Sending people into space is one of the greatest feats humans have accomplished. Although the space industry is in its infancy, exploring the cosmos is humanity’s inevitable future. If the measure of a civilization’s advancement is its ability to become cosmic explorers, then perhaps it’s fitting that Perfume’s 5th studio album is titled “Cosmic Explorer”.
“Cosmic Explorer” is the product of 2 ½ years of work. The album was released on April 6, 2016. Perfume’s previous album “Level3” was released on October 2, 2013. During this period, the group has had plenty of time to grow, mature and explore new sounds for its music.
“Sound wise, I think Cosmic Explorer is more of a dance album compared to our last one. Since it has been awhile between full lengths, we put out a lot of singles. Nakata had to figure out a balance between all the singles we had released and the new songs, but he did do album mixes of those numbers. That gives Cosmic Explorer a good balance,” Nocchi said.
“Cosmic Explorer” leans more to the EDM side of music than any of Perfume’s previous albums. Many of the tracks produced for the album rely on instrumentals and sounds to create the chorus. The new direction Perfume has taken is most apparent in the song “Story”.
“[Story] really captures the current state of Perfume. It’s the first song we did at SXSW last year, and it’s a great combination of high-tech performance and sound. There are not many lyrics in it, but the words that are there deliver a lot of messages to our fans,” Kashiyuka said.
All three members of Perfume could agree that “Cosmic Explorer” has really helped define what the group has become. “I think it represents Perfume in the future. It’s the next step forward,” a-chan said.
The group’s musical evolution is not the only noteworthy thing about the album. From August 26 to September 4, Perfume will be touring in the United States. While the trio has done this in the past, the group’s upcoming tour marks the first time it will be holding an album tour. The concerts will focus on music from “Cosmic Explorer” rather than using a general set list that features music that was popular with international fans throughout the years.
“Ultimately, we want to do what we are doing in Japan and bring it overseas. We want to show the world that there are artists like this doing amazing stuff in Japan. But right now we have to do scaled-down versions of the show, because here in Japan they happen in much larger venues. First, I think we need to gain more popularity abroad, just gradually try to build up to that,” a-chan said.
Although the group is nervous about this change, they remain optimistic about the direction they’re going, and are happy to be performing all of their new songs in Japan and the United States at the same time. Any challenges they may face can be overcome by simply having fun with what they’re doing.
“We’ve learned that when we want to communicate with the audience, we can overcome the language barrier. Especially when we’re outside of Japan, when we have fun on stage, that gets communicated to the fans. So I think it’s important that we make sure to have fun on stage,” Kashiyuka said.
“It’s our natural self to make people laugh. Being too cool has never been our style from the start and we’ve always wanted to have some fun elements in the show. We’re actually taking English lessons right now, but we might keep speaking in Japanese and be funny,” a-chan said.
If you'd like to join in on the fun, check out Perfume as it brings its "Cosmic Explorer" tour to the United States. Check out the tour dates below: