Monday, 19 August 2013

Lolita Inspired Music

Over the past couple of days, I've been trying to find new music to listen to. I never realised Google has a feature where, when you type a singer or band you already like into Google, it shows other artists other people like and have Googled based on what you just typed in! I found this out whilst I typed in 'Ali Project' to check if they consider themselves Visual Kei (they did a while back, not so much now). Using other results I got back, I've got a pretty long list of music to try and I also found a few artists who might even be considered 'Lolita' music. Whether that is just because of their fashion, music style or a bit of both, that's a great sign! It shows more people are interested in Lolita fashion and that singers aren't afraid to wear the style of clothing they love. However, I hope it won't spawn a new phase of 'faux Lolita artists' who only act like they like Lolita to get popular... ^^;

So I thought it'd be a good idea to put together a list of Lolita inspired artists that others can check out! I find it reassuring that I can add Lolita style music to the 'Lolita' things you can do, such as wearing the fashion, blogging, etc. Sometimes the artist doesn't even have to be visibly Lolita inspired or sounding, it can be their band concept, lyrics, a notion, even only one of their songs. What I might find Lolita inspiring, the next girl might not, especially when you consider 'Gothic Lolita' inspired music, which people can have very different views about. Some people even debate whether 'Lolita music' exists - I think it's nice to have some music that has Lolita inspiration, sounds and notions whether it's to listen to whilst getting ready for a meet, listen to to feel inspired or if you're a bit sad, etc. However, I think girls who consider Lolita more of a 'lifestyle' rather than just a fashion may feel they can relate more to Lolita influenced music and of course, you don't have to listen to 'Lolita music' in order to be Lolita! Listen to whatever you want, wear whatever you want!

Nana Kitade

I found Nana Kitade through the first ever anime I watched, Fullmetal Alchemist and she got me into Lolita. I hear a few people saying that so Nana Kitade is obviously a popular Lolita and music choice. What makes her stand out above other singers is her mixture of cute and edgy, both with her fashion and music style. Popular songs from Nana are 'Kibou no Kakera', 'Antoinette Blue' and 'Kanashimi no Kizu'.

Kanon Wakeshima

Because Nana Kitade disappeared from the public eye a while ago, Kanon Wakeshima is like 2008's Nana Kitade. She came along, handpicked by Mana of Moi Dix Mois and Malice Mizer, cello in hand to provide us with cute, classically infused and edgy music, similar to Nana Kitade. She came to Hyper Japan in 2011 and I really regret missing her performance.

ALI PROJECT

ALI PROJECT (or 'アリプロ' (Ali Pro) for short) are one of my favourite bands. Arika Takarano is a fashion idol as well as ridiculously musically talented and she has experimented and wore a lot of different fashion styles, including Lolita, Gyaru, Visual Kei, traditional Japanese inspired wear and more. ALI PROJECT used to sing in a sweeter style they described as 'White Alice' but transitioned into a darker, creepier and classically inspired style, named 'Black Alice' which makes sense. Their music takes me into another world, it's like the Lolita equivalent of Silent Hill, where everything is darker, twisted and not quite right, which makes it all the more addictive and mysterious.

Die Milch
Die Milch are my latest love after meeting Coco at Austen & the Abbey. Well, ever since I heard Coco was attending A&tA, I checked out her music and fell in love. There's nothing quite like ALI PROJECT but Die Milch are similar and just as good. Less creepy elements and more Baroque inspiration as Jasmine is a master at the violin and Coco can play the piano amazingly. Die Milch have played in Japan, Prague and the UK and Coco said she definitely wanted to come back to the UK again soon! I have supported Die Milch from the very beginning, back when Googling 'Die Milch Japan' only got you German websites and photos of milk. At the moment, their album 'Metronom' is available to buy through Amazon JP but you can email them at butler@diemilch.com to enquire about buying CDs from overseas (they may send them to you) and their blog is here. They have a few live videos and a PV for 'Rosaria' at the moment.

Kokusyoku Sumire

Kokusyoku Sumire might not dress or look Lolita sometimes but Caro at FYeahLolita did a great blog post on them explaining why she, and a lot of other people feel Kokusyoku are Lolita feeling. They have a quirky, sometimes classically inspired feel and have a lot of fun with their music and fashion. I often think they are like Japanese Lolita equivalence of Rasputina, who I'll discuss a bit further below.

Emilie Autumn

I'll break up the Japanese artists with a few Western ones! Emilie Autumn is, in her words 'like the best cup of English Breakfast spiked with cyanide and smashed on your antique wallpaper.' Her story, or theme is a Victorian insane asylum patient fighting back against the doctors. Her music is infused with classical and industrial elements like piano, harpsichord, machine noises, drum beats and her vocals range from angelic to banshee like screaming. Her fashion is pretty damn awesome; corsets, bloomers, boots, ripped stockings, feathery mohawks, it's all there. As with Kokusyoku Sumire, some might not consider her Lolita inspired music but she's on the Gothier side of things and has fun with her image.

Hannah Fury

Hannah Fury is like Emilie Autumn's shyer, softer speaking younger sister. She's so shy and sweet, in fact, that she has never played live because she's shy of the limelight. Her music has a fairytale and sing-song quality about them. She loves the story of Wicked (a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, about Glinda the Good Witch and Elphaba, the Witch of the West) and has a whole album or more dedicated to singing songs from Elphaba's point of view. She also loves the image and story of Marie Antoinette. Combine this with her quirky fashion style, haunting melodies and you can see why she would appeal to many Lolitas.

BabyMetal

BabyMetal. J-Pop metal. Fucking awesome. I can say that cuz we're talking about metal. Although I have a small suspicion they might be a 'created' group formed purely for making money because this is what's in at the moment, I really want to believe they're genuine. Su-Metal, the lead girl, is 15 and Moa-Metal and Yui-Metal are both 14. Their outfits are super cute and have Gothic Lolita inspiration (can there be a Metal Lolita substyle? Please say yes.) and fans of heavier styled music might like them so I feel they have a place in this list.

Yukari Tamura
And now for something completely different. Yukari Tamura is so super cute and bubbly, she'll give you toothache. She wears Lolita and Lolita inspired casual wear in most of her music videos. She's been active since 1997 so her earlier outfits are very 'old school' by today's standards but I think it's really sweet and nostalgic. She has moved with the fashion, however, and wears more up to date stuff nowadays. If artists like ALI PROJECT and Emilie Autumn are favoured by the more Gothic Lolitas, Yukari is definitely one in the Sweet style. I think it's great different substyles can listen to different styles of 'Lolita music' haha! That's not, of course, to say you won't enjoy Yukari if you're more Gothic-inclined or can't listen to Ali Pro if you dress sweetly! Personally I think this video is absolutely adorable!

Iruma Rioka

Iruma Rioka is a relatively new (active since 2008) act with a fantastical background. She came from a noble family (Rioka line) who were down on their luck. A witch kidnapped Iruma as a form of payment for their debt and imprisoned her in a tower. She made music to pass the time until a black crow called Nemu was passing and heard her sing. He helped her escape the tower and became part of her act by transforming into a human (cuz he can do that, y'know) and playing guitar. Iruma says she can express herself with her music best because she's introverted, which I think is sweet. Her music is in the same vein of Ali Project and Die Milch, I like her very much. However, her music is almost impossible to download, I've found her first album 'Iruma Rioka' and 'Crimson Princess' so far. There's an indie CD website where you can actually buy her CDs for $15 so I'm gonna do that as soon as I have some money! I hope some of the proceeds go to her. \*0*/

Rasputina

Rasputina are an American trio whose music is heavily driven by cello, both acoustic and electric. The frontwoman is Melora Creager who is a huge history buff (I swear, I've learned more history from Rasputina than school) and loves writing/singing about historical events, most happening during the Victorian era and earlier. Their music has a really cool, quirky feel to it, with a gloomy yet beautiful outlook in life in the 'olden days', sort of like a dystopian past where everything is grey and gloomy. Both their music and style have a dusty, vintage feel to it and Melora's vocals and cello playing give their act a uniqueness hard to replicate. I highly suggest trying their albums 'Frustration Plantation' and 'Oh Perilous World'.

Kukui

Kukui is a duo comprising of Haruka Shimotsuki and Myu. Their most well known song is 'Toumei Shelter', the ending for the first season of Rozen Maiden (currently watching it now!). They have a lighter feel than ALI PROJECT (who did the opening of Rozen Maiden) with sweeter vocals and lyrics. They have a handful of songs available to listen to on YouTube, a number of singles and 2-3 albums depending on if you count mini albums. I really like Kukui, they're easy to listen to, sweet, romantic and relaxing.

The Royal Dead (previously +Phantasmagoria+)

Point 1: The Royal Dead are one of the hardest artists to find and listen to their music. I don't think I've ever found more than one or two cleanly recorded songs but there are a few, albeit poorly recorded and potato sound quality, live videos on YouTube floating around. I discovered The Royal Dead as the singer, HAR (female) was in Gothic & Lolita, a street snap photo book I own. They're on the darker side of 'Lolita inspired music' - their fashion and music style are like Gothic Lolita, Emilie Autumn and Cyber Goth mixed into one so they have more of a Gothic Lolita, Visual Kei and Darkwave taste about them. It's pretty much impossible to find/download/buy their albums - I've found one CD from Tokyo Dark Castle, an 80s-90s Gothic club in Tokyo that used to have all the latest acts and that The Royal Dead used to frequent so the album is obviously a mix of songs from TDC with one or two The Royal Dead songs in there. I've found a couple of their songs on Last.FM and VK as well as an interview by J-Pop World. The reason I put The Royal Dead in here is because I feel darker, Gothic Lolitas will appreciate them and that HAR has Lolita elements in her fashion; like Kokusyoku Sumire, they have fun with their fashion and music.

Kalafina

Like many Japanese artists, Kalafina rose to mild success through making songs for anime; more specifically Kara no Kyoukai. They were 'formed' by composer Yuki Kajiura starting with the two original members, Keiko and Wakana, from FictionJunction, a previous project of Kajiura's. Two other vocalists, Hikaru and Maya, were then chosen from an audition held by Sony (with over 30,000 participants) but a year later, Maya dropped out. They were 'formed' in a similar way to Perfume but I don't see them as artificial; I hope they enjoy the music they create and the styles of fashion they wear, and are just happy and lucky they were able to be chosen and rise to fame. Kalafina have a 'chamber pop' sound to them, it's a lot cleaner and polished than more alternative acts - perhaps they would fit into 'Classic Lolita' music genre, if there was such a thing? XD They are a bit different from other artists in the fact they harmonise rather than all sing at the same pitch - Hikaru has the deeper, alto voice and it all sounds lovely together - I guess it all comes with the classically inspired genre.

Luna Haruna

Luna Haruna first learned of Gothic Lolita when she was in her first year of junior high school and began collecting Western and Lolita style clothes. She starting singing full time in 2011 and released her first single in 2012. Both singles to date have been used in anime; Fate/Zero and Sword Art Online. She actually only has three songs available at the moment, available to listen to on YouTube and buy as her two singles but I hope she makes more stuff! She has a really cute Lolita fashion style, like a classic doll and her music is nice to listen to. Sometimes Japanese singers/styles all sound very similar but so far that hasn't happened with Luna. I don't think I can like a band/singer unless there's something different about them - when people recommend me artists and say 'They sound like Offspring', for example, I think 'So why don't I just listen to Offspring?'. Chances are Offspring are famous/more well known for being the best at what they do so any act that is 'similar' to them probably isn't as good. This is how I feel about most music but Luna does have something different about her so I would recommend her to you! Because her style is sort of Classic, I think many Lolitas will enjoy her.

Collection D'Arnell Andrea

One for my Gothier brethrin, I discovered Collection D'Arnell Andrea after realising ALI PROJECT were classed as 'Neoclassical Darkwave'. There's actually a whole page on Wikipedia dedicated to neoclassical darkwave acts so I decided to check them out, one by one in the hope of more acts like Ali Pro. To be honest, most of the artists were a bit 'uber-Goth' for my tastes - either ridiculously symphonic and operatic like Within Temptation or Nightwish, or super heavy and metal sounding. I had also just finished watching Ginger Snaps and have sort of fell in love with the movie; I really like the opening death scenes and the music playing so just before I gave up hope on 'neoclassic darkwave'  I checked out Collection D'Arnell Andrea. They're very much like the opening song of Ginger Snaps; classic influences (the 'neoclassical' part) with synthesised beats in the gothic Darkwave music style (add one and one together, what do you get?!) so they're very dark and addictive. I can imagine them being played at 80s and 90s Gothic clubs and being shoegazed to, or played in the background of a Gothic Lolita tea party so if you like gothier music without being too overbearing, check out Collection!

Eri Kitamura

Eri Kitamura is a well-travelled voice actress and singer. She's also a part time manga artist in her spare time - how does she do it all?! She has voiced roles in anime such as Zatch Bell and Blood+. She has a really cute punky/gothy Lolita influence in the clothing she wears in her music videos. Her music is okay, it doesn't really stand out to me but I will listen to it some more before making a full decision on it. Her fashion is cuter to me but you may like her. I can't say much else other than let you know about her. XD 

Yousei Teikoku

Yousei Teikoku is a four piece unit; their name means 'Fairy Empire' which is a good sign straight off the bat. They're another one of these bands with a fantastical concept/story behind them. From their Wiki page: 'Through music, Yousei Teikoku is attempting to revive the Fairy Empire that exists between the human world and the spiritual realm known as Spiritual (super creative naming going on here). The purpose of their music is 'to make humans remember the pure heart inside them that believes in fairies, forgotten before we knew it.' D'aww. Yui is the one you see most often in their music videos; she's the singer and lyricist. Takaha Tachibana is the guitar, keyboard, composition and lyric writing element too - he's also worked with Kukui in the past so it all ties in! From 2010 Nanami and Relu were added as bassist and drummer. Their music has a dark, ambient feel, with electro/EBM elements, neoclassical, darkwave and ethereal inspiration all tied into their basic Gothic Rock/Metal style. All of that really hits the spot for me at the moment! They've done theme songs for anime including 'Mirai Nikki', 'Magical Pokan' and 'Innocent Venus', all very fantastical sounding. Three of their albums are named 'Gothic Lolita Doctrine', 'Gothic Lolita Agitator' and 'Gothic Lolita Propaganda', respectively so they definitely have a Lolita feel to me, albeit a 'Princess of the Dark' one.

It's been really fun (but also time consuming so sorry for the delay!) trying new music out and finding musicians inspired by Lolita elements! Right now I really love Kalafina and The Royal Dead so I hope you enjoy this little compilation! Thanks for reading! <3

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for your entry <3 I really liked it >w<

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  2. nana didn't dissapear she was in loveless... with her lolita costume from 2014-16 she was in the teenage kissers, and now she is solo again

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