MANON is Japan's rising hyperpop star
The 20-year-old Tokyo-based singer, producer and model has a 90s aesthetic but a sound straight from the future.
This story originally appeared on i-D Japan.
Maximalist hyperpop duo 100 gecs are not for everyone. For French-Japanese artist MANON, however, discovering them was key — particularly given they showed up in her life right when the now 20 year old moved from Fukuoka to Tokyo on a mission to develop her sound. “I started listening to hyperpop and was digging for songs on Spotify when I came across their music and got really into it,” MANON says. She has since released a slew of experimental singles, including her latest, “TROLL ME”, a frenetic collaboration with international hyperpop group SIX IMPALA.
It’s this track that she selected to perform for i-D Japan’s i-N SESSION series — a glitchy rainbow-hued adventure that follows the pink-haired performer from rooftop to studio, things rapidly evolving from cutesy to warped screamo anthem. But while her music is future-facing, MANON’s aesthetic is pure 90s and early 00s; all baby tees and early digital cameras and FRUiTS magazine. Keen to know more about MANON and the source of her creative inspiration, we caught up with her for a chat.
Can you tell us a bit about your aesthetic? To us, it’s giving gyaru**.
**My favourite clothes are chibi tees, miniskirts, loose socks and fingerless gloves. I only realised recently that they were items that belonged to gyaru culture. So it wasn't that I liked that from the beginning, but rather that the things I liked and collected just happened to be so.
And yet the song you performed for your i-N SESSION spans genres including pop, emo and screamo…Yes, “TROLL ME” is a song I wrote with a group called SIX IMPALA. The screamo and emo elements came from making it with them. I found SIX IMPALA's music in a playlist made by a friend of mine and the moment I first heard their music, I thought, "Wow, I want to write a song with them!" So I DMed them on Instagram a bunch of times telling them that, and eventually we decided to make a song together.
**You have great energy!
**Well, I really wanted to work with them, so I couldn't stop sending DMs! You know, SIX IMPALA is a six-piece group, but they only communicate with each other on the internet, and they told me they hadn’t even met each other in person yet.
**So how did you work with them on the production?
**We did everything online. I liked the rock side of SIX IMPALA, so I said I wanted to do an emo song with guitar sounds and they immediately sent me the sounds for the first part. Then one of the members suggested, "Wouldn't it be fun if we put in some screams?" I thought it would be interesting to try, so I did it.
**It feels like this kind of expression is an exploration of the 'dark' side of MANON.
**I've only recently been able to express that element by myself. Cute was at the forefront before, when I was producing my music alone, but since I’ve been collaborating I've also been able to write lyrics about parts other than the introverted 'cute' me. Also, since coming to Tokyo, I've had a lot more experience of seeing and listening to a lot of art, so I think I've been inspired by that as well, and I've been able to write about more complex emotions.
**Are there any works that have inspired you recently?
**A Thai drama on Netflix called Transfer Student Nano. I actually put myself in her shoes and wrote some lyrics.
**What’s next for you?
**I would like to continue to collaborate with other people, as I don't think “TROLL ME” is something I could have created on my own. I also secretly want to be in a horror film… it would be interesting to scare people in a film, wouldn't it?
MANON wears necklaces and bracelets Chanel