No Man is an Island (pt 1)
The whole point of this tour is that it's DIY. But "Do It Yourself" doesn't mean to literally do things by yourself without engaging the help of others. The spirit of D.I.Y. in the context of music involves musicians and fans working together as peers and cultivating their own "scene' or musical community. It's meant to antagonize the divisive nature of mainstream music where the record companies and bands provide a product and the fans act merely as consumers. Everyone in the "scene" or community chips in and plays a part. You can play in a band, organize shows, write a zine or a blog, run a label or distro, host a radio show, design artwork for CDs and posters or do a number of things that help the community grow. Obviously fans play an important role supporting the scene simply by coming to shows but the whole point of "Do It Yourself" is that it fosters the mindset of wanting to be more active. For most of my music-enjoying life I was content just being a "fan" going to shows and buying records and CD's. But spending enough time in Tokyo's underground music scene where it really is one big family in which the line between musician and fan is completely blurred I felt compelled to get off my ass and do something to help the bands and everyone in the scene who make the music I dearly love. That's how the idea for "Next Music from Tokyo" was born. But NMFT was never meant to be "my baby" alone. I wanted all fans of Japanese music to play a role in it and feel like they were doing something worthwhile in supporting the Japanese music scene as a whole. And some fans have stepped up big time and played an integral role in making this tour a success.
Geoff S. has been invaluable in giving me advice, finding me ways to save money, taking the initiative to contact media people on his own, getting me interviews and basically doing an excellent job promoting the hell out of the NMFT tour.
Jon A. has helped create youtube videos, made facebook event pages, printed and posterized entire neighbourhoods with NMFT flyers, lent the Japanese bands equipment and has volunteered with a friend to drive all the way from Toronto to Montreal to deliver an upright electric bass for チーナ. Super-sized props to his friend Alvin for doing a lot of the same.
Kenny C, Kim H and their circle of friends have created their own posters and are busting their collective ass promoting the tour on a grassroots level with Facebook pages and flyering every indie hipster spot in Montreal imaginable!! You guys rule!
Theo is interviewing me tomorrow for Giant Robot's website (too bad it won't be in the actual magazine) but it's incredibly awesome he made it happen. I will have to make sure Merpeoples and チーナ give him lotsa hugs. lol.
Adam W in my hometown of Vancouver has printed/distributed flyers, bought food for the bands and carried equipment on previous tours and done a lot of helpful things for me that I'm unable to do while in Toronto.
There are lots of important people I haven't mentioned (Rupert, Denise, Dan, Wes to name a few.. and of course Ryotaro and Vish!!) and I don't want to attempt a comprehensive list because I know I'll forget someone. You guys know who you are and I appreciate the help you've given me now and in the past.
End of part 1 which was meant to give readers an understanding of why the tour exists and to show my appreciation towards all those who have helped me make this tour happen without suffering a complete mental breakdown. :)
Part 2 focusses on important ways you can still help the tour because right now NATSUMEN and chiina might not have the necessary equipment/instruments to even perform!