Japan Rising… in Brighton!

Tom Smith on three of Japan’s rising talents

PASSEPIED

It’s got to be a tough job representing your country. Especially when your band has been selected from hundreds – if not thousands – of up and coming acts, of varying genres. To top it all, you’re sent to a small seaside town in a foreign country to perform, along with 400 or so other bands, over a three-day period. It must be a little wracking on the nerves. With so many gigs taking place in such a short period of time, and with so much talent on offer, will anyone even turn up when you hit the stage?

For Japan’s PASSEPIED, moumoon and Yosi Horikawa, these thoughts are likely racing through their minds. The three acts have been chosen to participate in The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, an event tipped as “Europe’s leading festival for new music”, where the town’s venue’s, hotels, pubs and anywhere else with a stage, throw open their doors between 14-16 May for three days of non-stop live music from around the world – including plenty of new and exciting British bands.

For moumoon, the idea of performing in a new territory shouldn’t be too daunting. The two-member unit were invited to Paris’ Tokyo Crazy Kawaii event to perform on their outdoor stage along with SPYAIR and Anna Tsuchiya in 2013, and was among one of their first overseas experiences as a band. All the acts at the event had featured in anime, and for moumoon, part of the appeal to the event’s clientele was the duo’s happy pop songs from anime; Wildchild, the third ending theme to Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, and memories from the ending of One Piece special Episode of Merry. They must’ve impressed the Parisian audience enough, as moumoon have been invited back for two headline shows in France ahead of The Great Escape!

Since the Tokyo Crazy Kawaii appearance, moumoon have had one more song used in anime. This time their latest single Hello,shooting-star from Assassination Classroom, a new series based on the manga with the same name, which revolves around the moon – a freshly exploded one!

PASSEPIED, on the other hand, have yet to venture outside of Japan. They’re label mates with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and have established a solid fan-base at home despite never revealing their full-faces in videos or photos. They believe that if you want to see them uncensored, you have to come one of their gigs. The female fronted band features funky keyboards, groovy basslines and disco guitars coupled with extremely high and cute vocals. Their latest single TOKINOWA will also be used in the anime RIN-NE. Check out the video to their track MATATABISTEP, and try your hardest not to nod along. (Also, nice Manchester shirt, Mr. Keyboards player).

Last, but by no means least, is Yosi Horikawa, who also happens to be signed to British hip hop label First Word Records, despite not being a hip hop artist. Instead, the Osaka-born producer creates experimental electronic music that often uses sounds from nature (and whatever else is around, including – but not limited to – kitchen utensils, sounds of the city and more) to create interesting, tightly woven sonic journeys. He’s even had songs played on BBC Radio 1. Here’s a track from him made from the sounds of people skipping.

moumoon, PASSEPIED and Yosi Horikawa will perform at The Great Escape in Brighton on Saturday 16 May as part of the JAPAN RISING Showcase, taking place between 12-4pm at Queens Hotel. The bands will also perform individually throughout the three days of the festival. moumoon and PASSEPIED will also perform a special warm-up show in London at The Pipeline on Wednesday 13 May.

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