LIFESTYLE - Article
11:00 - 2nd July 2016, by Tom Smith

Mannequins with Attitude

Last issue we caught up with Japan’s guitar-wielding wolf-creations, MAN WITH A MISSION. This time round we’re faced with another NEO first; interviewing sentient mannequins from the year 20XX! Welcome to the wonderfully surreal world of FEMM, where music, fashion and fantasy collide in a brilliantly unique way.

As you should know, mannequins are not the chattiest of objects and FEMM’s MS-000000 and SW-000000 (also known as RiRi and LuLa) are no different. Thank goodness, then, that Honey-B and W-Trouble decided to sit in on this interview. The pair are RiRi and LuLa’s respective agents from FEMM’s Agency Syndicate, an organisation that supports the rights of dolls and mannequins across the world, and these ladies represent and speak on the pair’s behalf.

“Mannequins have been mistreated for many years,” states Honey-B as we contemplate the ill-fated life of crash test dummies. “FEMM have decided to stand up and defend them. They express their message through music and dance, and us agents do what we can to support them.”

“Actually, the readers of this interview can apply to be an agent through the syndicate’s homepage; FEMM.jp. There are awards waiting for our top agents,” states W-Trouble, as she continues her quest to expand the agency.

FEMMINISM

Despite being a relatively underground organisation (their base is in a hidden location off the coast of Tokyo Bay – at least, that’s what we’ve heard), the cause has already reached a great number of people. Some of the last decade’s most successful music producers, engineers and songwriters (including those that have worked with Skrillex, Beyoncé and Britney Spears) have become agents and helped in FEMM’s music creation. One such track went viral last year, entitled Fxxk Boyz Get Money.

“It’s a powerful girls’ anthem for sure,” says W-Trouble, on the track that’s left celebrity bloggers and YouTubers raving. “We, as well as FEMM themselves, were very surprised by this song’s reception. The lyrics are quite ‘out there’ but we are glad that girls from all around the world could understand and enjoy it.”

Feisty lyrics and a not-safe-for-work chorus is not the only “out there” aspect of FBGM. The quirky video, which the agents tell us has been viewed most by ladies in their late-teens / early 20s from America and Europe, features a magic chain, latex maid outfits and twerking like you’ve never seen before.

A million hits later and the mannequins have brought the twerk move back, with a twist – literally! New music video PoW! sees RiRi and LuLa back in the tight-fitting outfits of FBGM, and this time twerking it in a funky new style that’s being dubbed “TWIST & TWERK”, combining the modern move with that of ‘60s floor-favourite ‘the twist’.

PoW! is the sequel to FBGM! So twerkin’ was essential!” says Honey-B. W-Trouble quickly adds that RiRi and LuLa have many more moves ready to unleash. “Let’s look forward to the variety of dance styles in their upcoming music videos!”

Every song that FEMM has so far released has an accompanying music video on YouTube – a whole album’s worth! PoW! marks their first release as a major artist in Japan and is the opening track from their major debut EP PoW! / L.C.S., which also includes a number of remixes from their indie releases.

“[Japanese DJ] Invaderous has been helping us with our remixes since FEMM’s debut. He’s done it again and they’re sounding super dope and perfect to play at clubs,” states W-Trouble. “He is the artist that FEMM trusts the most. We have already played them at shows a few times and the crowd loved it. They seemed to have enjoyed that chaotic arrangement of the songs.”

The CD is released in Japan with what FEMM’s agents are calling a “Silent Package”, including a blank CD-R so fans can burn the previously released digital FEMM tracks to disc and enjoy them on a physical format for the first time. For the UK, the release will be handled by JPU Records, and include their first full album instead of the CD-R.

MANNEQUINS GONE WILD

FEMM have occasionally been spotted in the wild. Tourists and locals have managed to capture photos of RiRi and LuLa walking (rather robotically) around the streets of Japan and America, the latter of which they were recently packed up and shipped off to for the J-Pop Summit event in California.

“FEMM love to watch how girls dress,” explains Honey-B, who also happens to be bilingual. “They are often visiting Harajuku and walking around doing window shopping. It’s all very exciting. In the United States, it seems like people are more open to FEMM. They always get warm welcoming there!

“There are a lot of things that FEMM don’t understand about humans, so they observe and study. They want to know more about the nature and trends of humankind.”

It wouldn’t be an interview involving mannequins without bringing up the ‘80s classic film of their namesake. Could it be possible that Kim Cattrall is one of the original members of FEMM?! Honey-B isn’t ruling it out…

“Mannequins have always had feelings, just like humans. I’m not too familiar about that [film], but I’m sure that there were mannequins like FEMM in the past. But this kind of movement is highly challenging and maybe it ended somewhere. We won’t let that happen this time. That’s what we are here for.”

Our time with the agents is drawing to a close. “Thank you for your support, UK agents! We are always reading your messages through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! If you are new to FEMM, please check out their YouTube videos. Someday we hope we can do a show in UK. We are looking forward to that day”.

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