Thanks to the modern era invention, aka social media,
it's much easier to discover creativity and talents buried in the actual world.
So, which girl is in the spotlight in the street scene?
And what kind of personal philosophy do they have in their mind?
We shift that spotlight to music columnist of 'HIGH(ER)Magazine' Mayu Kakihata,
as well as a music-enthusiasm staff in disk Union
(Kakihata worked in disk Union for five years since high school, FYI).
"How on earth music can stream out from this black, thin disc?" - that's what I first thought when I first listened to the music record.
- May we have your brief introduction of yourself?
- My name is Mayu Kakihata. I am a college student, and at the same time, I am part-time-working at disk Union located in Shimokitazawa. I am also producing zines, T-shirts, and stickers but it's just for fun.
- How long have you been working in disk Union?
- I am here since I was in high school, so I would say it is five years now.
- We're wondering what the interview with disk Union is like. Can you tell us what they asked you during your interview?
- Well, you have to present your three most favorite music album. I think I picked 'Transformer' by Lou Reed since he passed away at that time, 'L.A.M.F.' by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers (my favorite!), and 'Houses of the Holy' by Led Zeppelin.
- You were a high school student back then, right? Those picks are unique for an 18-year-old girl. What made you enthusiastic about music?
- I should say my mom was a freak to foreign cultures. When I asked her "what kind of music can I listen?" at the age of 12, she answered Beatles or Madonna. After taking her advice, I ran straight to the Blockbusters to rent over 20 CDs, from rocks to pops. The first time I listen Aerosmith, it felt like a thunderstorm stoked directly to me - I loved rock music till I was in highschool because of them.
- Aerosmith at the age of 12! Wow, that's unbelievable. When did you start collecting music records?
- The first time I purchased it was when I was 14 in middle school. I went to Shibuya to buy some CDs, but it turned out to buy the music record instead. I felt more like: " I could use this as a fancy interior decor for my room!".
- Which music record did you buy at that moment?
- I think it was one by Olivia Newton-John because the cover was really cool. It would be a waste just to put it on the wall to decorate my room, so I took it to listen instead. I did buy a portal record player from Crosley online just for this (though the quality was crappy, I should say). It actually took days to get delivered, so I purchased more and more music records and prepared myself to have my own 'music concert.'
- How was it when the record player was in your hands?
- Oh, I was over the moon! I told my mom like "How on earth music can stream out from this black, thin disc? Look at it, mom!", but all she said was "that's normal, honey."
- Your mom is so chill! That's why you give so much attention to music records.
- I used all my savings for music records when I was in middle and high school. Well, I was young, so I couldn't save that much money. I had my own rule to manage my financial situation: Only Buy Music Records Under 1800 Yen!
- How did you absorbed more knowledge about music?
- I read every single page, every single word of the disc guidebooks - read, research, read and research again. I was already working at disk Union, so I didn't want to be ashamed not having knowledge about music. I needed to study and absorb it, at least the artists that I was in charge. Other information that was not in the guidebook were taught by my bosses and colleagues, whom obviously also are music freaks.
- So the disc guidebook is like your textbook, and disk Union is like your music teacher for you.
- Probably yes. The disc guidebook from London Night was especially an eye-opening one for me. When I went to the actual London Night, the music that I read before was surrounding the venue, and it was extraordinary. That was the moment I experience how awesome to listen to music in the club. The mix differs from DJ, and surely they have their own taste. That was incredible to know that. I also learned about the DJ equipment and how to play it from a DJ named Katchin at that night.
- We might already mention, but you're an enthusiastic person.
- I might be cool and chill to other things in general, but when it comes to music, the engine just starts off. Sometimes I ask the DJs what there are playing during their spin when I don't know the music. Not using Shazam - using communication is my old, classy style.
Kakihata can't rub a smile off on her face when she gives a glance of her music record collection
- What is it for you to listen to music with discs?
- I should say it is 'collectible.' You could have your favorite music in your hand as an object. I am one customer of Apple Music and Spotify, but there are not many experiences encountering to new music compared to going to the record shop and randomly discover one. It's like treasure hunting, and I love that excitement so much! I organize my music record collection in my shelf, and it's so much fun to reorganize it when I feel like to. I can't rub a smile of on my face when I give a glance at it! There are music record communities as well, and I should say that is also one attraction too.
- Can you give any example of those communities?
- No matter how old you are, where are you from, what background you have, you get united as long as the music is here. It's fun to share information with people that have the same interests. Even when you in abroad, just one music record can make you feel connected with individuals with any barriers. I will explain myself as a shy person, but when there is music, I tear down my shield.
- You don't look shy though! What were you like when you were a student?
- Oh, I was pretty a sit-back-and-relax person. I didn't give any concern to things I didn't need to care about. I was the type of girl that didn't dance at all at the elementary school recitals (you know what I mean?). But when I was a teenager, I moved to Boston as an exchange student with my former classmate, then photographer Tammy Volpe. Going to music record shops, live music concerts - those days were so much fun.
- What music were you listening to back in Boston?
- I got 'Japan sick' so bad because there were no Japanese around me. I missed it so much. So I loaded classic Japanese artist like Spitz in my iPod, and also listened to Kayo-kyoku (traditional Japanese genre). I thought those music are not cool at all (especially when you are a teenager), but the language was so heart-warming and beautiful. I love Japanese music from then.
I Recreated my Scribbling Playlists in My Notebook into Zines
- You are also a music columnist for 'HIGH(ER)Magazine' What brought you to be one?
- The beginning of being a music columnist is some scribbles, like music reviews, today's playlist, and illustration that I wrote and drew on my notebook. I was like "Hmmm, I did a pretty good job to create this playlist!" on my own all the time. But the more the scribbles got bigger, expanding my imagination wider. I wanted everyone to listen to it. I copied my notebook and formed it into a zine, and distributed to all of my friends. I also posted on Instagram - and that's how Iromono-Market (an exhibition for creators) gave me a text message to sell it in that exhibition.
- What kind of zine did you create for that exhibition?
- I mixed photos, illustrations, and lyrics of my favorite songs in that zine. My friends let me shoot photos of them, and added the lyric of 'Something, Anything" by Tod Rundgren. Surprisingly so many copies were sold at that time, and I wasn't expecting that at all. It was so fun to create something that you are passionate about, and people give positive reviews to my work at the same time.
- Where do you obtain inspiration for your work?
- I always loved underground cultures such as Sunga (traditional Japanese erotic paintings and prints). Something that people want to cover their eyes turns out to be very appealing to me. Oh, and all the weird illustrations in my zine are not like this on purpose - It's because I can't draw cute ones!
I Want to be the Biggest Female Fan of Music
- What kind of person do you want to be in the future?
- I want to be the biggest female fan of music in this generation. And it's greedy, but I also want to be someone that knows every sub-cultures and come up with funny jokes, just like Jun Miura. Some day I would like to produce a place where people could listen to music, perhaps serving with alcohol.
- That sounds awesome! You should bring a music bar. One last question: what is your latest favorite music now?
- Since summer is finally here, I would say Japanese city pops, vengers and surf rock are my latest hits. I started to listen to hip-hop too because I'm now transferred to the hip-hop section. It's actually very new to me. When you familiar with some sounds from the hip-hop music and look it up afterward, sometimes it's the songs that I know and are sampled - those are mind-blowing!
- Yes, recognizing songs from other music is one joy. What would you like to say to people about music in your generation?
- Hmmm, let me think... I would like to say that, now we have so many great artists and musicians, but every one of them has its own roots. I want my generation to know that for sure because it makes the music itself more attractive. Looking up their background, listening to their old music - it expands your interest more. That is one thing I love about music. It feels like you're stuck in a 'quicksand of music'! I surely can't get out of this quicksand; I'm stuck. But I want to share this feeling, how fun, exciting, energetic music is. First thing first - go listen to Jonny Thunders!