An Interview with IRyS of hololive English Project: HOPE
IRyS debuted in July 2021 as part of hololive English Project: HOPE. Not only does she have a beautiful singing voice, but the depth of her knowledge of anime, manga and other topics never fails to impress. We spoke with this VSinger about her days before her debut until now.
Supervision: COVER Corp.
Translation Assistance: Taylor Drew
The day I received the results was one of the happiest days of my life.
――How did you come to know about VTubers and VSingers? What did you think of them at the time?
IRyS: I first learned about VTubers through having Kizuna AI on my recommendation and being amazed at the whole concept of a Virtual YouTuber and the technology behind it.
――How did you come to know and become interested in hololive production? What were your impressions of it before you joined?
IRyS: I first came to know hololive production by coming across the iconic clips of Sakura Miko-senpai playing “Grand Theft Auto”, and Korone-senpai’s yubi yubi memes off the internet and YouTube. Such meme-worthy clips made me dig deeper through YouTube’s recommendations and I ended up watching solely hololive clips for 2 hours before going to sleep. The talents in hololive gave me the impression that they were just amazing entertainers who love what they do and are able to share their enjoyment of streaming and interacting with their viewers. With all the members getting along so well with each other, it just seemed like one, if not the best place to be if you were to become a VTuber.
――After finding out about the hololive English auditions, what made you decide to apply?
IRyS: I first didn’t notice hololive production was holding their first round of English auditions back in the day and missed my chance to apply by the time I found out about it. So when I first heard they were opening auditions for an English VSinger, I thought I had to seize this chance as I love singing as much as I love streaming. Not applying was never an option for me.
――How did you feel when you got the callback that you had passed the audition for hololive English?
IRyS: I honestly thought I read the email wrong at first due to disbelief since I wasn’t feeling extremely confident about getting in. I literally had to read it aloud three times to understand that I was accepted. My heart, which usually only beats fast from nervousness, was actually beating extremely fast due to just happiness and adrenaline for the first time in my life. I would have to say getting the results will be one of the happiest days of my life.
All of the hololive English –Myth- senpai’s reached out and offered to help.
――What were some challenges that you faced or things you worked hard at when preparing for and on the day of your debut stream? How did you feel immediately after your debut stream ended, which was watched by around 90,000 viewers?
IRyS: The main challenge I faced with my debut stream was preparing myself mentally to make a good impression in front of thousands of first-time viewers with extremely high expectations. I’m originally the type of person who lacks self confidence in general, so I was mostly worried about what those people would think about me on my debut and was honestly just dreading the debut day due to the high pressure of the situation. I would count my days ‘till debut thinking about how scary it will be, and literally could barely sleep a week before the debut stream. Successfully finishing my debut stream lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and it honestly felt amazing to experience the fact that I actually became a hololive English member and to finally be able to sleep soundly again. 😆
――What were things you wanted to improve upon or work towards right after your debut stream?
IRyS: Though I just said that it felt amazing to finish my debut stream, I never actually felt satisfied with my own performance. I felt like it was honestly a bit lackluster, and really wanted to improve on my adlib when it came to interacting with a large live audience. The first thing I strived to improve on was to become comfortable with reading an extremely fast moving chatroom, to pick up comments from it at a reasonable pace, and to keep a conversation moving forward, as I think interaction with your audience is a key skill to have as a streamer.
――You are the sole member of “hololive English Project: HOPE” and as such do not have a “gemmate.” Shortly after your debut, how did you solve any issues and problems that arose by yourself? Was there anyone you often asked for advice?
IRyS: I am, in general, really bad at opening up to others and starting conversations with people, especially when I still haven’t got to know them. So I really never had the courage to console any of my senpais or other talents on problems I had and whatnot, until much much later after debut. Despite that, pretty much every senpai in hololive English (in this case, all the hololive English -Myth- members) have all reached out and offered to help if I ever needed it when I was first introduced to them, which was something very encouraging and thoughtful of them (even though I didn’t really have the courage to ask despite their offers LOL.) In the end, I asked my sister for advice on certain problems I bumped into and also just spent hours searching on the internet for solutions to the technical issues I had as a streamer in the beginning LOL.
Music became more than a hobby for me after I discovered anisongs and the VOCALOID genre.
――You are fluent in Japanese as well as English, and have interacted with various members of hololive production. The general impression is that you and Hakos Baelz of hololive English -Council- are especially close friends. Is there anything, in particular, that got you two so close?
IRyS: Most people who watch me and Bae (Hakos Baelz’s nickname) already know this, but our relationship really just happened to start through that one Minecraft portal building collab stream we participated in along with other hololive English members. During that stream, we jokingly started to mimic a fighting married couple, which gave birth to the BaeRyS ship and started our relationship as close friends. It was honestly a coincidence at first, but through that, Bae started reaching out to me like the friendly rat she was on Discord and we started to talk more often before collab streams and whatnot. I’ve talked about this many times before, but Bae was the one who really helped make me feel included in many things related to Gen type events (since I’m not part of a gen) and helped make me feel at home as an honorary member of Council, something that I still greatly appreciate to this day.
――Your voice is quite delightful. What made you like singing? Do you remember any musicians or songs that you particularly liked at that time?
IRyS: I’ve always loved singing since I was a child and would always be singing in the car along with whatever was playing on the radio, or singing some made up song in the shower to the point that my parents would have to tell me to be quiet so as to not bother the neighbors. But the things that made me want to pursue music as something more than a hobby, were Japanese anime songs and the VOCALOID genre.
――What is the most important thing when creating original songs? Is there anything that you are aware of that you often tell the creators or you ask of them?
IRyS: One of the most important things to note when making original songs as a singer, something that I have recently understood and haven’t really been able to implement in my earlier songs, is to make sure the song fits your vocal range. My first few original songs, including my debut song, “Caesura of Despair” are some of the hardest songs I have had to sing throughout my life as a singer and through such hardship, I have learned that having the song creators cater to your vocal range is key to be able to sing a song well in both recording and in live singing. It is honestly embarrassing as the original singer to mention how hard it is to sing some of my original songs live on stream, and I have learned to be warier of that when going forward with future song creations. I have also found it much easier to include more emotion and depth in my singing when the song comfortably fits my key and range. Another thing I have learned is the importance of lyrics in a song. As a kid, I honestly never really listened to the lyrics of a song and only chose songs I liked through sole melody, but I have learned how important it is to have smooth lyrics that actually fit the song syllable and melody wise and have recently been giving creators more specific direction when it comes to lyrics, especially when English lyrics are involved.
――What are your short-term and long-term goals that you want to achieve with your music career?
IRyS: Two of my major goals in my career are to have a music tie-in with an anime or game and to release a full original album one day with a major label. Both are huge goals that still honestly feel far for me but I hope to be able to achieve them one day as a singer.
The reveal of my new design was amazing.
――It seems that you have been exposed to Japanese culture since you were little. Which works (anime, manga, games, music) did you like in particular at that time, and why?
IRyS: When I was little, I mainly watched “Pokémon,” “Sailor Moon,” and “Hamtaro,” but my true first dive into otaku-dom was a manga I bought the seventh volume of, “Love Hina,” from a bookstore when my parents told me I needed to buy at least one book to promote a good habit of reading. My parents did not expect me to pick up such a niche Japanese manga (which probably doesn’t count as a book), but I guess they were so desperate to make me read something that they didn’t complain. My main reason for choosing this book was the cute art of girls with big anime eyes on the cover, and it was the first book I actually read all in one sitting (despite the fact that it was the seventh volume of a series I did not know of before) and afterward, I started diving deeper into manga and anime and started watching anything that had a similar art style with cute anime girls. This would eventually lead me to the amazing legendary series called “School Days.”
――You traveled to Hokkaido last September with hololive member Tsunomaki Watame. What are some of your most memorable moments from the trip?
IRyS: Since it was a work trip involving film staff recording our escapades, I would say pretty much the whole experience was very memorable due to how different it felt from a regular vacation/trip. But one happening that was especially memorable for me was when me and Watame-senpai both got on a weight scale one by one to reveal to each other our body weights, a secret only the two of us know 😀 Knowing each other’s weights made me feel especially close to Watame-senpai for some reason LOL.
――Are there any places in Japan that you would like to visit?
IRyS: I have never been to Universal Studios Japan before which is in Osaka and would love to go one day! I also heard that Okinawa is a really pretty place to go in Japan and has an especially different feel from the rest of the country, so I would really like to visit one day and see how pretty the ocean is there!
――Your new design was revealed on November 27th, 2022, and so many fans were watching your reveal stream. How did you feel before/after it?
IRyS: It honestly felt amazing, as this new design was something I was waiting for pretty much the whole year leading to it. redjuice Papa really did an amazing job making the new design feel like “me” and I’m really glad that it was received with generally good feedback! Revealing it has made me feel more motivated than ever as a VTuber!
――What dreams have come true since becoming a member of hololive English?
IRyS: To be honest, being a member of hololive English is itself a dream come true, but when it comes to what has come true after becoming a member, the one thing I can say is that my dream of truly becoming part of a “group” has come true ever since I started to become included in group collabs with hololive English -Council-, one being the chibi 3D VRChat models released with Sana’s design. That collaboration stream is one that I will hold dear to me as a member of hololive English.
――Is there anything that you try to keep in mind during your streams?
IRyS: I always make sure to keep a positive mood in my streams and to not bring any negative feelings to streams! In other words, to never force myself to stream when I feel down. Doing streams when my mood isn’t right would most likely lead to a stream that feels forced and unenergetic, something that I want to avoid as a streamer who is supposed to entertain an audience. If I myself am not having fun, I doubt I can bring joy to those watching me.
It makes me happy to know that my existence can support someone else’s life and make their day a little better.
――What do your fans (IRyStocrats) mean to you?
IRyS: The IRyStocrats are the bone of my sword (cue epic “Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works]” music) and honestly the bane of my confidence and happiness as a streamer. Without them, I don’t think I would feel so happy and accomplished as a person and would never have felt the confidence I do now without them. It makes me feel extremely happy to know that my existence can support someone else’s life and that my streams can make someone’s day a little better. Knowing that really motivates me to strive my best as a streamer and makes me want to become a more confident and better person for them.
――What would you like your streams to be like for your viewers/fans?
IRyS: I would like my streams to be something that my fans can look forward to as a place to be themselves, sort of like an oasis (which might seem a little overbearing) but I honestly hope that my streams can bring more positivity to someone’s life even just a little bit, and to be a place they can come to if they ever feel down or low.
――What VODs from your YouTube channel would you recommend to new viewers/fans and why?
IRyS: I personally recommend my most recent endurance singing stream for those who want to hear the VSinger side of me and as for gaming streams, I recommend my “Titanfall 2” and “Megaman 2” streams mainly because I feel like there are many moments to enjoy from the VODs, and also because they are both amazing games that I think should have more recognition!!
――And finally, do you have a message for your fans?
IRyS: I just want to thank all my IRyStocrats for sticking with me through thick and thin. I really can’t thank you enough for all the support I receive from you guys and want you to know how important you guys are to me and that you are my strive to become a better person for all of you. Thank you so much and I can’t wait to make more fun memories with everyone as a hololive English member.