--Just as you'd expect from the title, "Spring of Life" perfectly represents the season of spring.
A-chan: Perfect! When I hear it I can't help but move and sing along.
Kashiyuka: It's totally refreshing.
Nocchi: I think it's a very passionate song.
--It's your first single of 2012. Did you ever speak with Nakata Yasutaka about what kind of feeling you wanted from the song?
N: No, not at all.
K: Not even a little bit.
A: We have confidence that everything he writes for us is good. When it's time to record, we're always excited to see what kind of song he has for us. Once again, he was a genius with the hook and other song elements.
--The line "Hajikeru you na / Koi wo shiyou yo" ["Let's burst into love"] has a very bright message.
N: Reading the lyrics, Nakata included a lot of thoughts about life. There are the words "Jibun shidai" ["It's up to me"], and whether you see that as dark or light depends on your viewpoint.
A: I totally get the part that says "Schedule ha umatteitemo / Omoide ha kuuhaku no mama" ["Even though my schedule is filled up, my memories are blank"].
K: Up until now I haven't felt that it's natural to just enjoy myself, so I think love is the most easily understandable change you can ask for.
A: I'm happy to have my schedule full every day, but I haven't always enjoyed it so the image stuck with me. I was surprised when I read it. I thought, "Even Nakata thinks stuff like this?!"
--Have there been any changes in your conversations with Nakata?
A: Lately it feels like he's been giving us peeks into himself, little by little. He's always had a picture of a beautiful bamboo thicket as the wallpaper on the three computers that he works on, but it's recently changed to a raging river. When I mentioned the change, he said, "When I look at this scenery I feel refreshed, like I can do a lot."
N: I wonder if there was a meaning to it?
A: Yeah! I don't think he's into charms and prayers, but that's kind of how I thought about it. Nakata is the kind of guy you imagine running on batteries, so it made me happy to get a peek of that side of him.
K: Before that, when I asked him about the bamboo, he said, "When I searched for a wallpaper, this was the first result for 'best of bamboo.'" (laugh)
A: He did say that!
N: Like the bamboo to end all bamboo.
K: I thought, "He's obsessed!" I've also been feeling lately like I want to express my thoughts about my songs. Like, "Oh, I thought this song was good." So I said, "Now that we're done with 'JPN,' let's do a song with a rhythm like we've never done before."
N: I'm also happy because we were able to do a big live, and he was thinking about what we'd want to try as a group.
--What can you tell me about the music video?
N: Just like the [Kirin Chu-Hi] Hyouketsu commercial, we asked for director Tanaka Yuusuke.* He got rid of all the imagery from the commercial, and focused completely on what kind of music video the song needed.
A: We had fun, but wasn't he a little intense?
N: He was! We were on the laboratory set, dressed in these outfits with plugs in our backs and shooting the video. It took 27 hours to finish the shoot. I know that Perfume has a sort of "android" type image, but we've never done something like that before.
K: The way we sing is emotionless, but we balance it with the way our dance conveys the meaning of the lyrics, and you get an impression of us being "human but not." The director thought about the story, but acting like an android like that was new for us.
--What were your thoughts on being dressed as androids?
N: It was really fun. I really liked us moving together like puppets.
A: It was really fun coming to life as androids after the interlude, wasn't it? It's the only time your moves can be too jerky and they tell you they've got it after two takes. (laugh) We talked among ourselves to figure out how we could seem more robotic, and after a little research we figured it out. I think Nocchi really was great a staring blankly and dropping to the ground. (laugh)
K: The story was designed to be very poignant, so you really have to see it to the end.
N: I want people to see it!
--What did Mikiko, the choreographer, have to say about your dance this time?
A: "This is a pretty vigorous dance for androids." (laugh)
N: The style of the PV is a little different from the commercial.
K: The style suits the lyrics.
A: The "groove" is really fun. I always want to dance to it.
--The B-side, "Communication," is also being used in the commercial for Kanro Pure Gummy [fruit candy]. It's a very cute song.
N: It's a new rhythm to be sure, and it's enjoyable. It has catchy words that make you want to dance.
K: The hook gets stuck in your head; I'm always humming it.
A: And we let her! (laugh)
K: That's pretty dangerous. I might just sneak up and sing it right in your ears! (laugh)
--I also noticed that it has unique lyrics.
N: It's because it's a single. We're doing lyrics with no content again for the first time in a while. They're the kind of lyrics where, when you first look at them they seem meaningless but after awhile you start to sympathize with being in the position they describe.
A: I want to break apart the feeling that it's boring, so I think of ways to have fun with it. But just like the very end of "Fake it" where we sing "Nan sen nen demo materu / Wake ha nai" ["It's not like / I'm going to wait untold milenia"], I don't know that the lyrics are actually comprehensible! (laugh)
N: Neither [song's lyrics] are. (laugh)
A: I think that's Nakata's doing too. This one has a super cute style, too.
K: It really suit the title.
A: When we told Mikiko about it, she seemed really excited and said, "What, seriously? I'm so happy!" (laugh)
--Your album "JPN" is available for download in 50 countries, and you're looking at starting activity overseas, but you three seem very calm about it.
A: Yeah. I don't think anything is changing.
K: I'm not changing anything for the company. They wanted us as we are, so that's what they get.
A: Right now our one aim is to share the Japanese music scene with the world and to make people like Japan even more, so one of the ideas was to give our 2011 album the title "JPN' and make it downloadable throughout the world. But having said that, we're not stopping our activity in Japan. We love Japan and being able to perform is a dream come true, so the talk of going international is just us moving into the future. We're here because of the group of people that have cheered us on, and we want to take over the world with all of them. We're at a critical point right now, and everyone's excited and has faith in our dreams. We'll do our best!
--I'm very relieved to hear that. I also hear that you're studying English...
N: [Before the interviewer can finish his sentence] What are you talking about?
K: (laugh) Seeing the English conversation commercials on TV, it's a little shocking.
A: It got harder and harder, but it was like, "We can't speak English but we have to do something!" (laugh) It was the same when we performed at Tokyo Dome. We would say, "Let's just do it!" and then we'd do what we thought of and be like, "Oh crap." (laugh) But it'll really come in handy, and while we're grateful to the people who approved the move, we really want to do our best to live up to the fans' expectations.
--It sounds fun. Your global site, created by media artist Manabe Daito and his team, is also at a high level of completion. It's very cool! You're also working with Twitter and Facebook.
A: Manabe remembered that I said, "Perfume is created by everyone."
K: We got healthier the more people talked about us.
N: It was really great!
A: It's really moving to hear about that again. Like, "Yeah! Let's do it again!" (laugh) Manabe is also a huge Perfume fan, and it was really fun for him to work with us. We're really grateful to him for essentially becoming part of our staff.
--You're always working your very hardest, and it seems like everyone around you puts everything they have into helping you.
A: Before this, Shiina Ringo said, "I'm glad that Perfume is representing Japan." It's really left a lasting impression.
N: She said it last June when we went to LA for the "Cars 2" world premiere.
K: She said, "It's amazing how they're stepping out into the world. Perfume will be introducing people to Japanese pop. I want to support them. I'm so proud of them."
A: It gives us a lot of confidence to receive such strong words of support from people like Shiina Ringo, who's at the top of the Japanese entertainment world. We really love Nakata's music, and we want to accelerate the growth of people who like our music. We want to go forward with confidence!
*Tanaka Yuusuke also directed Sakanaction's "Bach no Senritsu wo Yoru ni Kiita Sei Desu" video.