FEMM European Tour 2022: FAULT Magazine Interview

FEMM: Lula and RiRi
FEMM – Cyberpunk Tokyo in Parallel World
Photographer?Daisuke Miura
Illustration?Max Prentis
Art direction?2nd Function

FEMM are mannequins on a mission. The Japanese living doll duo are a genre-bending force to be reckoned with, as their musically eclectic output over the past eight years attests. With ‘agents’ (fans) all over the world, Lula and RiRi’s self-declared purpose is to bring peace between humanity and dolls through the medium of synth-heavy, ultra-danceable beats that defy any temptation to stereotype.

FAULT sat down with Lula and RiRi ahead of their highly-anticipated Summer ’22 tour of the UK and EU to discuss inspirations, collaborations, evolutions, and more…

FAULT: For those who don’t already know, could you please introduce yourselves?

FEMM (Lula): My name is Lula, and this is RiRi. Together, we are FEMM: Far East Mention Mannequins. We are here to connect with the world, and to tell all humans that mannequins and dolls have emotions too. We have been mistreated by humans for too long and now it has to stop. So, we have chosen the platform “Music” to express ourselves. Also, singing in “English” is important to us, so that our words can travel around the world.

How would you describe your sound?

FEMM (RiRi): Girl Power music! ? From hyper pop to hiphop, EDM… etc

We make music in lots of different genres, but we’ve always got that girl power spirit.

Name some of your key inspirations, musical and/or otherwise?

L: I love to people watch. It can give me many ideas. Just interesting scenery, nature or visual media – it can all give me new inspiration. But I think what’s most effective is our own experience. When we make a move, there is always an impact. Whether it’s a good thing or not, I think it can always reflect on our music.

Why do you sometimes go by the moniker FEMM 2.0?

L: The term “FEMM 2.0” is mainly used in our music videos, but we are still “FEMM.” When we were updated from 1.0 to 2.0, we announced it at the time.

FEMM in Akihabara (Liam Wong)
Photo: Liam Wong

Your latest album, Tokyo Ex Machina, was released at the start of the year. It’s your third since your debut, Femm-isation, came out in 2014. How would you say your style has evolved in that time?

R: Since we got upgraded and become more like humans, our expression has grown. Our voices and lyrics are a lot more emotional and raw. We are getting more creative these days and starting to write our own lyrics. That really has been lots of fun! :)

You’ve been fairly prolific when it comes to releasing new music. In addition to those three albums, you’ve put out four EPs, two instrumental remixes, and a cover album over the past eight years. Is there a lot of pressure on recording artists to constantly release new music to keep fans engaged? Or does that continual output reflect more of an organic, musical progression?

L: I wouldn’t say that we don’t feel any pressure at all, but that’s not our main focus. We have tried many different sounds, and each time we were striving for something unique to express our originality. Above all, our agents give us their opinions and we are always so happy to be able to please them.

Which do you prefer: recording or performing live?

R: Both are very precious! As much as I love creating in the studio, meeting our agents in person is like a reward to us :)

Far East Mention Mannequins (Private Dancer)
From the ‘Private Dancer’ music video shoot
Photographer?Yoon ChongSoo

You have a UK and EU tour coming up. What can your agents expect from your shows?

L: We’re so excited!! I guess our agents are wondering what songs we’re gonna sing, but for sure it’s gonna be so much fun! For some agents it might be their first time to come to our show. So let’s sing and dance together and have a great time:)

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

R: Visiting overseas and meeting our agents all over the world is what we are mostly proud of. Can’t wait to see them this summer in UK & EU!

You worked with Liam Wong, a Forbes ’30 under 30′ listed video game developer, on the album cover for Tokyo Ex Machina. How did that collaboration come about?

L: Liam was awesome. Such a great talent! We shot ‘Tic Toc’ when the pandemic was just starting, not knowing it was gonna spread this much. It was memorable for its timing, when we shot this vid in empty Tokyo. Liam really got his original vision in it. We are still connected, and hope that we can collab again:)

Who else would you like to collaborate with (musically/artistically/generally creatively) going forward and why?

R: I think K-pop girls are so fierce:) LE SSERAFIM is my go-to these days:) Those girls are on fire! Would be a dream collab!

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

L: Probably still standing in boutique windows as display models in some town.

Who is overrated/underrated?

R: Hmmmm… not sure about overrated… But lots of our agents tell us that we are underrated and we are flattered. Makes us feel like we can keep on going.

FEMM: Lula and RiRi
From the ‘Sugar Rush’ music video shoot
Photographer?Yoon ChongSoo

What is your FAULT?

R: It’s my fault that mannequins are so much cooler now :) Hehe…!

L: Everything that’s in front of us is the result of our actions. And again, what we do from here can change situations. Since I took my risk and made a move, I could meet RiRi and our agents, making music. Above all, I wanna keep on evolving.


FEMM-Isation UK/EU tour 2022
plus support act MIKUROMIKA

14th July – Düsseldorf, The Tube
16th July – Paris, Badaboum
19th July – Manchester, Night & Day Cafe
20th July – Huddersfield, The Parish
21st July – London, Boston Music Room

22nd July – London, HYPER JAPAN