Jul

Philip Sayce: ready to shine

Philip in his element

Philip in his element

Canada’s Philip Sayce is a name many coming to Fuji Rock will not have heard of, however even casual music fans may have seen him play before without knowing it. He’s played the Grammy’s, the Oscars, Letterman, Leno and more. For some, getting to play for millions on the world’s biggest stages may be career defining moments, but this 38-year old Torontonian is looking for more. He’s breaking free from his role as a backup player and ready for the spotlight. With his brand of blues/hard rock guitar already making waves in Europe over the past few years, Sayce is finally catching on in North America and Asia. He was kind enough to answer some questions for us ahead of his Fuji Rock performance. His responses are quite thoughtful and cover everything from his Canadian roots, to his budding future, to Japanese drinking culture, enjoy.

You’ve been around a while in the music business, but may be new to many here at Fuji Rock. Why do you think it’s taken you this long to break out on your own and finally get some recognition as a solo artist?

I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to make music in my lifetime, I really just consider myself just getting started! It is certainly nice when others appreciate the music & efforts too. I’m devoted to music for my life, so it’s a journey, a long road, and something Ifm committed to working on. Right now, I’m in the prime of my life, so this is as perfect a time as any. To have this opportunity to come to Fuji Rock this year is a deep honor and I’m very excited. I’m a student of music, and I’m just trying do the very best that I can, every time. This has always been my intention.

What was it like growing up in Toronto? How would you describe the music scene there?

I’m often describing to friends how thankful I am to have been raised in Toronto, Canada. It is a wonderful, vibrant, and exciting city with world-class, powerful, and inspiring musicians & artists of all genres. Support of the arts is ingrained into the culture in Canada, it’s a wonderful example to the rest of the world of how to nurture and encourage people to express themselves artistically. There’s a lot of serious talent in Canada…

Keeping on that, who were some of your favourite Canadian musicians growing up? How about now?

Definitely people like Jeff Healey, Neil Young, Colin James, Wide Mouth Mason, Gordie Johnson, and many morec Itfs a big list! These are still musicians that continue to inspire me on a daily basis.

You’ve played and toured with some greats over the years; Jeff Healey, Uncle Kracker, Melissa Etheridge and more. Do you have some standout moments or memories over the years of playing on the grandest stages in the world?

Definitely! First and foremost, each of these artists were incredibly supportive of me as an artist, and my journey. They embraced who I am as a musician and a person, and encouraged me to explore it further. I’m very thankful for these apprenticeships. Playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with Jeff Healey was a big highlight for me. Playing at the Oscars, and the Grammys with Melissa Etheridge were also high points. I was so happy to be there… But as I mentioned, I’m just coming into my own now, on my own, and I look forward to many more exciting adventures ahead!

Was there a moment when you felt you no longer need the apprenticeship experience and wanted to give it a go on your own?

Well, I consider myself a student of music first and foremost. So I don’t know if it was ever that I felt that I no longer needed the experience, it was just time for me to step out and focus all of my energies into my own message, into my own music, and my personal expression.

Have you been to Japan before? What are some of your favourite aspects of Japan or Japanese culture?

Yes! I came to Japan in 2007 to perform, and it was a career highlight for me as well. I am so excited to come back this year! There’s so much about the Japanese culture that I really respect and admire. One of the first things that I noticed was businessmen at lunch when they ordered a beer…In Western culture, people usually pour for themselves first. But in Japan, each businessman at the lunch poured for the other person. It was a beautiful gesture and really something that stayed with mecthis thoughtfulness and awareness of others. A respect for others, as well as the self.

Do you have some favourite Japanese musicians?

The first person that comes to mind is Keiko Matsui. Our drummer, Jimmy Paxson, plays with her sometimes. She is a very talented artist! Of course many morecanyone who plays with heart & soul!

What are your impressions of Fuji Rock Festival?

This is a very famous and extremely well respected festival around the world. I’ve heard about Fuji Rock Festival for many years, and I am deeply honored and extremely excited for the opportunity to come and perform at Fuji Rock this year!

Will you have some time to explore the festival? Any artists you’re keen to check out?

Oh yes! There are so many great artists at the festival this year. My plan is to just follow the sound, follow the music, follow my heart, and see where it brings me.

What can we expect from your set on Saturday night at Fuji Rock?

We will be giving 110% in our performance! We’re so excited to be coming to Fuji rock! Wefll be playing music with our hearts & souls, a lot of emotion, and giving everything that we have. Every time we play, we try to approach it from a different spacec from the space that is unique to each day. And we will be giving our all on July 25!

Any parting words?

My new album, influence, is being released on July 22 with Warner Music Japan. This is my major label debut in Japan, and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I hope you’ll check out my new record, and hope that you will come and join us on July 25 at The Fuji Rock Festival. Thank you very much for the opportunity to have this interview with you, love and happiness! Domo arigato!
See you soon,
Philip

*Photo courtesy of philipsayce.com

Jul

Cero: A weird chill cometh

by Patrick
Photo by Yoshitaka Kogawa for Smashing Mag

Photo by Yoshitaka Kogawa for Smashing Mag

When the band Cero first popped up on people’s radar in 2011, they seemed…pretty chill. The first song they shared was a sleepy number that just drifted ahead, all blurry eyed and nostalgic. The subsequent first album was a solid, albeit safe, collection of indie rock.

And then they discovered horns, and Cero got strange.

More…

Jul

Rookie A Go-Go Graduates

by Matt

RookieAGoGo

Every year, 15 rookie bands battle it out at the Rookie A Go Go stage for a chance at the main stage the following year. The stage always brings something fresh to the festival, with a huge mix of genres and sounds. The voting contest is always closely fought and the winner a well-deserved inclusion on the bill for the next year. Before the announcement of this year’s rookie bands, we thought we’d have a look back at the previous winners since the prize’s introduction in 2011.

More…

Jun

The vegetarian survival guide

vegetarian_labelIt’s not easy being vegetarian at Fuji Rock. All the peace and good vibes and save-the-planet slogans don’t translate into meat-free food. But it’s not impossible.

Each year the food stalls change a little, so it’s hard to know what this year will bring, but the Field of Heaven is always the most likely place to find veggie food. The Levain stall has top quality bread, and there’s usually a stall next to it offering a veggie curry (which always sells out). There always used to be a pizza vendor in the field too, though they didn’t turn up last year. Here’s hoping they make a comeback this year.

Just before you reach the White Stage, on your right, there’s the Tokoro Tengoku tent, where you can pick up some fresh fruit and veg. You’ll be craving that before long.

There’s slim pickings in the Oasis area, but you can buy pizza, pasta and some years veggie samosas.

It’s always worth looking up the hill by the NGO stalls. On some years, people serve vegan food there. Not often though.

So take some fruit or granola bars with you, and have a big meal of protein before you go.

Jun

Hiromi Uehara

by Dave
The hair's the thing

Hiromi at FRF 2012

In the blogosphere, Japan’s best known jazz pianist, Hiromi Uehara, has already appeared on several must-see lists for 2015 Fuji Rock. She’s played the festival a number of times, the earliest I can remember was 2005 when, relatively early in her solo career, she was helming a trio called Hiromi’s Sonic Bloom, featuring at least one fellow graduate of Berklee School of Music. In Japanese jazz circles, her story is almost mythical. She started playing piano at 5, then met Chick Corea at the age of 17 and was invited to play with him the next day. She has been mentored by Corea (see them playing together here) and jazz legend Ahmad Jamal, with whom she studied. More…

Jun

Galactic is back!

Galactic funking out on the Green stage in 2012

Galactic funking out on the Green stage in 2012

Now over 20 years in the game, funk/jazz jam band extraordinaire Galactic, is coming back to Fuji Rock this summer. This time they’re bringing the iconic soulstress, Macy Gray with them. Galactic is slated to headline the Field of Heaven stage Saturday night. It’s a prime time slot that sees them going up against possibly the likes of Muse, Deadmau5 or Belle and Sebastian. However, I have no doubt that the Galactic live experience will hold its’ own against anyone at the fest this year. We talked to one of the founding members, bassist Robert Mercurio, about their return to Japan, collaborating with Macy Gray and more. Let’s get to it.

You’re primarily an instrumental band but have toured with quite a few talented singers over the years. What do you look for in a singer? Do you scout them out? Do they approach you?

We always look for something unique in someone’s voice. When touring, it is good to also have a versatile singer since they are covering so much different material. When we add a new singer, we usually try to pick stuff that will fit well into the singer’s vibe – a song that is good for Corey Glover (Living Colour) might not also work for Macy Gray. We usually scout them out or they are someone that we already know and have worked with in some other capacity (recording, writing, etc).

Consequently, how did you first hook up with Macy Gray? How has it been working and touring with her?

We met back in October at her show at Tipitina’s in New Orleans, We talked about working together on some new music and doing some touring together and now it is happening!

You’ve similarly collaborated with some amazing musicians in your career and toured the world over. Any performances or collaborations that really stand out over the years?

Our 2008 Fuji Rock performance with Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) and Boots Riley (The Coup) has always been a huge highlight for the band. One of the best crowds ever!

Keeping on that, now more than 20 years in, what keeps you going and inspired as a band?

We think that getting to collaborate and in a way reinvent ourselves with every collaboration has been keeping the band fresh and inspired.

What is it about New Orleans that makes it such a world-renowned music city?

It is truly one of the only real music cities in the US – you can see music in every neighborhood almost every night of the week and pretty much all hours of the day!

We’ve last seen Galactic at Fuji Rock in 2008 and 2012, how many times have you been to Japan?

This will be our 12th time over to Japan – we love it!

What are some of your favourite things about Japan or Japanese culture?

We absolutely love the food – ramen!!! We have made some great friends over the years of touring in Japan. We also love the onsens too.

Who are some of your favourite Japanese artists? Have you done collaborations with Japanese artists before?

We have worked with Eye and Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro in the past.

What can we expect from your set at Fuji Rock this summer?

Well we will be featuring a lot of Macy Gray material and some new originals with her as well. Very funky good time!

Any chance we’ll see Ben Ellman throw down another Gypsyphonic Disko set in the Palace of Wonder this year?

I don’t think that it is booked, but I know he would love to do it!

Finally, any parting words for the people?

Japan is one of our favorite places to visit – the crowds are the absolute best ever and we always try to play our best show possible for the lovely people over there!!

*Photo by Yusuke Kitamura and used with permission of Fujirockers 2012.

Jun

Wilko Returns!

by Matt
Wilko at Work

Wilko at Work

In 2013, I watched a dead man play one of the best sets of pure rock and roll I’ve ever heard. In 2015, that same man will be back at Fuji Rock, alive and kicking. Diagnosed with terminal cancer, Wilko Johnson was a surprise late inclusion to the 2013 Fuji Rock lineup. Without knowing if he would have the strength to perform, the organizers and Wilko took a gamble. It paid off in spades as he managed to perform two sets, a short intimate late night set in the Palace of Wonder and a set on the main Green Stage that packed the fields as full as the main headliners. With his trademark bug-eyed stare, jerky stage movements and machine-gun riffing, Wilko thrilled audiences. It was hard to accept that this could possibly be his last ever concert and the assembled crowd fully appreciated this possibility, expressing their appreciation of not only the set but of his whole career and life.

More…

Jun

Hudson Mohawke keeps moving forward

by Patrick
Hudson Mohawke

Hudson Mohawke

Rare is an artist who helped invent a whole genre of electronic music and who has collaborated with one of the biggest (and most divisive) artists on the planet who also wants to create some distance from those accomplishments. Yet that’s what Glasgow producer Hudson Mohawke tries to do in the wake of accidentally inventing a branch of EDM called “trap” (as part of the duo TNGHT, with Canadian producer Lunice), while also working with rapper Kanye West on parts of his last album. It’s a bit fitting, really — Mohawke (real name Ross Birchard) has never been one to be content with his sound. He’ll play Fuji Rock’s White Stage this year, and punters should expect…well, they shouldn’t necessarily know what to expect, since that’s what Mohawke does so well.

More…

Jun

Tickets! Lodging! The Basic Info For Fujirock Virgins!

by Dave

goodnight FRF by 宗川真巳

The top two questions for first time Fujirockers are:

1) How do I buy tickets? and
2) Where do I stay?

We’ve already received a few inquiries, including messages to our Facebook fan page, so in a nutshell, here’s what to do.

More…

Jun

group_inou

by Park

GROUP_INOU

GROUP_INOU


When Japanese electronic/hip-hop duo group_inou take to the Red Marquee stage on Saturday of this years Fuji Rock outing, expect them to look as comfortable on a main stage as acts with twice their reach and fanbase. Not their first appearance at Fuji Rock (they played here back in 2012), the energetic pair are no strangers to the festival circuit. Their crowd-pleasing brand of shuffling beats and catchy half-talk/half-rap flow have hypnotized summer festival goers since their start as a duo over 10 years ago. So don’t expect them to take a break soon after Fuji Rock. They’ll continue making the festival rounds in support of their freshly released album “MAP”, with showings at Aomori Rock Festival and again at Kawasaki’s BAYCAMP, where they’ve become a regular fixture.

Perhaps the best way to get a pre-festival taste for group_inou’s unique hip-hop sound is to take a dive into a wormhole on their youtube channel. Often collaborating with animated video production collective AC部, their videos weave weird and wacky visual fantasies that meld perfectly with the group’s bobbing vibe. As for their live act, they’ll no doubt draw in plenty of new fans and keep mid-festival spirits high with a Saturday spot on the Red Marquee stage this year.

group_inou official
group_inou youtube
group_inou twitter

Jun

Humans of Fuji Rock

by Laura
2014-07-24

Roger and Jonny, Fuji Rock 2014

In a bar a few weeks back, I was talking to an acquaintance and mentioned I was heading to Fuji Rock.  He beckoned across the bar at a friend, and when his friend arrived said: “He goes to Fuji Rock with his Dad.”

“Your Dad lives in Japan?” I asked, noticing that said friend was sounding a bit British.

“No, he flies over every year,” replied Jonny, introducing himself.

I was impressed.  The closest I could ever get my parents to a festival is when they dropped me off at Slough train station and told me not to get too drunk when I went to the Reading Festival.  Imagining my parent’s horror at the festival toilets, the general grime, and the lack of decent food made me wonder what sort of fellow this Jonny’s dad was.

“Can I interview you?” I asked. “You know, like ”Humans of New York”, except without the heartbreaking stories?”

“Sure!”

So Jonny and Roger very kindly impart their Fuji Rocks experiences below.  More…

Jun

Charan po Lantan

3295_charanThis’ll probably be the best performance most people miss this year. Last time these girls played Fuji Rock they were on the tiny, rickety Naeba Shokudo stage. Now they’ve made the leap to the Field of Heaven, they’re certain to be on way before most people have shaken off their first hangover.

Last time, they had the worst time slot in Fuji Rock history. Not only did they have to play at the same time as Radiohead (surely one of the biggest crowds ever), but they had to play so CLOSE to Radiohead that you could them warbling through the trees.
The girls took it in their stride. One of them strapped a cardboard radio to her head, and then played a very cool version of Paranoid Android. The cheeky buggers.

Read the report here, and then get up early, because this is the funniest band I’ve ever seen live, and they play a kind of clownish klezmer that’ll wake you up and make you jolly.

The Japan Times published a fun little interview with them a couple of years back.

Jun

Orange Court Update

by Matt

Orange Court

As some of you may have seen, in the last lineup announcement one stage was missing. We can confirm that the Orange Court will not be returning this year. No doubt many attendees will be wondering for the reasons behind this decision. Our Japanese staff at Fujirockers undertook an interview with Mr Hidako, the president of Smash Corporation, that covered a wide range of issues and included the Orange Court decision. A fuller translation of the Japanese interview (which can be read here) is in the works but for the moment, here is that particular section.

More…

Jun

Gabbing with Lewis

Lewis and the fam rocking out!

Lewis and the fam rocking out!

We last saw Kitty, Daisy & Lewis at Fuji Rock five years ago in 2010, when these kids took the festival by storm. Their skill, passion and excitement for live music shone through. The sibling led band, now a little order, wiser and no longer looking like kids, are back in Naeba this summer. Hot off the release of a new album and in the middle of an intense touring schedule, that sees them touring with their musician parents and trumpet legend Eddie Thortan, we did a virtual sitdown with Lewis to hear his thought about the band, touring with the fam, Japanese culture and more.

You guys have been playing music together your whole lives and certainly have been around the festival scene a while now, but may be new to some of the Fuji Rockers looking to discover something new at the fest this year. Can you give a brief history of the band and how long you’ve been playing under the Kitty, Daisy & Lewis moniker? Was it a natural progression to form the band? Was it someone’s idea to start doing shows and recording tunes?

KDL was always a natural thing. We grew up together playing and singing. When the whole family got together, guitars would be brought and everyone would have a singsong. So, we grew up with music. Then a friend who ran an evening in a pub asked us if we wanted to do a few songs so we did and that was that. Then we did it a few more times and then got asked to do a festival, where, they put us on the poster as Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.

You’re all known to be multi-instrumentalists, do you have favourite instruments? Is there an instrument you want to take up, or feel could add to the sound of the band?

What you want to play depends on the mood really and the song. I would love to learn the saxophone but, there isn’t really much time these days to do much and it takes a lot of hard work. I’d also like to become better at the guitar, drums and piano.

A lot of your music is rooted in older traditions and your recordings are done with older analogue equipment. Can you speak to this, why is this important to KDL and how do you think this separates you from other bands today?

Our music is just something we learnt when we were growing up and we listened to and heard all types of music which inspires us. Most people think we grew up listing to rock and roll of the 1950s but we didn’t. Of course we heard that but we heard so much more from Bert Kaempfert through T.Rex to Dave Edmunds. In our music, we have lots of little flavours from all over the place in our music. We like to use the older technique of recording because it seems to capture the vibe of music more honestly. Digital recording is still in its early days, in comparison to analogue technology on a timeline, digital is at the stage of electrical recording in early 1930s. So maybe it will get better one day.

What’s your current touring band? Tell us about Eddie “Tan Tan” Thorton? How did you first hook up with him? How long has he been with the band? Can we expect to see him at Fuji Rock?

The current line up is me, Kitty, Daisy, Ingrid (mum) and Graeme (dad). Tan Tan is our special guest! He’s great. He travels the world with us and is a one of a kind person with one of the richest musical backgrounds ever. Tan Tan is a big Jazz fan as that was his era in Jamaica so, we have lots of conversations about all that stuff. We met Tan Tan at a house party some 6 years ago now and got chatting to him. He knew my dad from island records where he used to work.

What’s it like being on the road with the family? Does it bring you together as a family? Are there times when you get at each other’s throats?

Playing together has its ups and downs. Sometimes we get on and sometimes….. Its just something we do tho so there’s not much choice!

We’ve seen you in Japan back in 2008 for Asagiri Jam, at this very festival in 2010 and most recently last month playing Osaka, Tokyo and Arabaki Rock Fest. How many times have you been to Japan? What are some of your favourite things about Japan or Japanese culture?

We have been to Japan three times now. I love coming to Japan, it’s defiantly in my three favourite places. I love the food, the culture and how friendly everyone is. I like the small little bars that are off the street, we don’t have those here!

You’ve played all over the world in numerous venues and festivals, what are some of your favourite, or some stands-out memories over the years?

We like to go to Berlin, Germany is always good for us. I enjoy Australia and New Zealand.

What can we expect from your set at Fuji Rock this year?

You can expect to see a high energy rocking show with lots of different angles and branches of music. Lots of swapping around on instruments and of course, Tan Tan!

You’ve been known as a bit of a vinyl collector and DJ of 78’s, any chance for a sneaky set of 78s at a smaller stage during the fest?

I think it will be too much to bring 78s to japan, they are very heavy! The airlines are to stricked these days unfortunately.

Finally, any parting message for the readers?

See you at Fuji Rock!!

*Photo by Koichi Hanafusa and used with the permission of Smashing Mag.

We last saw Kitty, Daisy & Lewis at Fuji Rock five years ago in 2010, when these kids took the festival by storm. Their skill, passion and excitement for live music shone through. The sibling led band, now a little order, wiser and no longer looking like kids, are back in Naeba this summer. Hot off the release of a new album and in the middle of an intense touring schedule, that sees them touring with their musician parents and trumpet legend Eddie Thortan, we did a virtual sitdown with Lewis to hear his thought about the band, touring with the fam, Japanese culture and more.
You guys have been playing music together your whole lives and certainly have been around the festival scene a while now, but may be new to some of the Fuji Rockers looking to discover something new at the fest this year. Can you give a brief history of the band and how long you’ve been playing under the Kitty, Daisy & Lewis moniker? Was it a natural progression to form the band? Was it someone’s idea to start doing shows and recording tunes?
KDL was always a natural thing. We grew up together playing and singing. When the whole family got together, guitars would be brought and everyone would have a singsong. So, we grew up with music. Then a friend who ran an evening in a pub asked us if we wanted to do a few songs so we did and that was that. Then we did it a few more times and then got asked to do a festival, where, they put us on the poster as Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.
You’re all known to be multi-instrumentalists, do you have favourite instruments? Is there an instrument you want to take up, or feel could add to the sound of the band?
What you want to play depends on the mood really and the song. I would love to learn the saxophone but, there isn’t really much time these days to do much and it takes a lot of hard work. I’d also like to become better at the guitar, drums and piano.
A lot of your music is rooted in older traditions and your recordings are done with older analogue equipment. Can you speak to this, why is this important to KDL and how do you think this separates you from other bands today?
Our music is just something we learnt when we were growing up and we listened to and heard all types of music which inspires us. Most people think we grew up listing to rock and roll of the 1950s but we didn’t. Of course we heard that but we heard so much more from Bert Kaempfert through T.Rex to Dave Edmunds. In our music, we have lots of little flavours from all over the place in our music. We like to use the older technique of recording because it seems to capture the vibe of music more honestly. Digital recording is still in its early days, in comparison to analogue technology on a timeline, digital is at the stage of electrical recording in early 1930s. So maybe it will get better one day.
What’s your current touring band?
Tell us about Eddie “Tan Tan” Thorton? How did you first hook up with him? How long has he been with the band? Can we expect to see him at Fuji Rock?
The current line up is me, Kitty, Daisy, Ingrid (mum) and Graeme (dad). Tan Tan is our special guest! He’s great. He travels the world with us and is a one of a kind person with one of the richest musical backgrounds ever. Tan Tan is a big Jazz fan as that was his era in Jamaica so, we have lots of conversations about all that stuff. We met Tan Tan at a house party some 6 years ago now and got chatting to him. He knew my dad from island records where he used to work.
What’s it like being on the road with the family? Does it bring you together as a family? Are there times when you get at each other’s throats?
Playing together has its ups and downs. Sometimes we get on and sometimes….. Its just something we do tho so there’s not much choice!
We’ve seen you in Japan back in 2008 for Asagiri Jam, at this very festival in 2010 and most recently last month playing Osaka, Tokyo and Arabaki Rock Fest.
How many times have you been to Japan? What are some of your favourite things about Japan or Japanese culture?
We have been to Japan three times now. I love coming to Japan, it’s defiantly in my three favourite places. I love the food, the culture and how friendly everyone is. I like the small little bars that are off the street, we don’t have those here!
You’ve played all over the world in numerous venues and festivals, what are some of your favourite, or some stands-out memories over the years?
We like to go to Berlin, Germany is always good for us. I enjoy Australia and New Zealand.
What can we expect from your set at Fuji Rock this year?
You can expect to see a high energy rocking show with lots of different angles and branches of music. Lots of swapping around on instruments and of course, Tan Tan!
You’ve been known as a bit of a vinyl collector and DJ of 78’s, any chance for a sneaky set of 78s at a smaller stage during the fest?
I think it will be too much to bring 78s to japan, they are very heavy! The airlines are to stricked these days unfortunately.
Finally, any parting message for the readers?
See you at Fuji Rock!!
Jun

New Lineup Additions and Schedule Announcement!

by Lisa

SHOKA OKUBO PROJECT ROCKIN' THOSE HEELS AND MORE

SHOKA OKUBO PROJECT ROCKIN' THOSE HEELS AND MORE

There’s just under 50 days to Fuji Rock! Are you excited yet? If not, then maybe this’ll get you crackin’: over 30 exciting acts have been announced over at the official Fuji Rock website! Some of the new acts include: British Drenge boys, “brat pop” duo Holychild, Shoka Okubo Blues Project (they played a fantastic set on the Rookie A Go-Go stage last year), Big Willie’s Burlesque returns with a reggae twist, and many, many more! Check the official website for more! And not only that, all the acts so far are listed according to day and stage! It’s the perfect time to sharpen your pencils and get a rough draft going for your Fuji Rock festival madness plans. As for the biggies:

FRIDAY 24th: Foo Fighters, Motorhead, One Ok Rock

SATURDAY 25th: Must, Deadmau5, Gen Hoshino

SUNDAY 26th: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Sheena Ringo

But with additions there are often retractions… This time not in the form of a band announcement. Some of you with sharp eyes (and minds to match, I’m sure) may notice something a wee bit different on the live schedule…

Yes, there will be no Orange Court stage this year.

Whether this means Cafe de Paris moves to where the Orange Court was, or if something else will be popped there instead remains to be seen. We’ll keep you posted on the info as soon as we’re informed!

*Photo by Hiroshi Maeda and used with the permission of Fuji Rock Express.

Jun

Toe: The Future is Now

by Matt
Toe live at Club Quattro

Toe live at Club Quattro

Every person that has cast their eye over the Fuji Rock lineup will be picking out their most see bands, checking the day they perform on and listening to their discography in case any obscure songs pop up in their set. At the top of my list is Toe. Based in the Kanto region, this Japanese band are veterans of Fuji Rock, with this year being their fourth appearance since their first back in 2007. So what is it about the band that keeps them being invited back time and time again?

More…

Jun

Gesu no Kiwami Otome gets weird and goes big

by Patrick

Gesu no Kiwami Otome

Gesu no Kiwami Otome

Gesu no Kiwami Otome started life as an excuse to have fun. Enon Kawatani, lead singer and guitarist in straight-laced Japanese rock band Indigo La End, teamed up with his main project’s former bassist and two performers (Chan Mari and Hona Ikoka) from a couple of his favorite smaller bands in order to goof around away from their main projects. Kawatani established a light-hearted tone early on when he described their sound as “hip-hop” and “progressive” which…well, isn’t totally off the mark, but a bit of a stretch.

Gesu’s mission statement seems recreational, but their rapid ascent to the top of the Japanese mainstream music landscape has been serious.

More…

May

Fujirock Boardwalkin’: Calling all Volunteers

by Lisa
Colorful new boards already in place

volunteers repair the boardwalk

It’s that time of year again! Don’t think that you have to wait until the end of July to visit the gorgeous Naeba and soak in all its green forest glory. On three occasions through June and July anyone who has the time and the energy can help repair and design the beloved Naeba Independence Boardwalk. It’s a great experience to meet new people and really become a part of the fes. Professional carpenters are on hand to do the tricky stuff, but help is needed with hammering, pulling nails from old boards and just generally giving a hand where needed. Experience is not essential, and don’t be afraid to make it a family affair: kids, pets and groups as well as individuals are all equally welcome.

Why not give it a try?

Applications are currently being accepted, and all the details you need are below:
More…

May

RIDE: Shoegaze and it’s uncomfortable return

by Dave


If Ride’s FRF2015 set is anything like this, we’ll all be happy campers.

There is something weird about the shoegaze reunions that are steadily popping up. The amazing and highly anticipated reunion of Ride at Fuji Rock 2015 is a little bit different — the anticipation is well merited, in my opinion, for Ride, but as a whole, the trend feels a bit like a false religion, a hope in something that doesn’t exist.

I think this odd feeling about the return of shoegaze is not so much about the musical style per se as about the fact that shoegaze came out of the 90s, just at the time when the music industry was starting to come unglued as a result of the Internet and rock bands were so actively anti-pop that the goal seemed to be about anything but getting famous, or even for lasting very long.

Ride was the biggest and most accomplished of the British shoegaze acts. They formed at the beginning of the 90s and blazed to success with four albums, most of them pretty good. Well actually, really good. They were a veritable powerhouse at the moment they suddenly broke up in 1996, because singer Mark Gardner suddenly went with an offer to chase a bigger and better drea in New York, but that never turned out to be much. Bassist Andy Bell meanwhile went on to play bass for Oasis, then guitar for Beady Eye. For a really good description of how that all went down, and a general band history, read this article in the Guardian. Then Ride announced it was getting back together last year. Now they’re coming to Fuji Rock.

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May

Joey Bada$$

by Park
JOEY BADA$$

JOEY BADA$$

While I’ve been a Naeba regular with the mid-winter powder fresh and waist-deep, the upcoming 2015 festival will be my first Fuji Rock experience. I’m hoping that my treks through the snow, board in hand, navigating between lifts will help me get my bearings early on in the festival, although I’m sure the Naeba area looks vastly different without three meters of snow on the ground. 

Though I’m not familiar with the festival layout, I am familiar with and excited to catch many of the acts scheduled to hit the stage in 2015. Among them, I’m especially anticipating a strong weekend kickoff set from ProEra hip-hop collective co-founder Joey Bada$$. The 20-year-old Brooklyn NY rapper, sure to be a huge draw to this years festival for many hip-hop heads, keeps the vibe of both his production and lyrical content close to home with heavy influence from fellow Brooklynites Notorious B.I.G and early Nas. 

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May

Popping The Fuji Rock Cherry

by Laura
Kemuri

KEMURI

Back during the days when I was living in a climate that required much less stoicism and bug spray, I used to spend much of my summer vacations looking forward to hitting the Reading Festival, or whatever else I could afford to go to on a student bookseller’s wage. Those days are gone, and although this is not my first festival experience in Japan – I once spent a weekend at a campsite halfway up a mountain in Wakayama getting bombarded by Gabba and Chip music til 3am every night– it will be my first Fuji Rock. Nor will it be my first festival as a reporter. I had great fun last year covering the Boomtown Fair festival in the UK. Based on much of my early festival-going experiences, Boomtown was much more pleasant than I had been expecting, and has hopefully set me up nicely for the Fuji Rock preparation.

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May

The beer connoisseur’s guide to Fuji Rock

Tokyo Ale booth - The go-to spot for beer lovers

Tokyo Ale booth - The go-to spot for beer lovers

Craft beer is exploding the world over and Japan is no exception. Tokyo seems to have a new craft beer bar opening every other week. There are craft beer festivals running just as frequently throughout the summer in Japan. Craft beer importers supplying the world’s finest brews to thirsty drinkers are
similarly thriving all over the country. Japanese brewers for their part, are upping their game too, Hitachino Nest is being exported around the world,
Shiga Kogen is brewing barrel aged porters and collaboration beers with famed Cali-brewers like Pizza Port and craft brews like Aooni IPA and Yona Yona Ale can be found at your local convenience store.
With so many options and quality brews now available in the country, many (myself included) have developed a disdain for the standard clear, yellow, fizzy
lager beer that has been prevalent for so long since before the recent craft beer enlightenment. Fuji Rock is so progressive in many ways but can it
answer the call for us craft heads?
What I can offer you fine readers is what I have seen in the past, some options you can use to take matters into your own hands and some hopes for the
future. Now, as a preface for those who don’t know, Heineken has been a long time sponsor of Fuji Rock. I understand music festivals need sponsors in
order to pay the millions of dollars required to book major artists and fly them in from around the world. I’m not here to badmouth Heineken, it’s fine as
a sponsor and thirst quencher, but an interesting, tasteful, hand crafted beer it is not.
So, what else can we find for sale at the festival and where can we find it? Well for starters my go-to brew has usually been Tokyo ale (pictured above). The self proclaimed “dude brewed, extra tasty micro brewed amber ale” has had a booth in the Field of Heaven area for at least a few years now and has been a mainstay at indie music fests around the country. In the NGO Village in Avalon Field I’ve always had luck finding a few popular Japanese crafts like Aooni, SunSun and Yona Yona, usually with one on draught which is always a bonus. Moving back towards the festival entrance takes us to the Oasis food court area, which is always a bit of a mixed bag, but where I’ve always found quality food and more recently have succeeded in finding a craft brew or two also.  There’s usually a british stall offering semi-craft brews such as Old Speckeled Hen and Spitfire. I’ve also found a few varieties of Echigo beer around this area which usually provide an above average Japanese brew. One can only hope that with the further expansion and popularity of craft beer in Japan this past year that Fuji Rock 2015 will see more craft goodness popping up throughout the fest.
One comforting aspect of Fuji Rock is that you can indeed bring your own beer. While you can’t technically bring cans or bottles into the festival site,
people can and certainly do bring coolers full of cans and bottles to their hotels and camping areas. So for the true craftheads who can’t go without their
Greenflash, Stone, Lagunitas or Dogfish Head, feel free to bring a case, hell bring a keg, just don’t forget to share it with us beer-loving rock reporters.

Craft beer is exploding the world over and Japan is no exception. Tokyo seems to have a new craft beer bar opening every other week. There are craft beer festivals running just as frequently throughout the summer in Japan. Craft beer importers supplying the world’s finest brews to thirsty drinkers are similarly thriving all over the country. Japanese brewers for their part, are upping their game too, Hitachino Nest is being exported around the world, Shiga Kogen is brewing barrel aged porters and collaboration beers with famed Cali-brewers like Pizza Port and craft brews like Aooni IPA and Yona Yona Ale can be found at your local convenience store.

With so many options and quality brews now available in the country, many (myself included) have developed a disdain for the standard clear, yellow, fizzy lager beer that has been prevalent for so long since before the recent craft beer enlightenment. Fuji Rock is so progressive in many ways but can it answer the call for us craft heads?

What I can offer you fine readers is what I have seen in the past, some options you can use to take matters into your own hands and some hopes for the future. Now, as a preface for those who don’t know, Heineken has been a long time sponsor of Fuji Rock. I understand music festivals need sponsors in order to pay the millions of dollars required to book major artists and fly them in from around the world. I’m not here to badmouth Heineken, it’s fine as a sponsor and thirst quencher, but an interesting, tasteful, hand crafted beer it is not.

So, what else can we find for sale at the festival and where can we find it? Well for starters my go-to brew has usually been Tokyo ale (pictured above). The self proclaimed “dude brewed, extra tasty micro brewed amber ale” has had a booth in the Field of Heaven area for at least a few years now and has been a mainstay at indie music fests around the country. In the NGO Village in Avalon Field I’ve always had luck finding a few popular Japanese crafts like Aooni, SunSun and Yona Yona, usually with one on draught which is always a bonus. Moving back towards the festival entrance takes us to the Oasis food court area, which is always a bit of a mixed bag, but where I’ve always found quality food and more recently have succeeded in finding a craft brew or two also.  There’s usually a british stall offering semi-craft brews such as Old Speckeled Hen and Spitfire. I’ve also found a few varieties of Echigo beer around this area which usually provide an above average Japanese brew. One can only hope that with the further expansion and popularity of craft beer in Japan this past year that Fuji Rock 2015 will see more craft goodness popping up throughout the fest.

One comforting aspect of Fuji Rock is that you can indeed bring your own beer. While you can’t technically bring cans or bottles into the festival site, people can and certainly do bring coolers full of cans and bottles to their hotels and camping areas. So for the true craftheads who can’t go without their Greenflash, Stone, Lagunitas or Dogfish Head, feel free to bring a case, hell bring a keg, just don’t forget to share it with us beer-loving rock reporters.

May

Small Stages, Big Surprises

by Matt
Mokudo Tei in the forest, Photo by Suguta

Mokudo Tei in the forest, Photo by Suguta

Everybody may already know the big stages and the famous musicians at Fuji Rock, but for me the real joy of the festival is exploring the smaller stages and artists I’ve never heard of. Here’s my quick guide to the smaller stages, hidden away in the vast grounds of the festival and what you can expect from each of them.

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May

Whoop, there it is! Yet another FRF ‘15 Lineup

by Lisa
ASH IS BACK!

ASH IS BACK!

With only 10 weeks to go, this year’s Fuji Rock is creeping closer and closer by the minute! Have you got your tickets? Already weatherproofed your gear? Or are you even already completely packed for the full-filled fes?

Whether you’re set to go or it’s not really on your radar yet, here’s another awesome announcement with some amazing artists coming your way at this year’s fes!

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Apr

Latest Lineup Update For FRF ‘15: Sheena & The Rokkets, Chthonic And More

by Patrick
Chthonic At Fuji Rock Festival 2012

Chthonic At Fuji Rock Festival 2012

Nine more artists have been announced for this July’s Fuji Rock Festival, featuring some notable returnees and exciting rookies. Check out the full list belw.

Chabo Band
Chtonic (acoustic)
Tokyo Shock Boys
Humbert Humbert
Jim O’Rourke & Gaman Gilberto
Lone
Seiho
Sheena & The Rokkets
Stone Foundation

For more info on the full FRF ‘15 lineup, check out the official website!

*Photo by Takumi Nakajima and used with permission from Fujirock Express ‘12.