Why The Japanese Houses’ androgynous music works

‘The Japanese House’ sounds like it’s the name of a band, and on listening to their songs one would be quick to think their “lead singer” is a guy, this ambiguity is what makes The Japanese House stand out from many other artists today.

I remember when I first listened to ‘The Japanese House’, way back when she dropped her first single, ‘Still’. Yes, that’s right, The Japanese House is a solo act. And she’s female. I remember being really intrigued as the style of her music was different to anything I’d listened to. It wasn’t until after I did some research, on what at the time I thought was a band, that I discovered the singer was female. This not knowing what gender the singer was, or whether or not ‘The Japanese House’ was a band or solo act, really added to my intrigue. I’d never been so shocked at the identity behind the music I’d listened to before.

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Oxford tonight my dudeZ

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And I wasn’t the only one. That was the point. At aged only 21, Amber Bain, who goes by the stage name ‘The Japanese House’, is starting to see some great success. While her music is different, it’s the whole tone, and ambiguity to her music that really draws people in. Her identity isn’t what drives her music, unlike many of today’s acts who have screaming teens at their shows for their good looks. The thing is, if no-one really knows whether you’re male or female, a band or a solo act, then they can’t pre-judge you. Instead, what they judge you on is what they hear and not what they see. Which should be the case with music.

For this reason her music is being well received by people of all backgrounds. People aren’t being turned off due to prejudices instilled in them, instead they’re open to her music. If they don’t like her it’s because she’s not their type, and not because she’s not a “hot guy” or because she’s a “just another female pop singer”.

Her music draws people in with it’s unusual loops, and dreamy production. There’s no gimmicks. You like her sounds or you don’t, she’s an artist first and foremost, she hasn’t tried to push her music through and image.

So why the ambiguous name? The name ‘The Japanese House’ was inspired by a property in England, previously owned by Kate Winslet, with furnishings reminiscent of traditional Japanese tea houses. Amber Bain and her family stayed here during her childhood. During her week-long stay in the cottage, Bain posed as a boy, calling herself Danny, and fooling another little girl her own age that she was a little boy. This androgyny became, naturally, incorporated into her music as she grew.

Her music is dreamy, and nostalgic, and perfect for late nights chilling with friends. It evokes emotion, and while each song has a very distinct sound, (you know a Japanese House song when you hear it), they are clearly different and unique in their own way.

Here’s my top recommendations, if you’re listening to The Japanese House for the first time.

Still: Her first single on one that encompasses her style perfectly.


Cool Blue:

(p.s. sorry for ruining the surprise if it’s the first time listening to The Japanese House…)

If you want to catch ‘The Japanese House’ on tour she’s touring the U.K at the minute. Check out her full tour list here.


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