Tokyo Decadence in Paris

interview - 04.07.2007 08:00

During their stay in France as guests for PRÊT À PORTER PARIS, we were lucky enough to have a long interview with the eight members of Tokyo Decadence.

On the 4th of February at PRÊT À PORTER PARIS, there was an area created called "Shibuya", dedicated to Japanese clothing styles. Tokyo Decadence, representatives of the Japanese underground, had been invited to this exhibition.

The stylists Takuya Angel and Bambi (Succubus) had a booth in which they displayed their creations. Each day for two hours, these performers showcased their dancing, singing, acting, and comedic talents. We met up with them on the first day of the exhibition.

Hello to you all.

Tokyo Decadence: Hello France!

Have you had a good trip since you left Japan?

Sisen: Very good.
Kengo: It's been great fun!
Adrien: It's been a little long because of the stop in Russia, but it's been fine.

Would you please introduce yourselves?

Sisen: I am DJ Sisen. I do a lot of things like choosing models for certain magazines, organizing TV appearances, and assisting in the organization of the Tokyo Decadence evenings.
Kengo: I am Kengo, a bacteria, and a sucking dredger of the brain!
Anna: I take off my clothes and I dance (laughs).
Bambi: Hello, my name is Bambi (in French). I am a designer for fetish clothing; my brand is called Succubus.
Adrien: She's an advisor; a representative of the phenomenal Gothic Lolita style.
Coco: I am a gogo dancer and I can change my appearance ten times within the same night.
Selia: I am an opera singer and I take part in a group project in Sisen's (Seirenes) campaign.
Adrien: Selia is very well-known in the Japanese Goth community.
And myself, I am Adrien, creator of evenings of Tokyo Decadence.

How did you all meet? How was Tokyo Decadence born?

Adrien: When I was settling in Tokyo, I wanted to arrange these kinds of parties, so I went to seek the others out one by one. Japanese do not like to mix. For example: The Goths go to a Gothic event, the Yamambas to the Yamambas event, etc. Me, I would like to create an evening with all the underground types, so I made each one believe it was an event for their particular style, and they all really came. At first Sisen did not take part in it, because he was a customer the first night.

Where do you get the name Tokyo Decadence? What does it mean to you?

Adrien: It’s decadent and it’s Tokyo? (laughs) This is what it means to me: the mix of the genres.

For those who do not know, can you explain what happens during these evenings?

Sisen: It is an evening where all the different underground groups meet and compare styles and learn about one another. All these groups gather to create something new, this is what our evenings are like. “Normal” people are welcome too.

How long have you been interested in the musical style that you each represent?

Kengo: I was born like this.
Anna: When I was small, while I was fed with bottles… (laughs)
Bambi: Since college.
Sisen: Since I was 13.
Selia: Since I was 9.

Where do you get your inspiration? (Music and clothing)

Selia: From my mother.
Kengo: From the planet Mars.
Anna: The traditional styles of Japan.
Sisen: For me, it's a mixture of… Gothic, drag-queen, electro and industrial.
Adrien: A lot of things too; electro, films like Alien and Mad Max, mangas, etc.

How long does it take you to get dressed for the evening?

Bambi: 1 hour.
Sisen: 30 minutes.
Anna: 2 hours.
Kengo: I was born like this.
Coco: 1 hour.
Adrien: between 20 minutes and… 28 hours.
Selia: 1 hour.

Do you make your own costumes?

Sisen: Some.
Adrien: Liar. (laughs)
Sisen: Yes, some of them.
Adrien: No, no. He does everything alone, it is Takuya Angel who makes it. (laughs)
Takuya Angel: Yes, this is my mannequin.
Bambi: I make them myself.
Kengo: Same, I make them myself too.
Coco: I buy some and I make some.

Do you make your own music?

Sisen: Recently yes.
Selia: Yes.
Kengo: Also yes.

For others, how do you choose the parts which will be in your shows?

Bambi: I choose parts from films and animated drawings.
Anna: Pop music, traditional, and hip hop.
Adrien: It varies a lot, while remaining very Gothic and industrial.

Sisen, on your MySpace, you said you like to contact the outside world (outside of Japan). Why is that?

Sisen: It doesn't take too much time for me, but even then I am not able to answer everyone who leaves a message. I think that it's necessary to be open to the outside world, and MySpace is the best way in my opinion.

Adrien, you are French, why have you decided to work in the industrial/cyber scene in Japan and not in Europe?

Adrien: The atmosphere of Europe and especially of France was rather tense (three years ago). Certain people are intolerant and violent and when they see somebody really different, they would cause trouble. Before my departure for Japan, I had difficulty every day in the underground. In Japan, there is no violence and it’s great.

Can we expect a show with the Japanese?

Adrien: Obviously

What do you think of the expansion of J-music in Europe?

Sisen: Europeans choose all the worst music from Japan. It is necessary to listen to the good things that can be brought over from there.
Adrien: Visual Kei was good before, but recently it has become more commercialized. It's less interesting today than it once was.

Sisen,you are known under the names DJFOX666, DJ Violet and of course DJ Sisen. Why three pseudonyms?

Sisen: It's true, I have a lot of names… I found that Sisen did not show up too much on the flyers, so I added different names. One of the other names was also used in a collaboration which I had with Despairs.

Bambi, you are the designer for the brand Succubus. Where do you get the passion for this fashion?

Bambi: Actually, I love the fetish style. I would like everyone to promote it peacefully.

Selia, you are an opera singer. During your performances your voice is really magnificent. How did you succeed in switching from opera to electro music?

Selia: The classical side of music is eternal, and electro is our future. It's logical to mix both at our present time.

Kengo, you are a amazing dancer, are you inspired by Para Para?

Kengo: Thank you!!! I dance to contaminate the world!

Tell us what you think of the person on your left?

Anna about Kengo: He is very good looking.
Kengo about Coco: A devil.
Coco about Selia: Very elegant. A great lady!
Selia about Sisen: A small child.
Sisen about Adrien: The Messiah! He is going to start a revolution.
Adrien about Anna : Very perverse.
Anna about Bambi: She is always fishing and thinks all the time.
Bambi about Anna: When Anna comes to the evening, everyone comes!

A last word for your fans?

Sisen: I would like to say that people who are interested in us, come to Japan! Come and see! We're waiting for you!

Thank you very much for your sincerity and your enthusiasm.

On Friday, February 2nd, Le Klub, Parisian room held the very first French Tokyo Decadence evening.

From 10 p.m. until dawn, DJs, dancers and singers gave their all to make this evening memorable. It was during this occasion that we quickly asked them what they thought of the French.

Adrien: I was really surprised. In Japan it takes a while for the public to warm up to us, but here it happened very quickly. I think it's great that we had 427 attendees for an event that wasn't well publicized. I liked it very much and hope to return very soon, both to France and Europe.

On Wednesday, February 7th, in the OPA, Tokyo Decadence organized one last event before their departure the next morning.

Compared with the previous evening, this one was calmer and more intimate.
The members were very close to the public. Kengo even dared to remove his Martian costume (something that he never does in Japan) to give to a scantily clad woman. Tokyo Decadence used the small celebration later to thank their fans, not hesitating to interact with the audience. To close this evening, Adrien also opened several bottles of champagne.

The next day we took Tokyo Decadence to the airport where they set out, truly moved and eager to return as soon as possible.
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