With their army of Agents and their retro-futuristic sound, the J-Pop duo take us through their genre-bending sound and fanbase.
With Tokyo being a melting pot of culture and music, it’s only right that they birth the first-ever Japanese Mannequin rap duo. Naming themselves FEMM, the duo say they are two mannequins with emotions and are here to deliver an important message to the world with their genre-bending sound and XR technology. Releasing their latest single “Sugar Rush” last week, the duo take us down the rabbit hole and into their own retro-futuristic world. Dressed in sweeping outfits and fishbowl helmets, the duo lead a mesmerising dance with troupe MIRACLE – expect fierce moves. The energetic number boasts an ear-ringing pop production, lead by their digitised vocals and droid-like allure.
Having sparked interest online due to their reinterpretation of 80s and 90s J-Pop, the duo dropped their six-track EP “404 Not Found” last year, alluding to their unmissable and unique sound. With their loyal tropes of fans known as Agents behind them and a combination of dark and fun humour on their side, the duo are taking strides for their goal of world domination. With their sophomore album due for release at any moment, we caught up with the eccentric duo, chatting their genre-bending sound, how they combined their love for music and technology and their love for Okaku culture.
Check out the interview below…
Hi RiRi and LuLa – how have you been during this uncertain time? How has it impacted your music and creativity? RiRi: We’ve been making music in the studio. It was a time where we could focus on what is most important… Like having each other and being able to connect with our fans through SNS. We started doing acoustic sessions every week on Instagram Livestream and it’s been really fun.
How has Tokyo influenced you sonically? Who are your biggest musical inspirations? LuLa: Tokyo is always updating. Energetic and something new all the time. Lots of streets are being dug up under construction, and it occurs traffic, but even that is kinda fun to me. Maybe Tokyo is searching for its originality by always changing. As for music, we try to listen to a wide range instead of focusing on just one person or genre. Music is constantly updating too.
You describe yourself as a “Japanese mannequin rap duo” – will you tell us a bit more? RiRi: We are mannequins with emotion, made in Japan. Since we started shouting out the rights of mannequins back in 2013, we chose the format: Music and Dance, since it’s easy to deliver our message worldwide and borderless. Somehow our shouting out to the world reached to those who were suffering from diversity and how hard it its to live in this world. We don’t focus only on rap, but it’s one of the formats that especially fit our expressions and kinda clicked with our listeners at the very begging. What’s most important to us is to deliver our message for sure.
Congratulations on your new single “Sugar Rush”, which looks at this addictive but dark side of love – what was the inspiration behind it? LuLa: Thank you, so much! I think love often holds happiness and excitement, but worries and doubts on the other hand. But still is unstoppable. And it’s all good. We are facing really tough times right now all over the world, and we think sometimes it’s not logic that saves the world, but instincts. At these times I think rather an ordinary love song, something much stronger, almost scary fits the vibe.
And the music video is this trippy fever dream – what did you want to evoke with the video? RiRi: Love is blind! Dreamy for sure! I’m glad you got that feeling from this MV. It was just what we wanted to express. Love has a dark side, I think. And that kind of negative power could be really powerful. It could even transform into something better.
And it features the unicycle dance troupe MIRACLE, of the Kawasaki Watarida Unicycle Club – where did the idea to involve them come from? LuLa: Our director Ryo Noguchi came up with the idea. We we’re so excited to see how amazing the unicycle team were! They really matched the feeling of this song, how a girl feels in love. The costumes was great too! Ryo named them “Sugar pots.” It was important to him to keep the performance raw, instead of using digital effects. He created a space where everything was real. Even the lights and the atmosphere matched in this beautiful art MV.
·And you both are no stranger to incorporating everything from cutting-edge dance, to mixed-reality XR technology and 3D avatars to create groundbreaking videos – where is the main source of your ideas and creativity? RiRi: Combining our music and technology has been one of our top focus for several years. Since we are mannequins and cannot speak or laugh like human do, it’s really cool to have technology to boost our performance. I think it can enhance our emotion visually. We think our costumes fit in this idea too. Lights reflection and how the clothing moves and also speak for us. Sometimes even more verbal than human. Japanese comics and video games often gives us new ideas. We are proud of Japanese Okaku culture. I especially love AKIRA and Ghost In The Shell. It always gives me new ideas and inspiration.
·What do you hope your music brings at such a time of uncertainty? LuLa: We hope that our music brings you comfort and strength. We always wanna be there for our agents.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to in 2021? RiRi: We have enough songs to complete a full album. That would be the best gift for our agents, I’m sure! We wish that this world becomes a safer place and be able to go visit our agents all over the world!