Mazzel’s Debut Album ‘Parade’ a Great Medley of Music and Dance

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mazzel belongs to BMSG, a music agency led by Sky-Hi. The eight members selected through auditions made their debut in May last year with the single “Vivid.” The group’s name has three meanings: good luck, maze and zeal. Their fans are called Muzes.

Eight-man dance and vocal group Mazzel released their long-awaited debut album, “Parade,” in March, from a label Universal and BMSG jointly made. In a world full of music groups that enchant audiences with singing and dancing, what does Mazzel bring to the table? The members — Kairyu, Naoya, Ran, Seito, Ryuki, Takuto, Hayato and Eiki — discussed the boy band’s past and present with The Yomiuri Shimbun as well as their dreams for the future. Let the parade begin!

Streamed auditions

Mazzel belongs to BMSG, a music agency led by rapper-producer Sky-Hi. The group made its debut in May in 2023 after the success of the agency’s now-popular dance act Be:First.

Auditions for Mazzel started in 2022. Aspiring members were asked to sing some of the songs that were to be included in the album, such as “Mission” and “Fantasy.”

After careful selection, the boy band’s imminent debut was announced in November that year.

The buildup toward Mazzel’s debut is introduced in “Mission x 2,” a documentary that can be watched online. Viewers can learn each member’s background as a child actor, model or a high school baseballer who dreamed of playing at Koshien Stadium for the national high school baseball championship.

Ryuki has been practicing dance and rap since he was a little child. “I’ll never forget enthusiastically talking about chasing our dreams together while we were in the bath during our audition retreat,” he recounted.

“Parade” contains 15 tracks, including their debut single, “Vivid,” and seven new songs. On the tracks, the members sing and rap in a variety of styles built off of hip-hop and R&B.

The cover of Mazzel’s first album “Parade”

“We wanted to dye our chaotic world in many colors in producing the album,” Naoya said.

His words are strongly felt in the title track, “Parade,” the first song on the album. From a light, swing jazz intro, the music takes a turn on a hip-hop vibe backed by intense base, with the members’ rap and falsetto interspersed throughout the song. The track expresses an extravagant parade as they sing aloud, “Sa ikoka [Now, let’s get going]. Join me in the parade.”

Other songs in the album include “K&K,” where all the members rap; “Ice feat. Reiko,” a floaty tune done alongside singer Reiko, an old friend of theirs; and “Love Letter,” a delicate love song for which Eiki had a part in writing the lyrics. Each tune has a story and a distinct character.

As Kairyu says, perhaps the biggest highlight is the personality of each member, expressed in each song: “Each and every member has an attractive voice,” he said. “Our strength is in our wide vocal range, from low notes to high notes.”

“Maze to Parade,” an online documentary, illustrates the process of how each member expresses his artistry.

“We made this album without compromise and put all our efforts in it so that all 15 songs are the main tracks. It’s a great album,” Takuto said with confidence.

When asked what their dreams were, their answers included an appearance on NHK’s annual Red & White Year-end Song Festival, domed arena tours and venturing overseas.

“I want to continue making music happily, all eight of us together, and establish our own genre as Mazzel,” Hayato said.

“Good luck is one of the meanings of our group name. We want to bring happiness to the people of the world,” Eiki said.

Dance for eight

Dance is another strong point of Mazzel: The group has received wide praise for their choreography in songs like “Waterfall,” which even audiences can tell is challenging to dance to.

It is said that choreography for dance groups can become elaborate the more members there are. Mazzel has eight members, a relatively large number for such an act. Their accomplished performance enchants fans, as many of them are experienced dancers.

“Arranging dancer placements can be easier with groups with members in odd numbers,” Seito says. “But there are compositions that can be showcased only by eight dancers, so that’s one of our selling points.”

“Waterfall” was choreographed by Yumeki, who also works successfully in the K-pop scene. Using various steps and formations, the Mazzel members dance to the song in a hip-hop style with an ever-changing rhythm.

“Dancing in sync is regarded as very important for boy bands. We value that as well, but we also take the nuance of each member’s individual artistry,” Ran said. “We’re aiming to accomplish both.”

Each song in the album has a highlight. The track “Parade” was choreographed by world-renowned Norwegian dance group Quick Style, at the suggestion of Takuto, and features Seito’s brilliant break dancing.

What is astonishing is how Mazzel performs these vigorous dance routines not only in music videos but also at concerts.

“We think that’s amazing, too,” Naoya said with a smile.

No doubt it’ll be stunning to see them perform on their upcoming national tour.