Rising Japanese band Klang Ruler livestreamed a showcase set on May 13 as the featured act for May on Next Fire, the hybrid program by Billboard Japan and TikTok.
Next Fire is a show on TikTok Live that highlights the hottest J-pop artists of the moment, based on Billboard Japan’s TikTok Weekly Top 20 chart. The collaborative project streams live performances and pre-recorded interviews by the featured act of the month to give fans an in-depth look at their artistry.
Klang Ruler played a compact set including breakout hit “Timing,” which stayed at the top of the TikTok Weekly Top 20 for six consecutive weeks, as well as its latest release called “Generic Love.”
The members — two women and three men — strutted into the studio when the show went live and opened the set with a fierce rendition of “iCON.” The music unfolded rhythmically as drummer SimiSho churned out precise 8 note grooves over the distinctive synthesizer phrases while Gyoshi’s biting guitar solo embellished the indelible number. Then the members slowed down a bit to perform “Gensou wo kae” (Buy the Illusion), an electronic-leaning track incorporating frontman yonkey’s beat pad, Kat Takumi’s synth bass, and SimiSho’s percussion synthesizer.
The band’s next song, its latest single “Generic Love” about a fleeting love that will never be requited, featured beautiful harmonies between yonkey and vocalist Yasuda Chihiro over a mid-tempo beat that echoed throughout the venue. When the song ended, yonkey immediately began the now-familiar count and the members launched into their breakout hit “Timing” that has been buzzing on TikTok through various videos including dance challenges.
The sophisticated cover reviving a J-pop hit from 1998 was born out of the Midnight Sessions, the band’s J-pop cover video series featuring other rising artists. In the live rendition of the song, the sounds played by each member gradually came together as a solid intro that morphed into a cohesive band sound, and the comments section was filled with excitement as fans noted how cool the performance was and that they were dancing to the music.
“We hope to see you in person at a concert someday,” said Yasuda before the band played its closing number, “I Think About You Now.” The interlude in the latter half of the song was a pleasant mix of Katotakumi’s slap bass playing and Gyoshi’s funk strumming on guitar, an example of the superb technique each member presented during the entire set as well as the stellar quality of each number.
A pre-recorded interview by Klang Ruler and the archived version of the studio concert will stream on Billboard Japan’s TikTok channel on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until May 27 from 8 p.m. Japan time.