Kyoto’s Ground Sound

Kyoto is quickly becoming a locus of new music in Japan. While it may not have quite the energy or legacy of music hotspots like Shibuya, Kichijoji or Nanba, it certainly has all the talent and creativity. In past issues, we drew attention to Nabowa, which is gradually gaining national recognition. This time, we sit down with Banshita, owner of a local record store and the Bud Music label, to talk more about the dynamic local scene.

What Kyoto artists besides Nabowa do you recommend and why?

Hasegawa Kenichi
He’s a Kyoto singer/songwriter that I met just recently. His sound isn’t new, per se, but his voice and lyrics are good, and when you see him live, you really feel like you get pulled into the world of his lyrics—scenes of nostalgia somehow just start scrolling through your mind. You get to thinking, “Yeah, music’s great,” and a feeling of pureness comes with it.

This is one of those charismatic bands that will put Kyoto on the world-music map. They’ve drawn influence from a whole range of other artists. Even now when I hear them live after so many times, I get blown away.

What does Kyoto need for its music scene to develop even more?

Kyoto’s got to start actively looking outside its borders. I think there are a lot of great musicians but there is this sense of being closed off or introverted, and they just don’t seem that hungry. There’s not even the initiative in some to say, “We’re definitely going to sell some records.” The world is just so much bigger than Kyoto and so without settling into some narrow comfort zone, I really think they’ve got to look around elsewhere. If they keep mirroring all that’s good about this home of ours, but also start absorbing a wealth of better material and really sending it out there, then I think they’ll get just that much better.

What are some good live venues for seeing Kyoto music?

This is an established club that’s in its 20th year. We’ve benefitted so much from them for so long. Metro has been instrumental in supporting Kyoto music.

They’ve been supporting the Kyoto music scene for over 30 years. It’s a live house with a really unique atmosphere because it’s in a remodeled sake storehouse. Nabowa had the pleasure to perform a solo show there in July. I think it’s one of Japan’s model live houses.

You own a small record store in Kyoto (Japonica). How has the digital age affected your business?

It would be a lie to say that we haven’t been affected at all, but neither is it true to say, “Well, we’re in the digital age now, so analog won’t sell.” Actually, it was the shift to digital that made many realize, “Wait, analog is pretty good after all,” and there are lots of people who have gone back. Analog is analog and digital is digital, each with its own merits, so I think it’s important that the two continue coexisting symbiotically.

Japonica online:

京都は急速に日本の新しい音楽シーンの中心地になってきている。渋谷、吉祥寺、難波のようなミュージック・ホットスポットに比べると、活気や受け継がれるレガシーはまだ充分とは言えないかもしれないが、あらゆる才能と創造性を集めていることは確かだ。Koe-magazineが以前から注目してきた京都出身のバンド、「Nabowa」は全国的に知名度が高まってきている。今回、活気ある京都の音楽シーンについて番下さんと膝を交えて語り合うことができた。彼はローカルのレコード店オーナーであり、「Bud Music」レーベルを立ち上げている。

最近知り合った京都のシンガーソングライターです。新しさはないけど、声、歌詞共にとてもよくて、ライブを聞いているとその世界にグッと引き込まれる感じで、なんとなく懐かしい情景が頭の中を駆け 巡ります。音楽っていいな〜っと、純粋な気持ちにさせてくれます。



もっと積極的に外に目を向けること。いいミュージシャンは沢山いると思うんだけど、どこか閉鎖的というか内向的で、あまりハングリーな感じがしないですね。「絶対に売れてやる!」くらいの強い意志をあまり感じないというか。もっともっと世界は広いのだから、狭い世界で落ち着かず、外に目を向けて必死になるべきじゃなかと。京都という土地の素晴らしさを反映しつつも、よりよいものを沢山吸収して、それをもっともっと外に発信していけば、おのずとよくなるのではなかい と思います。






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