Origins of the tour and I'm back in Japan!!

こんにちわ!!Hi my name is Steve and I'm the nut responsible for organizing this mini tour. Background: My parents are Japanese and I was born and raised in Vancouver but I've lived in Toronto for the last 10 years. My biggest passion in life is music. And at this point in time.. Japanese indie music. In the last 3 years alone I've travelled to Japan 20 times (probably a Guiness world record for non-business related travel). And each time I'd watch 1-2 shows almost every night while in Japan. A couple of years ago I had the idea of bringing some of my favorite Japanese bands over to play in Canada and the US. At that time I wanted to bring Chatmonchy, Rin Toshite Shigure, ミドリ and Mass of the Fermenting Dregs. But that was a bit of a pipe dream... or so I thought. More recently, I've become immersed in Tokyo's underground music scene. One person in particular: Ian Martin, inspired me to carry this N. American tour to fruition. He routinely organizes shows in Koenji (suburb of Tokyo) where 6-8 bands (really obscure or avant garde) play on a given night. He recruits bands that he loves and rents a club to allow them to perform knowing full well that he will lose quite a bit of money with each show. Ian's not the richest guy in the world (gross understatement) but he keeps organizing these events for the love of music and spurring some interest in Tokyo's great underground scene. Not to mention it must be a sh*tload of fun. So I wanted to do the same thing... but on a grander scale. I know that indie bands in Japan barely make ends meet and can't really afford to travel to North America for a tour. So why not pay to fly the bands to Canada and organize the tour for them? I contacted a few of my favorite bands that I know reasonably well (Kulu Kulu Garden, Owarikara, グーミ) and they loved the idea (what band wouldn't?!) Then I contacted a bunch of other more established bands like Mass Dre, Veltpunch, susquatch etc. In the end andymori and mothercoat were the first to respond back and I was ecstatic to have them join the tour. So that's how this mini Canadian tour developed. Initially I wanted to take the bands to New York and LA, but that's a massive headache I don't want to even go into anymore. (damn P1/P3 visas!!!)

Right now I'm actually in Shinjuku, Tokyo. I arrived yesterday and went to 2 shows!! Saw ネズミハナビ, クリープハイプ and ねごと at Shibuya LUSH. ねごと was the main reason I went b/c cute all-girl bands who rock = guaranteed win. They're incredibly young and have a limited catalog of songs but you can tell they're going to be a band to be reckoned with in the near future. After ねごと's set I bumped into 2/3 of Mass of the Fermenting Dregs (Chiemi and Isao; Bass & Drums). They came to the show to support their friends/labelmates: dry as dust. I chatted with mass dre and their manager and of course mentioned the tour (which I had invited them to participate in!!!). It turns out the webmaster filtered out my email message or Natsukon thought it was BS. hahaha. Anyhow, 2/3 of Mass Dre and their manager are totally on board for the next tour !!!! (likely October 2010). I actually skipped out on dry as dust and Spank Page and went next door to Shibuya HOME where bo-peep and Tokyo Pinsalocks were playing. I only caught bo-peep's last song but Pinsalocks killed it last night with a GREAT set. Hisayo channels her bass through software on a Mac notebook to create a filthy, distorted tone that sounds absolutely AMAZING. Both bands got together for an encore covering "Video Killed the Radio Star" I promised Reiko I'll bring the Pinsalocks to Canada (October?) along with Masadayomasa (another fave band of mine).

Tonight I'm probably going to watch toe at Shibuya O-east. I hate the massive size of the venue but toe is just too good of a band to miss. If I can't score tix (show's technically sold out), I'll go see my friends thai kick murph @ Motion.

BTW, I'm meeting with the bands on the tour this Thursday (18th). They came up with the tour name: Next Music from TOKYO!!!

Wow. My first ever blog post. I never thought I'd write one. I'll have to edit it later with pics/videos/links.

If you live near Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto... come to the show!!!!