Another cold 14 degree Friday evening. We met Chihei at the Shinjuku JR station for a little gathering with friends. Mayuko (Chihei’s girlfriend) and Hideho would be late as they couldnt get out of work in time, so we walked to the nearby Shinjuku Tower Records to browse the Avant pop / Electronic / Jazz section. Chihei was kind to introduce us to the Tower Records buyer and he also had a stack of freshly printed flyers to promote his upcoming show called Afterwards Vol.1 in June. It would feature Oshiro Makoto (incidently we bumped into him at the ONJO show, much to his surprise i believe ! ) and the amazing Fuyuki Yamakawa who did the D.D.D show in Singapore last year. I noticed Chihei has been using the same press photo for many years and we had a good laugh, it was a fanstatic shot anyway which was shot by Mayuko…she designs most of his album arts, flyers…including Chihei’s new project called “Luis Nanuk”. We like her drawings of the white bear.
Then we made our way to a popular place called the Shinjuku Memory lane. We weaved through a maze of tiny walkways surrounded by very small eateries and bars. We ended up at Albatross and made our way up to the 3rd floor at the rooftop, but by then it was extremely cold…even the tiny pizzas couldnt warm us up so we had to go back indoors when both Mayuko and Hideho arrived.
On our way back to the Shinjuku station, we spotted Carl Stone (again for the 2nd time in a couple of days !) amongst the busy Shinjuku crowd. It is a small world afterall, even in Tokyo. We had our first taste of the mad tokyo subway squeeze when we boarded the train at 12am to make our way back to Ikebukuro where we stayed. We were virtually packed like a can of sardines in the train, many drunks salarymen, vomit on the floor etc. Nonetheless, it was a day spent with friends which is the best way to spend the evening in Tokyo. Hope to see you guys soon !
(l-r Shinsaku Ohsaki, Terukuni Makabe, Masami Shimomura)
On this rainy Tuesday evening, we had the pleasure of meeting the label managers of p*dis at their office located along the tiny backlane streets of Shibuya, Tokyo. The narrow winding busy streets no less made finding the place difficult (however, Nature Bliss office was harder to find !). I knew it was located next to the GAP store but to our surprise the location stated on our map was actually a chruch in the middle of this busy shopping district. Then, we soon realised there was a small pathway leading up to the offices located within and behind the church facade.
Along the way, we noticed p*dis mailbox which confirmed that we have found the right place. HEADZ, another brilliant japanese label happens to be on the same building as well. At the office, we were greeted by Masami Shimomura, the manager of p*dis as well as the Yacca label (which deals with New Folk such as Akron/Family and Jackie-O Motherfucker). She spoke very fluent english, not a surprise since p*dis solely deals with foreign artists and labels. As some may know, p*dis was formely called Plop led by Nao Sugimoto who has since left the company to establish Nature Bliss. Many especially English readers had a hard time to comprehend the reshuffle within the office. Back in the days, I first heard of the label Plop after some releases by artist such as FilFla, Sora, Kazumasa Hashimoto. Plop is a division of Inapartmaint. Inc which is the main company housing many smaller labels. Since Nao left Inpartmaint.Inc, Masami replaced him and changed the name to p*dis. A note that all previous releases of Plop will still be under the property of Inpartmaint Inc, however the new Plop releases will be handled by Nao under Nature Bliss.
Makabe-san, who runs the postrock label Thomason sounds (Miaou, Tracer AMC) came to greet us. During our short tour of Tokyo last November, we were orginally scheduled to perform with Aerial and Miaou at Shibuya O-Nest. Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances the gig was cancelled because of some funding issues which led to Aerial pulling out the show. Nonetheless, I felt the need to express my thanks to Makabe-san for inviting us in the first place, we hope to work with him again in the future. We also met the stylish Shinsaku Ohsaki who runs the underground hiphop label Hue and a song-orented one called Lyrico as well. Inpartmaint.Inc now mainly these labels Yacca, Thomason Sounds, Lyrico and Hue under their wings.
During our meeting, we talked about future collaboration and i wished for p*dis to understand more about the Singapore (and the rest of South Asia) scene and culture, vice versa. Our friend, Hideho Takemasa also came along with us to promote his upcoming Tokyo event which will feature one of Singapore most respected artist, Zai Kuning. We believe that Asian artist and organisers should by now build a tighter community and create our own musical scene which is created and sustained beyond the more well-travelled Tokyo scene. Very often, language and culture is the barrier but this is less and less a problem these days as long as we try to communicate more with one another. I believe, in the next 10 years, putting all this into the equation…music produced in Asia will be on everyone’s radar.
Masami-san and the rest of the crew were so incredibly warm and presented us with some unreleased sampler cds ( one includes the excellent upcoming album by Smile Down Upon Us ) and a new Carsten Nicolai cd under the moniker aleph-1, manufactured and distributed by p*dis. Thank you p*dis !
In early 2003, we met a mysterious photographer named Rika M. on LiveJournal. Her photography immediately inspired us and we had created some tracks and also based our website (circa 2003- 2006) using her polaroids. This mysterious photographer turns out to be Rika Motodoi, a full time painter and photographer from Osaka, Japan. We finally met in Tokyo and incidentally prior to our meeting, we have no knowledge of how she looks like, even after 5 years of corresponding online. Having a penchant for deleting her photos which periodically appeared online, we were so in awe to see her entire collection of photographs when she showed us her album. Armed with many cameras and films, we would spend an entire Wednesday afternoon together for a photoshoot at our favourite river located at the outskirts of Tokyo.
Rika’s photography, which is very often dreamy and sublime, has always inspired our music. I would go as far as saying that she has been our unofficial 3rd member. I was happy to hear that she paints her beautiful drawings while listening to our music too. Recently she was featured in the photography book called “Camera People #2″ which is available at most major bookstores such as Aoyama Book Centre and Logos@Libro in Tokyo. Camera People is such a catchphrase which bonded us. We are looking forward to more photography excursion with her in Osaka the next time !
aspidistrafly commissioned「red toe nails」for the soundtrack of the film 「Silent Girls」. More information here
Have you been enjoying the current moment and spending less time living in a diluted moment for a better tomorrow ?