rock Star of all time and why?
Y: Sting. This is the reason why I just like him.
Which one of the Seven Deadly Sins you consider yourself to be?
Y: The other band members say “gluttony” because I eat a lot (laugh), but I honestly think that it is “envy”.
Finally, we come to an end. Thx for talking to Grande Rock Yuka. Thank you for your stimulating music. Say anything you feel like saying before the end. Take care!
Y: Thank you very much, too. I had a good opportunity to stare at myself. I had a very nice time. I want you to watch our gig by all means sometime. I look forward to meeting with you in the near future.

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