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A Global Noise Magazine

Making Music in Japan part 1 - A Brief Introduction

Matthew Bedford

MusoBlogImgPart 1 - A Brief Introduction

Music is something I've always been interested in.  When I was a child I was obsessed with throwing together mix tapes, carefully choosing select tracks from my father's casette and vinyl collections.  When I entered high school I started a band with some friends with whom I shared an affinity for metal.  From that point on making music is something I have been passionate about.  It was perhaps my own experience in a "garage band" (though later we made the transition to a "drummer's grandmother's basement band") that I have always found self-production and humble beginnings an endearing and attractive quality in music.  My taste in music has of course changed over the years, but I still am overcome with a sense of nostalgia and appreciation when I hear a demo track from a home studio or a recording of a live practice session.

It is because of this, and the fact that I was preparing for a move to Japan, that I started this site. Coming from Chicago I grew up amidst a wealth of homegrown talent.  From high school and into my adult years I frequented some of the well-known local venues that young band members, including my teenage self, dream of eventually playing.  Moving to Japan I was instantly infused with the same sense of wonder I had when I was younger.  The country's general music identity overseas is comprised mainly of J-Pop idols and Visual Kei artists.  This isn't to say that there aren't folks in other countries who aren't aware of what a rich music scene exists in Japan, but simply that I don't believe it gets enough credit or is easily accessible.  Being able to make a modest effort toward doing a service to fans of music that I personally find enjoyable is something that's evolved into a cool little adventure.

Over the last few months or so my enjoyment of music in a Japanese context has led me to a new adventure however.  I recently moved to Nagoya and was lucky enough to find a relatively spacious 3-bedroom apartment.  One major selling point was a small icon of a guitar on the real estate papers indicating the apartment was music-friendly.  This was a huge bonus as a lot of apartments here have paper thin walls through which a person can hear more than they'd probably care to.  Two extra bedrooms and the thumbs up for music eventually led to one room being converted into a "music room".  It's been a few months since we moved here and it has gradually been transforming into a nice little humble (no amps, direct input, laptop recording-level of humble) home studio.  It is in this room that I kicked off a new musical project and can hopefully use as a starting point for my own journey into the local music scene in Japan.


I plan to use my own experiences from this point on as sort of ethnographic research into a music scene that I have been lucky enough to be involved in to some capacity.  It's no secret that Japan is different than my home country in a number of ways, and the process of starting a band and making music is no exception.  It's a topic that I find very interesting and really am excited to delve into on a personal level.  More progress and commentary to come in future posts!