FEMM - Far Eastern Mention Mannequins are a conptempary mix of everything that makes Japan quirky; high fashion, catchy pop beats, robot-like girls and Otaku culture, yet somehow they managed to turn it into something extremely cool and original.
The duo, named RiRi and LuLa are two mannequins, brought to life to deliver a mix of fresh EDM, rap, synthpop and Eurodance. Their music style is so fluid that they have attracted a lot of interest from American artists and their music has been compared to American hip-hop. Both American music and K-pop is increasingly influencing the music scene and fashion of Japan. so it is exciting to see Japan deliver something modern, fresh and delivering edgy lyrics. RiRi is actually bilingual, which means no embarrassing Japanglish mistakes within their songs, and they can easily be exported overseas with English versions of their singles. I expect them to take off in the next year, with one song from their major Debut EP "Fxxk Boyz Get Money" recently hitting one million views on Youtube.
The music video features them twerking in latexmaid-costumes with artistic editing and hard-hitting lyrics such as "I’m in love with the price tag
Gimme yo' number, Imma give that shxt right back". Their themes include freedom of speech and feminism - a million miles from the sweet, virginal lyrics being churned out by idol groups such as AKB48 and E-Girls. I love that they are challenging the stereotype that Japanese girls are supposed to be quiet, shy and submissive. They say their goal is to "free mannequins from human opression" which is as deep as it is nuts. Their latex trademark outfits are mostly made by Shoichiro Matsuoka of GM Atelier, giving them their distinct artificial aesthetic.
The first time I saw them was at LaForet in Harajuku during Vogue Fashion Night Out. I figured they had to be a big deal to be performing at LaForet and knew the act would include elements of high fashion. I was confused at first when staff members wheeled out two PVC-clad mannequins and physically lifted them onto the stage.
Living in Japan for two years I am used to seeing the odd humanoid robot or two so I wasn't extremely suprised to see the mannequins move in an extremely robotic and synchronized fashion.
Their skin, eyes and hair were flawless and they were extremely realistic and well-made.
"Technology is amazing, isnt it?" I exclaimed to my friend, trying to sneak a peek through the bustling crowd that started to gather. "Technology? They are real girls katie" she laughed back.
The music started playing and they started performing, their music had a very catchy EDM feel, their voices sounded synthetic with elements of auto-tune, but that matched perfectly with their mannequin image. Their dancing was both robotic and fluid, perfectly synchronized and reminded me of Para Para, which I then discovered their influences include Eurobeat, a movement that gained massive popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s with GyaruSa and Para Para dancers. After their first set they completely froze and were transported by staff members like actual mannequins around the department store. One of the staff members was a shrimpy Japanese guy, about the same height as me and he actually dropped one of the girls down the stairs in LaForet when attempting to set her on the stage. She stayed completely still, she didn't even blink, as the same man carefully lifted on stage. I pitied him as I suspect he would get a whipping later.
Their EP is released on the 3rd of February and includes "Fxxk Boys, Get Money" and their new single "PoW!" amongst a host of other new and remixed tracks. Please check our their videos on Youtube! They are artistic, fashionable and include a lot of adult themed and ideas.
They just signed with JP records in London, so expect them to come to a venue near you soon!