"We want to establish our reputation as a rock band rather than a 'female' rock band. But I've noticed there are big differences in feeling between men and women, and it seems to be easier to convey how we feel and get into the rhythm as girls."

So says Eriko Hashimoto, 26, vocalist of melodic-rock trio Chatmonchy, who since 2005 have reached the upper- echelons of the Japan charts with three gritty, emotional, yet vivacious albums. This has established them as one of the most popular all-girl bands in the country with live dates that have even taken in the prestigious Nippon Budokan in Tokyo.

Chatmonchy are now the latest Japanese act to venture to the United States with a gig at Texas' world- renowned South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference.