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    An Interview with the Diva of Ska, MIMI MAURA


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    The award-winning latin ska singer Mimi Maura returns to Fuji Rock this year for the first time since 2012, and will perform in the Crystal Palace Tent and at Cafe de Paris. A native of Puerto Rico, her career has carried her through both North and South America, where she’s a legitimate star, playing on some of the biggest festival stages in Latin America. When not touring, she’s in Argentina, where she raises a family and makes music with her husband Sergio Rotman, guitarist and saxophonist in the Argentinian superstar band Los Fabulosos Cadillacs (who will also be at Fuji Rock as part of her backing band, and also playing a DJ set). Mimi’s unique brand of ska vocals — sexy, upbeat, and highly danceable — will be perfect for Fuji Rock’s cabaret-style stages, so mark it on your schedule! She looks forward very much to coming, and took time to answer a few of our questions by email.

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    INTERVIEW: Fuji Rock’s Latin-ska-cumbia connection!


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    An interview with Shogo Komiyama, the promoter who brings danceable madness to the Crystal Palace…

    And the story behind Fuji Rock’s biggest pre-party, Radical Music Network!

    If you are a fan of Fuji Rock’s Crystal Palace Tent, if you have danced like crazy to an amazing band playing ska, cumbia or Latin music, you are probably also a fan of the Radical Music Network event series and the promoter Japonicus. You just might not know it yet. Japonicus has been working with Fuji Rock and Smash Japan for more than 15 years, bringing Spanish rock stars like Manu Chao, Fermin Muguruza, La Grossa Sorda, great cumbia bands like LA’s Very Be Careful, and some of Japan’s best “mestizo” bands. You’ll see them especially at the Crystal Palace and Cafe de Paris stages. Japonicus was founded in 1999 by Shogo Komiyama, who was born in Argentina to Japanese parents, and is now one of the biggest pipelines bringing Latin music to Japan. He believes in music as a radical social force for good, and is one of the most friendly and down-to-earth guys you will ever meet — just like the musicians he works with. This year he’s bringing several acts to Fuji Rock, and he’s also preparing for his annual pre-Fuji Rock party, Radical Music Network at Club Asia in Tokyo on July 26 (event info here). He took some time for an email interview to tell us what’s coming up.

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    Fuji Rock: Now There’s a App for That


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    Last year you may have downloaded the 2016 Fuji Rock app, set up your timetable and used it to co-ordinate your timetable for the 20th Anniversary celebrations. Or you may have relied on a printout from the Internet, or even just pure luck and serendipity to put you in the right place at the right time.

    This year the Fuji Rock app is back in new and improved form, thanks to iFlyer, with a whole swathe of useful and entertaining features to add to the Fuji Rock experience. We sat down with iFlyer Director of Business Development Joshua Barry to talk about iFlyer, the new app, and his thoughts on Fuji Rock past and present.

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  • Hyappa booth

    Meet Hyappa Brews


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    Wondering where to go for great craft beer and tasty grub this year? While I usually recommend a full stroll around the grounds to check things out for yourself, allow me to save you some time and steer you towards Aichi’s Hyappa brewing. They will have a booth at this year’s Fuji Rock for the 3rd consecutive year. I’ve personally enjoyed Hyappa’s great drinks and chow the past two years at Fuji Rock. I can say from experience, for those of us with discerning taste, the Hyappa booth is not to be missed. I’m sure you might have a few questions, like where can I find the booth, what are they serving up this year and what exactly is Hyappa brews all about? Well, fret not, I got a chance to chat with Hyappa head honcho Craig Morrey (pictured center with 2 thumbs up) to answer these questions and more. READ MORE

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    Jabbering with Jake


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    In my last article I described one of the reasons to attend Fuji Rock this year was its great diversity of bands and acts at the Festival. One example of such diversity is Jake Shimabukuro. For those who don’t know, Jake is a 5th generation Japanese-American, Hawaiian born and bred, master of the ukulele. Before the internet was being broken by silly things like pictures of the Kardashians, our man Jake was shaking things up on Youtube with his super-human ukulele skills. If you still haven’t seen his rendition of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, join the 15 million others who have. 

    Jake was signed to Sony records Japan in 2001 and has been releasing records and playing shows here ever since. I caught his set at Tokyo’s Bunkamura a couple years back and was plenty impressed. This will be Jake’s fourth time to play Fuji Rock and he’ll be coming this time with his Nashville Sessions trio band, consisting of Nolan Verner on bass and Evan Hutchings on drums. If you somehow manage to miss Jake at this year’s Fuji Rock, he’ll be back in late September of this year playing a Japan tour. READ MORE

  • fuji97

    Memories of the First Fuji Rock


    20th Anniversary Special: An Oral History of 1997

    By Dave Frazier
    This year we will celebrate the 20th ever Fuji Rock Festival. The first year, 1997, was legendary both as a triumph and a disaster. Held at the Tenjinyama Ski Resort on the slopes of Mt. Fuji, a typhoon struck during the first day’s headliner set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the rest of the festival was cancelled. Several of the bands that performed that year will now return for Fuji Rock’s 20th anniversary, including headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers and three acts that never made it to the stage, Beck, Squarepusher and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Several other acts from Fuji Rock #1 have become Fuji Rock regulars, returning to the festival over and over again, such as Foo Fighters and Boredoms. Still more music legends were there behind the scenes, like The Clash’s lead singer Joe Strummer, who was a Fuji Rock regular till his death in 2002 and leaves us the marvelous legacy of the Palace of Wonder, which grew out of the campfire parking lot party he started in Naeba in 2000.

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  • 2cellos

    Chatting with Cellos


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    When thinking about which bands to check out at Japan’s premiere rock festival this summer, a pair of classically trained cellists might not be at the top of your list, but they should be. 2Cellos are no ordinary cellists and their main stage set Sunday should be a sight to behold.  This pair of young men hailing from Zagreb, Croatia are taking the cello places no one ever thought possible. They’re bringing the instrument out from behind the stuffy, often pretentious atmosphere of the orchestra setting and showcasing it on the main stage, attracting millions through the Internet and rocking summer festivals around the world. READ MORE

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    Party All the Time! Miniscule of Sound


    Fuji Rock’s most exclusive party space is the Miniscule of Sound which sits majesticaly alongside shipping containers and at tire swing at the Palace of Wonder. Punters can queue upwards of an hour for a visit which may last no longer than a Kylie Minogue extended play single. Fuji Rockers was given exclusive access, behind the velvet rope.

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  • theinternet2

    Fujirockers talk to The Internet


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    This group of west coast neo hip-hop, soul-funkers is finally getting its dues and is making waves both at home and here in Japan. The Internet started some 5 years ago when founding members Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martians started making tunes together through the internet. After putting in work in the underground scene collaborating with L.A. based alt. hip-hop collective Odd future they finally found mainstream success with the release of 2015’s Ego Death. Their third studio album peaked at number 9 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and was nominated for a Grammy in the best urban contemporary category. READ MORE

  • Jump With Joey

    Jump With Joey Talk Ska, Japan and Fuji Rock 2016


    After announcing their appearance at this year’s Fuji Rock we wanted to find out a little bit more about LA ska-band Jump With Joey, who are reforming especially for the fest after a 17-year hiatus.  Luckily, we caught up with Joey Altruda and Willie McNeil in Tokyo a few weeks ago to talk about the band’s beginnings, their Japan-connection, and what they’re looking forward to at this year’s Fuji Rock festival.

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