All About Japan

An Electronic Pop Homage to Kyoto

Kimono Music Video Dance Fashion Kyoto Kansai

Clean Bandit is a British electronica pop group known for their unique style that combines classical instruments with dance pop. What brings them to our attention is the fact that the group appears to be huge fans of Japan. Their latest single, “Solo feat. Demi Lovato” makes that very evident, as it has a special “Japan Edition” music video.

The video was filmed in Kyoto and was produced by an all-Japanese staff. The video seems to take its aesthetic from traditional Japanese culture with its red, black, gold and white color palette. There are two dancing characters who are the focus of the story: one in a red kimono and one in a black modern outfit, and throughout the video you can see them mirroring each other at some points and clashing against each other at others.

According to the YouTube page, the video represents the “dichotomy of trying to breakaway your feelings and moving-on from your past with the inner-turmoil that comes along with it." The black-clothed dancer represents the feeling of wanting to hang on, while the dancer in the kimono personifies the feeling of wanting to break away. The resulting dance between the two represents the emotional struggle many of us know well.

Though they might look like different people, both roles are brilliantly performed by Japanese dancer NANA, who is a member of the newly debuted dance duo MIKUNANA. The duo was formerly part of the quartet Kikirara, and have appeared in numerous other J-pop music videos. Though MIKU doesn’t appear in this video, NANA holds her own with a really moving performance.

Clean Bandit’s official video of “Solo” seems to have a similar message as the Japan Edition, but it’s portrayed in a very different way, and thus can be interpreted a little differently. It’s clear that Clean Bandit had a lot to say with this song, but that isn’t the only reason why the Japan Edition was created. According to the YouTube page, the band just really wanted to express their love for the city of Kyoto.

This isn’t the first time that the group has expressed their love for either Japan or Kyoto, either; their 2014 hit single “Rather Be” is an homage to Japan itself. The music video was filmed in Tokyo, and the lyrics mention Kyoto explicitly, with the lines of:

“With every step we take, Kyoto to the Bay
Strolling so casually
We’re different and the same, gave you another name
Switch up the batteries”

Fans of Kyoto will recognize a number of famous sites in the video, including Kyoto Tower, the Yasaka Pagoda and Tofukuji Temple. See if you can spot them while you’re watching this beautiful homage to the ancient city!

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