The Bridge

Last blog ended with these words:

“And I believed him…
in a way I still do.
The bridge however… is another story.”

and then “To be continued…”
so now  will pick up where I left off…hopefully…

Right now I am going back in this very blog..
way back to 2011 when I first started blogging on Tumblr.
Once I started The Pink Spider Web I imported all the old
blog posts a total of 350 some pages, each containing 3-4 posts.
The migration didn’t go without technical issues though!
All titles got fucked up,
links broke, video plug-ins didn’t work and
all images got weirdly resized.
When I first started The Pink Spider Web, keeping up the
momentum was number one priority, so the old blog entries
got edited and fixed some 10 pages or so back in time…
the rest went on the back-burner.
That meant blogs about Seremedy in Japan,
Inazuma Rock Fes, concerts with TMR, MUCC, L’Arc~En~Ciel,
and many many more
… just had to wait for the day to come
and the need for it all to resurface.

It was OK, I had to focus on what I was wanting to achieve,
and the old blog wasn’t really aiding that
process.
Well now, when I’m in the process of writing this book,
all these hundreds and hundreds of posts,
the photos and videos are incredibly valuable.

When I now again read about my
dreams, hopes,
ideas, passion, 
motivation … the drive
that I had then 6 years ago,
it was very much the same as it is today:
Same dreams, hopes, aspirations, and motivation.
I want to build bridges.
Close gaps.
Help people reach outside their comfort zone.
Turn on passionate fires.
Increase Peace
Make people see their own values in all of this.
Help musicians understand and learn how to connect
with audiences they aren’t familiar with, or are even
physically far away from.
That HAS BEEN and still IS my ultimate goal!
I want people to learn from each other and
change in a good way. including myself!
Change their ways, become more open-minded to
‘the other’…
I wish to…
build bridges and show people how the can meet
at the middle of the bridge!

Rainbow Bridge

The bridge metaphor works well because it connects
two landmasses, two entities, and it is something tangible.
A bridge something we can step onto,  and walk or travel over,
from one side to the other.

When I first met Reds in April 2013, we instantly connected.
It was at a Live gig with Blade™ at Club Sensation.
The fact that we ended up meeting was quite amazing in
itself, but the blog is not the place to explain all that in detail.
I will go into more detail about that in the book.

I could feel his eagerness to wanting to reach out.
I had learned already prior to meeting him, that connecting
with Japanese people aren’t that easy in general,
and connecting with musicians maybe in particular.
Often the musicians in Japan don’t speak English,
which for our collaboration purpose at this level is
less of a problem.

Reds 04 2013

What is an issue however, is that they live on their end
of a bridge.
They are used to certain ways of doing things.
They have their ways of promoting themselves.
Their ways of reaching their fans.
Their already loyal fans, I might add, whom they wish to keep
and not scare by suddenly leaving them hanging.
Also most, like Reds, aren’t even aware of this.
Culture differences are more seen as peculiar ways.
Like we Westerners, we hug each other in public,
and we hug our friends.
The deeper differences cannot be seen, and are way
trickier to become aware of.
Because no one, is aware of them when we are around
people that are similar to us.
And keep in mind, Japan is a very homogenous society.
A society which also strives to stay homogenous.
We, as in mankind, cannot see how we communicate
within our own group,
how we socialize and hang out with each other,
as anything but .. well it’s the normal way!
that’s the way people are…
Not until we really start to get to know someone different,
from a different place, and meet with them a lot of over a
longer period of time.
So if you have few foreigners coming, and you cannot really
talk to the ones that do because you don’t speak English,
and you maintain an idea that the foreign is a bit scary,
then this bridge is seldom walked.

When I entered the music scene  in Japan, and I started
meeting with bands like:
Vagu*Project, DAZZLE! and Vorchaos to name few.
I almost immediately became aware of this.
Not soon enough maybe…. LOL
I presented for Vagu*Project some brilliant ideas,
only to later learn, that in their minds all this was good and
all, but really also very, very strange.
I had walked over the bridge and presented for them how
it looks on the other side of the bridge.
They liked it, sure they did, but added:
That only works on the other side of the bridge,
not here.
And Anna-san by the way…
What is Facebook?
We have ameblo アメブロ. (This was in 2011-2012)

I explained all this for Reds, I told him what I had learned,
and he said…Nah, I want this, my band (AURA)
and I need this:
I want to reach many people with my music.
This is wonderful and a great start!

Where I think I failed early on was to explain, truly convey,
is that this requires you to change.
This failure however, went on under the surface….
the whole time… and still is there ..unfortunately!
What I failed to make him understand is:
YOU must walk on that bridge and adopt to other ways,
at least 50%… HALF WAY.
You must do a lot of the work, and the change.
I haven’t been able to make this happen!
Also you have to change and you must be brave, 
and go against what people around you want you to do!
Being brave… hmm that is very difficult for anyone to be,
also for Reds.
For any artist, also for Reds, being liked, is so so important.
Being liked by others kind of clashes with the idea of
being brave, and doing things against those around you,
or as in Japan in particular, above you!

Thing is Japan … well..Japan is very demanding society
also for the Japanese themselves.
They are proud of their harmony,
proud of their low crime rates,
proud of having a stable society.
Which is great!
Great …but not yielding change.
You can’t go against the people above you!
You can never stir anything similar to conflict,
never oppose, instead instill group harmony.
So that doesn’t help any kind of change.

Neither negative change,
nor positive…
In a way it kind of muffles and even hinders creativity at times.
Not that Japanese might agree with me here,
but that’s OK. Because if everyone around you
.. on the same side of the bridge as you are…
agrees with you, and knows this to be true,
then it is.

This is of course true on both sides of the bridge!
I just happen to be writing about my experiences in Japan.
I need to adjust and take in to account the social rules
in Japan, and listen to how they do things and what they
desire and wish.
Also one cannot behave in a Western way and assume
people will listen to you or even like your
ideas. Often though they really do listen!
They just won’t act upon it.

This is why I was delighted to meet Reds though,
because he intuitively felt like it fit in with his own
ideas about the future, AND maybe more importantly
he smiled and was very positive.
We did have some problems communicating this evening,
because Reds did not speak any English,
and I still did not speak Japanese.

How did we communicate?
Very creative way actually…
and I will tell you in the next blog!

 

 

 

TAKUTT

CUTT  @cuttjapan and taka video from CUTT-san’s Youtube channel “cuttube01”

タカット de SHOW!! vol.3 ダイジェスト

As much as this gives an idea of the similar event I wrote about below (Friday May 11 at Shimokitazawa RéG)
… it doesn’t truly do their voices, nor their music, justice.
Reality by far beats this video (no offense to CUTT this video is perfectly fine!!),
BUT it definitely gives you an idea!
AND it definitely shows the smiles, the charisma and the fun these to artists radiates in all they do.

I like stuff they do together… I really do!

CUTT’s own comment to this video is:
This is a digest movie of “TAKUTT de SHOW vol.3” performed by TAKA (defspiral / Montage.) and CUTT.

 

CUTT and Taka

CUTT @cuttjapan and Taka @TAKA_defspiral at
下北沢 RéG May 11th, 2012
Montage. / CUTT / タカット / (O.A).(ドット)


The two awesome artists which you can watch below here on blog from Youtube clips,
went on stage together Friday May 11 in Shimokitazawa.
First of all I want to really recommend Shimokitazawa if you come to Tokyo for a visit.
It has a great ambience and plenty of relaxed shopping, dining, and music to choose from.
This was my first visit to RéG and first off I want to commend the venue. This venue was one of the few I have been to with proper and GOOD lighting for the stage. It really makes a huge difference when as audience you actually get the light on the people ON the STAGE ,and not blinding you in the face.
Honestly I think this is the first time here in Japan that I felt that Lighting was good and even very good.
Even places like Zepp or other semi big venues, like the next size up, have failed in this regard if you ask me.
Lights this friday were at times plain awesome, and Taka and CUTT looked their very best! Sometimes with subtle hindlight making their presence looks almost magical.. which for the kind of songs they did was absolutely superb!
So if you are a venue owner… all of you that I have been visiting to so far you FAILed.. and can mention a few where I have been .. Otsuka Red Zone, Urawa Narciss, Shinjuku Wild Side, Shinjuku Live Station, Ruido K3, Ruido K4, IIkebukuro Black Hole… oh no let’s stop here…ha ha ha this list would be too long if I wrote down all venues U have bveen to in Japan… you get the idea….
ALL of you go visit 
下北沢 RéG and learn proper lighting on stage!!

 ڿڰۣ(̆̃̃  (̆̃̃ڿڰۣ

Sound was really good too and both Taka’s and CUTT’s voices are world class so again, I was very happy that sound was giving  that deep depth in Taka’s voice and the amazing span that is CUTT’s.
the evening was split in sections with first an Opening Act.. They were quite ok and did a great job, but not my bag and had nothing of their own so to speak. They sounded like so many other bands I have heard, and seen, live here in Tokyo, so even if they did good, it’s hard to remember their individual songs…
According to RéGs web site their name is ドット
RéGs site is here btw
http://www.reg-r2.com/ 

After the O.A. CUTT went on stage and stage personae and charisma from the stage is very contagious. His voice has a lovely span and he is also very skilled in amplitude changing which creates very good dynamics in his songs. Of course he pulled a winner out with Time Machine and both I and the rest of the audience love that song.

Since photography was not allowed… it is so extremely difficult to tell the world in only words about MUSIC. Actually it is almost impossible..
it is sad on sooo many levels that the artists cannot be heard outside that moment for those of us lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. CUTT’s music is not available on the American iTunes or amazon either.
At a quick search tonight I could unfortunately not find it on CDJapan either..
His youtube channel has some BUT it is not the same to see him sit on a chair and play, no matter HOW good it is… a LIVE scene with people and the heightened excitement from the artist while performing is something totally awesome! Especially when it comes to this level of professionals like CUTT and Taka!
I have however posted a few below and will post a few videos above after this blog entry.
CUTT has a blog which is here:
http://cuttblog.blog101.fc2.com/

One thing struck me was that when Taka ‘surprisingly’ (no one can have been totally surprised but yeah)… when he entered the stage during ‘CUTT’s individual part’ of the evening, and the audience went super excited for a moment… it struck me as very similar to a few Atsushi Sakurai (BUCK TICK) guest entrances…

the one where he and Kiyoharu performs “Just one more Kiss” 
http://youtu.be/LUERKXuaUpY

as well as another such entrance Atsushi did with Abingdon Boys School (takanori Nishikawa) for “Dress” here:
http://youtu.be/zephHrTkhfc 

Because in both those cases Kiyoharu and Takanori are both awesome skilled musicians, and artists I also adore and highly respect, and YET when Atsushi enters the stage, there is this sound of awe in the audience and it’s both dramatic as well as an Audiorgasm!
If you haven’t seen these videos before I highly recommend watching them, and if you have you know what feeling I’m talking about! 
Well the funny thing is that later this evening at the “RéG”, CUTT and Taka talked about Atsushi and also did an amazing cover of BUCK TICK, which once again struck me as amazing proof of Taka’s genre span and capacity.
His, with defspiral, cover of hide’s “Pink Spider” on their hide tribute “Reply” is perfect… and well I heard him do it live at Club Citta on hide’s Birthday Party last year… and I think that was one of my absolute favorite LIVE experiences! (then take into account ALL the superlative shows I have been to including X Japan, Sugizo, MUCC, Ra:IN, TMR, Kyoji, BUCK TICK, Kuroyume, Luna Sea etc etc etc…..)
if I only could keep one in my memory, it would be the one when Taka sung Pink Spider at Club Citta!!
ha ha ha but luckily I don’t have to.
Either way these two are definitely my favorite vocalists in Japan today! I mean I do like many others like YuI “Vagu*Project”, or Kuroe (HOLICS), or Kiyoharu, and many others…
CUTT and Taka and well I should add  Atsushi Sakurai to the list as well are GREAT Voices from Japan…

Taka also blogs… http://ameblo.jp/takavoice/
and you can follow him and CUTT on twitter as well and yes it’s funny cause they actually have a big portion of their tweets sending tweets to each other…

So the evening was OA, then CUTT alone, then Taka alone and then last a portion together. Each part was fantastic, but probably the together part was most fun for the audience as the joked and laughed and really had a good time on stage not just as musicians but more like entertaining. My Japanese is very limited so unfortunately I only get bits and pieces of their jokes but it actually didn’t matter much for me this was a very good evening and I laughed a lot too!!

One question I need to ask CUTT-san at some point about this evening was something about ‘Japanese Standard’ … but if their voices are what’s being referred to as Japanese Standard, then Japanese standard is the number one in the world!

I will post another Youtube clip above this one… or two… even if not from this very night… and hopefully in the future… with pressure from the outside (which is people like you dear blog readers), I will be able to actually take videos and photos from LIVEs like these so that we can spread this outside of the Japanese borders…

 

Rocket Dive

@cuttjapan AND   Uploaded (…Together!! (笑))
 one of hide’s most popular songs:

“ROCKET DIVE” to Youtube
It’s an acoustic version with both of them singing and playing guitar.
Let this Rocket fly around the globe and be a tribute to hide as well as an appreciation for today’s talented musicians in Japan!
Way to go guys!