Tentative NMFT vol 3 line-up
This is not the official line-up but I would like to get something concrete within the next 4 weeks.I initially wanted to organize the tour for Oct 14-23 but one of the members of Natsumen plays in another band and they have a gig on Oct 22 so they need to get back to Japan by Oct 21 at the latest. Therefore, if airfare is reasonable I will hold the tour Oct 7-16 instead. Currently waiting to hear back from Natsumen if this new itinerary has any conflicts. Another factor is Chatmonchy's interest in doing the tour. I talked with HashiEri and Akko at MOTFD's tour finale in October. They said for sure they would love to come to Canada but I figured they were just being polite (ie lip service). But Yoshino, MOTFD's drummer, recently spoke to Kumikon about the tour and she was extremely amped about taking part in the NMFT tour (esp if they came along with MOTFD). The only thing is that they were planning an event/tour some time in October so it may conflict with them being able to participate this year. I might recommend to MOTFD & Chatmonchy that they come in May 2012 instead since the weather will be much nicer. Also, I have a plan to contact management at Air Canada and see if I can get some sort of corporate rate which would allow more leeway to book tours in other times of the year (right now I can only afford to do the tours in May or October or when it's too cold for the bands to enjoy Canada eg Jan-April). Assuming Chatmonchy +/- MOTFD aren't involved, I am leaning towards the following line-up:
1. NATSUMEN If Jimi Hendrix were reborn as Japanese and started his own progressive jazz band with the best musicians he could find you would end up with NATSUMEN. These guys are gods in the J-indie/underground scene. They've been around for almost a decade but they don't play shows together too often since some of the members are busy with other bands/projects. So it's a real treat if you luck out and manage to catch a rare NATSUMEN show in Japan. NATSUMEN aren't household names even in Japan. Hitomi of viridian had no clue who NATSUMEN were when I told her about NMFT vol3. But people who are passionate about Japanese indie music recognize and respect NATSUMEN highly as one of the best bands in the country primarily for their extraordinary live performances. For me to bring NATSUMEN to Canada would be a huge deal to the more ardent fans of Japanese music in N America. The MAJOR drawback is they consist of 8 band members and have a manager as well. It would cost me 2-3 times the price of bringing a normal band of 3-4 members. For instance, it would be much cheaper to bring a "household name" band like Rin Toshite Shigure (3 members) even if they insisted on a guarantee (additional money) and that I pay to bring their manager, sound tech and 1 or 2 roadies. So I'm still having second thoughts about bringing NATSUMEN given how f*cking expensive it would be to bring them over. Also, if I stick with the plan of bringing 4 bands on tour, the total number of people I bring to Canada from Japan may be prohibitively large for me to look after on my own. NATSUMEN are without a doubt one of the best Japanese bands I could possibly bring to Canada. It's a stroke of luck that they are available and enthusiastic about participating in the tour, so I have more or less committed myself to bringing them to Canada as the "headlining" act.
These 3 girls from Saitama have C H O P S. Last November, Kenta of susquatch sent me an enthusiastic email. He just sh*t his pants after watching an amazing band named チーナ and told me I absolutley needed to check them out and possibly invite them to Canada. Well, Kenta was about 1.5 years late, b/c I already had チーナ on my radar as one of the bands I considered for the very 1st NMFT tour. As musicians the 3 girls in this band have skills that are off the charts. When cutman-booche broke up チーナ snagged their drummer and he currently plays support for them. チーナ's music is 'pop' with classical and jazz roots but it has a subtly raw underground feel (especially live) that elevates it from mainstream fluff. And I can't stress enough how badass they are as musicians. When I choose bands for the NMFT tour I try to keep a balance between the aggressive and heartfelt/melodic. Not everyone is into HC/post-punk and a lot of girls come to these shows too so I've always included bands like グーミ and susquatch that are a bit "softer" but really strike an emotional, soulful chord with the audience. This tour, チーナ fills this category. But don't let the string instruments fool you, this band can be very intense. Not as loud as say sgt. but their ridiculously tight and powerful performance will impress anyone that doesn't have sh*t for brains. Unfortunately they are relative unknowns even in Japan but are slowly developing a core fanbase. Their upcoming "one-man" show in April is already sold out and they are signed to an "indie" label affiliated with Victor Records.
Hyacca have been one of my favorite bands for a while but it was not until late 2009 when I saw them for the first time in their hometown of Fukuoka (I had to sneak away from my cousin's wedding for a bit to do this too!) Their music is released under my friend Ian Martin's label: Call And Response Records Hyacca's music is ferocious yet incredibly danceable and catchy and they always manage to get the crowd into a moshpit frenzy. They would be perfect to bring to Canada with their good friends the Mornings but I've had to give up on the Mornings due to their inflexible work schedule. And Hyacca + The Mornings would be a bit too much awesome for Canada to handle. hahaha. The members of Hyacca all have salaried jobs that may make getting time off difficult but requested far enough in advance it should be possible for them to get adequate holiday time for the tour. If チーナ represents the soulful/melodic then 百蚊 brings the wild and chaotic in spades. Ian would go futher and state that Hyacca destroy ミドリ as the cooler, more entertaining band with better music (they often get compared due to both having bold/intense frontwomen who sing and play guitar). I'm not so sure about that but both bands are among my favorites and both are insanely fun to watch live.
4. nisennenmondai There really is no other band like nisennenmondai in the world. Sayaka Himeno's drumming alone is worth not only the price of admission but flying between continents, losing an eye and limb and breaking up with your wife/girlfriend.
Legendary tales of them playing shows in Japan with the likes of Hella, Lightning Bolt, Battles and No Age have built their credo to near-legendary status. Prefuse 73 has been talking about them for years as well, quoted in Dazed & Confused as saying, “John Stanier from Battles had told me they were sick. . . They started to play and the drummer was as big as my hand. She started to play 16th notes on her hi-hat for about 15 minutes. Next thing you know, these three tiny diminutive women were making us look like idiots because they were so incredible.”
These girls are highly sought after for music festivals around the world. I've contacted the band and Himeno replied with an interest in the tour but I would likely have to offer a guarantee in addition to flight/hotel. If there's a band that's worth a ギャラ it's them, especially on this tour since they're really the only big name band (though NATSUMEN are arguably the headliners). I have yet to formally invite them for the October tour (they would have come in May but they had already booked a European tour) but I would love to have them participate. Out of the 4 bands they would bring the most fans for sure (though every band on this bill is equally as sh*t hot; they're just the most well-known).
So the line-up isn't set in stone, but I would be very happy if this came to fruition. I do have lots of options however. I really need to re-evaluate if NATSUMEN are truly worth the absurd cost and logistic nightmare necessitated by the size of the band. They wouldn't be able to help me much in terms of providing material to promote with either. Also, AxSxEx has a tendency to smash his guitar during each show and I can't afford to get him replacements on tour nor do I want to lend him mine. If Chatmonchy want involved in the October tour then I'll have to say goodbye to one of the above 4 bands and bring them on-board. Yeah, they're a mainstream band but they are responsible for getting me seriously interested in Japanese music in the first place. They are bonafide superstars and it would be exceedingly easy to promote the tour if they are involved. Zankyo Records also approached me about getting any of their bands on the tour and I would strongly consider te', haisuinonasa, mudy on the sakuban, Luminous Orange or the cabs since Zankyo would make life alot easier in terms of helping promote the tour.
Rin Toshite Shigure are another band I might have a chance at securing although it may be too late as they almost certainly have their calendar booked solid by now. I met with Nakano Pierre in December and he would love to have his band come to Canada. Personally I think Chaotic Speed King are way more entertaining but people in N America would sh*t their pants if RTS came to Canada. To be brutally honest, although their music is phenomenal without question their live performances are lacklustre in the sense that they simply get on stage, play their instruments, don't speak to or interact with the crowd (except Pierre who is awesome but gets little time to emcee behind the drums), and exit the stage and never play an encore no matter how hard you cheer for one. I've seen RTS play live in Japan at least 5-6 times. The crowd definitely goes nuts moshing to their music but it's not based on their stage presence. You could have mannequins on stage and the crowd would still do the same thing. But I'm being hypocrtical as nisennenmondai aren't any more dynamic on stage either and I consider them a great live band. For what its worth I am going to try contacting RTS about their availability in October. If they want to take part, it would have to be at the cost of NATSUMEN. There is no way I can afford to bring both RTS and Natsumen.
If Hyacca aren't available in October I would consider 385. In fact, which band would you readers want to see more, Hyacca or 385? Would you rather see 385 over nisennenmondai ? (that's crazy talk but nisennenmondai might ask for an absurdly high guarantee which I won't accept). チーナ is actually the one band I am least likely to remove since they fit a required niche, are great people who are extremely enthusiastic about the tour and are the underdogs who will blow the audience away (unless you're some retarded headbanger who can only appreciate loud music with excessive distortion). viridian are best friends with チーナ and a band whose music I love but the last 2 performances by them weren't too memorable and they added a bass player which makes them a little more expensive and more like a typical band.
Other bands I am considering: Usotsuki Barbie (impossible to contact)
Gekitetsu (I've never met them in person, but Kenta of susquatch warned me the lead singer is famous for being a junkie and I have a feeling they would be too much of a headache to control on tour). They do kick ass though.
Mowmow Lulu Gyaban (they were interested in previous tours but their manager never wrote back for NMFT vol 3. Still, they're a band I love watching live and I would consider contacting them again).
Tokyo KaranKoron (great, quirky band whom I love but they would be competeing for チーナ's spot)
King Brothers / N'Shukugawa BOYZ (practically 2 bands for the price of one and 2 of the most fun bands you could ever see live. It would be asking alot to have Marya and Shinnosuke perform twice in one night the way they do in both bands however. So I'd probably have to choose one which would be tough since they're both great in their own way).
I'll probably edit this post later with more potential bands being strongly considered.