A few weeks ago in Tokyo, we were lucky enough to talk with the girls of FAKY for the second time!
Zero Yen (ZY): Hello and thank you for this second interview! We haven’t talked in a while so we have many questions for you! You’ve been very busy since the last time: you released the Candy EP last year as your first ever physical album. Can you tell us about how it came to be?
Akina: It is the first CD released in physical form but it was only able to be purchased if you came to our live shows. So we feel like it had more meaning for us knowing that our fans were really able to receive it like that. It also has the first couple of songs that we wrote as we rebanded. So that EP definitely has a special meaning to us.
Anna: We also think it was really nice for us to actually be able to meet the people that are listening to our music. You can get comments online but it’s really nice to see them face to face and talk to them about it. It meant a lot to us.
ZY: So how long did it take to make it in the end?
FAKY: A little over a year we think. Ever since Akina arrived, we had to re-record everything and make new music. So yeah, about a year and a half. We wanted it to be that special, not because people wanted us to release new stuff, but because we know what we were doing.
ZY: I must mention the Candy music video. I really enjoyed it, it’s very colorful and fun! And those dance moves are really cool! Obviously, more than 1 million people think so too on YouTube. Congrats!
FAKY: Thank you!
ZY: Can you share about what was it like to shoot this video?
Mikako: In this one, we’ve danced the most of all the music videos we’ve done so far. We had to perform at a night event (except Akina because she’s underage) the day before shooting and the music video filming took place in the morning. It was a really tight schedule! Because of that, we were able to test our limits and push them even further. But it was really fun! We love shooting music videos, it’s so much fun!
Lil’ Fang: Actually, talking about it, we’re just realizing that this is the first music video we had dancers in. Because for the You video, it was them dancing then us dancing. We never really danced together properly. In Candy, it was like a whole team: us and the dancers.
ZY: Shortly after that, you did a collaboration with FEMM and Yup’In on FAMM’IN. Circle and Animus sound very different from FAKY‘s music. How did you approach this project?
FAKY: As you said, it’s really different. We don’t think of us as FAKY doing it. We feel more spiritual and trying to show a side of us we don’t even know ourselves. It’s more about connecting to our Japanese side as well. If you listen to the music, the instruments are very Japanese. It’s also more mysterious, you really have to listen to the lyrics: they have a profound meaning. It’s a completely different thing for us.
Lil’ Fang: I have been writing the music for FAMM’IN with another artist called Yup’In. I wanted to write about things that FAKY wouldn’t probably sing about or approach. I wanted to pursue a new side of the artists than we are.
ZY: Interesting! So what do these lyrics mean then?
FAKY: Circle is about reaching down towards our soul, the lyrics are more soulful. Animus is about the man inside the woman and the woman inside the man. It’s about how, in the end, there’s no gender. So as you can see, it’s pretty deep! (laughs)
ZY: (laughs) I also noticed you used traditional Japanese instruments like shamisen.
FAKY: Yeah. We also used kanji in the video.
ZY: Last summer, you uploaded on YouTube an interactive drama called Are you OK? As musicians, I bet this was an interesting challenge. How did you prepare for it?
Akina: Before we started shooting these episodes, we had a couple of acting lessons with the director. I wasn’t really present in this series but I was able to sit and watch everyone else doing warm up, like acting drills. I remember seeing Mikako cry as her character for the first time and I was really impressed by how she was bringing her character to life. It was a different side of Mikako I had never seen.
Mikako: It was the first time I challenged myself as an actress. At first, I didn’t really know how to prepare myself. So I decided to watch a lot of movies before going to the set. I was really worried, I wasn’t sure I could really do it. But at the same time, it was a period where I wanted to try new things. In the end, I was really thankful about it.
I slept every night with the script by my side! So for a week, I would wake up with the script beside me as my partner! (laughs) After I saw everything done, I had new findings like « I should have done this », etc. I would like to challenge myself again with more acting or movies opportunities in the future.
The director was pretty strict but whenever it was just the two of us, he would compliment me and make me feel really comfortable. This way, on the set, I learned that communicating with people is very important.
ZY: Any anecdotes from the set you can share with us?
Akina: It’s a little embarrassing for me but like I said earlier, I didn’t really have a large role in it. I had a little bit and originally, there was more plans for me that what showed up in the actual film. I had one line with Lil’ by my side and we went through it so many times because I couldn’t get the Japanese right. I can’t remember what the line was.
Lil’ Fang: The line was: « Mikako, daijoubu? » (Mikako, are you OK?). (laughs)
ZY: Let’s fast forward to Surrender now. It’s an amazing song but it’s too short!
FAKY: There’s a reason why it’s short.
ZY: Oh! That wasn’t my question actually (laughs). But please go ahead!
FAKY: Most songs are longer than 3 minutes, they’re like 4 or 5 minutes sometimes. But for this one, obviously, we wanted to give out a message but we didn’t want to end the whole thing. We wanted the listeners to figure out the ending themselves, how they want to proceed after this.
The song is about fighting for something but it’s not working out and you’re feeling kind of lost in a dark place. It’s like the end of the world for you and you don’t know what to do. We also wanted the listener to feel the speed of this song. We wanted it to be really tight. It’s pretty hard to explain but that was our goal with Surrender.
ZY: I absolutely LOVED the video! It’s so edgy! What was the inspiration behind it?
FAKY: We wanted it to remind us of the 1980’s music. We really appreciate and respect the music that came before our generation. When we’re in that small box, we’re using the fish-eye lens to show that we’re stuck somewhere. Eventually, it goes to a bigger, open-wide room where we’re dancing. And like we said before, we wanted the video to be really speedy. That’s why it was edited in a way that you can visually « see » the speed.
ZY: Then you released the video for Someday We’ll Know in May.
Akina: It’s different from the Surrender music video. In Surrender, everything was so flashy and there wasn’t really a time where you can focus on us for too long. In opposite, we wanted to try to focus on ourselves a little bit more in the Someday We’ll Know video: there are longer shots on our faces and you can see our emotions in our facial features a little bit better.
Anna: There’s a scene where we’re just walking and fooling around and that’s actually us! No one asked us to do anything: when we’re doing the silly airplane thing and laughing about it, it’s who we really are. We wanted to show a more human side than Surrender, which was more of an artsy thing. Someday We’ll Know is more casual and natural.
ZY: Again, it was its own thing, very summer-ish and fresh. How do you decide which choreography goes with which song? Like, do certain moves fit better certain types of songs?
FAKY: Obviously we didn’t want to do any hip-hop moves in this video! (laughs) There’s a choreographer for our dances. Although we don’t choreograph ourselves, we do talk about what we’re comfortable doing with the choreographer and figure out together what we would like to show our audience.
ZY: So, did you add the plane thing yourselves?
FAKY: We told our choreographer about it and she wasn’t sure it was cool at first. But the song is about traveling and going somewhere, reaching a destination. So we thought it was perfect for this music.
ZY: Let’s talk about Unwrapped now, your first major mini album, which finally came out in June! I know it’s been a long hard work to get it out in the wild. What are you the most proud of about this CD?
Lil’ Fang: I’m really proud of the time we spent preparing this album. Like you said, usually people just want to hurry up and go on with the next thing but I’m proud that we took the time to get it ready. We wanted to prepare something that really meant something to us and that would speak to the listeners but something we could also call a good work. And I’m thankful for our staff who waited with us to release it as well.
Anna: It’s not just a CD, it’s our heart. It had to be personal.
ZY: How did the fans react to it?
FAKY: We think they all said « finally »!! (laughs) Maybe some people were losing their patience but, like Lil’ said, we’re really happy most of them were able to stay patient for it. From our point of view, we wanted everyone to understand that we were working hard on it. The little details that would matter later were important to us.
When it was released, we felt like the listeners were finally be able to really hear that we put this extra work in and that all that time was put to good use. Many people said it was worth the wait and it meant a lot to us. Obviously, we didn’t want to keep them waiting but we wanted the best for this album.
It was nice because when we released the members’ videos on YouTube (where Akina first appeared), we used the song Keep Out and everyone was like « Where is Keep Out?! When is it gonna be released?! » (laughs) We feel like the longer the wait, the more you can appreciate it. It’s kind of like falling in love in a way (laughs).
ZY: In August, Chase Me was announced and it was a Gundam tie-up. It has an old school feeling to it, like early 1990’s hip-hop, with these samples. When are we gonna be able to experience the whole song?
FAKY: It should be released as a digital single at some point. But we’ve been performing it live at some shows. We did it on stage for the first time at the Summer Sonic festival in August.
ZY: That was your first anime tie-up, wasn’t it?
FAKY: Actually, we did another one with the older members before. And Lil’ has done one with the band BACK-ON. So it’s technically our third time. Many people think it’s the first time for FAKY. But, as the four of us, it actually is the first time!
ZY: SUGA SWEET also came out recently, it’s been produced by DJ Fresh and written by BB Diamond. Again, it’s a slightly different sound for FAKY, very drum and bass. Can you tell us more about this collaboration?
FAKY: It was such an honor to work with DJ Fresh because we’ve all been listening to his songs in the past like Rita Ora‘s. When we first heard we were gonna work with him, we were so excited! We heard the song and loved it right away. SUGA SWEET has this summer festival kind of vibe so we knew it was gonna be perfect for Summer Sonic and A-Nation (note: summer music festivals in Japan). We wanted a song we could enjoy together with the audience. Usually, they watch us perform but this time, we wanted them to dance with us.
ZY: By the way, do you do a special routine on this song?
FAKY: This is the first song where we have a towel involved in! It may seem like a small thing but we’re very excited about it! And it was perfect because the song just came out and so did the towels. It was a perfect timing!
ZY: What was it like to work with European musicians? Was it the first time for you?
FAKY: It wasn’t our first time. Several of our other songs have foreign writers involved with them. But it was definitely the first time we worked with DJ Fresh! (laughs)
ZY: Now I’d like to talk about your upcoming first live! Can you share with us some details about it? (note: this interview was done in September, before the actual show)
FAKY: It means a lot to us, it’s our first « one man show » and in Japan, it’s a big thing. We obviously don’t want to give any spoilers but we have a song that we’ve been keeping for a really long time now. It speaks to ourselves so we hope the audience will like it too. And there will be new songs! Everything will be very new to us. It’s gonna be the longest show we’ve ever done. We want the audience to be caught in our world. We’re talking about it right now, we’re spending so much time talking about what kind of show we want to do. It’s like our goal in a way.
Akina: I feel like all of us are really nervous about it but being in a room in front of our fans and performing for them will be the greatest thing ever! It’s such a homely feeling, they’re not going to judge us and I feel confident we will put on a good show, knowing they will be there to support us 100%.
Anna: We did a release event in June for Unwrapped and that was a really emotional show! Everyone was crying when we were doing the last song! (laughs) It also meant a lot to us so we know for the next one, Akina will be bawling her eyes out! (laughs) We want a lot of people to come, it’s gonna be such a special day and we just want to share the moment with everyone.
ZY: And I bet it’s gonna be such a physical challenge to dance and sing for one hour and a half straight!
FAKY: The funny thing is, when we’re on stage, even though it’s really tiring physically, we still go through it. We have this rush of adrenaline and we’re not thinking about how tired we are. We’re just having fun and enjoying the moment. We always try to show the best of our performance.
ZY: Speaking of performing, do you have any rituals before going on stage?
FAKY: Oh yeah, we do! We have a painful little thing, a butt slap! (laughs) We huddle together and our precious leader Anna gives us encouraging words. And then she counts down from 3 and we give each other that little smack! And Anna and Mikako are hardcore at it! (laughs)
ZY: Speaking of live stuff, you girls have been doing a lot of Instagram and LINE LIVE recently. How do you plan these? Are they random?
FAKY: First, we wanted to try Instagram live. So we were doing it 2 members at the time each week. Then we decided that LINE LIVE might be better for the Japanese audience because the majority of our audience is Japanese. So now every week-end, each member does their LINE LIVE. We just want to communicate with our fans. We think live streaming is the best because you can actually read the comments live and speak to them.
Otherwise, Instagram live, we’re just doing it on our own time, when we feel like it. So there’s no specific day or time. So yeah, these are communication tools and they are important. Because without the fans, we’re nothing! (laughs)
Anna: Can you watch LINE LIVE abroad?
ZY: Actually, yes. I watched you girls a few times. The last time was the four of you I think?
FAKY: Oh yeah, it was at our hotel! Then Akina started crying ’cause she thought there was a ghost in the hotel! (laughs)
ZY: Alright, let’s get a little more personal now (laughs). Do you have any favorite food?
FAKY: We love talking about food!
Anna & Akina: We know what Mikako is gonna say! (laughs)
Mikako: I really love meat! And ice-cream! And chocolate! But only during the day, no carbs after 6 pm.
Anna: I think I eat rather healthy. I love eating salad. But my guilty food is pizza, ice-cream and bread, like baguette. I love the crispy outside and the nice soft inside.
Akina: It’s actually really funny to watch Anna pull out a huge baguette from her little bag! (laughs) I don’t think I can pick a favorite food! Growing up in America, I feel like American food is my guilty pleasure: like greasy-style pizza, burgers, French fries or any type of potato. Actually, I do have a favorite snack: that’s Hot Cheetos.
Anna: You won’t see Akina eating healthy food! That’s not a thing! Everything she eats is very junky! (laughs)
Lil’ Fang: My favorite food depends on my mood. I eat a lot of daifuku (note: Japanese mochi, made with rice paste and soy beans). Right now, I’m really into pudding! I actually make pudding myself, I’m currently trying many recipes. I cook a lot.
ZY: I love pizza too! Akina, do you prefer New York-style or Italian pizza?
Akina: I like both but actually, there’s a few places in Tokyo that sell NY-style pizza. And you can catch me there a lot! (laughs)
ZY: What would you recommend to your fans to try?
Anna: I would say, if you’re visiting Japan as a tourist, go to Tsukiji (note: fish market in Tokyo) and try fresh fish. It’s really Japanese and they have really good stuff there.
Lil’ Fang: There’s a restaurant chain called Ootoya, they’re everywhere in Japan. You can get good Japanese food and it’s reasonably priced. I would recommend sukiyaki and shabu shabu too.
ZY: Same question about your favorite places in Japan.
Anna: I really liked Kyoto: it’s very Japanese, they have traditional temples and shrines. It’s just beautiful and clean. It also has this very classy vibe that I felt. It’s so peaceful, you will connect to your soul there. We actually got time to sight-see altogether in Kyoto and took beautiful pictures.
Akina: I think my favorite place would be Hokkaido. I saw snow for the first time there, it was so exciting for me! (being from Southern California) We were there during the warmer season and I realized there’s also a lot of grass around. I really enjoyed the nature of Hokkaido.
Anna: And the food is really good!
Mikako: I love Fukuoka! It’s my hometown and the food is great there. I’ve been living in Tokyo for a few years now, I feel comfortable here but if I could go back, it would be Fukuoka.
ZY: I had my first ramen in Hokkaido, in a city called Otaru.
FAKY: Hokkaido is the best place to have your first ramen! Ever since Hokkaido, we’ve been enjoying every food! Their soup curry is also very good. Vegetables and fish are very fresh there.
ZY: I know you haven’t been to France (yet!) but is there anything you’d like to visit there?
FAKY: The Eiffel Tower!
Anna: And eat bread! (laughs)
ZY: I’m very curious to know what’s on your current playlist.
Anna: Sam Smith! He just released his latest single Too Good at Goodbyes today!
Akina: I really like this rapper called XXXTension at the moment.
Lil’ Fang: I like the band The Royal Concept from Sweden. I like bands in general.
Mikako: I’m listening to Kehlani right now. She was at Summer Sonic too.
ZY: We’re almost done but can you share a little secret about yourself?
Anna: Oh I know! I discovered this recently! I love summer so much but I realized my favorite months are September and October. I love this weather. There’s like a little sad vibe going on, I love it so much. I think a lot of people don’t know because they probably think that I’m all about the warm season.
Akina: I don’t have any secrets but I can do some weird things with my body! (laughs) For example, I can clap with one hand or balance on the tip of my toes. Not a lot of people know that!
Lil’ Fang: It’s not really a secret but I lost 10 kilos since we released the song Candy.
Mikako: I have no secrets!
ZY: Last question, any message you’d like to get out there for the fans?
FAKY: Thank you so much for your continuous support, we really wouldn’t be here without you guys. You’ve been really consistent in coming to our shows, it means a lot to us! Staying in Japan, we haven’t had the opportunity to go abroad and have a show for our foreign fans, which we really wanna do. In Japan, we can’t really meet each one of you guys. But sometimes people come up to us and say they’re from France or a different part of the world. It means so much, you are the power for us to continue.
Even the comments we get on Twitter or any social media, we read all of them! It’s kind of a secret of ours! (laughs) Of course, we can’t respond to everyone all the time but we do when we can. Having you guys is the best support we can ever imagine! Thank you so much!
We’ll work really hard so we can go and see you guys one day. We’re making new stuff right now, trying new things. So please stay tuned and we hope we’ll come to see you all soon!
ZY: Thank you so much for this interview, we hope to see you again soon!
FAKY: Thank you!!
A big thank you to Anna, Akina, Mikako and Lil’ Fang! I had an amazing time during this interview, so much fun!
A special thank you to FAKY‘s management and Avex Music Group for giving me the opportunity to meet them and write this article.