Broadcast 9: ZUTOMAYO
This week’s band is called ずっと真夜中でいいのに (Zutto Mayonaka de Iinoni), meaning “I wish it was midnight all the time”, stylized in English as ZUTOMAYO or sometimes shortened to ZTMY. They are an indie J-pop/J-rock band with an anonymous female vocalist known as ACAね (ACAne). The rest of the band is also anonymous, with no full member list announced.
Full Name: ずっと真夜中でいいのに (Zutto Mayonaka de Iinoni: “I wish it was midnight all the time”). Shortened to ZUTOMAYO or ZTMY.
Years Active: 2018-Present
Core Members: ACAね, Unidentified Members
Point of Origin: n/a
Their debut was an animated music video called 秒針を噛む (Byoushin wo Kamu) released in 2018 on YouTube from vocaloid animator Waboku. Despite the anonymity of the band, they reached relative mainstream commercial success in the weeks following. Since then, ZUTOMAYO has released 3 EPs and 2 Studio Albums with EMI Japan under Universal Music Japan, ranking high on the Oricon Charts multiple times.
What I really like about ZUTOMAYO is their fast paced sound and well-thought-out compositions that present a strong identity; it’s easy to hear a song by them and know it’s ZUTOMAYO. In my mind, I put them into a category with other mainstream J-pop acts that utilize the piano/keyboard and infuse a jazz influence into their compositions similar to Gesu No Kiwami Otome and their related acts. ACAね also has a great expressive voice that goes well with this style of music; her voice has a clear and girlish quality to it that’s able to match the energetic tone of their songs, while also being able to incorporate lighter and airy, almost falsetto elements as well.
Each music video by ZUTOMAYO is animated by a different illustrator, but each is speculated to feature the same girl named Nira-chan and a hedgehog mascot named Uniguri. The music video for “ヒューマノイド or “Humanoid” is an earlier video released by ZUTOMAYO off of their first EP 正しい偽りからの起床 (Tadashii Itsuwari Kara no Kishō) (2018) and later added to their first full length album called 潜潜話 (Hisohiso Banashi) (2019). This vivid neon cyberpunk video was created by vocaloid animator sakiyama.
I love this song because its technical elements and synth elements remind me of another band I love called School Food Punishment and their related act called la la larks. Ever since I found School Food Punishment I’ve been searching for bands that fulfil the same sense of urgency and technicality while featuring a female vocalist and keyboard/piano accompaniment, and ZUTOMAYO is definitely a great fit while also bringing in their own style.
正義 or “Justice” is a song that was also released on their second EP 今は今で誓いは笑みで (Ima wa Ima de Chikai wa Emi de) (2019) and on their first full length album 潜潜話. This is one of their songs that has really grown on me after listening to it a few times. I also feel like this is a good song to showcase their range in different styles. The illustrator is credited as Kawasemi and features a lighter palette to match the lighter song. Overall I think the animation beautifully incorporates the nostalgic feeling the song invokes, and it’s one of my favorite videos from ZUTOMAYO.
“MILABO” was released on ZUTOMAYO’s third EP 朗らかな皮膚とて不服 (Hogaraka na Hifu tote Fufuku) (2020) and on their second full length album ぐされ (Gusare) (2021). This is a fun song that really reveals more of their jazz infusion style. It’s also a fun video with an exciting storyline that you can look closely at and find new meaning to if you’re a ZUTOMAYO fan and have been following the recurring elements throughout their videos. The illustrator is Waboku, the same animator from ZUTOMAYO’s first release.
ZUTOMAYO is a band that’s easy to listen to and you can trust that their compositions will be solid. Usually I like to get to know an artist by listening to their full albums and discography, but I feel like ZUTOMAYO is great no matter what song I put on. I feel like getting to know them through their animated videos is a great way to start for someone just getting into their music, but it’s also a good choice to just go and listen to any of their albums or EPs.
Because not much is known about the people behind ZUTOMAYO, I wanted to show a little bit about how they perform live and add a few extra bonus videos that also happen to be their most popular songs.
This is from one of my favorite YouTube channels called THE FIRST TAKE. This channel is great because it features Japanese bands performing in one take, and everything is translated into English, including any introductions the bands do. There’s also something cool and creative about the arrangements the bands come up with for this channel, and this version of 秒針を噛む (Byoushin wo Kamu) is one of my favorites. This is probably the most we’ve seen of ACAね, and you can see how they have dealt with the singer/band being anonymous basically by just hiding her face through camera work and lighting.
This is a recent video showing how ZUTOMAYO performs one of their more popular songs called 脳裏上のクラッカー or “STUDY ME” live. Basically it seems like they use screens and more recently face masks to cover up the band. They also have asked their audience to wear opaque glasses in the past. I also love this video because the filming of the performance is really well done, and even with the anonymity of the band they look like they have some pretty cool live performances to experience.
Social Media Links
ACAね “ACAne” Twitter: https://twitter.com/zutomayo
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/zutomayo_staff
If you like ZUTOMAYO you might also like:
- School Food Punishment
- la la larks
- Sangatsu no Phantasia
- Gesu No Kiwami Otome
- POLKADOT STINGRAY
- Cö shu Nie
Music videos all in one YouTube playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3ak6RpCfPeiyksFT5Ed9bLz46f9_QVV8
If you are interested in some analysis of their videos, watch, “Who are Zutomayo?”
I saw a few times that ZUTOMAYO can be categorized as “yoru-kei,” or having to do with the night. Read a bit more about that here:
This Broadcast was written by Erin; you can find them on instagram at @thekniterin.