J-Pop girl group FAKY are heralding a new wave of J-Pop.
The members – Lil’ Fang, Mikako, Akina, Hina, and Taki – each with their own influences and inspirations, have converged upon Tokyo to make bold, dynamic music with diverse musicality that can be enjoyed by people from all over the world!
Since their initial inception in 2013, FAKY has amassed 25 million views on YouTube, their music streamed by millions of fans across 120 countries. Their 2016 EP CANDY hit #1 on iTunes’ J-Pop albums chart, and #3 on the top albums chart.
Despite the global pandemic, 2020 was a wildly successful year for the girl group after releasing three singles – ‘half moon’, ‘Darling (Prod. GeG)’, and ‘little more’ – all of which amassed over 2 million streams on Spotify. FAKY hopes to further this success in 2021, having already released their latest single ‘The Light’.
Following the release of their latest single, Hello Asia! editor Anastasia Giggins, had the opportunity to speak with FAKY to hear about their creative process, their diverse influences and inspirations, and the importance of keeping connected with their fans across the globe.
Congratulations on your brand new single! Recently you released ‘The Light’ – how does it feel to finally have this work available to your fans?
Mikako (M): Thank you! I am happy to be able to deliver new FAKY music to everyone. It is a very straightforward and cheerful song, so please listen to it when you are about to lose something or when you are feeling down!
Lil’ Fang (LF): We want to return the feelings of our fans, who always support us, by giving them this song. I am very happy to finally deliver it.
Akina (A): We are so excited to finally share this single with our fans! Like we have always said, every song we release is different from the last so we are happy to show another side and sound of FAKY!
Hina (H): This song will show a new FAKY with an unprecedented sound, so I’m really happy that you listen to it and I’m looking forward to the reaction!
Taki (T): We have been working on the song for a while, and now that we are finally able to showcase it, it is very fulfilling. We wanted to show another side of FAKY, and that is why we are happy to see everyone’s different reactions.
Late last year, you released ‘little more’ – what is one message that you would like for listeners to take away from this track?
T: One message that I would like everyone to take away from this track is that after every rain there is always a rainbow.
A: ‘little more’ is a motivational song that I would want our fans to listen to when they feel they need a push in the right direction. Because of all the chaos from last year, it is now more than ever that we want to help anyone who has lost themselves.
H: The world is still in a difficult situation, but as the title suggests, FAKY wanted to be your light and send bright energy.
M: It is a song that expresses the conflict inside you and how you face yourself rather than someone else. If you have hesitation and frustration inside you, I think that listening to this song will make you feel better.
LF: I hope that this can give you the strength to keep chasing something that doesn’t seem to be reachable so that you can keep going just a little more to finally reach it!
For people who may not have listened to your music before, how would you describe your sound?
LF: I think we are a group that expresses our music whatever and however we like it.
H: It expresses the “life size” of FAKY at that time.
A: FAKY doesn’t have one fixed sound. We all grew up listening to different types of genres and stay authentic to the sounds that we personally like, so our music is just a reflection of that. We try to experiment with sounds and always strive to put something out that we haven’t done before!
T: FAKY’s sound is not just one kind. We try to play around with different sounds and different styles. Usually, our songs are close to how we feel during the time we plan to release it. We don’t ride on trends, we ride on our own feelings; we pick our feelings and pour it into our songs, hoping it will reach the listeners.
M: FAKY plays music regardless of genre, so I’m sure there will be something that you will love while listening to our songs, so I hope you enjoy it freely!
As you have mentioned, all of you are from diverse creative backgrounds. As a group and as individuals, what does your creative process look like? Has this changed and developed since your debut in 2013, and your reformation later in 2018?
T: I have actually only been with FAKY for two years. I would say everything works fast with the group; if we plan to try something, like making a music video, recording a new song, or finding a way to send a message to our fans, we don’t take months to do it – we take days to plan things! Working with FAKY is just fun! Work doesn’t feel like work. Rather, it feels like home, especially when you are very close to your staff and members and especially when you do what you love.
H: I was also a new member who joined in 2018. Even before I joined, FAKY was always cool; they had their own style and were a very respected group, so being a member of this group was the biggest change. Over the past two years and into the future, I will continue to do my best to develop FAKY.
LF: We continue to evolve. I would like to continue to move forward with the current five members.
M: Lil’ and I have been a part of FAKY since FAKY started. Every FAKY is important to me and I love it, so I would like to continue to protect FAKY. I love fashion, so I want to walk the fashion path. However, since FAKY is the most important thing for me, I still want to express a lot of things as a group.
A: We are all completely different when it comes to our creative process! Because of this past year, we spent almost everyday on the phone communicating what our goals were and how we wanted to inspire and connect with people despite all the odds stacked against us. In that time we wrote songs, created dance contents from home, and had weekly YouTube livestreams to chat with our fans. In short, 2020 was the year that our creative processes took a complete turn! The girls and I started focusing more heavily on self-made projects doing what we could from ourselves.
Who influences and inspires you? Why?
A: I have so many artists that inspire me so it is so hard to pick! When I was young, I was inspired to dominate the stage like Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. But in more recent years I am more of a sucker for lyrics and mellow melodies so my main music inspiration is Jhene Aiko! I love how she is an open book with all of her songs and her sound puts me in such a relaxed trance. I want to make music that can resonate with people the way her music does for me.
LF: The other members are very inspiring to me. Especially during live performances, I get a lot of powers from the other members.
H: The members are doing their best, and it is inspiring because they can be seen in my nearest place. However, my past-self has the most influence on me; I connect with the growth of myself in the future by comparing myself with the me of the past.
T: My influence was always my family. My family was always hard working and never really cared for anything but their own gut feelings, especially when it came to work. They inspired me to dream big and follow my gut feeling to challenge myself and follow music.
M: I express what I want to express as FAKY’s Mikako. So, I’m not honest about who influences and inspires me. Rather, I would be happy if FAKY’s music and works helped someone.
What is success to you? What would you like to achieve going into the future?
M: Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have any goals. Instead, my motto is not to be “successful”, but to be the one I want to be from the past!
LF: I think it is about making songs that will be remembered by as many people as possible. I want to create music that reminds people of the scene at that time when they listen to the song.
A: As cliche as it is, success to me is self happiness. I have an infinite amount of goals I want to achieve for myself so having an idea of “success” would almost be like setting an expiration date to my goals. I think I will feel successful when I feel satisfied with everything I’ve done for myself and have no regrets!
H: It is to make my parents and my family happy. No matter how successful my work is, I don’t think it makes sense unless the most important person is happy. I want to make my family, who believe in me and support me at all times, happy.
T: My definition of success is when I will finally be able to say that I made my mom and everyone who has supported me proud. I would like to be able achieve the plans I have in my head. I don’t have that one big dream. Instead, I have plenty of small dreams. I never see things in one direction. For me, I see it as a labyrinth; you never know when you arrive at a dead-end and you never know when you will come across a new path.
The last twelve months have been a challenging year across the globe. As musicians and performers, how have you dealt with restrictions when it comes to performing?
LF: I thought it was a valuable opportunity, with the world facing the same thing. So I tried to think about what we could do as FAKY to help someone, and convey each and every thing carefully.
H: It was the most stressful thing, not being able to perform live. The same atmosphere of the live performance is not possible without the performers and the audience.
M: We were really bummed that we couldn’t share our music directly with our fans. Even so, we didn’t want to stop FAKY’s music, so we thought about various plans on social media, and thankfully we were able to release a lot even in a difficult situation. We all worked together to do what we could.
A: As you can imagine, it was a huge mental adjustment for us to switch from our usual live performances to online performances. We strongly believe that our fans are the driving force for us to put on a good show and up until now we’ve always had their energy right there in front of us. With our performances being online now, we can only trust that they have that same energy and excitement watching from behind a screen. It makes us anxious and feel lonely without them, but we trust that they are enjoying our live performances from wherever they are watching!
Taki: Of course, we miss performing and we miss seeing the smiles of the crowd. However, I want to see the positive side of things and that is the fact that everything or most things are put online, making it accessible for more people. Indeed, people far away from Japan have the opportunity to watch our shows and connect with us. During this hard time I also had the opportunity to recharge myself with new plans, new paths, new things in life, and it made me remember that I had forgotten to appreciate the small little things in life .
What can we expect from you in the future? What are your plans and goals going into 2021?
T: For our 2021 goal, we will make sure to make up for lost time. We will make sure to be stronger than ever before! Why? Because we need to give back the love and support we have received from our fans, staff, and family. We will make ways for everyone to reach our songs.
H: Last year, the power of FAKY became enormous due to the regrettable and painful things we faced across the globe. I think we can deliver our music and messages to everyone with more passion than ever before.
LF: Nobody knows what is gonna happen to the world, but I want to continue to deliver our music to everyone.
A: You can expect for us to drop single after single! As we have said before, we spent the last year planning and preparing for more content and more releases so this year we are coming in hot! Also individually, we are all doing our own projects so make sure to look out for that too! I debuted at the end of 2020 as a solo artist, and am looking forward to releasing more of my own music with you all as well!
M: We are planning to release more music again this year, so please look forward to it as we can deliver a lot of FAKY music to everyone!
Do you have a message for your fans?
LF: Thank you for your continued support. I think that our hearts are connected even though we cannot meet in person. I hope you will continue to receive our message.
H: Everyone, FAKY will move to a stage far higher than you can imagine. Please look forward to it! Thank you very much for always supporting FAKY. Please keep supporting us!
T: My message to everyone reading this is to thank you for always supporting us and for not giving up. I know a lot of you are still dealing with a lot of different complications in life but don’t forget that there’ is always another way. Don’t forget to take time for yourself and hug your loved ones. Enjoy small little things in life and don’t forget to cherish every moment. Lastly, please keep safe!
Akina: To all our very loyal fans, thank you so very much! We couldn’t have gotten through all the difficult times that last year brought without each and everyone of your support! We are going to work so hard to return all the love you’ve given us. Thank you once again, take care and be safe! I love you all so much!
M: Thank you for always supporting FAKY. Your power is our power. Please keep supporting us!