Choosing the bands for NMFT6
Nothing is official yet but two of the four bands have more or less been determined and they are Happy!Mari and group_inou. The third band will likely be jizue and I've already invited tricot to be the 4th band.
group_inou are a no brainer. They were part of NMFT4 and quite possibly the most popular and fun band to have participated in NMFT so far.
Happy!Mari have a girly band name but they are supremely badass and my favorite band at the moment. I'll describe them more in a future post but they're a unique band overflowing with character and originality who write great songs and are incredibly tight musicians. A lot of people may hate the singer's voice and singing style (I did at first) as it's very high pitched, occasionally whiny and out of tune but it's grown on me and now I consider it a real strength and one of the reasons the band is so interesting. They're very young and haven't even released an album yet but are kicking everyone's asses in Tokyo's underground scene.
jizue are an instrumental band from Kyoto who have been around for a while but are just now starting to make some noise throughout Japan. They're similar to mouse on the keys with piano driven melodies however the addition of bass and guitar allow for less minimalism and more warmth. Also similar to motk and toe, their performances crescendo with a ton of emotion and intensity since most of the members previously played in hardcore bands. I went to their one-man concert in July and was completely blown away. Basically, the only reason they're not already 100% on the roster is because they didn't bother to put me on the guest list for their show. They REALLY want to take part in NMFT6 and it was probably just an honest mistake but we had been in contact through Facebook & Twitter and even though I didn't explicitly say "please put me on the guest list" they should have known better. I'm going to see them again next month and will give them a 2nd chance since they are pretty f*cking awesome.
As many of you know, in 2011 tricot was the first band I confirmed for NMFT4 and for various reasons I ended up replacing them with Praha Depart. tricot set aside time from their busy schedule for the tour, had their heart set on coming to Canada and I rudely took away their opportunity so they have every right to be pissed at me.... and they are... very much so, well at least the drummer and manager with whom I had discused the tour. Last year, I invited them to NMFT5 but they declined (actually, they were so pissed they didn't even respond back). Since then I've talked with the band and staff and things are a bit smoother but I think they still hold a grudge. Anyhow, tricot has a spot on the tour if they decide to take it
Again, nothing's set in stone but group_inou, Happy!Mari, jizue, tricot would be a KILLER line-up.
But in case tricot says no I need to be prepared with a substitute. Also, jizue are frontrunners but they don't have the spot locked up just yet.
So these are the other bands I'm strongly considering for the two remaining spots on the NMFT6 roster:
百蚊 (hyacca) Having hyacca and group_inou on the same bill would be... INSANE. Out of the past five NMFT tours, these two bands wreaked the most havoc by far. Especially because I go completely mental watching them and generate a lot of moshing and crowdsurfing on my own. hahaha.
otori Since hyacca have already participated before, I would prefer giving another band a chance and otori shares some of the raw power and ferociousness that hyacca has in spades. However, otori don't have quite the same energy and stage presence as hyacca and they still need a couple more killer songs to put on a truly great 35-40 min set. What I do like about them is they have developed a signature sound quite unlike any other band and I really appreciate their originality.
股下89 (matashita 89) Matashita89's music fits a lot closer to the NMFT aesthetic than tricot's. However, tricot are much better musicians/performers. What I love about 股下89 is their no non-sense attitude and raw "I don't give a f*ck" soulfullness that is unseen in any other female band save for nisennenmondai and maybe 鬼の右腕 (oni no migiude). Unfortunately, like otori they need to up their collection of standout songs but their attitude/aura alone leaves a lasting impression.
nayuta A Kansai band that was recommended to me years ago whom I had been following closely and finally saw live for the first time in July. The main guitarist is the 2nd coming of Hendrix and the drummer is also phenomenally good. They are essentially an instrumental band with world music meets carnival meets lullaby-esque hymns and chants thrown in for vocal effect rather than a traditional form of singing. When I saw them play live for their record release they actually played twice the same night as the first and last bands up. I watched the show with my friend Martin and we thought the first set was decent but nothing spectacular. However, the second time up they KILLED it and Martin and I were picking our jaws up from the ground. It was like two completely different bands. And the weird thing is they played my favorite songs during the first set but the second set was way, WAY better. I really like this band but I'm not sure how well they'll go over in Canada. What do you guys think?
rega They're label mates of チーナ and I've mentioned them as candidates before. In fact, rega are one of the most skilled instrumental bands in Japan and have a much larger following than チーナ, so Takeo Hori who manages both bands has always wondered why チーナ and not rega?! Well, チーナ trumps rega by having a style that's closer to being unique and for writing songs with more emotional impact. However, I was invited to rega's one-man at Shelter in July and they were very impressive. A lot heavier and aggressive than I remember them being and the crowd went completely bananas the entire night. I'll keep them in mind but with group_inou and Happy!Mari having all male members I'd prefer the other two bands to have at least some female content to balance things out a bit.
(The video gets progressively wilder and crazier esp after the 5:30 mark)
There are much more established bands like Rin Toshite Shigure and Clammbon that I'd love to bring but it would be way too expensive (triple the cost of a regular band). Tokumaru Shugo is another option whom group_inou want to tour Canada with but he could tour the US & Canada easily on his own without my help. Akai Koen want to come again but Universal Music want them to focus on gaining popularity in Japan first.
Other bands under consideration: mothercoat (from NMFT1), chouchou merged syrups, thai kick murph, Gekitetsu, tacobonds, skillkills, Solid Afro, viridian (although they've practically broken up), masadayomasa (also almost broken up), Toubou Kusotawake and some other important bands I can't remember off the top of my head.
Feel free to offer criticisms, recommendations and advice in the comments section!!