Back Issue__ Trippple Nippples
Tripple Nipples is dressed and ready to hit the world stage, watch out for the flying chunks of hot dogWords: Sasha Hecht
Photos: Rafael Rios
As unfortunate and unfair as it may be, in the Western world, contemporary Asian culture is often viewed as little more than a grab bag of cutesy quirks and WTFs. Think the immaculately groomed K-pop boy toy superstars that put the Biebs to shame; the school girls decked out in Hello Kitty packs, pleated skirts, and peace fingers; and the controversial fetishization of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Girls. But there’s a Godzilla tearing through Tokyo’s music scene—a three-headed, cloth diaper-wearing, hot dog-spewing behemoth. It’s a force to be reckoned with, a force to be taken seriously, and its name is Trippple Nippples.
Unsurprisingly, the story behind Trippple Nippple’s inception is something of a puzzler. Yuka Nippple, Qrea Nippple, and Nabe Nippple—frontwomen of the eponymously-named project (for some reason, we doubt these are the names that appear on their birth certificates)—are all “kind of step-sisters,” while Joseph Lamont, James Masheder, and Elliott Hasiuk—the group’s instrumentalists and testosterone trio—are all step-cousins. Oh, and Yuka and Elliott’s grandparents might have had a threesome or something like that.
The Trippp Nippps ladies met as teens and quickly went about hashing out their shared dream of making it as musicians. Though each Nippple brought to the table a wide breadth of influences, the trio decidedly sunk their claws into one particular inspiration. “We wanted to become Destiny’s Child.” Can you blame them? “But it didn’t turn out that way.”
Anyone who has seen Trippple Nippples in action or has listened to more than four seconds of any track on their Soundcloud will agree resoundingly with this statement, but what did result from the teaming together of these petite firestarters is something more heart-pounding than “Independent Women” ever was (forgive us, B. Congrats on Purple Fern!). To call Trippple Nippples “noise pop” would be to understate this jaw-dropping, head-spinning, Tazmanian devil of a band. Trippple Nipples is, as they’ve been called by music blog Too Many Sebastians, “brain-damage pop.” Trippple Nippples will make your eardrums burst and the capillaries in your eyes pop. But what really hooks Trip Nips fans is that they’re fun.
Where Trippple Nippples really comes alive is onstage; come for the music, stay for the performance art/DIY fashion/all-around shitshow. Without giving too much away (the oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I’m-watching-this factor is really something to savor), the 45 minutes or so following the band’s emergence onto the stage is a whirlwind of noise, limbs, hair, and unadulterated energy. Tonight, at Glasslands in Brooklyn, the ladies are wearing fabric pinned into makeshift diapers, nipple (rather, “nippple”) tape, and woven fabric headdresses, while the men sport togas and something that looks like a hedgehog strapped to their foreheads. Everyone is wearing facepaint, because why the hell not. The Nippples girls don a new anomalous ensemble at almost every show, most likely because anything within their proximity gets destroyed (yes, we once witnessed them actually dance a diaper off) or otherwise soiled. While burning through outfits could easily rack up costs (a cancer for almost any struggling independent artists), the Nippples girls have creatively subverted their financial woes and tactfully played into their inner recessionistas. “We are very poor—we can’t even afford to get material—so we go to the dollar shop. [What we’re wearing tonight] is actually a mat for a kitchen sink. We ripped it and then we weaved it together. It ended up costing about three dollars." Where they get the inspiration for these outfits that looked like they were designed after accidentally reaching for Nyquil in the morning, we can’t be sure, but maybe a foray into their newest track “LSD” might crop up some answers.
Much like the vision behind their style, questions about the philosophy behind any of their creative work are met with similarly enigmatic responses: giggles, sideways glances, and more giggles. Sure, part of this is probably to do with the language barrier and the intrinsic silliness of piling nine people into a storage closet of a music venue for an interview to avoid noise pollution from the set in progress, but maybe it’s also because there is no grand “philosophy.” Maybe the presumptuous “artist’s statement” we’ve come to expect, isn’t present here. Maybe Trippple Nippples is just about wearing crazy outfits, playing loud music, and having an amazing time. It’s pretty rare that we come across a band whose main focus is smacking a smile on a new fan’s face rather than an album on a Pitchfork “best of” list, and when we do, it’s surprising but incredibly refreshing. The world could definitely use a little more silliness, and a lot more screaming, flailing, Japanese pop stars.
So what’s next for this unstoppable force of sound, shock, and awe? Having already earned themselves a respectable fan base back home in Japan, Trippple Nippples’ next big step is to crack the States; with a co-sign from Pharrell, a sponsorship from Palladium shoes, a mini East Coast tour, and four dates with Devo under their belt, it can’t be too long before we’ll be able to see Trippple Nippples force feeding each other strawberries topless on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (okay, so maybe American television viewers aren’t quite ready for that just yet, but we can dream). All that’s left now is to sit patiently and wait for these girls to drop a full-length that will blow us away. Tripple Nippples is a barreling train that’s only picking up speed, and if you think you know “bizarre” now, hang on tight for what’s to come. “Last year, our goal was to be the most famous band in Japan. This year, our goal is to become the weirdest band on the planet!” Well guys, we have all the faith in the world in you.
Watch Trippple Nippples live in action here. Trust us, you don't want to miss this.