Showcasing the future with music
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
The future is now, and technology has evolved just how Perfume predicted it would in the past two decades. Last year, the group celebrated their fifteenth anniversary by releasing their best of album, P3 Cubed, which includes the fifteenth anniversary song, “Saisei,” also know as “Regeneration.” The music video for this song reflects on the group so far and shows footage from many of the music videos from their hit singles.
You probably know Perfume for their electronic voices and use of technology in their performances, and you might have heard one of their famous hit singles, “Polyrhythm,” in Cars 2 during a scene where Lighting McQueen and Mater go to a party in Tokyo. So, how did a group from a music school in Hiroshima become one of the most internationally famed groups right now?
Perfume is a three-member group consisting of Yuka Kashino (Nicknamed Kashiyuka), Ayano Omoto (Nicknamed Nocchi)—and my favourite member in the group—Ayaka Nishiwaki (Nicknamed a-chan). I like a-chan because she is a very fun member and she sounds so cutesy. The group began in 2000 during the member’s first year and inaugural year of Actors School Hiroshima, and they produced indie singles while they were studying. When the members graduated from the school in 2003, they did street performances in the Tokyo neighbourhood of Akihabara—where many female idol groups would have their early start before going mainstream.
During that time, they would meet their producer Yasutaka Nakata—a member of the electronic group Capsule and producer of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, a female kawaii artist who is famous for the song, “Pon Pon Pon.” Perfume released their first hit single in 2005: “Linear Motor Girl.” This is when they began developing their sound. Nakata producing Perfume’s songs caused them to have a very electronic sound that is listenable. And, while the use of autotune in their early music might be distracting, it is used properly and is less noticeable in their recent music.
The group started gain traction with their hit 2007 single, “Chocolate Disco,” which is electronic music mixed with disco. When “Polyrhythm” was released after that, it was used for a PSA commercial about recycling on Japan’s public broadcasting network (NHK). After that, all of Japan would know the group. What makes the song interesting is that it was composed with a polyrhythmic structure: a combination of two very different rhythms in one song. As the group made more hit singles like, “Baby Cruising Love,” “Hey,” and, “Fake It,” they started to get a lot of international fans.
In 2012, Perfume moved to their current record label, Universal Music, which allowed them to be more accessible to international fans. This includes their music being available worldwide on iTunes, opening an English site and fan club, and doing world tours. With technology being more advanced, the group’s music videos and choreography (by Mikiko and occasionally Keyakizaka46’s choreographer Takahiro) become more advanced. Their use of technology allowed them to be involved in various tech demonstrations at conventions. One of the group’s notable international fans is OK Go. They made an appearance in Perfume’s music video “Pick Me Up” as mannequins in a store. Perfume paid back the favor by appearing as crew members in the music video of OK Go’s song, “I Won’t Let You Down.”
Because Mikiko, Perfume’s choreographer, will be involved in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, there is a possible chance that the group will perform in the ceremonies related to it. Perfume’s vision of the future has gotten everyone excited about technology and like in the music video of “Future Pop,” the group is at it again—predicting and changing the future once more.
Favourite Perfume Songs
“Baby Cruising Love”
“Magic of Love”
“Let Me Know”