animefringe december 2003 / feature
Animefringe Coverage:
Getting into the Groove of Every Little Thing

Kaori Mochida is undoubtedly the face of Every Little Thing. Behind her pixie grin, and eccentric, yet cutesy sense of style is a voice that has made its mark upon the Japanese pop scene. Accompanying her vocals is Ichiro Ito, ELT's sole guitarist and the anchor of the band after the surprise departure of their founder, keyboardist and songwriter Mitsuru Igarashi, in March 2000.

Formed in mid-1996, Igarashi first came across Kaori Mochida, then eighteen, through her audition at Avex, a recording company that produces artists such as Janne da Arc, BoA, and SPEED. Intrigued by Mochida's distinctive voice, he invited her to join his band, later flanked by his high school chum, guitarist Ichiro Ito. Although Ito was initially only asked to help out in the band temporarily, he would later decide to join ELT as its permanent guitarist.

Every Little Thing, however, was not Kaori Mochida's first foray into Japan's overcrowded pop scene. She began as part of an all-girls band called Kuro Buta All Stars, "Black Pigs All Stars", at the age of 15, with the single, Mou Ichido, "Once Again". However, it was her debut in ELT that would push her center stage.

Like many popular artists, ELT's music has gone beyond simply MTV, pervading the realm of dramas, anime, variety shows, and commercials. Among others, ELT has sung the themes for Initial D and Rumiko Takahashi's Inuyasha.

ELT is no stranger either to Japan's Oricon charts, the equivalent of the Billboard charts, having had numerous number-one singles throughout its career history. Although it wasn't smooth sailing from the start, it took ELT only a year to establish itself as a pop group to be reckoned with through the release of their first widely-acclaimed album, Everlasting, in April 1997. In 1998, their single Time Goes By became their signature song, expanding their already existing fan base.

After Igarashi's unexpected departure in 2000, ELT went underground for eight months before re-emerging with 4 Force, an album that would become one of their best commercial works. The 11 songs on 4 Force are composed mainly by Ito, with all the lyrics accredited to Mochida. In addition, all 11 songs have been featured in various television dramas and commercials. Now ELT stands with numerous number-one singles and 9 albums under its belt with more to come, having just released a single in November, with another projected single to be released in January 2004.

ELT's brand of feel-good, catchy and refreshing pop has not undergone much change since the inception of the band in 1996, even after Igarashi's departure. There are, however, small changes and a certain maturity, if not quirkiness, to ELT's new, post-Igarashi work. The mainstay of their music is Kaori Mochida's unique voice, which can only be inadequately described as sweet, yet hoarse, and high-pitched, yet hardly annoying.

With Japan's pop scene now becoming increasingly populated by washboard-abs artists with minimum voice and maximum cringe-factor, ELT shines through as a creative force and a quality band.