Tokyo-based and wildly special four-girl progressive pop-group ATARASHII GAKKO!, are thrilled to release their brand new song, just in time for today’s Halloween celebrations, “HANAKO.” Originating from a Japanese urban legend of ‘Hanako-san’, a girl ghost who haunts school bathrooms, the track is a spooky, yet undeniable ATARASHII GAKKO! high octane banger. The music video, directed by Sayaka Nakane and shot in an abandoned elementary school, includes choreography created by the group themselves. The surprise release follows the band’s successful run of sold-out U.S. shows earlier this year.
“We wanted to get into the mood with Halloween approaching and release something uncharacteristically spooky. You didn’t expect it from us, right?,” says the group about the song. “We initially recorded a demo of “HANAKO” with Money Mark, along with all the songs from our EP SNACKTIME. It was just around Halloween last year. The track had these weird sounds that instantly made us think “spooky,” which inspired us to tell a ghost story.”
Last year, the group released their SNACKTIME EP, which was produced by the legendary Money Mark, who is most widely known for his work with the Beastie Boys. Mark is also known for his extensive collection of vintage keyboards and drum machines, and his masterpiece Mark’s Keyboard Repair from 1995 helped to usher in a new movement of bedroom pop during the 90s.
ATARASHII GAKKO! (literally meaning “new school” in Japanese) are a group of four young women who are redefining what it means to be a girl group. While most J-Pop female idol groups are known for their squeaky high voices, perfectly synchronized dance moves, feigned images of purity and innocence, and an excessive drive to always be kawaii (cute), AG! isn’t into any of that. They wear sailor-fuku (sailor suits) uniforms in a style that were worn by Japanese students back in the 70s and 80s with long skirts and pulled-up socks, and staunchly refuse to be objectified. Their aggressive and expressive dance moves, which they choreograph themselves, are a hybrid of the energy of Japanese butoh dance, heavy metal headbanging, and hip-hop street dancing. Musically, AG! brings together elements of modern J-Pop, Showa-era kayokyoku, rap, punk, dance music, but it would be pointless to try to categorize them in any genre.