Since their major debut back in 2005, Hiroshima born, all girl trio, Perfume have been making waves in the Japanese music scene with their addictive electro pop sounds and futuristic style. Today they are widely considered to be one of best selling pop groups in Japan, and one of the most highly anticipated upcoming music acts worldwide. After raking in numerous platinum records over the last 5 years, and performing to audiences across Asia for the first time in late 2012, the girls are now preparing to take over Europe for the second part of their world tour, kicking things off at the Gloria in Cologne on July 3rd. We caught up with A-chan, Nocchi, and Kashiyuka to talk about their rise to fame, their first ever European appearance, and what’s in store for the future of Perfume.
How did you all meet and when did you decide you wanted to start a pop group?
We all attended the same actors school (dance, acting and singing school) back in Hiroshima. That’s where we met and formed Perfume.
Around the time when you first debuted back in 2001, many other pop acts such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Morning Musume, and Utada Hikaru were making their way into the music scene. Who were your biggest inspirations when you first started out?
We loved SPEED and were inspired by them.
Now you’re one of the most beloved pop groups worldwide, managing to sell out shows inside and outside your own country. Did you think you would end up where you are today at the start of your careers?
No, not at all. We had times when we used to put out shows on the street with hardly any audience. We never thought that we would someday be touring around the world!
Yasutaka Nakata is one of the most talked about Japanese producers of recent years for his work with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, capsule, and of course yourselves. How has it been working with Nakata for over a decade?
We are big fans of Nakata-san’s music, ourselves. So we have been working with him, wanting to deliver that music to more people.
In 2012 you released two hit singles ‘Spring of Life’ and ‘Spending All My Time’, and this year, two more fantastic singles ‘Mirai no Museum’ and ‘Magic of Love’. Will there be another album release some time this year? If so, what can we expect from this new release?
We have a new album coming out in the fall called “”LEVEL3”! Please look out for it!
On May 29th you started your 4-date country wide tour titled ‘Zutto Sukidattanjake ~ Sasurai no Men Kata Perfume FES!!’, where you will be playing alongside a different artist each night including Kazuyoshi Saito, Tamio Okuda and surprisingly, the UK’s favourite Japanese metal group, MAXIMUM THE HORMONE. What’s the concept behind the tour and the unusual line-up?
The concept is a tour with totally different kinds of artists. We’ve always loved Kazuyoshi Saito (one way love). Tamio Okuda performed our ‘Laser Beam’ at his show in Itsukushima Shrine. He’s a Hiroshima local who we admire. If we were to go on a tour with someone else, we’ve always had our minds set on Maximum The Hormone. We personally asked every one of them to tour with us.
As well as pop stars, you’ve also become fashion icons. Who/what have been your biggest style inspirations during your musical careers?
All of us love different kinds of fashion and styles so it’s hard to name our inspirations.
Last year you toured Asia for the first time, beginning your ongoing world tour. How was it performing outside your own country for the first time?
Before we went on the Asian tour, we couldn’t believe that people outside of Japan actually know us so we were very nervous. But once we landed in those countries, fans were waiting for us and greeted us at the airport. They tried so hard to understand our MCs even though they don’t speak Japanese. That love and warmth really touched us.
The reception to your European tour has been astronomical, with your London show selling out in only a matter of hours, forcing you to upgrade to the prestigious O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. How does it feel to be met with such a warm welcome for your first time in Europe?
We can’t believe that tickets sold out for our first ever European shows! There are so many people waiting for us with such warm welcomes! With this in mind, we will get our confidence up and try to put out the best show that we can!
Your live shows are famous for their eccentric nature, over the top displays and fantastic performances, most notably your 10 year anniversary show at the Tokyo Dome in 2010 where you played to over 50,000 fans. What kind of show can we expect to see during your European tour? Will we be seeing anything as big as your previous gigs?
We don’t want to spoil the fun by giving away too much information but yes, European venues are much smaller than Tokyo Dome. There are ways to put out shows that match the size of the venue so we’re planning fun things that would be a good fit with European venues.
Over the last decade you’ve seen a lot of other musicians, bands, and pop groups come and go. Have there been any groups or musicians that have caught your eye in your 10 years as a pop group?
There are so many artists we love and each member loves different types of music so it’s really difficult to just name a few…
And finally, any words for your European fans before you start the 2nd part of your world tour?
If there are people waiting for us out there, we’re committed to give our best! Please listen to our songs to prepare for the show and enjoy it in any way you want. You can stand up throughout the show or sit through the whole show. You can keep dancing without looking at us. Anything is good as long as we can share the fun and atmosphere with our fans. We look forward to meeting everyone!
(Taken from the Electric Bloom Webzine facebook page)
What do you hope to see while you’re over in Europe? Will you be doing any sight seeing during your stay?
We want to ride the London bus. We probably won’t have much time in London but if we did, we would love to go shopping!
Where do you hope to tour in the future? Is there anywhere in particular you want to play?
If there are fans waiting, we would go anywhere. On our global facebook, we get comments from around the world, asking us to come do shows in their hometown. This makes us so happy. We want to go back to Asia again, too.
What is your favourite song to perform live?
There are so many songs we like that we can’t choose!
How long does it take to learn each dance?
It takes about 3 hours for us to learn the dance moves MIKIKO creates. It takes another hour to fix the details like balance, etc.
What are your biggest pet peeves?
We all hate bugs…
What’s your favourite Japanese snack?
We pretty much love any kind of snacks, but Kashiyuka doesn’t like whipped cream.
Interview by Charles Shepherd