The Queen is Coming: An Interview with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu1 June 2016
Kyary Pamyu Paymu is an experience, that’s all I can say.
Hailed as the Lady Gaga of Japan, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is the reigning queen of J-pop who has taken the world by storm with her energetic pop songs and incomparable creativity. Her music videos can only be described as loveably ridiculous; she frequently rocks colorful Harajuku costumes and elaborate wigs and usually feature stuffed animals, extravagant props including royal thrones, pink machine guns and giant ramen bowls, as well as graphics that borderline psychedelic and terrifying.
It’s absolutely incredible.
For many, her flamboyant style and limitless creativity is a breath of fresh air in a world where pop musicians often take themselves too seriously. She’s just a girl who sings catchy pop songs and doesn’t care about trends or what others think, she just does whatever the hell she wants, inspiring her fans to be true to themselves.
In an interview with Farrago, Kyary tells me that creating a world or theme which entices her fans provides a source of inspiration for her outfits.
“I usually come up with my wardrobe ideas based on the theme and tunes that songs and music videos carry,” she says. “The video of the new single ‘Sai & Co’, we decided to go with this Chinese theme, I came up with Chinese influenced outfit and made a tiara using this pink and white colored […] minced fish we put on Ramen in Japan. The highlight of the video is where I dance on a Ramen bowl!”
Throughout her career, Kyary has constantly reinvented herself, with no two music videos being the same. This is evident in ‘Fashion Monster’, Kyary’s favourite music video to make, which takes a darker tone to her other videos.
“Many of my songs before ‘Fashion Monster’ were quite girly, I would say. You know, cotton-fluffy cutie sort of way. I think I changed my image with ‘Fashion Monster’, the change I love. Very rock, and very cool music video.”
For Kyary, collaborating is an important part of the creative process, from her outfits to her music videos to her songs themselves, as she works closely with Japanese producer Yasutaka Nakata writing her songs.
“He writes music based on the things we chat about earlier, or things I am interested in, that’s how he gets inspiration for the songs he writes for me, which I am so grateful because the songs always reflect my point of view, and it comes so easily to me to express myself in those songs.”
The kawaii 23-year-old has an impressive career, gaining international recognition through her unique music videos, each of which reach over 20 million views on Youtube. She’s toured the world twice, produced four albums, worked as a model, written an autobiography and even starred in her own documentary film. Over her five year career she’s grown up in spotlight; her song ‘Furisodation’ is a celebration of her 20th birthday, the legal drinking age in Japan, with a music video featuring her getting drunk with a giant stuffed monster (my personal favourite).
Kyary’s extravagant onstage persona not only provides an avenue for creative self-expression but equally enables her to step back every once in a while and live a normal life.
“I express myself as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu through my music, my performance on stage, and my music videos. And all the creation represents what I think is cool now” she says. “On the other hand, my private life just gives me space, relaxed time with nothing to wrap my head around. Hanging out with friends, spending time with family, those times are very important to me. It’s necessary for me to balance and separate the life, to appreciate both and to be true in both lives.”
Whilst she’s had an extensive career, Kyary says she’s happiest when she gets to meet her international fans and is particularly excited to return to Australia in June to play in Sydney and Melbourne.
“Due to my schedule, I couldn’t tour internationally even I wanted to, but I am so happy that I could share my fifth anniversary with the fans in Australia as part of this world tour!” she says. “It’s been two years since the last time and I am really looking forward to seeing everyone in Australia again!”
And in an adorable gesture, Kyary had one final message for her adoring Australian fans.
“I am concluding this world tour at Budokan, Japan’s legendary hall, where I wish to see everyone, not just Japanese people but people from all over the world. If you happen to be in Japan around then, please come see me there as well!”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is performing ‘KPP 5ive Years Monster World Tour 2016’ at Festival Hall on 25 June. Tickets available at Ticketmaster.