HoneyWorks, or ハニワ (Haniwa), is an artist unit that mainly comprises of producer/composers Gom (ゴム), Shito (シト) and illustrator Yamako (ヤマコ). They have attained a total of 100 million views with their movies posted on Youtube and Nico Nico Douga pages as well as being placed number one on Amazon JP 2015 1st half Anime Music Category.
Their music is described as ‘positive rock’ and focuses on youthful feelings and ‘tugging on heartstrings’. Their songs have been placed on the Oricon charts, including “Zutto mae kara Suki deshita” 「ずっと前から好きでした。」, their debut Vocaloid album that ranked number 4 in 29 January 2014.
In May 2014, they announced the start up of 「CHiCO with HoneyWorks」 after CHiCO won the Vocaloid and Anisong audition Utakatsu! by Sony Music. Their debut single, was the Opening for Aohoru Rideアオハライド, while their second single, Ai no Scenario was the 2nd Opening for the second season of Magic Kaito 1412 (まじっく快斗1412)
Also joining them for AFA 2015 is guest vocalist Sana, who sung all of HoneyWorks’s 3rd album songs and Kotobano Iranai Yakusoku, one of the endings themes of Naruto.
Organiser: First, before we start the interview, let’s introduce our members of HoneyWorks.
Gom: (stands up before being told that “it’s all right, there is no need to stand up” ) I am HoneyWorks’s producer and composer, Gom
Shito: I’m the same as him, Shito
Yamako: I am the illustrator and the person in-charge of the videos, Yamako
Sana: I am the guest vocalist, Sana
CHiCO: I’m also another vocalist, CHiCO
Q: What were the inspirations behind your songs, and what were the ideas behind songs like Ai no Scenario?
(They look at each other, pause and laugh before Gom is prompted to answer.)
Gom: Hmm, I often try to think of them desperately, but… I wonder… I sort of just think and hum them while I’m sitting in the bath. That kind of situation. (laughter)
Q: How did HoneyWorks get to know each other and form the group?
Shito: Well, we (Gom and Shito) met through the Internet — through SNS (social networking sites) and we were like “we want to make some music together”. Our illustrator (Yamako) joined us soon after the same way.
Q: How do you feel about Confession Rehearsal (one of their songs) getting a movie?
(A short pause.)
Shito: [whispering to Gom] … I wonder.
Gom: [whispering to Shito] Same here…
Shito: We started this project four years ago so our songs had been covered occasionally by others on Nico Nico Douga like Sana even before this, so we feel very deeply about this news.
Q: Do you have any plans to collaborate with other Vocaloid producers? (composers)
Gom: Like Vocaloid-P? (known for 1/6 -out of the gravity-)
Shito: Ah, for now we don’t have any plans but… we DO hope to collaborate with as many people as possible! …Maybe yuyoyuppe? (a Vocaloid producer who is known for his songs in the Metal genre)
Gom: Whoa, yuyoyuppe? Haha.
Shito: Maybe Hachioji-san? Hachioji-P too? (another Vocaloid producer who is known for his songs with a heavy Electronic slant)
Q: Since some of your songs have spurred inspiration for light novels, have you read these light novels? How do you feel about them?
Gom: All of us? Ah, actually, we’re in the production team for the light novels so we have…. (felt) a lot of happiness from seeing our songs become more than just songs.
Translator: What did you personally think about the light novels themselves?
Gom: I’m thinking… (Everyone laughs)
Yamako: The characters and deep feelings that were unable to be fully expressed through the PVs and songs were expanded by the novels crafted by the writer’s pen – so I think it really widens the outlook of what we created.
Q: Will you be continuing your series of songs set in a school setting? If so, what can we look forward to and otherwise, why not?
Gom: Of course, the school setting is our main theme but we’ve been discussing and thinking of branching out into the world of idols in terms of the narrative and style of music.
Q: Given that you released your album not very long ago and that the group itself is quite young, what aims do you have for the future of HoneyWorks?
Shito: Well, we’d like to expand the world of HoneyWorks to even more forms of media, like anime or movies.
Q: We’ve noticed that most of your songs are about puppy love in high school, so what made you want to write songs based on this theme?
Gom: Back then, I used to read shoujo manga – which makes the adults’ hearts throb (everyone laughs) I felt like I really want to create this kind of scenario, and after discussing with everyone, I began to write more about them – that’s how it began.
Q: What do you like about Vocaloids, as composers and Utaite?
Gom: We were inspired by songs with Hatsune Miku on the vocals, so we wanted to make songs like that too. So, we decided to upload our creations, played with some of our own instruments, on Nico Nico Douga and YouTube and other people started listening to our songs. When people started covering our songs, we saw that they were giving different dimensions as if they were changed to different genres which we had never thought of. Finding out that our songs were sung not only by vocaloids but also people was very interesting.
Q: How do you feel about the HoneyWorks collaborative unit as a whole?
Shito: Well, we thought that Sana’s voice was very cute when she covered songs from the Renai Series, so we thought that it really fit the world of HoneyWorks with its high school setting and all. She’s really an invaluable member of HoneyWorks. As for CHiCO, her voice has a very different feel. She’s very special as a vocalist. They complement each other in that way.
CHiCO: I first met the HoneyWorks team through auditions for the team. Back then I didn’t really think much about how I sung, but then they taught me how to really sing and bring out the feelings behind the songs. Those viewpoints are ones which I had never really thought of before, and now thinking of them, I feel that I’ve learnt a lot by collaborating with them.
Sana: I always listened to and liked HoneyWorks’ songs even before I joined the team, and I did covers of songs on Nico Nico Douga and about Vocaloid as well. They then contacted me and ever since I’ve sung for them, and it was very wonderful to be able to collaborate with them!
Q: For CHiCO and Sana, how does it feel having your renditions of the HoneyWorks songs being played to so many people and having such a large fanbase?
CHiCO: It’s wonderful, and I’m happy. Like I got a great thrill from the positive response to the songs! It makes me want to work even harder to make the next song just as good, or even better.
Sana: I feel the same. When I see everyone’s comments on the songs, I feel really happy that everyone is listening and giving me so much support. I’ll work hard!
Q: As for Yamako, what was the creative process behind creating the characters in the songs, and what sort of feelings did you want to portray with the different designs?
Yamako: I start with gathering the opinions of everyone to form a rough image. As for female character designs, I ask the guys (Gom and Shito) for advice a lot on how they should look. For the male characters, I go with my own taste when I design them.
Q: If the HoneyWorks movie does well, do you have any plans for creating more movies within the series?
Shito: We have many plans on what kind of scenarios or couples to write about. If we have the chance to continue creating movies, I think it would be great for us to take up the challenge of making another movie.
Q: Out of all the Vocaloids, which of them are your favorites?
Shito: You mean like, the character or the voice?
Translator: Well, more like the voice.
Gom: My favorite is Hatsune Miku because, really… even without the difficult editing, she already has such a cute voice.
Shito: Mine is Gumi, because her voice is more rock filled and brisk and I love the Rock genre.
Q: For CHiCO, how did it feel when you began doing the opening songs for anime like Magic Kaito?
CHiCO: At first, since the anime is well-known and is broadcasted in Japan nation-wide, I felt like — “Is it alright for me to be singing for this anime?!” But because of it, I had the chance to know many people in the production team, so that makes me happy.
Q: Well, here’s the last question. In your opinion, what sort of romantic development would be ideal for you?
(A pause, followed by Nervous laughter breaks out among the team)
Gom: I’m not telling.
Gom & Shito: [turning to Yamako] After you.
Yamako: [shocked] Do I have to–um, in a production sense or personally?
Translator: Both, if you please.
Yamako: (covers her face, the rest of the team laughs) What should I say…? Uh…
Shito: Kabedon? (an often-used gesture in anime and manga where someone is pinned against a wall by their love interest)
Yamako: Ah…well, in a production sense I like stories where the girl is cool and strong, to the extent that the guy is intimidated by her! But well… personally… Er, personally…
Shito: Kabedon. (laughter)
Yamako: Come on, any girl would like that. Kabedon, I mean. More recently, I like Katazu (the act of leaning on someone’s shoulder) too… (leans on Sana’s shoulder) And it’s nice when girls or guys do it!
The interview was quite informal, with a lot of laughter between the members of HoneyWorks, and our reporters, especially towards the end, when the ideal “Ai no Scenario” was asked.
~ gamerisdc, & Tab