Live Shows, ‘PLASMA’ Album & More – Billboard

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Live Shows, ‘PLASMA’ Album & More – Billboard
Live Shows, ‘PLASMA’ Album & More – Billboard


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

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In June 2013, the group became the first Japanese artist to be invited to play at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France. The trio wowed the crowd with their highly synchronized choreography, transforming costumes and stage production by the vibrant media art collective Rhizomatiks using state-of-the-art technology. The perfume won a Silver Lion in the Cyber ​​category at the event and launched its second international tour, making stops in three cities in Germany, England and France.

The J-pop stars collaborated with alternative rock group OK Go in 2014 and embarked on their third world tour, including concerts in Los Angeles and New York, before headlining a show at SXSW in 2015. Their sixth studio album, SPACE EXPLORER, arrived in April 2016 and debuted at number 1 on the US iTunes Electronic Albums Chart and at number 16 on billboardTop Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. The group toured North America for five concerts in four cities that year.

Their seventh studio album, Future Popreleased in May 2018, debuting at number 4 on billboardWorld Albums Chart of. The following year, the three women again successfully toured North America and became the first J-pop acts to perform at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Their performance received high acclaim, including being named one of the 16 best acts of Coachella 2019 by A rolling stone magazine.

Then, 16 years after their debut, 21 years after their formation, and just as the band was expected to take another leap forward in their career, the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Perfume were in the midst of their domestic tour in Japan and were forced to cancel it, but member KASHIYUKA shared that the period allowed them to “take some time to think about what we want to do and put our full attention on what we consider most important.”

NOCCHi adds: “We’ve always offered content that can be enjoyed online, even before virtual broadcasts became the norm. Live performances in collaboration with technology, things that are more interesting to watch on a screen than just 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 concerts 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 concerts.”

In March 2021, the concert film version of Perfume Reframe 2019, which reconstructs the trio’s 20-year history, titled Redefine THE THEATER EXPERIENCE with you, was released exclusively on Netflix. In August, the band held their first solo headlining live performance in a year and a half in Japan, titled Perfume LIVE 2021 [polygon wave]. Perfume performed a new song called “Mawarukagami” (“Revolving Mirror”) for the first time at the concert, a song that reflects how women feel when performing live. The track is included in their eighth album PLASMA which came out on July 27, their first original album in four years Future Pop.

“At that show, we felt like something dormant inside us was being awakened by the sound of every clap,” a-chan recalls. “The sound of applause echoing around the hall was filled with soul, and that soul built us up again. It was like, “Oh, we’re regenerated.” Our purpose in life is to perform live, and once again we realized that the space we create together with everyone is at the heart of what we do.”

NOCCHi adds, “I was surprised that our producer Yasutaka Nakata understood how we felt about the live performance. Especially the last part of the song that goes “We’ll stand on the stage”. It felt like he was encouraging us to sing that song when we got back on stage, and it was exciting to see it come to life.”

“We want to play on stage, but it’s not something we can achieve on our own. 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 ‘things will be okay’ really hit home,” says KASHIYUKA. “It felt like we were encouraged by these voices and understood the lyrics with painful clarity. There were things that I had felt performing live, personal feelings that were mine, but (Nakata) was able to put them into a song to share with the audience. That’s 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 band’s style, as can be seen from such a track as the boogie-funk lead single “Spinning World.”

Furthermore, “Drive’n The Rain” could be said to be Nakata’s response to the recent global “city pop” movement, which sheds new light on the complex urban J-pop music of the 1970s. “I think the song gives off a sense of temperature and wind, like the night and the rain. It has an organic feel,” says KASHIYUKA.

Organic is an important keyword in the description PLASMA. Although the band is known for their performances incorporating electro sounds and the latest technologies such as projection mapping and AR, their latest album gives a sense of what is real rather than virtual, analogue rather than digital, and the warmth of people.

The three women share their impressions of the new decoration of the studio. NOCCHi notes, “When I listened to the finished album, I thought it captured the world today and that it was a suggestion from Mr. Nakata, like, ‘Wouldn’t these songs be perfect for Perfume to sing nowadays? ‘ The mood it offered was casual and relaxed, with messages of hope and kindness. I felt like he was standing with us.”

“I thought it was an album that encouraged you to relax and be your normal self,” says KASHIYUKA. “Music that blends into your everyday life and helps you remember the mellow time of the day.”

a-chan adds, “I think it’s very typical for us to put out an album like this when the world has changed due to the new coronavirus. It’s really fitting that it’s not an album that forces people to lift their spirits.”

PLASMA was released worldwide in various formats including CD, downloads and streaming in late July. Regarding the possibility of a world tour in support of the album, NOCCHi says, “We as Perfume cannot go overseas yet, but if there are people waiting for us, then we would be happy to go see them. “

“With the development of the Internet, information and communication technology, people are becoming ‘individuals,’ whether they live in Japan or elsewhere,” adds Kashiyuka. “No matter where we live, everyone has their problems and difficulties. And if there are people who support us in such circumstances, we are ready to go anywhere to see them.

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

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


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