NMFT9 in October 2016 !!
My plan is to hold the Next Music from Tokyo tour twice this year. I will try to have the line-up and tour dates for volume 9 finalized in the next two weeks.
Note: Nothing is official yet! 第9のカナダツアーのラインアップと予定は未だ決定では無い！
After my last trip to Japan in March, I was leaning towards a line-up of: Maison Book Girl, heliotrope, THIS IS JAPAN, skillkills and 虎の子ラミー. All five of these bands were contenders for NMFT8 as discussed in this blog entry on my other website.
Right now, heliotrope is probably my favorite band to watch live.
heliotrope was actually invited to take part in NMFT8 but all of their members work office jobs with strict work schedules so they couldn't get the necessary time off work to do the tour. Along with Maison Book Girl, heliotrope is the band I wanted to bring to Canada the most for NMFT9 but unfortunately, their situation hasn't changed and unless they quit their jobs they'll never be able to take part in an NMFT tour. Haisuinonasa and a bunch of other bands I've wanted to bring to Canada over the years are in the same boat.
So the bad news is I can't bring heliotrope. The good news is the other group I really wanted to bring can participate and that is: Maison Book Girl
The biggest reason I want to hold NMFT9 this October instead of waiting until May 2017 is because I'm worried Maison Book Girl will blow up in popularity and I won't be able to bring them if I wait a year. Suiyoubi no Campanella and Oomori Seiko were both interested in NMFT and in both cases I waited just a few months too long and they grew to become megastars (meaning I would have to pay them a huge guarantee of extra money in addition to paying for all their flights/hotels/etc if I were to invite them now). In the half year I considered Maison Book Girl as a candidate for NMFT, their stage presence has improved significantly and their fanbase has ballooned immensely.
They're still an underground idol group for the time being but not for long. I personally think they're the next Perfume. 99% of idol groups are hyper and cutesy whereas Maison Book Girl has a much more sophisticated sound and style along the lines of Perfume.
Personally I despise the idol scene for its blatant exploitation of females (often prepubescent; e.g. babymetal) and the fact they steal so much attention away from much more deserving bands/musicians that write and perform their own music. I hate how it celebrates style and superficiality over substance and quality. But having said that I try not to be categoric and always keep an open mind when it comes to music.
Maison Book Girl's music is sophisticated and awesome and they put on a great show. Just like Oomori Seiko they have their roots and ties thoroughly embedded in the underground music scene. Hell they just recently played their newest CD release show with skillkills, Chaotic Speed King, and Owarikara. There is so much that distinguishes Maison Book Girl from the typical idol group and I have absolutely no qualms having them become a part of the NMFT roster. Not to mention they'll make my life a lot easier when it comes to promoting NMFT9 and attracting new fans to the shows. Maison Book Girl also like to switch things up by performing part of their set with the other acts in the show. Here they are collaborating with Chaotic Speed King. (Oomori Seiko also appears as a secret guest during the show.)
Watching the video it's pretty clear they're actually singing and not lip-synching. Koshoji Megumi (the blonde) is one of Oomori Seiko's best friends and I remember watching Megumi stagedive, crowd surf and hang upside down from the ceiling pipes going nuts at one of Oomori Seiko's shows. I had a chance to talk to the girls and they are all soooooooooo down to earth and amazingly friendly. My plan is to have Maison Book Girl collab with either THIS IS JAPAN or skillkills who are two of the other bands I'm considering for NMFT9.
THIS IS JAPAN are good friends of otori. They play an extremely melodic, hard-hitting and fairly technical brand of modern punk. Their shows are extremely loud and energetic and the great melodies within the songs will have your head bobbing or banging in no time. The only problem is the bassist might have to quit his job just to take part in the tour in October. (damn!)
The whole idea of having skillkills and Maison Book Girl play together on the same bill was so crazy to me I felt it just had to be done and I was very close to bringing this pair together in May for NMFT8. They play such completely different styles with skillkills being one of the most badass bands on the planet. But guess what happened: Maison Book Girl actually invited skillkills (and Chaotic Speed King, Owarikara & Oyasumi Hologram) to do a show with them in March. How is that f#cking possible?! They must have stolen the idea from my blog! Nah, I'm not vain enough to believe that but it is a coincidence of epic proportions.
Anyhow, I was a bit weary having both Dalljub Step Club and skillkills as 'hip hop'-esque bands on the same roster but now I can have my original idea of a skillkills/Maison Book Girl pairing come to fruition. (note: I haven't officially asked skillkills about coming in October so I'll do that right now!)
I feel Maison Book Girl might get lonely being the only female group on the roster so a band like 虎の子ラミー (Toranoko Rammy) would be a high octane band to pair nicely in contrast. They could also be the band to collab with Maison Book Girl for Maison's mini-band set. To be honest, Toranoko Rammy's brand of garage-pop-punk is a bit generic but they are extremely tight as a band and are absolutely ferocious on stage. They're like a female version of OWARIKARA in terms of charisma and energy level. These girls have toured all across Japan and they host their own radio show so they already have a lot of experience and advanced communication skills and stage humour for such a very young band. Unfortunately, they've already booked shows in October that conflict with my intended schedule so I would have to change the tour dates to mid-September if I have my heart set on bringing Toranoko Rammy.
To help draw more fans to the show I am thinking of bringing at least one band that is more recognizable to Canadians who already listen to Japanese music. The three bands in this category that I am considering are:
1. People in the Box Their manager is a good friend of mine so it's doable if there are no schedule conflicts.
2. THE NOVEMBERS Their manager asked if they could come to Canada along with label-mates Kinoko Teikoku during NMFT6 but I had to turn them down because the roster was already set.
3. 雨のパレード (Ame no Parade) Ame no Parade was the first and main band I wanted to bring last year but when I changed the tour dates from May to June they could no longer participate and I ended up bringing Atlantis Airport instead. I like their older shoegaze/post-rock style much more than their recent 'city pop' sound. However, if they're willing to perform their earlier songs as well I would be okay inviting them again. Out of the three bands they would be the most fun to hang out with in Canada since we're already friends.
Other bands I'm considering:
The problem is like heliotrope they work office jobs and may not be able to get enough time off work.
I love this band! And especially this song ("Monique & her tonsils"). This footage is from 4 years ago. Their new and current drummer is otori's original drummer.
People who loved otori last year should gravitate heavily to o'summer vacation who are like the less serious, less musically tight but more hardcore cousin of otori. By the way, I could just bring otori again in October!!
Bakyun the everyday I'm super good friends with both guitarists (Nobumi and Ino) so it would be a blast to hang out with them in Canada!
Chiaki Sato asked Nobumi (and Mio of Microcosm) to sing chorus for Kinoko Teikoku last month during their one-man show.
Speaking of Mio of Microcosm:
Mio has a new band called: ayutthaya that has the drummer from skillkills as one of its members. They played their first show last month and the secret guest band at that show was none other than Kinoko Teikoku. [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/247284676" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/247284535" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
So I could save money by bringing skillkills and ayutthaya together since they share the same drummer. LOL.
If Toranko Rammy can't make the tour, a similar and suitable back-up plan would be to go with: ゆゆん (Yuyun)
They're not as skilled as Toranoko Rammy but their songs are a bit more emo and tread closer to my musical tastes.
羊文学 (Hitsuji Bungaku)
Hitsuji Bungaku is a band I had 2 opportunities to watch in March but didn't. Before I go to Japan I plan my itinerary of shows to watch well in advance. March 16 was a rare night when I couldn't find any good shows to catch. That night I hung out with friends but later found out on twitter that Hitsuji Bungaku had played a free show with another cool band called Ululu at a venue 5 min away from my hotel!!!! Two nights later I had another chance to watch them but my friends were holding the musical festival of the year (Kura Fes) in the boonies in Chiba so I ended up missing them again. Similar to Regal Lily and Gozen Sanji to Taikutsu, Hitsuji Bungaku is another young female band that just recently finished high school. Like Regal Lily they also play a style of emo/shoegaze that reminds me of early Chatmonchy. It's probably a bit early to bring them so most likely I'll wait to see them improve, write more songs and see how they are live in person.
Bands I've brought before that I could bring again:
1. otori 2. PENs+ 3. Jizue 4. Hyacca
Hopefully, Maison Book Girl, skillkills and THIS IS JAPAN are going to form the core and I plan to bring two more bands for a total of five. Out of the other bands featured above let me know in the comments section which two you would like to see fill out the roster. Thanks in advance!!