Girl power, EDM anthems like “Fxxk Boyz Get Money” and reaching the Top 10 US Billboard chart, FEMM have delighted the world with their addictive electronic beats and stellar performances. The catch is that FEMM are a duo made up of mannequins, RiRi and LuLa, and since mannequins can’t talk, their agents spoke on their behalf. But in 2020 they’re letting go of their flawless, robotic image for a more human-like upgrade that coincides with the release of their new album, “404 Not Found”. We sat down with the dynamic duo to talk about what the future holds for FEMM 2.0.
Please introduce yourselves.
RiRi: Hello, I’m RiRi. I’m the Combat Model with pink hair!
LuLa: I’m LuLa. I’m the one with blue hair and I’m the Housekeeper Model.
Can you sum up FEMM 2.0 in 3 words?
RiRi: Real, natural, raw.
LuLa: Emotion, smooth, evolution.
The announcement about your upgrade from FEMM 1.0 to FEMM 2.0 shocked fans. What prompted the change?
RiRi: We started the upgrade because we want all of humanity to know that mannequins have feelings too. We knew that we had to learn more about humans in order to really understand each other, so we have been studying, observing and imitating you all this time. We have pretty much developed our own version of what it means to be human while doing that.
We recently made additional updates, so we are functioning much more smoothly. We have always had emotions, but had difficulty expressing them. I think it will be a bit easier to do so from now on.
How has the FEMM Agency Syndicate reacted to FEMM 2.0?
RiRi: Our agency, the FEMM Agency Syndicate, has always supported us. Like a lot of other mannequins, we used to stand in the store windows of a clothing shop, but we were scouted by our agents and became a voice for mannequins. As representatives for mannequins, we sing and dance in order to share that voice with the rest of the world, and we have been doing that for a long time.
LuLa: The FEMM Agency Syndicate is always supporting us. They will be less visible, but they will always be behind us, supporting us.
What is your favourite memory of the FEMM 1.0 era?
RiRi: Performing in a lot of countries is the best memory I have. When we were in Naples, Italy, I had a lot of fun sightseeing with LuLa and our two agents on our day off. We got on a local train but there weren’t any signs at the stops so we panicked, not knowing where to get off, and we ended up at an unmanned station. It was okay in the end though, all we had to do was go back one stop. I get very excited when I go overseas because anything can happen.
FEMM has covered songs like “UFO” by Japanese duo Pink Lady. Which artists, past or present, inspire your performances and image?
RiRi: I have loved Wink for a long time and we were lucky enough to cover “Samishii Nettaigyo”! I had a lot of fun remaking the original music video. We have also collaborated with LA-based artist, Liz, on a track called “Do It Again” and Japanese rapper, Elle Teresa, on “Dolls Kill”. And I have been into Ashnikko lately! Strong female artists are always inspiring.
LuLa: Yeah, I agree about Wink. Also, Rina Sawayama and Audrey Nuna (even though they are not a duo).
FEMM 1.0 was all about the latex costumes. What kind of style will we see for FEMM 2.0?
RiRi: LuLa has always loved fashion, so she will be in charge of styling for FEMM 2.0! We fall into two separate categories in terms of colour theme. I wear passionate reds and warm tones, while LuLa wears soothing blues and cool tones.
LuLa: We will look more like humans. It’s not like we won’t be wearing latex, we just want to mix it up.
Upgrading your entire image and mannequin capabilities must be daunting. How do you go about making a change like that?
RiRi: It really has been. We are constantly evolving. Our original goal was to make it possible for humans and mannequins to peacefully live together, and we still have some ways to go. But, I think we have been able to send a strong message by updating ourselves to behave more like humans.
Your new EP, “404 Not Found”, is a departure from your previous sound. Tell us a bit about the process?
RiRi: “404 Not Found” is full of darkness. It’s industrial and chaotic with elements of hyper-pop and a gothic vibe. When we thought about what we wanted to listen to in the Pandemic, cheerful songs didn’t come to mind. We wanted the dark beats of “404 Not Found”. The album cheers you up and makes you stronger inside because of the lyrics about female empowerment sung over an in-your-face beat.
LuLa: Just like the album title, “404 Not Found” is that sound you hear when your internet search has come up empty. We have been writing songs for the past few years in search of a FEMM sound that can’t be found anywhere else, and we’ve finally been able to create an opportunity for everyone to hear it. Unfortunately, there are a few songs that didn’t make the final cut, but hopefully you can hear them sometime later.
You also collaborated with Duke of Harajuku on the song “Level Up”. What was that like? What other artists do you want to collaborate with?
RiRi: Duke of Harajuku is an utter genius. He’s so inspiring and a lot of fun to collaborate with. We released a double A-side single called “Level up/Summer Dream” ahead of the album, and we worked with him on both songs. With “Summer Dream” in particular, we worked together from the very beginning on the concept. We had a go at writing a song about the emotions men and women experience during their summer love.
And when it comes to the other artists we would like to collaborate with, we really love 100gecs’ sound, so maybe we can work together one day.
LuLa: It was great! This is the first time I’ve been this involved in songwriting, so I put a lot into it. I want everyone—100gecs, Audrey Nuna, Rina Sawayama—to hear it! But, we’d also love to collaborate with anyone who is into us!
What else can we expect from FEMM 2.0?
LuLa: Live shows and communication! Oh, and new music. There are a lot of things we still don’t know about ourselves, so we are looking forward to finding out what they are.
Top 5 fashion must-haves?
RiRi: MAC Lipstick, false eyelashes, my iPhone, Netflix and anything pink.
LuLa: RiRi, love, a mini fan, a happy soul, and music.
Any last words?
RiRi: Thank you for reading our entire interview! We hope you enjoy our album, “404 Not Found”. We are looking forward to the day when we can enjoy live shows and meet-and-greets with our fans.
LuLa: Thank you for reading our entire interview 🙂 We are going to be amping it up from here on out, so let’s have fun together! We’re looking forward to seeing you at our live shows.