FEMM, FAKY and Yup’in talk to us about the meaning of their new track, with the video premiering on Dazed
If the word ‘supergroup’ brings to mind a bunch of grizzled old rock stars stars noodling around with guitars on interminable solos, then FAMM’IN are the J-Pop breeze to blow them towards music’s retirement village. Made up of power-pop four-piece FAKY, the latex wearing cult electro duo FEMM, and rising indie singer/songwriter Yup’in, the seven girls, who are all signed under Japan’s giant Avex Group, came together last year for the six-and-a-half minute opus “Circle” from their self-titled EP. As a hypnotic, swirling mix of EDM and vocals that chanted, ebbed, and soared while traditional Japanese classical music known as ‘gagaku’ swept through it in waves, “Circle” was as much an experiment as it was a divine blast of unconventional pop, much along the lines of FKA twigs at her most exploratory.
FAMM’IN make an anticipated return for 2017 with “Animus” (inspired by the ideas of psychologist Carl Jung and which the supergroup surmise as “the subconscious masculinity in women”), with Yup’in and FAKY’s Lil’ Fang contributing to the creation of both “Circle” and “Animus”, helmed by Radical Hardcore Clique (a production group closely associated with FEMM).
“We come up with the concept, visually and lyrically,” says Lil’ Fang, “then we relay those ideas over to RHC. For ‘Animus’, we received an offer to use the large scale LED set for a show (which can be seen in the video) and we worked with our friends (visual designers) BRDG for the images. From those we came up with a very hard-hitting visual motif for the song, so I guess sonically, it naturally went that way as well.”
“As we were discussing how to produce the show with our creative staff, we came up with the theme ‘animus’,” adds Yup’in. “To be completely honest, we weren’t necessarily on a feminist agenda. We were just trying to pursue something that represented us and came naturally. We are strong, we want to be strong, and there’s a bit of animus in all of us, whether we know it or not. We thought about what our animus meant and that lead us to men’s fashion immediately. We thought by wearing men’s street fashion and dancing in a more aggressive, masculine way, we could express animus physically.”
The track traverses more familiar territory, but again combines old and new as the gongs and zithers of gagaku nestle next to air horns and trap beats, and tight bursts of rap are corralled by ethereal layers of melodic singing. “When we thought about doing this project together, we wanted to do something different from the rest of the pop groups in Japan,” says Lil’ Fang, “and when we started really thinking about what that meant, we realized that today's youth is so unfamiliar with traditional Japanese music, including ourselves. And that's when we decided to create something that pulls influences from traditional Japanese culture but with a modern twist.”
With three highly regarded and popular acts making up FAMM’IN, you almost want to hear of diva strops and creative differences, yet despite the variations with which they approach music, there seems a respectful harmony in their supergroup output. It can be seen, for example, in the choreography of “Animus”; FEMM, known for their robotic moves in keeping with their mannequin concept, don’t deviate from their trademark, while the remaining girls throw down street dance moves as the camera darts between them. “FAMM’IN has a very clear objective, which is pursuing originality through music and visuals,” says Lil’ Fang. “So this allows us to work really well together. Obviously finding originality alone is difficult and there’s a lot of back and forth on what that truly means but it's been a fun and exciting challenge so far!”
“I've been a solo artist so being a part of the group has been really refreshing and inspiring,” Yup’in adds. “I think it's important to respect each other, trust each other, and, especially, not compromise anyone's individuality. By having individuality, I think we’ll continue to influence each other to push for something better.”
Watch the video for “Animus” above.