Standing at the forefront of Japan / Overseas music scene
In VOL.1, I interviewed Akiyama, the mastermind of Ykiki Beat/DYGL standing in the middle of indie band scene in Japan, and music writer, “kiku-rin” Yuki Kikuchi who also play an important role for Ykiki Beat/DYGL as an advisor.
Ykiki Beat Forever is full of passion, youth and ambition to change out future rather than typical 20s disregarding sound type of music. I could not forget the passionate feeling the first time I listened to his song and encourage to talk to him.
I understood as Yuki was provoked by their heat,“real” and sparkle though Akiyama’s music as well as I wanted myself to be provoked by them in this interview.
Support that only friend can do.
-What was your first encounter anyway?
Kikuchi：We met at a live event in Dec, 2013. We both went there to sell own stuff at freemarket. We accidentally sat next to each other and kept talking to each other while the event.
Even though we talked at that event for the first time, we kept throwing at our opinion to each other about indie scene in Tokyo, the difference between foreign band and Japanese band. Then he told me that he has own band called DYGL and gave me their tunes. I kind of know DYGL on twitter or something, so I listened to them right after I get home.
The conversation we had and his music tells me that he is looking at the future in a calm way and want to meet him again.
Couple months later, I went to America for about a month spending promoting my ZINE, interviewing and photographing my favorite musicians, went to lives… while I was there, I started to seeing both positive and negative part of music scene in US clearly and some parts I used to dream of falling apart.
It might be because Bo Ningen’s performance was too good, I was listening to Japanese song all the time by the end of the week in LA. And thinking “what is the difference between Japanese band and LA’s bands?” The what caught my eye or ears was DYGL. Music quality is exceptionally high, good live performance, cool lyrics and English pronunciation is clear. I though “Akki should definitely go overseas. ” I thought they can fight there. Weird to say “fight” but that was the word came to my mind. I had an urge to tell him that so I send him an email probably after 15min I landed at Narita airport. haha
Then he called me soon and said “I have been thinking that you will be great at being manager for us!” That was a surprise, indeed. Destiny rather.
Akiyama：We, DYGL member Shimonaka (guitar) , talked about having an aim for international field. So we needed a support from someone who can make it happen, then his name came up. Really surprised when he contacted me.
Kikuchi：After a week later I sent an email, TEMPLES came to Japan and asked him to go their live with me. He was talking what kind of help they need but “the manager” didn’t phrase my role well.
In the music industry, I’m sure “the manager”title would work well but I just wanted to help them as a friend. Of course I am not completely labelling myself by a word, it was kind of an excuse to escape from the pressure that comes from “the manager” role as well, but also we can and could talk about many thing well as friends.
-You have been working as music writer. How made you think to support DYGL as friend?
Kikuchi ： I just realized when I went to America that there are so many way to express or sending out message of my favorite music.
I was inspired that many people are related to music in a various ways. Writers can build own label and releasing music for instance. That’s happening in amateur level, yet it was very natural things to do for them. That experience pushed me to support DYGL.
Last year, I interviewed Jake Bugg and Saveges, I realized I can build a good relationship with them so that could be one of my skill and the way I interact with music.
-From your certain experience, you could have kept going your career, but the fact you have been to overseas made your your vision or things you really want to do became clearer, right?
Kikuchi ：I think I have been though a lot but I am not sure if it became my skill set. haha From the experience in the states, I thought there is not much people to support or give artists a suggestion and be close to them in Japan. I thought that could be a new thing in Japan.