Despite the massive budgets and painstaking design that goes into major pop music anywhere, when it comes to extravagance, western pop has nothing on K-pop and J-pop. The sheer spectacle surrounding acts like Japanese techno-pop girl trio Perfume garners fan obsession like we’ve never seen on this side of the world (and that includes the Bieb’s legions). You haven’t seen a pop show until you see three real live girls doing a perfectly synchronized dance with three CG girls, punctuated by explosions of graphics and color.
Perfume is about to kick off their first ever world tour, their first big move out of Japan and into other Asian countries. For the past ten years, Perfume’s overseas fan base has grown entirely through the internet, but since the band switched from their Japanese management and signed to Universal Music Group earlier this year, eager netizens around the world have been hoping to see Perfume live in their own countries.
Founded in 2000, Perfume evolved from a typical J-pop girl group, with all the elements—perfect looks, choreographed dances, ultra catchy tunes—into a punchy, futuristic mega pop act that incorporates cutting-edge technology into every aspect of their music and image. Their distinctive sound, like a dreamy, vocalized version of Daft Punk, can be attributed to Japanese electronic music wizard Yasutaka Nakata (of Capsule), who has produced their music since 2003.
Perfume’s technology-driven aesthetic is front and center on their global website, on which the members’ identities are fractured into frantically dancing digital shapes and forms. Moreover, their live ad campaign for Kirin (see above) demonstrates the most compelling hologram performance since Miku, accompanied by 3D visual activated by sensor rings worn on the girls fingers.
With energetic music and captivating performances in store, there is just one obstacle preventing Perfume from fully embracing their international audience. Unlike their Korean counterparts such as Girls Generation, which recruits multi-language talents with the intention to expand their market globally, Perfume has long been focused on a niche Japanese audience. When asked about this potential problem during an exclusive interview with The Japan Times, Kimitaka Kato, the managing director at Universal Japan’s international division stated, “I’m trying to find a way to make it easier for them to express their feelings and emotions in different territories, using Japanese but maybe using technology that can translate their language immediately.” We’re eagerly awaiting the first signs of this technology in action.
Will Perfume make it big outside of their stomping ground? We’ll see after their already sold-out shows in Taiwan and Hong Kong followed by Korea and Singapore in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, you can find Perfume’s first compilation released outside of Japan, Love The World, is available on iTunes.