Japanese girl group ATARASHII GAKKO! drops ‘SNACKTIME‘ EP via 88rising alongside an official video for “Free Your Mind”
Entitled SNACKTIME, the EP’s five tracks were created with legendary producer Money Mark (known for his collaboration with the Beastie Boys among many others). SNACKTIME arrives off the back of AG!’s first ever American show at last weekend’s Head In The Clouds festival, where they knocked the (knee) socks off everyone attending.
The new official video for “Free Your Mind” was directed by Sayaka Nakane, the video is full of everything that makes ATARASHII GAKKO! so wildly special.
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.
The SNACKTIME EP was produced by the legendary Money Mark, who is most widely known for his work with the Beastie Boys, was a central force behind the albums Check Your Head and Ill Communication and helped the Beasties reinvent themselves as a live band in addition to being a hip-hop group. 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.
As with their other records, the SNACKTIME EP is truly a work of art that defies categorization. Following in the footsteps of such genre-melding artists as Beck, Cornelius, and The Go! Team, the SNACKTIME EP is a five-song rainbow-hued, choreography-inducing party. Nothing is off limits for the girls on SNACKTIME, allowing for the free-spirited punk anthem “Free Your Mind,” the instant dancefloor earworm “CANDY,” the eccentric Italo-disco tune “Fantasico,: and the glee inspired “Happy Hormones.”
Indeed, Money Mark acting as their mentor and coach, AG! learned how to take control of their creative output and artistic destiny. The SNACKTIME EP is testimony to this as it is a story of empowerment and evolution while alerting the global audience that ATARASHII GAKKO! is an immensely talented force to be reckoned with.