On May 25th, Low End Theory hits Japan once again. The itinerary: A big show on Saturday in Tokyo with DJ Krush + Residents, and on Sunday, Osaka. If you're far out East, we suggest you head to a smart shop, buy a few viles, ingest, then mozey on over to the party. To celebrate the festivities, we've released another official Low End Theory Logo tee in three new color ways. Most of the inventory was boxed and shipped to Japan, but we were able to hold back a few units for our US friends. Available now in our shop while supplies last. (click here)
Nobu, our OBEY Japan Head Hunk, has helped coordinate these parties for 5 years now and has grown close to the Low End Theory Japan crew. The leader of the LET Japan team is journalist, label owner, event/party organizer, and DJ/Artist, Masaaki Hara, who holds many titles and has long been a fixture in Japan's music scene. He and his close comrades are considered to be the leading force responsible for introducing the sounds of the underground to an "almost-established" scene and his contributions are frequently demanded by Japan's most reputable music-related publications. His company, "Disques Corde" (formerly "Soup-Disk"), has been running for over a decade. They not only act as a record label to put out music, but also as a hub to invite international artists to Japan and coordinate events. Recently, his focus is introducing the "Los Angeles beat scene" and it's artists to Japan, but is also involved in various endeavors as the founder of the Japanese broadcast chapter of the internet radio station "Dublab," producer of Creative Commons hosted art project "Into Infinity," and Red Bull Music Academy's "Play, Japan!" programs.
While he and his team are prepping for the upcoming Low End Theory parties with his recent return from attending the Red Bull Music Academy in NYC, Masa was gracious enough to sit down with Nobu and give some insight for our blog. Thank you Masa !! (あなたにマサに感謝)
Nobu: It's been 5 years since you've brought Low End Theory to Japan, and the reception has been great. Can you tell us how it all started, how people feel about the party, and where the electronic music scene in Japan is heading?
Masa: I first heard about Low End Theory from Hashim Bharoocha who moved to LA. Afterwards in 2007, I was out in LA for a meeting, had a chance to actually go to Low End, and was very fascinated by their fresh approach. I think the party was still somewhat under-the-radar back then but I was very impressed by the ways the party put focus on performances of beat-makers and producers.
I've always felt like beat-makers were kind of like stagehands, and even though many made great beats, there were hardly any venues or parties where those beats could be heard on a grand scale. The big parties almost always played fast 4/4 beats instead of slow and heavy. That is why I was intrigued by Low End Theory and wanted to have it in Japan, in hopes of revitalizing the scene here.
Although we postponed the party in 2011 because of the disaster and it's effects, the reason why the party has been received so well since 2009 is primarily due to the fact that the state of LA's music scene was very stimulating to Japanese ears. Although there is no doubt that the popularity of the LA sound has been overwhelmingly growing, I think it has more to do with the ethics of LA's music community and artists.
The music scene in Japan is very diverse and there wouldn't be a way to forecast where the electronic and beat music scene will be going but the crowd at Low End Theory Japan has been constantly growing. I hope Low End Theory Japan is, or becomes, an open platform for the people that come to the party.
N: You're in charge of booking the Japanese artists for the party. Is there a criteria in order for you to choose the local talent to participate in LETJ and Beat Invitational?
M: When we first planned to hold the Beat Invitational in Japan, I wanted not only the fresh up-and-coming beat-makers and performers to participate but the veterans as well. As the name states, it's an "Beat" Invitational, so there are certain guidelines to follow in regards to playing "Beats", but I think of it as more of a platform for free expression and try to book artists extensively.
N: The special guest of this year's party is DJ Krush whom we all know is a legendary artist. How did this come about?
M: Kev and the residents have been booking artist they respect to play at Low End Theory in LA and SF. DJ Shadow being one of them. I was also informed that DJ Krush was on the top of their list. I interviewed Gaslamp Killer for a publication while he was in Japan last year and remember him speaking very highly of DJ Krush. That's how influential DJ Krush was to them. The time is ripe, the stars have aligned, and it's finally about to happen. Back in the 90's, I put together a event with DJ Krush, DJ Cam, and DJ Vadim and hadn't been reunited with DJ Krush since. I feel like he's come full circle and to see that his existence has had such a deep influence on Low End Theory is very emotive for me as well.
N: How does OBEY fit into all of this?
M: First of all, I'd like to thank you and OBEY for believing in Low End Theory Japan and supporting the party since it's initial stages when we were still groping our ways through the unpredictable . It's great that the connection OBEY has with the artists in LA has transcended over to Japan and our parties so organically. To me, OBEY is not just a fashion brand, and I feel that you guys are vital members of the International music community. What you guys put out musically and the OBEY RADIO parties are of great interest. Whatever you guys put out is steps ahead of the game and we're very proud to have you guys involved.
N: Any future projects we should know about? Closing comments?
M: My friends and I have started dublab.jp this year and although it is still only an once-a-week two-hour-show, we hope to expand our broadcast to a more expansive and public radio station in the near future. Music radio has been relatively conservative in Japan, as compared to the U.S., but I feel it's starting to show signs of change. I look forward to dublab.jp and Low End Theory Japan to play an attractive role in the developmental stages of the musical community here. I'm also excited about the release of a series of music from Japanese artists under my label, disques corde. The project will commence with Coffee&Cigarettes Band (DJ Kensei & Sagaraxx). As a writer, I'm getting ready to publish my second book.
LOW END THEORY JAPAN [Summer 2013 Edition]
May 25, 2013 (Sat)
at UNIT(03-5459-8630) www.unit-tokyo.com
OPEN / START : 23:00
TICKETS: ADV.3,500yen / DOOR 4,000yen
Beat Invitational: TBA
For more info, please visit these related links:
Low End Theory USA Podcasts:
- NOBU via ROAM