In-Person Talk Shows, ‘PLASMA’ Album & More – Billboard

Now an iconic J-pop act with fans around the world, electro-pop trio Perfume first caught the attention of listeners outside of their home country when one of their songs was featured in the animated film produced by Disney/Pixar. cars 2 released in 2011. Already a popular girl group in Japan, the “Polyrhythm” trio expanded their musical activities abroad and toured other Asian countries for the first time the following year.



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In June 2013, the group became the first Japanese act to be invited to perform at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. The trio wowed the crowd with their highly synchronized choreography, transformative costumes, and stage production by cutting-edge multimedia art collective Rhizomatiks using state-of-the-art technology. Perfume won the Silver Lion in the Cyber ​​category at the event and went on to launch their second international tour, making stops in three cities in Germany, England and France.

The J-pop stars collaborated with alternative rock band OK Go in 2014 and embarked on their third world tour that included shows in Los Angeles and New York, then headlined a show at SXSW in 2015. Their sixth studio album , COSMIC EXPLORER, arrived in April 2016 and debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Electronic Albums chart in the US and No. 16 on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. The band toured North America for five shows in four cities that year.

His seventh studio album, pop of the future, released in May 2018, debuted at No. 4 on Billboard’s World Albums chart. The following year, the three women again toured successfully across North America and became the first J-pop artists to perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. His performance received high praise, including being named one of the 16 Best Acts of Coachella 2019 by Rolling Stone magazine.

Then, 16 years after their debut, 21 years after their formation, and just when the group was expected to take another leap forward in their career, the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Perfume was in the middle of their national dome tour in Japan and was forced to cancel, but member KASHIYUKA shares that the period allowed them to “take some time to think about what we want to do and give our full attention to what we consider more important.”

NOCCHi adds: “We have always offered content that can be enjoyed online since before virtual shows became the norm. Live performances collaborating with technology, things that are more interesting to see on a screen than in person. So we were often asked to do virtual shows during the pandemic, but we felt that, when it comes down to it, the fun of Perfume’s live shows is in creating a space directly with everyone. We realized that we love to perform live and that everything we do, we do for our shows.”

In March 2021, the film version of the Perfume Reframe 2019 concert that reconstructed the trio’s 20-year history, titled Rethink the THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE with you, was released exclusively on Netflix. In August, the group held their first in-person headlining live performance in a year and a half in Japan, titled Perfume LIVE 2021. [polygon wave]. Perfume performed a new song called “Mawarukagami” (“Rotating Mirror”) for the first time at the concert, a track that reflects how women feel about performing live. The theme is included in her eighth album. PLASMA which he released on July 27, his first original album in four years since pop of the future.

“In that show, it felt like something that was asleep inside of us woke up at the sound of each clap,” recalls a-chan. “The sound of applause echoing through the venue brimmed with soul, and that soul rebuilt us. It was like, ‘Oh, we’ve been regenerated.’ Our purpose in life is to perform live and we realized again that the space we create together with everyone is at the core of what we do.”

NOCCHi adds, “I was surprised that our producer Yasutaka Nakata understood how we felt about playing live. Especially the last part of the song that says, ‘We’ll be on stage.’ I felt like he was encouraging us to sing this song when we got back on stage, and it was exciting to see that it was about performing live.”

“We want to perform on stage, but it’s not something we can do alone. The feeling that ‘I’m just a spinning mirror and I can only shine with everyone’s support,’ and that because of the times we live in, the words ‘Everything will be alright’ really hit home,” says KASHIYUKA. “It seemed like those voices lifted us up and we understood the lyrics with painful clarity. There were things that I had felt playing live, personal feelings that were mine, but (Nakata) managed to put them into a song that I could share with the audience. That is why I was so happy when I was able to perform it live.”

Perfume’s sound can generally be categorized as club/dance music such as techno-pop, synth-pop, French electro and EDM, but their new album PLASMA adds more color to the group’s style, as can be seen on tracks like the boogie-funk lead single “Spinning World.”

Furthermore, “Drive’n The Rain” can be said to be Nakata’s response to the recent global “city pop” movement that sheds new light on the sophisticated urban J-pop music of the 1970s. a sensation of temperature and wind, like night and rain. It has an organic feel to it,” says KASHIYUKA.

Organic is an important keyword to describe PLASMA. Although the group is known for their performances with electro sounds and the latest technology such as map projection and AR, their latest album gives an idea of ​​what is real instead of virtual, analog instead of digital, and the warmth from the people.

The three women share their impression of the new studio set. NOCCHi notes, “When I heard the finished album, I thought it captured today’s world and it was a proposal from Mr. Nakata, like, ‘Wouldn’t these songs be ideal for Perfume to sing in this day and age? ‘The mood she suggested was laid back and relaxed, with messages of hope and kindness. I had the feeling that she was standing with us.”

“I thought it’s an album that encourages you to relax and be your normal self,” says KASHIYUKA. “The kind of music that blends into your daily life and helps you remember the quiet moments of the day.”

a-chan adds, “I think it’s very typical of us to offer an album like this when the world has changed due to the novel coronavirus. It’s really fitting that it’s not an album that forces people to cheer up.”

PLASMA it was released globally in various formats, including CD, download, and streaming in late July. Regarding the possibility of a world tour supporting the album, NOCCHi says, “We as Perfume can’t go abroad yet, but if there are people waiting for us, we’d love to go see them. ”

“With the development of the Internet, information and communication technology, people are becoming ‘individuals’ regardless of whether they live in Japan or elsewhere,” adds KASHIYUKA. “No matter where we live, we each have our own problems and difficulties. And if there are people who support us in such circumstances, we are willing to go anywhere to see them.”

a-chan jokes, “We will be touring Japan from August 20 to November 6 on our stadium tour, Perfume 9th Tour 2022 ‘PLASMA’, so everyone is welcome to visit us here!” [Laughs]

–This interview of Atsuo Nagahori first appeared on Billboard Japan.