Looking for more Asian artists to stan? We’re here to introduce you to one group you should not be sleeping on: Perfume.
The three-member Japanese girl group comprised of KASHIYUKA (Yuka Kashino), a-chan (Ayaka Nishiwaki), and NOCCHi (Ayano Omoto) has been active since 2000. They're not just musical and creative powerhouse, though, they are also fashion icons that should be on your radar. Here are some reasons to look them up, stat!
The origin of their group name is quite interesting
Prior to having NOCCHi as their member, Perfume had now-solo artist Yuka Kawashima as part of their three-woman act. Kawashima, along with current members KASHIYUKA and a-chan, all had the character ka (香) in their real names, meaning fragrance. This led to the English reiteration of its meaning which became their group name, Perfume. Interestingly enough, fragrance can also be translated in Japanese to kaori (香織), which includes characters that mean 'fragrance' and 'weaving', as if to symbolise the bond of the group.
Following Kawashima’s departure to pursue her studies and eventual solo career was the entrance of a-chan and KASHIYUKA’s high school classmate NOCCHi. They retained their group name and the three officially started to get active as an act in 2000, officially debuting locally in 2001 and nationally in 2005.
They changed the typical ‘Japanese female idol group’ sound
When thinking of female J-pop idol groups, cutesy doll-like rhythms similar to the beat of another iconic J-pop girl group AKB48 first comes into mind. While Perfume also had their share of such tracks during their earlier years, the group has definitely experimented with their sound over the years, leading to their current electro-pop music style.
Working with musical producer Nakata Yasutaka, whose other artist collaborations include other J-music phenomenons Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and SMAP, since 2003, Perfume has been able to refine and continuously evolve their music style.
Their 2007 single Polyrhythm, which has been chosen by Japanese broadcasting network NHK for a campaign help skyrocketed them further into popularity with its mix of natural vocals and electronic effects courtesy of Yasutaka, which came before the resurgence of EDM sounds in the West in the late 2010s.
Their performances are sensorial experiences
Fun fact: In 2019, Perfume became the first Japanese girl group to perform at Coachella. The group considered it such as an honour, considering that over other Japanese female artists like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu or BABYMETAL who have massive U.S. fanbases, they were the ones invited to perform in the well-known music event. Even so, those who know Perfume wouldn’t be surprised, considering that each of their performance is more than just a concert — it's an experience.
Similar to their electro-pop sound, Perfume uses a lot of high-tech elements incorporated in their performances — from holograms to motion capture to augmented and virtual reality illusions and more to deliver the most mind-blowing performances. They’ve also collaborated with creative directors and producers who were supposed to work on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in some of their productions to really kick things up a notch when it comes to the level of detail that goes into each stage set. Think vocaloid magic mixed with real-life artists!
Their style is simply envy-worthy which yes, you can cop (sort of)!
Speaking of a sensorial experience, their music and stage sets are not the only ones worth paying attention to. Perfume’s fashion sense — both individually and as a unit — is also just as iconic.
NOCCHi is best known for her bob and is the only member who usually wears pants on-stage; a-chan usually has her hair softly styled or pulled back; and KASHIYUKA is known for her sleek-and-straight locks and her full fringe. All the ladies love to make use of shapes, colours, and textures that are always so on-point, which, thankfully, led to them finally releasing their own fashion line to the glee of their fans.
Unfortunately, their fashion releases are still limited at the moment; they include only pullovers and their signature dance heels. But we’re really crossing our fingers they release their own wearable couture numbers as inspired by their usual style next!
(Cover photo from: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Next, check out the decade-long evolution of K-pop girl group outfits here.