From the camp krautpop of Alphaville to Tom Wait’s manly bourbon croak, being “Big in Japan” has always been something worth singing about.



From the camp krautpop of Alphaville to Tom Wait’s manly bourbon croak, being “Big in Japan” has always been something worth singing about. Tokyo, especially, remains a place that most of us “have always wanted to go to”, and yet we’ll more often than not overshoot it and end up in Australia – somewhere twice as far from home and nowhere near as alien or exciting to Westerners. Everything, we are told, is very different in Japan, except, perhaps, for the country’s healthy appetite for guitars and music.

Figuring this to be the case, this month we’re launching Loud And Quiet Japan – a retail version of Loud And Quiet available in Tokyo that will come with our UK editions in tact, plus interviews and articles translated into Japanese and presented with exclusive photography not seen elsewhere. It’s all the idea of n0idea – a Tokyo-based collective who met whilst studying in London.

The team – made up for art, music, architecture and publication nuts – have recently launched their own record label, lOW VOl, releasing a Argentinean singer-songwriter Pablo Malaurie and a Brooklyn compilation, but their main concern is their creative space, Vacant, where they host exhibitions, live shows, talks and workshops.

“We first got to know about Loud And Quiet from our friends living in London,” explains n0idea founder Yusuke Nagai. “Initially we were planning only to distribute it in Japan, however looking through back issues we thought it would be such a luxury to provide ‘fresh-off-the-scene’ contents in Japanese.”

N0idea haven’t translated a re-published a publication until now, but they have distributed British titles in Japan before, like graphic design books Unit Editions.

“When it comes to working with foreign publication, we always consider the ways to make them accessible to a Japanese audience,” explains Yusuke, “in terms of both contents and price. I guess we want something between the authenticity of an underground zine culture and comprehensiveness (or public accessibility) of popular culture magazines.”

LOUD AND QUIET JAPAN from Vacant on Vimeo.

Tokyo is a robot city, though. It’s a neon playground where the world’s toys are invented and tested and refined. Technology rules in Tokyo; printed newspapers, we imagine, don’t.

“We don’t necessaryly agree that the Internet is the best tool to communicate what music represents,” says Yusuke. “We believe in and physical value aspects of music, like the actual listening experience in a live environment over U-stream broadcasting, for example, or the quality of printed record jackets over web formatted tumblr images.

“If the original source of the communication in music is the physical act of playing instruments any form of representation should carry touch of hands.”

By Stuart Stubbs

Originally published in issue 32 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. October 2011.

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