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    Susumu Hirasawa and EJIN – Mad Science and Melody

    • August 18, 2021 ● Bands

    Hirasawa Susumu is perhaps best known to the west as the man behind the brilliant soundtrack to the 2006 animated film Paprika, but he is oh-so-much more than just that.

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  • Festival Fashion: How to Dress for Fuji Rock


    Hey there, Nina here reporting on Fuji Rock’s fashion trends.

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    Music festivals in other parts of the world often zoom focus on the fashion portion of the experience; so much so that some of the most well-known fast fashion brands have their own line of clothing catered for certain music festivals. However, things are done a bit differently at the largest and most well-known festival here in Japan.

    At Fuji Rock Festival, music comes first and fashion comes second…or even third or fourth if you consider the high priority the festival’s gourmet and non-music entertainment hold for people’s experiences. Nonetheless, there is still a certain type of festival fashion that exists at FRF. I personally like to call it “Camper Chic”. It’s a mixture of the unique Japanese outdoor fashion which incorporates colorful accessories and practical essentials. Here is a list of fashion items you won’t want to leave at home before departing for FRF:

    Bucket Hat 

    Bucket hats have made a comeback in recent years, but it’s always been in fashion at this festival. It’s perfect for its multiple uses from blocking out the sun to keeping the rain out of your eyes. And remember, the more colorful or unique it is, it makes it easier for your friends to find you in any crowd.

    Bandana

    What can’t you use a bandana for? It’s the ultimate outdoor fashion item that can be used as a makeshift mask, headband, scarf, cooling towel, or even a picnic sheet to sit on. It can add a touch of color or funky accessory to any look that can be transformed into anything you wish to use it as later on.

    Rain Boots

    You can’t survive Fuji Rock without proper footwear. While every once in a while, the festival is blessed with sunny and dry weather, it’s best to assume that the forecast will include some downpours and wet puddles. With so much ground to cover from stage to stage, be sure to not only wear rain boots, but to wear comfortable rain boots. Your happy, dry, and rested feet will thank you later!

    Hint: I wear my TEVA rain boots which are moulded to my feet and are as comfortable as Birkenstocks or hiking boots. It truly makes a difference!

    Poncho

    I wasn’t kidding when I said that rain will be on the forecast. Whether you grab a plastic poncho from the 100-yen store or splurge on a more durable one with a sick design, a poncho is a must-have. In fact, it’s a better option than a raincoat because it’s more breezy. And you’ll want that breeze when it’s raining with over 50% in humidity.

    Fanny Pack or Back Pack

    An easy access bag is essential for all the items you want to carry around with you. Even at its most crowded times, Fuji Rock can feel spacious because well, it’s Japan, and everyone respects each other’s space. Besides a poncho, be sure to bring layers as it can get cold at night, or the clothes could be used for change out of wet ones. Keep in mind that the festival takes place in the mountains so sunscreen and bug spray are important, too!

    2021 Bonuses

    Masks

    If you happen to forget everything else, just be sure to remember this one item. A mask is a must at FRF ’21 and you won’t want to forget it. Sure, a simple disposable one works (and recommended), but if you’re going for some fun fashion, be sure to dress it up with another layer of a funky mask design. I’ll be sporting a homemade one myself 😉

    Biker Shorts

    Where in the world did this come from? Biker shorts are totally “in” this year – from high fashion to everyday use. Its comfort status fits in with the vibe of this festival, so let’s see if any of this year’s attendees will take on the challenge to incorporate this new trend in their FRF fashion.

     

    Looking forward to seeing all you beautiful people out at FRF ’21!

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    Looking Like a Chilly Weekend! A Few Tips to Stay Warm and Dry


    The first day of the festival is right around the corner, and the forecast is looking fairly frosty!

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  • shintaro Sakamoto

    Shintaro Sakamoto – Steel Guitars and Phantoms


    Shintaro Sakamoto is a true artist. And unlike many artists entering their 4th decade of performing, he shows no signs of slowing down creatively. His Friday Fuji Rock performance will no doubt prove him an artist still in his prime.

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  • The Rising Star “4s4ki” Makes her Fuji Rock Debut!


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    Having started producing her own music at an astonishingly early age (in grade five or grade six, by her recollection) 4s4ki released her first full album in 2020, and makes her Fuji Rock debut this year. I caught up with her via Zoom, to get a feel for where she is headed.

    Tiernan: At what age did you first get interested in producing music?

    4s4ki: It was in the fifth or sixth grade that I first made music by myself. When I was very young I played the Electone, but I couldn’t read sheet music, so I tried to learn songs by ear. Gradually, through that, I developed the ability to compose musical arrangements by ear. And, that’s how I started producing my own music, towards the end of elementary school.

    Tiernan: Of course, since you are Japanese – and might write most of your lyrics in Japanese – I’d like to know which Japanese artists influenced your music. However, since I am introducing you to a western audience, I’d also like to know if there were any western influences on your musical debut.

    4s4ki: I’d say I wanted to be a (music) producer from the get go, so people like Nakata Yasutaka and Porter Robinson were my greatest influences. Of course, they are primarily track makers, and they also perform in front of people.

    Tiernan: I listened to some of your earliest tracks, and some of your most recent work. And, it seems to me that when you started out, your music was more gentle, but it seems to have gotten darker and harder as you went along. Is that correct, or how do you feel about this?

    4s4ki: In the early stages, (I think) my skills were not good enough to express what I wanted to do. So, I was doing what I liked and what I could do at the time. However, over time, my skills developed – and I also liked Japanese anime songs – so, over time, those became an influence as my skills got better. And, you know, what you pointed out (about how I started off gentle and then became more agressive) is something I agree with.

    Tiernan: I am a bit of a gear nerd, and I know there are many of us around the world. So, on behalf of all people like me, I’d like to ask you about your signal chain; from your choice of instruments, and microphones, to processors, etc. In short, could you please tell us about your favorite pieces of gear, as well as your signal chains, and processors that you like to use; from your sources to your software choices?

    4s4ki: I use Logic, in terms of a DAW. I tried a few other DAW’s, but they never felt comfortable to me. I’m also a big fan of piano sounds, so I like using a MIDI piano which can get me a good piano sound. I’m not one to pay too much attention to the model names of my gear but, in terms of brands, I’m using an M-Audio keyboard with 61 keys, mostly, as well as a Blue mic. The mic was a gift, so I don’t really remember the model name. I am not much of a gear nerd. I’ll use whatever is in front of me – if it feels good – and do whatever I can with it.

    Tiernan: I hear that Björk has a similar approach….

    4s4ki: Yeah, and I hear that Grimes makes her own sounds as well, so that’s what I aspire to do.

    Tiernan: Could you please tell me some of your favorite songs that you’d like to present – particularly – to western audiences?

    4s4ki: This July (2021) I released an album called “Castle in Madness” on which you can find a track called “Obon,”; about the Japanese festival of the same name, to honor one’s departed loved ones. And, I don’t know if any western countries have this type of custom, but that is part of Japanese culture in the summertime. And, I hope that people in western countries can enjoy this sample of Japanese culture.

    Tiernan: Have you ever performed overseas and, if you have not, where are some places that you’d like to perform?

    4s4ki: In terms of performing overseas, I performed at a festival in Taiwan in 2019. And, from now on, I’d like to perform all around the world.

    Tiernan: What were your favorite performances of your career so far?

    4s4ki: On my birthday, on March 11th of this year, I had a solo show that I really liked. And, before, I didn’t really rehearse much for shows. But, for that one, I put in a lot of preparation time, so I feel that it was my best performance so far.

    Tiernan: What can fans expect from you at Fuji Rock this year? Will it be something different to what you’ve done before?

    4s4ki: I am going to use a new instrument at Fuji Rock this year, and I have a new song to perform. So, I hope that people will enjoy it. Also, like the show I did for my birthday, I put my soul into the lighting; so I hope people will enjoy that as well. I will also play piano by myself at Fuji Rock 2021, which is something that people cannot hear on my albums.

    Tiernan: I heard a rumor that – despite the fact that you released a new album in July of 2021 – that you actually have a new recording in the works. Is that true? If so, what can we expect, and when might it be coming out?

    4s4ki: I am planning to release something new by the end of this year. It’s a collaboration with another artist, but the person’s name isn’t being publicly revealed yet.

    Tiernan: Do you have a message for your potential foreign fans who might come to see you, or might want to check out your music?

    4s4ki: I’ve never been to the Fuji Rock festival before, so I find it quite amazing to be going there for the first time as an artist. And, during my set, I am going to give you the coolest, most attractive performance I can, while bringing you the best music I have. So, I hope everyone can come and watch my set. Also, for those who cannot attend the festival, please be ready for my new releases which will be coming out in the future.

    Tiernan: Thank you very much for that, and thank you very much for doing this interview, 4s4ki!

    4s4ki: Thank you very much!

    4s4ki makes her Fuji Rock debut on August 22 (Sun)  from 21:00 to 21:45  on the RED MARQUEE stage.

  • Number Girl

    Number Girl – Big, Bold and Back for More

    • August 8, 2021 ● Bands

    Number Girl was, and is again, one of the best bands in the Japanese rock scene.

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  • Prophylactic Measures – To Keep Everyone Safe


    Thermometer Pic for FRF 2021 Article 2
    We gather this year to protect and conserve a legacy that we built together; a movement of aficionados gathering from far and wide, each year. And, just as important as gathering is to the protection of our “culture,” security measures are put in place, to make sure all see next year. Anyone disregarding public safety may be asked to leave, or may be refused entry.

    Prepared for Boarding

    In order to protect all attendees as well as we possibly can, all ticket holders must register with the Fuji Rock app, before leaving their homes for the festival, and we must all use it to register some personal information (such as our temperatures before our arrival, and the physical condition we find ourselves in before leaving our domiciles). This information must be presented festival’s entrance. The Fuji Rock app also provides push notifications about new restrictions.

    The app is free of charge, and is downloadable HERE.

    It might also go without saying but, wearing a mask is mandatory. People refusing to wear them will be forbidden from entering venues. Temperature checks will be conducted at the festival’s entrance, as well as throughout its various venues. In addition to this, at the festival’s entrance, all will be issued a “temperature wristband” to prove that they have no fever that day. People who are found to have a fever of 37.5℃ or higher – as well as those refusing testing – will not be allowed to enter venues.

    Furthermore, people who meet the following criteria, are kindly asked to sit out this year’s festival:

    ● Those who – within two weeks of the festival – have traveled to a country whose people are currently restricted from entering Japan.
    ● Those who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, or who have received instructions to stay at home.
    ● Those who have had close contact with a person who has tested positive, within two weeks of the festival.
    ● Those who suspect a family member – or room mate – has been infected within the same time frame.

    Should you desire to take additional steps to ensure your safety, you may register with the Niigata Prefecture New Corona Notification System (via the LINE app). When a person using a facility is found to be infected, and there is a high possibility that the infection may spread to unspecified people, Niigata Prefecture will send an alert via LINE to people who may be at risk. Please register for this service by scanning its QR code on the festival grounds.

    Cleared for Takeoff

    To maximize the facility of social distancing, we’ve cut down the maximum attendance by approximately fifty percent, this year. So, please do you part; by making sure there is enough space between you and others, while entering and exiting venues. Please also avoid crowding, especially in front of stages, as well as in the aisles. In addition to this, please keep sufficient distance from other audience members.

    Enjoying In-flight Refreshments

    Smoking is not permitted inside festival venues. Please use the designated smoking areas. Also, please refrain from talking in those areas, and do not linger there for long periods. When eating, please do so individually, and consume your meal in silence. In addition, please do not eat or drink with anyone other than family, or others you share daily life with. If you need to line up at a food concession, please do so with sufficient space between you and the counter. No alcohol is allowed in the park, and none will be sold at the festival; this also applies to the camp sites, as well as the Prince Hotel. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed to be brought from outside to any area, including the camp site. Only PET bottles for rehydration are allowed at any stage. An area for eating and drinking will be set up to the rear of the GREEN STAGE, behind the walking path. Eating and drinking are prohibited in font of every stage.

    Bivouac

    When setting up your tent, please maintain a distance of at least one meter from those of others. And, please avoid sharing tents with people with whom you do not live. Eating and drinking outside your tent is also prohibited, and please avoid gathering in or around it. Smoking and alcoholic beverages are also prohibited in all tents. In addition, please ventilate your tent on a regular basis.

    Sanitized for Your Safety

    All of Fuji Rock’s staff and its performers are also required to take their temperatures and check their physical condition, on every working day. Those who are found to have a fever – or other health problems – will not be allowed to work or perform. A “temperature wristband” will be worn to show that each person has been checked, and has no fever that day. Masks or face shields will also be worn at all times (except by performers, during their performances). In the event of any incident, we will act immediately to ensure the health and safety of the artists and our staff, in cooperation with the public health center, other insurance agencies, and nearby medical institutions. Our staff and other people involved in the festival will also observe good manners whenever they need to eat or drink, and will refrain from talking whenever doing so.

    We will continuously take precautions to prevent any infection, so that everyone can attend the event with peace of mind.

    For Further Details Please Check our Latest Available Guidelines (in Japanese only).

     

  • Welcome to Fuji Rock 2021 – A Brand New Experience?


    Photo Credit: Laura Cooper

    Photo Credit: Laura Cooper

    With nineteen days left before this year’s concerts, I welcome you to a whole new experience! My name is Laurier Tiernan, and – in addition to being a broad-spectrum artist – many years of music journalism have led me to leading the official English bloggers team this year.

    The photo above shows our writers’ uniform from 2019 (well, the jacket and the t-shirt at least). I look forward to seeing this year’s shirts!

    On a larger note, there are bigger changes coming to the fest this year. No alcohol will be allowed, various prophylactic measures are in place, and the lineup is almost all Japanese.

    However, the points that remain the same still outnumber our challenges. As a community of music lovers, our obsession with melody, rhythm and words carries us through every single hour; day after day, year after year; not just an annual weekend of shows!

    In the coming weeks, our writers will post articles and interviews, to get you psyched for all the good that lies ahead! No matter the hardships of any era, great music has carried us through!

    This journey is all we have. Let’s keep the fires burning!

    Godspeed,

    Tiernan

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    Any Predictions for Possible Fuji Rock 2020 Acts?!

    • February 7, 2020 ● Bands

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    It’s always fun to make guesses about the upcoming lineup announcements. In the past, we at Fujirockers English have had a casual beer pool based on our predictions vs. which bands were officially announced to appear. Though we won’t be doing that this year, I still had a little fun speculating who might be added to the lineup this time around.

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