Comments: 193 • Responses: 58 • Date: 2020-05-13 11:44:36 UTCsource
dosfiend274 karma2020-05-13 14:04:31 UTC
Big metal and Japan fan here. Do you have any recommendations on some great new metal coming out of Japan now?
Also as I can't travel but would love to support artists in Japan, are there any places I can buy merch or CDs?
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Tokyometal78 karma2020-05-13 14:14:10 UTC
Awesome! Band wise, I'll always gladly recommend GUEVNNA(some releases on my label), Funeral Moth, Self Deconstruction, Begräbnis, Exorgrindst, Floaters, Nepenthes, and many more.
We're actually doing live stream of a Floaters show filmed at a and to benefit a very important Yokohama venue called El Puente, would be super cool if you could check it out!
marshsand19 karma2020-05-13 14:10:31 UTC
What are the best rock and metal bars / nights in Tokyo?
Tokyometal55 karma2020-05-13 14:16:59 UTC
Thrash Zone. No other. Lol.
I might not be the right person to ask about that as I'm incredibly jaded about all the major rock bars that frequently come up when this question is asked (Mother, PSY, GODZ, From Dusk Till Dawn, etc.). A lot of it is really "designer" metal culture IMO, which quite possibly colors me as a little bit elitist, but the fact is I rarely meet people actually engaged in the scene at those places.
Most of the spots that a lot of the people actually involved in the scene go are pretty run of the mill. No "THIS IS A METAL BAR" sign or anything.
That being said, Shinjuku and Nakano are definitely the places to be for good shows. They happen elsewhere, too, but they're pretty heavily concentrated in those 2 districts.
nihouma7 karma2020-05-13 14:43:36 UTC
I've always heard of Shinjuku as Tokyo's gayborhood. Is there any crossover between the metal bars/performances and any gay bars?
Tokyometal44 karma2020-05-13 15:05:50 UTC
You're almost certainly referring to Shinjuku's Nichome district, which is also where some of the best restaurants in Shinjuku are.
That's actually sort of a complex question. I definitely have friends in the scene who are gay, though it's not really something they go out of their way to point out. One side of me says that could be due too Japan's notoriously repressive "overground" culture, but another side of me also thinks there's a part of the scene that kind of just doesn't care, in a non-negative way.
I've actually thought about this extensively over the years as there is certainly gender-bending, cross-dressing, and the like at play at a non-insubstantial amount of events, but, again, it's not "a big deal." It kind of just is.
I usually refer to this as the "null space", and by it I mean a space in which traditionally held beliefs or norms about identity sort of just evaporate, and those that participate in it just sort of take what's being presented as what it is on its own merit. I think this idea is hinted at in Rosemary Overell's Affective Intensities in Extreme Music Scenes academic, what they call "play", though I am unsatisfied with the extent to which the author goes to explicate.
So I guess to answer your question, by the untrained eye I guess there's probably some "gay-ish" stuff going on, though I don't think that anyone readily looks at it in an othering sort of manner. My experience has been everyone's just cool with whatever.
upvotebot456710 karma2020-05-13 14:07:58 UTC
Have a trip planned to Japan in October around Halloween (Tokyo, Kyoto,and Osaka). What is the outlook right now as far as being back to normal by that month in Japan? What is the general opinion about the outbreak and social distancing in your country?
I'm a fan of deathcore, what is a good way to find out what shows will be happening while I'm there? Any recommendations for metal bars and is there metal karaoke? I'm a vocalist and it would be fun to flex a little haha.
Thanks and good luck with everything! There's a lot of good music coming out of Japan right now and community organizers like yourself are invaluable to the scene.
Tokyometal16 karma2020-05-13 14:28:59 UTC
I book international music tours in Japan, so I'm pretty highly tuned into this question. The fact is, we don't know, though IMO its highly unlikely that thing's'll calm down by that time, even if Corona magically goes away.
The reason being is that this is a pretty traumatic time we're going through, for individuals just as much as businesses. I personally am a big fan of taking highly calculated risks, which means I need to be good at aggregating information from all over the place that is at least tangentially relevant to what I'm spending working on, which in the case of the travel industry is zilch.
That doesnt mean it wont' improve, that just means that people like myself (which is a considerable number of invested hobbiests/small businesses) simply can't begin doing the risk assessment required to plan things until other organizations/governments get their shit together. Which means that planning itself won't commence for quite some time, and if planning doesn't get done, then actual business can't get done.
I don't think I've ever seen a karaoke place advertise itself as "metal karaoke", but that's just because all karaoke places I've ever been to have a pretty decent stock of metal to select from. I belt out various Maiden, Priest, Metallica, Motorhead tracks regularly at drunken work parties on the regular.
I and the Kaala organization aren't particularly concerned with Deathcore, though I'm always happy to help fans oof any genre track down what they're looking for on an individual basis. I don't know of any resources that could answer your question, but would be cool to do a bit of looking into it if that's something you'd like.
TH3ULTIMAT3GAM3R7 karma2020-05-13 15:17:11 UTC
What is the general thoughts in the japanese metal community of the bands that pop up like Babymetal?
Tokyometal6 karma2020-05-13 15:19:03 UTC
Irrelevance at best, and generally a severe nuisance. There are 2 guys in the scene who're into idol groups for whatever reason, but I don't get it and tbh its just creepy.
TH3ULTIMAT3GAM3R3 karma2020-05-13 15:26:00 UTC
I agree idol obsession can for sure be creepy, though I will say that the music from at least babymetal has gotten legit over the years!
But thanks for the insight I've really been wondering about this for a while.
Tokyometal10 karma2020-05-13 15:35:52 UTC
I'm also quite against Babymetal and "idol metal" in general because the performers aren't writing or performing the music; its a bunch of studio musicians. Doesn't mean that the studio musicians themselves are bad at what they do, just that my conception of a band involves full-stack creative input, and Babymetla doesn't do that.
dipnosofist6 karma2020-05-13 14:31:29 UTC
As far as I know, even famous metal artists often have daily jobs and don't rely on merch/records sales for their living, let alone underground musicians. Like, Ihsahn is a music teacher, AFAIK. I would think the lockdown has close to no impact on financial situation of the underground, aside from promoters and venue owners. Am I missing something?
Tokyometal23 karma2020-05-13 14:50:37 UTC
You're correct in the day job thing - I myself operate in a wildly different territory than extreme metal during the days - though there are serious though hidden financial as well as social considerations to be made when looking at how this affects everyone involved in the scene.
So first up lemme just say that a promoter who only functions as a promoter is probably next to worthless at best. A 3rd party leech. If they aren't also involved in coordination, then - in my experience - all they do is get in the way and almost always are in it for the perceived money and have very little involvement with the scene proper. So I'm not really worried about them.
As for venues, well, shit, without venues the live music scene doesn't exist so you better worry about them. And if live music doesn't exist, then that severely reduces the incentive to create amongst musicians, unless they're solely in it for the money. Which, if you haven't figured it out, I nor the bands I associate with are; that doesn't mean we don't like turning a profit, but it does mean that we like producing products that are artistically robust as our definitions of it are concerned.
Live music, be it metal or hip hop or pop or whatever, is an ecosystem with a whole lot of moving parts. When one or more than one of them fail, that affects the entire machine. So venues failing means bands arent performing means audiences aren't buying new shirts to tell their friends about means that bandcamp isn't doing as well means that relevancy dwindles. It won't happen quickly, but if nothing's done to make sure that the support systems for all music ecosystems at the independent/underground level are maintained, I believe its quite possible this shit, which personally speaking is the lifeblood of existence itself, could be wiped off the map for the foreseeable future.
Wild_Bill_Kickcock5 karma2020-05-13 16:18:47 UTC
Did you ever hear Mong Hang? Or know what happened to them, if there are side projects, etc? That was the coolest band I ever heard from Japan.
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 16:20:02 UTC
Never heard of them!
Thrashtendo5 karma2020-05-13 15:11:14 UTC
Any recs for Japanese thrash bands besides Riverge, Fastkill, Outrage, and Sabbat? Thanks!
Tokyometal12 karma2020-05-13 15:15:00 UTC
Kings' Evil, Roserose, Zombie Ritual, Hater is a good start.
BingusMcBongle5 karma2020-05-13 12:27:01 UTC
Neat stuff, thanks for putting this together!
What would you say your biggest influences were for getting into the music scene? And on a similar note, who are the biggest influences in the Japanese underground scene?
Tokyometal9 karma2020-05-13 12:39:57 UTC
No problem, glad to see its of interest!
Into Japan's? Generally speaking, it's the whole Burning Spirits hardcore punk movement, mostly located in the North of Japan (Tohoku, Hokkaido). Bands like Etae, Mustang, Slang, Shikabane, etc. Specifically, it's gotta be a powerviolence band called Quill (good luck finding documentation of them online) and another called Assault, both of whom I saw live in my hometown when I was... 14?
I was already into punk, hardcore, etc., but had no contact at all with basically non-North American or Western European acts. Then these 2 bands from Japan just show up and blow us all out of the water without speaking any English at all. It was just really enticing, so I started learning Japanese, and then moved over here in 2009 to pursue the music.
That second question is a bit tougher. Totally depends on what scene yr talking about. In the extreme metal one I'm part of (not the only one lol), the bands that are famous abroad more or less just act like everyone else, so it's not like they run the scene or anything.
Right now? Honestly I can't really say - we all just sort of work together. Ah, but Naru of Obliteration Records/Butcher ABC/Asakusa Deathfest is definitely one of the major movers and shakers these days. That guy is a beast.
Shira_Kashi_Oak4 karma2020-05-13 15:42:28 UTC
Hello, I am fond of a Japanese band called Bathtub Shitter. Have you ever organized a show with them?
Tokyometal5 karma2020-05-13 15:45:18 UTC
No, but jeez have I dreamed of it! They're a bit elusive so I haven't been able to make contact with them over the years, and if I'm honest haven't tried to over the past few. But that is certainly a dream of mine!
MaimedJester4 karma2020-05-13 14:24:41 UTC
So I used to listen to Kaiser Kuo's podcast for a while and he's and the Media portray as the guy who brought Rock and Roll to China. Obviously not completely accurate, I'm sure Elvis was bouncing around somewhere. But ethically Chinese American fluent in Mandarin singing to these Western Music styles was a huge thing.
What were some of the first Japanese performers that caught into this extreme music. I wasn't even sure if Death Metal was a thing in Japan till Death Note's second opening and like holy shit there's a Japanese Death Metal scene?
Tokyometal13 karma2020-05-13 14:37:23 UTC
That is an incredibly good question.
Bit of background: punk broke in Japan at right around the same time it did in the UK, so Japan's "underground" or "extreme" music scene is quite mature if you use that as a marker.
And Japan is, to this day, a much more "punk" country than it is "metal." Tokyo is itself something of a metal oasis.
I'm just going on my hunch, but given GISM's popularity and Randy's guitar breaking into a metalish sound that wasn't ripping off heavy or glam metal, the first Japanese death metal bands were probably the likes of Transgressor, Necrophile, Multiplex, etc.
I'm totally willing to be proven wrong on this.
icyhandofcrap3 karma2020-05-13 15:22:16 UTC
Have you seen https://zaiko.io/ ? Seems like they just did a pivot towards streaming music events
Tokyometal4 karma2020-05-13 15:23:33 UTC
I collaborate with them. https://kaala.zaiko.io/_item/326064
tonofunnumba13 karma2020-05-13 15:40:50 UTC
Endon any good?
Tokyometal4 karma2020-05-13 15:41:07 UTC
Very, and their guitarist just died.
jschnabz2 karma2020-05-13 15:14:09 UTC
What makes it so "extreme"?
Tokyometal15 karma2020-05-13 15:22:28 UTC
Have you ever watched a guy break a few wine bottles on the ground in the middle of a circle pit and then repeatedly jump off the stage and belly flop on the shards?
lazypenguinvillager2 karma2020-05-13 13:45:51 UTC
Hey! I bought a Darkcorpse EP on Bandcamp a good number of years back. You guys rocked! If I recall I even got an e-mail from you guys as well.
What do the older generation in Japan think of metal and extreme music in general?
Tokyometal3 karma2020-05-13 13:47:58 UTC
Haha! That's awesome! Thanks so much for the support, and glad you dug it!
That's kind of a weird question. Like so many things, if you're part of it then you're part of it and so you think its cool or normal whatever, but if you're not part of it then you have no idea what it is. Same thing with the extreme music scene. There are definitely OGs amongst us, and they're super cool and supportive.
But if you go to your run-of-the-mill sexagenarian, they probably won't have any clue what you're talking about. So it's hyper exclusive in that sense.
Tossic_Fuk2 karma2020-05-13 12:25:00 UTC
What is the impact of the coronavirus in your country for artists?
Tokyometal16 karma2020-05-13 12:31:35 UTC
I mean, literally everything has screeched to a halt, so its pretty bad. But what really exacerbates things is the historical disconnect between pretty much all Japanese artists outside of the really major ones with the rest of the world. Japanese music has a hard enough time getting international traction as it is in normal times, but with this, we're looking at a pretty serious challenge. That, paired with the really old-school way that underground music scenes both in and outside of Japan tend to conduct themselves (analogue), there's so little reach and so little means to leverage that to the artists' advantage that its pretty scary.
We (the aforementioned Kaala) are actively filming audienceless concerts of bands and venues of note (1 band per venue and a skeleton crew to reduce number of people gathered together in a space) which is going well, but we just started so it's not like we're making much of a dent.
1 thing I feel hesitant to say I'm looking forward to given the circumstances but which I still nevertheless find exciting is that it seems like Corona will finally force the hands of the scene to adapt. I've been working independently at the intersection of IT and independent music for at least 5 years, and believe me when I say that despite my love for the scene I am also frustrated by the hesitance with which it approaches change. This might finally get something done.
Tossic_Fuk2 karma2020-05-13 13:01:54 UTC
How do the artist make their money? Are they trying to sell more physical copies?
Tokyometal9 karma2020-05-13 13:12:06 UTC
Right now a lot of bands are pushing 2 things:
New merch. This is a non-starter, really, as a lot of Japanese bands we work with have small, though dedicated, followings with much larger groups of fans internationally. However, shipping internationally is problematic at best right now, so it's not like these purchases made online can go anywhere anytime soon.
Benefit albums/comps. This is better, but also problematic for the reasons I stated in my previous response. To whit, in the best of times they have limited reach, which is much reduced right now for a number of reasons. Sure, there's language barriers, but also consumers are a bit more discerning right now when it comes to "benefit" type stuff, so they'll spend their money on something they're more familiar with, which is usually not the Japanese scene. I also run a label and am intimately familiar with management of music-centered CRMs and sales platforms, and I can tell you from experience that Japan has a lot to learn about proper admin. I coordinate with a few bands about this at no cost, so we're trying to fix it, but it is a pretty widespread problem, we're only so many people, and there are only so many hours in a day.
We're moving forward with the streaming stuff because this provides us with a number of opportunities, the most obvious being (surprise!) streamed content. This has a low barrier to entry, and since I localize the whole thing most of the relevant content is in both English and Japanese. Most of the bands we work with howl or shriek more than singing proper, so we don't really need to work with lyrics or anything, though I do at some point soon want to move on getting subtitles for the banter that happens between songs.
Now that we have proper sound engineering, we can also produce "live albums". My statements about the bandcamp problem don't really apply here because, once again, we're running the show and have a pretty good grasp on how to properly manage assets. I'm really hesitant to say that because I can easily imagine someone reading that statement and thinking it sounds patronizing, but, again, the fact is a lot of the digital assets here aren't run as well as they could be, and so we're trying to make a point.
Our upcoming stream on this Friday JST, however, won't have an accompanying live album release because we did experience a few technical difficulties in recording and don't feel the audio product is up to snuff for a proper release. Better than nothing, for sure, but alas, not there yet. All a process.
Die2311 karma2020-05-13 16:04:09 UTC
Your english is pretty good, are you japanese or from an english speaking country?
i've been living in japan for 2 years now.. whats the deal with japan that they never spell check english phrases/words?
Also, any recommendations on how to learn japanese? (books, videos, etc)
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 16:15:54 UTC
I'm from the US, but am fluent in Japanese.
The English spell-check thing is, so far as I can tell, due too in-house translators that haven't done much work overseas. If you take the JLPT or any other Japanese proficiency test, you'll encounter the same sort of mentality. I could be completely wrong, but this is my professional experience.
As for learning, eh, its sorta hard for me to say anything but, "go live in the most rural part of Japan you can find a job in." Studying helps for sure, but just being forced into using the language daily regardless of your proficiency is best. Worked for me.
That being said, I do think that MAri Noda and Eleanor Jordan's Japanese: The Written Language are also immensely informative.
anythingghost311 karma2020-05-13 16:01:14 UTC
Are you only booking extreme metal bands? How about the more melodic stuff like metalcore?
Also, do crust punk bands still active have an active scene there. I remember listening to bands like Battle of Disarm and Unholy Grave way back in the 90s.
I just had a vacation there last January. I already miss Toky hehe. Thanks!
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 16:18:13 UTC
Friends with Unholy Grave, so I can say they're active. The crust scene is pretty alive, too, and like I said in a previous comment Japan's way more punk than it is metal.
We work with punk bands from time to time, and have clout within that scene, though it is separate from the metal scene and as such requires a bit of navigation to get a mixed bill together.
We work with more melodic bands as well, such as Intestine Baalism, though haven't ever touched Metalcore and have no plans to.
anythingghost311 karma2020-05-14 02:51:22 UTC
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 03:56:37 UTC
adi18931 karma2020-05-13 15:59:33 UTC
What service are you using for bands to perform via streaming from their individual homes? Seems pretty difficult to have individual members from different apartments sound in sync over a video calling service...
Tokyometal3 karma2020-05-13 16:19:33 UTC
Zaiko is the platform we use to stream.
As venues are still technically open - just not doing any business - we congregate at select venues with a skeleton crew to film performances. Maximum of 6 people in 1 place at a time.
DeathImpulse1 karma2020-05-13 18:43:43 UTC
How do you... define Extreme Music, exactly? What is this Extreme that's spoken of?
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 01:31:59 UTC
Good question. That phrase is intentionally nebulous as I don't think that "extreme" can be limited to any particular genre, though it does tend to work well with types of Metal.
"Extreme" at its core, simply bucks the trend of lowest common denominator consumerism in music, replacing it with a focus on best creating the product in your head using what's available to you regardless of mass appeal.
That's not to say "extreme" stuff can't be popular, its just that it takes a different route than is generally accepted to success.
I'm willing to bet this is not a satisfying answer...
Unicorncorn211 karma2020-05-13 15:35:29 UTC
What's your opinion on merzbow?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 15:37:00 UTC
Toooootally jumped the shark lol. I remember watching him perform with Self Deconstruction at Obscene Extreme 2015 and the juxtaposition between his stage presence and SxDx's was immense.
venturoo1 karma2020-05-13 15:28:47 UTC
Any good sludge metal recommendations from japan?
Tokyometal5 karma2020-05-13 15:32:54 UTC
Hell yeah. Floaters. We're streaming a show from them to benefit a local venue this Friday.
Also check out Friendship, and Su19B. "Blackened Powerviolence" comes up a bunch, but I think both those guys are mean af and they've got some real sledgehammer breakdowns.
seanakazini1 karma2020-05-13 15:19:48 UTC
I was in a band a few years ago and we put out an album that ended up being purchased by this band in Japan. I checked them out and they’re awesome! They’re called 5pm Promise. Have you heard of them or worked with them before?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 15:28:59 UTC
Nope, never heard of them. This band, yeah? Shit, they're from Shiga. I used to live there.
CannibalAngel1 karma2020-05-13 15:14:58 UTC
What are your thoughts on Baby Metal (and other Idol metal bands in general)? As a fellow extreme music fan myself I really like their first 2 albums (haven't really listened to their 3rd yet).
Tokyometal10 karma2020-05-13 15:21:13 UTC
So I've interviewed a few other bands in the "idol metal" category, and every single one of them come off as being 100% puppeteered by their vapid and completely uninvested managers without much in the way of individual agency at all.
We've also written about Babymetal and what developments like them portend.
Minimum_Rent1 karma2020-05-13 15:06:04 UTC
Have you ever played with crystal lake?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 15:15:38 UTC
Nope, but seem them a few times. They're part of the group I call the "Wild Side crew" which is a little bit separate from the groups I work with.
Minimum_Rent1 karma2020-05-13 15:17:12 UTC
What's the wild side crew?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 15:17:57 UTC
They tend to play at Wild Side.
ChineseMaple1 karma2020-05-13 14:43:12 UTC
Hi! Really interesting to read about what you're doing right now, I've been thinking about it since some VTubers and singers and such that I follow to varying degrees had ZEPP shows cancelled and such.
A few questions. I've seen ZEPP venues be used and advertised pretty frequently, have you done anything with those venues before?
Apart from the "extreme music" like metal and such, do you like any other genres?
7/11, Family Mart, or Lawsons chicken?
Tokyometal5 karma2020-05-13 15:10:42 UTC
Haha, nah, I'd never touch ZEPP. Wayyyyyyyy too expensive and just doesn't really have that much of personality. Sometimes they host respectable metal shows (I went on a great date to a Nile show at a ZEPP once), but it's just not on my radar for the most part. Doesn't cater to what I personally find meaningful/valuable in live music experiences.
Hell yeah! I listen to a lot of hiphop (Immortal Technique, Run the Jewels, Wu-tang, Jedi Mind Tricks, etc.), classical (love Brahms, de Bussy, Chopin), avant-garde (Diamanda Galas, Current 93), etc.
I mean, I think a lot of people are in the same place. I happen to like playing in Black Metal bands and socially integrate with extreme music communities, but that's not the whole of what defines my taste in creative expression.
7/11 ftw. Duh.
marshsand2 karma2020-05-13 15:22:31 UTC
7/11 chicki is the worst you heathen.
L-chicki is king.
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-13 15:23:09 UTC
almarcTheSun1 karma2020-05-13 14:49:20 UTC
Here's a question, a bit out of nowhere. Also, they're rock'n'roll, not metal. But still.
"The Massmissile". I've been a fan of that band for a long time, but their online presence is very scarce and mostly in Japanese. Do you know them? And if yes, are they still active, making music, giving concerts?
Thank you kindly.
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 14:51:45 UTC
Unfamiliar, though a quick search makes it seem like they're still active.
JarvisCockerBB1 karma2020-05-13 15:36:01 UTC
Can you ask Gauze to just play the states already? After this pandemic of course.
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 15:40:47 UTC
That would be the most out of control pit ever. I'm pretty sure they shouldn't even consider it just on the basis of the countless thousands of casualties would be incurred.
e_j_white1 karma2020-05-13 18:39:46 UTC
Hey thanks for doing this! I'm in SF now, but lived in Japan for over two years and I'm a huge thrash/doom/drone metal fan! I wish I had know about you guys earlier.
I looked around the Kaala website, looks interesting. You mentioned data science... what does that mean with regards to Kaala? Also, are you looking for any help in that department?
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 02:02:17 UTC
So none of our data sets are public and tbh our original platform is now so dated we probably just need to scrap it and build a new one, buuuuuut...
I made a comment about ecosystems previously, and this is where being able to fling numbers about gracefully can come in very helpful. Any given ecosystem is a product of its participants, and each participant of said ecosystem tends to fall into this or that category, meaning that you've got a contained system with a finite number of actors of y quantifiable types.
With regards to the Japanese scene, we generally focus on 6 actor types: venues, events, bands, labels, transit, and audiences. There are far more - this was just the most obvious route for us to get a start with.
Each of those types have a distinct number of qualities. Bands have about 28; labels 11; venues 25; etc. Once these profiles are sufficiently filled out and the database is sufficiently populated (we have 2,991 bands, 76 labels, 395 venues), you can start producing heat maps, pricing analytics, and trend reports to name a few.
For example, we estimate there are about 255 events per year that we're aware of in 45 prefectures, each hovering between ¥1,000 and ¥2,500 and with an audience of between 20-60, 90% of which have at least 1 drink, and 25% of which converts to merchandising purchases of between ¥2,000 and ¥5,000. Its almost certainly the case the above numbers are not correct, but the point is that by amassing this kind of data on a physical ecosystem you can begin to paint a picture of what the Japanese underground actually looks like from an operational standpoint.
This might not sound valuable financially, but here's the thing: municipalities pay big bucks to have people like Sound Music Cities come into their music scenes, spend a few weeks digging, and finally issue a static, biased pdf report with suggestions on how to grow their nightlife. What we're slowly but surely working on creating is a platform and methodology that once deployed in a target ecosystem, allows for real-time analysis on the health of that system.
There's a very important point that I'd like to make here, and that is scenes are different. Japanese extreme metal is different from Appalachian folk is different from EDM in the Congo is different from Himalayan chanting. Once you start digging into and analyzing particular ecosystems, you become hyper aware of their unique qualities which (and this is the important part) don't necessarily occur in others. And if you're going to build a system that reliably analyzes it, then that is going to be a custom build because any one-size-fits-all solution necessarily won't be able to account for some of that particular ecosystem's peculiarities. I call this The Problem with Everything.
What does this mean in practice? A few examples might be Japan's habit of having an extra ¥500 tacked onto the entrance fee in the form of a drink ticket, or it's generally dismal e-ticketing options, or the fact that basically all concerts are all ages. Taken individually, these might not sound like big deals, but once you have a whole list of things that occur here but not anywhere else, suddenly you have a very idiodyncractic platform on your hands that is extremely good and doing this kind of cultural calculus in these and only these parameters.
Can always use help, DM me if you like.
squirrel13691 karma2020-05-13 18:39:36 UTC
I'm glad I caught this thread! I'm planning a trip to Japan with some friends come December 2020 - January 2021, and was hoping to catch a DIY hardcore/metal/metalcore show (even a larger show would be cool, but it's understandable that it would be more difficult to arrange) while I was in Tokyo. I've already contacted a band I'm hoping to see (Kruelty) and was wondering how else I can attempt to either see or set up/book a show while I'm going to be in town?
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 02:08:58 UTC
Tokyo Gig Guide is going to be yr best bet atm, at least for a reliably updated concert listing site. That, and figure out who the members of the bands you want to see are and follow them on Facebook or Twitter so you'll see flyers they post.
This is a huge problem with the scene that we're trying to fix, though I'll be completely honest and saying that right now we aren't handling this particular issue very well. Granular concert listings management is tough work! Hopefully we'll have something better in the near future.
Lol, if you feel like wasting between $2,000 and $3,000, I would be immensely interested in watching you try to book a gig in Tokyo without any experience in the local scene, and I'm guessing not knowing anyone, not speaking the language, and from outside of the country. That would be the stunt of the century if you pulled that off lol.
rambonenix1 karma2020-05-13 18:22:30 UTC
Any Black Metal bands from the labels you’re involved with that you would recommend?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-14 02:16:12 UTC
Fra Hedensk Tid. Skogenhammer. SSORC. Sex Messiah. Fenrisulf.
hereitsyou1 karma2020-05-13 18:14:19 UTC
are there any bands you can recommend listening to and then also recommend seeing live? i don’t really listen to “extreme” bands but i’m interested to get into it! i do listen to music from the visual kei scene, usually on the heavier side like the gazette or jiluka lol
i know the alternative scene is pretty big in japan, so i plan and hope to visit after all of this is over with the intention to see a few visual kei/metalcore bands, would love to add more bands to the list😆
i hope the best for you and everyone else and hope you’re all able to pull through :)
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 02:17:54 UTC
Begrabnis is hypnotizing live. Self Deconstruction will shred your concept of reality.
analog_memories1 karma2020-05-13 18:09:48 UTC
Have you worked with Boris at all? I have only gotten to see them once in the states. I was wearing hearing protection, and I still was painted on the back wall by the wall of sound.
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 02:20:11 UTC
They're friends with a few friends in bands, and I've run into them a few times but they don't really show up socially. Sigh does. Melt-Banana sometimes. Coffins is always around.
Honestly its kinda disappointing that they're such shut ins, but I can't be angry with them about it - to each their own.
Ulti1 karma2020-05-13 17:53:43 UTC
What's up my dude! I saw this title scrolling by, and knew it had to be you, haha! This COVID business is a real punch in the balls, huh? This will definitely delay our beer-getting plans for the next time you're back in Seattle. Stay safe out there!
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-14 02:23:08 UTC
Hey dude! Good to see that you're still kicking - Seattle looks extra brutal these days! We're actually speaking with a few places over there to roll out some of the things we're doing here with streaming to create virtual concerts pairing a PNW band with a Japan band, but it's moving kinda slowly, unfortunately.
Yeah, beer-getting'll have to wait, but that doesn't mean you can't guzzle a few in the meantime. Salut!
InkyCap1 karma2020-05-13 17:16:26 UTC
How’s the noise scene fared?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-14 02:25:48 UTC
They're all still in their bedrooms tinkering with 80's rotary phone circuit boards last I checked.
stfubaker1 karma2020-05-13 17:10:57 UTC
Hey there! I was recently in Japan (February 2020), coming from Canada and attended a show at the Cyclone in Sihubya. Signs Of The Swarm was the headliner, and the rest were Japanese bands.
My question for you is about Japanese shows in general. Have you ever been over to North America for a show? Because I found the crowd very.... Interesting? The crowd was very tame, it seemed like their claps were timed perfectly, no one really did anything. It was just a weird experience in comparison to any show I've ever been to in my life.
What makes Japanese fans way different then North American/European fans?
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 02:29:31 UTC
Well, first up, sorry to hear you experienced Cyclone - one of my last favorite venues. Atrocious booking policies, pretty blah calendar lineups, terrible sound, like a billion stories underground...
Claps, huh? I generally don't put myself into situations that involved coordinated clapping at concerts, so that's probably your first misstep that lead to the kind of audience you saw. That being said, shows can be pretty tame. They can also be pretty wild. I'd say try not to base your overarching idea of what the Japanese scene can be like off of that one experience.
Karura1 karma2020-05-13 17:02:36 UTC
You sound like a very passionate person, so I'd be curious to hear, what are your thoughts on the Visual Kei scene and it's alleged connections to the underworld, with lots of ex-boso, etc, with the entire scene being ran by a controlling parent label that "licenses" out to smaller localized child labels which pays interest back to the parent, exactly like the yak? Nothing matters more than connections, and if you aren't part of the "family" and considered an outsider, you would be out of many opportunities (venues literally won't host you) whether as a band or label.
Could you speak on whether your scene have any parallels or similarity to that, given how being part of the night life ties into that side of Japanese culture? How do you navigate this and protect yourself?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-14 02:41:17 UTC
Minus knowing what Visual Kei is and being aware of maybe 3 bands in that world, I am completely ignorant of anything involving it.
That being said, what you're describing just sounds like the shitty business practices that are pretty common in independent scenes across Japan. There are predatory bookers out there in astronomical numbers, some venues (like Cyclone that I commented on in another response) have labyrinthine contracts that are more appropriate for multi-level marketing shills than anything, things like this are quite common and I have no time for them so I simply avoid them.
There's rumor of most independent venues being somehow tied up with organized crime, and while I wouldn't be surprised if some of them were, I've never gotten anything more than anecdotal evidence.
So, yeah. Maybe Visual Kei has a bunch of anti-social elements to it, but the metal scene is basically a bunch of lovely people.
Drewbieee1 karma2020-05-13 16:58:37 UTC
Are you hiring? I’m in Tokyo and also currently fucked by the virus, but I’d rather work on helping a cool scene like this than teaching English on zoom lol
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 02:50:00 UTC
I wish we were! Unfortunately, you need reliable cashflow for that and we're still working on getting that trickle started.
While that's certainly the goal someday, keep in mind we're dealing with quite possibly the most hermetic, difficult to crack pop culture scene in the developed world. Not to mention we are not pursuing VC.
We've been at this for a while, and it's really a pretty grassroots, DIY, garage kinda project. So, I mean, if you want to contribute, sure we could discuss that. But "hire" is a bit optimistic lol.
freakedmind1 karma2020-05-13 16:38:30 UTC
Yo what's up with Marty Friedman, man?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-14 02:50:44 UTC
Jeez, tell me about it.
SteveZi1 karma2020-05-13 16:21:11 UTC
Whoa this is like the last AMA I ever expected to see. My US-based Japanese noise punk band wants to tour Japan after all of this shit is over (if we don't break up and nobody ODs 😂) - what are some venues we should look into/what advice to you have for an outsider trying to book a tour for a small punk band in Japan? Are there house venues, or are most shows at small clubs and bars? Is there a lot of overlap between the raw punk and extreme metal scene out there? Outside of plane tickets, how hard would it be for a punk band to tour japan with little to no money?
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 03:30:13 UTC
I've coordinated with a lot of bands on touring Japan, and my general approach is that you need to look at it as a vacation on which you also get to play some cool shows. You also need a visa sponsor willing to write a letter of sponsorship. Can you get in the country without that? Yeah, sure, bands do it all the time, but I can't recommend it. Do things by the books.
If you think of it as a business, you're gonna be staring at a huge loss - its a much easier pill to swallow if you think of it as vacation. Generally speaking, for a 4 person band to do a "normal" 5 date tour over 8 days following the Tokaido between Tokyo and Osaka, realistically I would say that the per person cost will be somewhere around $2,500 all told (planes, trains, hotels, food, etc.).
You might get a guarantee at a few of the shows you play, but you're minor and no one knows you so if you do it'll because the booker is a nice person. In all likelihood you'll just get a cut of the door sales above cost, and then a bit of merch on top of that. So, really, a band like yours touring Japan basically requires you to hemorrhage cash.
There are corners to cut, and feel free to do so if you like - I don't do that. Part of my work in the underground is to raise the minimum standards of acceptability regarding bands' material conditions, particularly while on tour - that means sleeping in beds, eating well, showers, etc. This ought not be glamorous, but fuckin' hell, I hate touring in shit condition and I'm absolutely sick of the exhausted, starving artist narrative.
I am playing around with a few ideas to reduce costs (example: camper vans combine and reduce hotel and transportation costs, but you'll need a driver (me), which adds cost), but considering the 'rona and how bands won't be touring internationally for some time, I'm spending my time building out more readily deployable projects.
Gelsamel1 karma2020-05-13 16:27:07 UTC
What do you think about the few bands that turned 'official' after starting out in the doujin Touhou scene (Undead Corporation, Unlucky Morpheus, etc)?
What other bands are there that break out from the comiket scene?
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-14 03:12:26 UTC
I can't comment because I'm not at all familiar with this.
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-13 16:32:48 UTC
I have 0 association with this, so I can't comment.
msteele6661 karma2020-05-13 16:15:18 UTC
Do you have any good stories about Sakevi Yokoyama and G.I.S.M.?
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 16:21:00 UTC
Oh boy do I wish I did. I know Sakevi was running a t-shirt shop in Harajuku for a while, but think it closed a few years back.
I do know their drummer, Ironfist. He plays in a fuckload of bands, from rockabilly to black metal. Really intense guy, but super nice.
fuckborgerking0 karma2020-05-13 11:47:37 UTC
Opinion on Burger King? Also what’s the food like there
Edit: wait do y’all have Burger King there
Tokyometal14 karma2020-05-13 11:52:03 UTC
What is this "Burger King"? Wendy's is the only true love. Anything else must be forgotten.
Generally speaking the food's great, though if you're a fan of spicy food (which I am) you'll be met with constant disappointment. But low level ramen also really sucks. But all of the chicken cartilage more than makes up for it. And then there's the slime...
ChineseMaple3 karma2020-05-13 14:35:21 UTC
Man I feel you on the spicy food stuff. Whatever passes for Level 10 at like, Coco, or other establishments that use a similar scale, isn't nearly as deadly as they'd make it out to be. Wasabi has a pleasant, but different heat to it. And if I look too hard, I just find things that go overboard on heat to the point of being unpleasant, and me being unable to taste things.
Chicken cartilage skewers are great though.
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-13 14:39:07 UTC
Turkey ears ftw
thisnameismeta1 karma2020-05-13 15:04:16 UTC
I'm sorry what, turkey ears? I don't think turkeys even HAVE ears...
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-13 15:15:48 UTC
thisnameismeta1 karma2020-05-13 15:21:07 UTC
Does that refer to something else then or like am I totally off base and turkey ears are an actual thing people eat? I'm super curious, sorry to bug you.
Tokyometal1 karma2020-05-13 15:26:05 UTC
Ohhhhh boy, /u/thisnameismeta, you just gave me the best irl chuckle I've had from reddit in some time.
I'm sorry to mislead you. Turkey ears are not real. Unless...?
brisburna-1 karma2020-05-13 13:26:05 UTC
Can you ask Hokage music bar (Osaka) to limit their volume? I've have permanent hearing damage and constant tinnitus after watching one gig there. I get regular hearing tests from my job and am certain it's from that gig.
Tokyometal7 karma2020-05-13 13:26:59 UTC
I know the guys, sure I can ask. Though I bet they'll come back and say, "wear hearing protection."
brisburna2 karma2020-05-13 13:28:28 UTC
Yeh, I completely understand it's my responsibility to protect my hearing but traveling through I didn't have any with me.
Tokyometal7 karma2020-05-13 13:33:13 UTC
Oh, snap, I hope I didn't sound like I was laying that responsibility solely on you - Japanese live houses can get mean fucking loud. UFO Club in Koenji is one of my favorite spots for getting plastered to a wall due to the sheer massiveness of the sound production, but it is dangerous.
That's another thing I'd like to, at some point, work with venues on: sourcing hearing protection to sell for like ¥100 at shows, because people do indeed experience hearing damage from the levels that sometimes get pushed.
brisburna3 karma2020-05-13 13:35:57 UTC
It's a two way street and that would be an awesome idea.
Tokyometal6 karma2020-05-13 13:42:21 UTC
That actually reminds me of another issue: lighting.
A while back I had a girlfriend who was mildly epileptic but didn't tell me, and she came to the shows I was playing on Halloween (2, 1 at like 7PM and another at around 3AM). The first went great, but the second had a bunch of flashing lights that weren't advertised. So I'm blinded like the entire set and can't see the audience, but after we finish I see my friend sitting with her and kinda just making sure she's OK, though at this point I still didn't know she had epilepsy. She explained that she collapsed during the set and that, actually, she had mild epilepsy. Glad she was OK, was pissed at the venue.
So now all the shows I book I make sure to post a sign in Japanese and English on promo and on the day if there are bright, flashing lights.
freshyouup1 karma2020-05-13 13:42:10 UTC
One of my favorite venues has a Gumball machine filled with ear protection.
Tokyometal3 karma2020-05-13 13:43:28 UTC
Does that venue have a name? I'd like to be able to point at examples when I speak with venues about this.
freshyouup2 karma2020-05-13 13:50:07 UTC
It's called Lula lounge. It's a Latin flavored supper club in Toronto. On weekends they have salsa lessons followed by live music and then a DJ, so hearing protection is much appreciated. Some venues in Toronto sell protection from behind the bar as well. I really prefer to just pop a coin in a vending machine rather than try to communicate my needs to a bartender who may be overwhelmed with so many requests on a busy night.
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 13:51:50 UTC
Ah, I thought it was a Japan venue. Yeah, I work with PNW people in Vancouver and Seattle alike, and this is a pretty normal sort of thing. Would be great to have a Japanese venue to point to and say, "hey, look, over there, they're already doing it so you might consider it too!"
wiskey_tango_foxtrot1 karma2020-05-13 14:11:16 UTC
I don't know if this idea has any legs or not, but: at the Empty Bottle in Chicago, there's a neat little sign behind the bar that says "You're not too old. It IS too loud. Earplugs $2". It's nice to have them available for a nominal fee at the bar.
Tokyometal2 karma2020-05-13 14:20:28 UTC
Basically, I just need to find a supplier that has a good price. I've already got the clout myself to convince owners to do it, its just a matter of getting an org with the right product, the right price, and the right level of interest.
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