Billboard Japan and TikTok teamed up once again to present Next Fire, the hybrid program focusing on today’s hottest J-pop artists. Atarayo was featured as the monthly pickup act for October, and the three-man, one-woman band performed a compact set showcasing its emotional pop-rock numbers for the 33,699 viewers who tuned in to the livestream on Oct. 8.
Next Fire is a weekly show on TikTok Live that features a rising J-pop act each month, based on Billboard Japan’s Heatseekers Songs chart. The collaborative project streams performances and in-depth interviews by the featured act for fans to check out and enjoy from home.
Atarayo was seen illuminated by warm lights when the livestream switched to the studio, and guitarist Maashi launched into a bouncy riff to kick off the set with “Haruru.” The four members were positioned facing each other in a circle, and the superb camera work captured their dynamic performance in close proximity.
After finishing the song, vocalist and guitarist Hitomi admitted, “I’m nervous,” with a smile and spoke a few words to fans before beginning the second song, one of the band’s best-known numbers with a title that roughly means “It’s October, you never say anything and I’ll forget you.” The cathartic midtempo ballad begins with a few spoken lines that end with the bitter parting shot, “You could at least look at me for the last time.” Hitomi went on to sing sadly but beautifully about an ending relationship, accompanied by Maashi’s harmonies over the steady rhythm created by bassist Takeo and drummer Tanapai. Many viewers expressed their joy and excitement over their favorite track, sending love to the band in real time. After the performance, Hitomi told fans, “I’m glad you got to know us through this song.”
The band also premiered a new track called “Piasu” (“Pierced Earrings”) from their debut EP Yoakemae (“Before the Dawn”), released Oct. 4. The song began with Hitomi’s clear vocals quietly resonating over an acoustic arrangement, and the members gradually brought on the emotions toward the latter half by carefully layering their respective notes for a dramatic effect. The quartet then performed “Natsugasumi” (“Summer Haze”), made popular by the acoustic version on the popular YouTube channel The First Take, to keep the momentum going toward the final phase of the show.
Atarayo closed its showcase set with “Usotsuki” (“Liar”), the song Hitomi wrote from the viewpoint of the man in the doomed relationship depicted in their popular song “October.” Maashi’s nostalgic guitar solo and Hitomi’s crisp vocals expressed the poignant number with a chorus with lyrics that mean, “You’re undeniably the one who said ‘I love you’/ But now you’re the one who’s saying good-bye/ You liar.”
A pre-recorded interview by the up-and-coming band will stream Oct. 22 from 8:00 p.m. Japan time on Billboard Japan’s TikTok channel, as well as an archived version of this livestream.