Junior Ivan Yu practices playing his untitled song that he wrote in his room with a monochrome Squire Stratocaster electric guitar.

Yu strikes a chord with anime cover band

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Junior Ivan Yu stands as he plugs in his earbuds and plays the guitar. He strums the strings of his guitar, his worries slipping away with the melodic tunes. As an anime enthusiast, Yu ties in his love for original soundtracks from Japanese animations with his love for guitar, intertwining his two passions whenever he has the chance.  

At the age of 10, Yu found an interest in playing guitar due to the influence of his family and music online. He took inspiration from genres like pop, rock, and metal, along with artists like Bryson Andres and Jerry C.

“Though seeing my older brother haphazardly play the violin made me more interested in playing music, it was really musicians on Youtube who inspired me to play music,” Yu said. “My dad urged me to play music and cheered me on despite the terrible performances I gave to him.”

In February 2019, Yu discussed his plan to make music with his friend, alumnus Sarah Thi, and they formed a band together called “weebGanG”. After taking a temporary break, the band gained two new members, seniors Priscilla Ho and Mindy Chau, reigniting their motivation to continue.

“Now we’re sort of still together and kind of consider ourselves to be still part of a band, though we haven’t practiced together in ages,” Yu said. “I feel like playing music with them is fun as it was a great opportunity to talk to others about music and play with other people.”

They collaborate as a band for fun, without the intention of officially releasing music or garnering a fan base. The band covered anime songs, such as Returns by Popipa, and he played songs like Snow Halation, Senbonzakura, and bad apple, which has helped him grow into a better guitarist.

“I used to not practice anything regarding rhythm until I joined the band and had to be in sync with the others,” Yu said. “I’ve improved my ability to stay in sync with songs as well as make mental notes to correctly follow the rhythm of any song I play.”

Yu is hoping for a future career in the music industry either in song writing or being a music teacher. He first wants to learn music theory so that he can be able to write his own songs easily and also to improve his performance on the guitar since he is still at an intermediate level.

“Playing the guitar connects me as a musician, because of the fiery passion and emotions guitarists can invoke into the audience,” Yu said. “Like how soaring solos played on electric guitars just fill you with energy or how a beautiful fingerstyle song makes you think of the good times of the past.”

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