A great piece of news that is sure to please a good number of you: Plapla Pinky are playing at the Villette Sonique festival on Saturday 25th May at 7pm.…
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Exo-Chica, fiery blond, incisors bared, poses in front of a heavy velvet drape. Raveman stares out from behind her, all electric-red stare. This Tokyo-based outfit are Aural Vampire, a classic beauty-and-the-beast pairing who’re behind some highly contagious tunes and well on the way to conquering the planet.
The meeting between vampire songstress, Exo-Chica, and the manic-electronic Raveman (think Jason from Friday the 13th, think an uptight Darth Vader, but uptight!) was always going to be explosive. After a maxi, Vampire Ecstasy, in 2004 and a single release, Death Folder, in 2005, Aural Vampire have now brought out their first album, Zoltank (2010) on Japanese major Avex.
Labelled synth pop / dark wave, Aural Vampire’s work is a real mash-up. Exo-Chica is a fan of popular Japanese song genres such as kayokyoku or enka, while Raveman finds inspiration in German techno and dance. The formula makes for a weird, catchy mix, some sort of of J-pop electronica that contrasts with their macabre imagery to give an exhilarating live show. On stage, Raveman plays the rascal, lining up absurd gags to knock the beautiful Exo-Chica out of her stride.
Aural Vampire are perfectionists and leave nothing to chance. From the conception of the graphics for their discs, to their stage dress, everything is given careful consideration. While at times they’re reminiscent of Japanese comic book characters, Exo-Chica and Raveman shouldn’t be confused with role players from the world of cosplay. Think, rather, industrial and goth. Think cross-dressing, fetishism and horror.
“In horror films, you obviously get all those cries of fear but there’s also a certain beauty and tension. It’s this ensemble we want to express. If any one of these elements were missing, the balance would be gone,” says Raveman. Raveman’s music is chiselled and precise, techno-pop that makes references to 1980s new wave, giving, at times, unrelenting results: see tracks such as ‘Shonan Zoku’ or ‘Darkwave Surfer’.
To get more of an idea of where he’s coming from, it’s also worth giving Raveman’s solo project, Futon Disco, a listen. “Aural Vampire is consciously pop. Futon Disco’s personal. Futon Disco gives him the outlet he needs to stop him burning up. It’s crucial for his mental health.” (Exo-Chica).
Text: Franck Stofer
Translation: Jack Sims
Photo: Eric Bossick