For more scenes from the show and further excerpts from our interviews with DJ SiSeN and Moon Kana, check out Shannon Cottrell's photo gallery.
DJ SiSeN never intended for a life behind decks. The star of Tokyo's gothic/industrial underground simply took a gig at the party Alamode for fun. But, Alamode grew popular and SiSeN jumped on the opportunity to share his favorite sounds with more and more people.
“It was a chance to spread the awareness,” SiSeN said through an interpreter last night before his engagement at Bootleg Theater.
For SiSeN, this means spreading the word not just about industrial music, but a variety of underground, dance floor-friendly styles. (Right now, he's quite taken with China's 8-bit scene.) Over the past few years, he's been able to take his fun, energetic sets outside of the Tokyo club scene. In the U.S., he's played both anime conventions and club tours. Friday night, marked his second L.A. trip this year. Back in February, he played as part of the Tainted Reality tour, both as a DJ and with his project Seileen, alongside GPKism. This time around, he had arrived in Los Angeles with singer Moon Kana.
Kana too has underground icon status in the States. Mixing rock, pop and dance styles, she's created a fun and unusual sound that's equal parts cute and fierce. Ten years ago, Kana explained through her interpreter, she began making music and sewing costumes as a means of self-expression. Last month, she released her latest album, Moon Dragon, the culmination of a two year process to bring her music back to the original “feelings” that first inspired her to perform. She augments her performance with self-made costumes, in this instance, a white, tiered skirt over bloomers and a light blue, kimono-styled top, and handmade stuffed bunnies. Following her gig last night, fans were able to pre-order bunnies that she would craft upon her return to Japan.
Each artist performed two sets over the course of the night. Armed with a troupe of go-go dancers, SiSeN focused on what experience has taught him works best in Los Angeles, big, bright dance floor bangers, as opposed to some of the darker sounds he says he drops in other cities. In between mixes, he ran towards the front of the stage to play around with the dancers, tap audience members over the head with a large, inflatable mallet and pass out lollipops amongst the crowd. The rainbow-striped, penis-shaped lollipops seemed to be particularly popular.
Kana, too, performs with energy and a good sense of humor. Bouncing around the stage in rocking horse platform shoes and, for the second half of the set, bunny ears, she alternated between sweet singing and punk rock screams that, in some ways, reminded us of the (sorely underrated) '90s band Shampoo.
Both Kana and SiSeN struck a chord with the Los Angeles crowd. They're artists you can't really pigeonhole, who use clubs to create a wild, alternate reality that mixes old-fashioned and sci-fi imagery. They might be exposing people outside of Japan to Tokyo's club scene, but, at the same time, they're tapping into L.A.'s creative underground.
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