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Perfume Infuses the City National Civic

In Music
AROMATHERAPY: Perfume come to San Jose on the only Bay Area stop of their world tour.

AROMATHERAPY: Perfume come to San Jose on the only Bay Area stop of their world tour.

The future arrives in San Jose this week. Perfume, one of the biggest J-Pop bands in at least a generation, comes to the City National Civic in support of last year’s Future Pop. Massive, relentless and ever-expanding into new territories, Future Pop is the culmination of nearly 20 years of pushing pop music forward from the boundary-defying Hiroshima group.

One of only six scheduled shows in America, this is the only Bay Area show for the group, which might surprise some. But the fact is, San Jose has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to Perfume’s music. From all the way across the Pacific, they’ve already had a profound influence on the sound of the city’s young musicians, three of whom spoke with us about how the group helped shape their understandings of pop music, their own songwriting, and the transcendent power of a killer groove.

YVETTE YOUNG
Covet | Yvette Young (Solo)

It was about four or five years ago, I think I was just looking at YouTube, listening to different things, and I came upon the song “Polyrhythm,” from the album Game. It kind of blew me away. Listening to it, there was so much going on. And then it got to a part of the song where there was actual polyrhythm and I was like, “This is amazing!” So I started checking out more and more of their music.

A lot of J-Pop can be kind of cookie cutter, but this was something else. There’s a lot of danciness in their music, but in a way that’s interesting. I play, I guess what you could call math rock, but I really try to keep it dancey as well, to keep it fun and engaging. I guess I really have been influenced by them.

BOB VIELMA
Boboso | Tadaima

I kind of caught the beginning of their uptick—coincidentally, probably around 2008, when I moved to Japan to teach. I would always hear their music playing in the background of different places I’d go. I was just like, “Whatever this weird techno is, I really like it.” Then they had this single come out a few months later called “Dream Fighter.”

“Dream Fighter” was just the best pop song. It was the one where I was able to convince all my friends that this wasn’t just some disposable J-Pop.

I think they’re one of the ones that helped me focus and really understand what my interests are in music, which are melody and groove. They had a really good streak, like three albums in a row, where just every song had a killer melody, and they have a few songs that have long instrumental sections with really heavy grooves.

DAN VO
Superworld | Leer

I was just on the computer one day, you know, on AIM, and someone sent me a link. It was almost pre-YouTube, I think. I just remember seeing videos and thinking, “This is the coolest thing.” The music was really cool, the choreography was really cool, and it was like right as I was getting into everything I was getting into. Right around when I started watching anime, started learning about music and playing instruments.

I went to see them the first time they played in America, at the Hollywood Palladium, and I just remember my friend met up with a whole group of Perfume fans, friends from the forum “Perfume City.” I know for a lot of them it was super emotional, like the first time they met after being internet friends for all these years. There was a lot of that going on at that show.

It feels like it does have some bearing on the way I play music, or play guitar. Or maybe on what I like about music, is a better way to put it. There’s something about how intricate some of those parts sound. It’s not complicated, and it’s really poppy, but there’s a lot of layers. It’s a really ingenious thing

Perfume
Apr 17, 8pm, $45+
City National Civic, San Jose

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