Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Kaette kita, Meshimase Nihon!

帰ってきた、召しませ日本!
Have Some Japan! Redux
Def Tech

日本の音楽業界は相変わらずやね。
Nihon no ongaku-gyokai wa aikawarazu yane.
– Currents of Japanese music –

While Have Some
Japan was away, the Japanese music industry was ? don?t worry, not much
different. Finally, Ayumi Hamazaki is becoming a thing of the past.
Phew! She has had her 15 minutes and made lots of money, and her clones
have not even noticed how uncool they are.

Another interesting
thing is the Anti Orange Range HP (Orange Range often have No. 1 hits
on Japanese charts), which writes about how much Orange Range steal
from other artists, including overseas ones. The lucky overseas artists
include Bon Jovi, Kylie Minogue and Shampoo. Wow, a blast from the past!

Most
surprising was that they admitted this fact in Bounce, the Tower
Records music magazine. The interviewer asked what the band?s music
policy was and they said, without hesitation, ?We actually don?t like
real rock music. We don?t know rock or funk music so well, so naturally
we must copy songs that we think are cool. Our motto is ?let?s steal
anything!??  This was printed in the magazine! (I would never
exaggerate the translation.) They are dumb as a rock! And they have a
million-selling record! Officer, officer, arrest them!!!

Recently,
they had a copyright problem. They were credited as the songwriter in
their hit song ‘Loco-motion’, but a few months later, the credit was
changed to ?Carole King?. No joke. Why are they still at the top of the
charts? They should be in jail.

Mainstream music is boring in any
country, particularly in Japan. Orange Range?s hit has proved that the
Japanese Top 40 is still low-level and sucks; the listeners are
immature. But since I?m Japanese, I can?t give up on Japanese music.
Nah, I just keep hoping it will somehow get better.

はい、ここから本題.
Hai, koko kara hondai.
– The main topic –

A newcomer, Def Tech,
brightens up the Japanese music charts now. The industry is in
recession, just like the Japanese economy, so 100,000 sales is regarded
as a hit. So when their first album, Def Tech (released in January),
sold over a million copies, that was a real smash hit.

Def Tech
is a vocal unit comprised of Shen, a white guy born in China and raised
in Hawaii, and Micro, a surfer dude raised in Japan. Up to now, they
were not covered much in the mass media, such as TV or magazines.
Rather, their reputation grew through heavy rotation on FM radio
stations, original promotions by CD shops, and word-of-mouth on the
Internet. In Japan, this kind of big break is rare, only happening once
every few years or so.

はい、ここからヒットナゼナゼ分析。
Hai, koko kara hitto nazenaze bunseki.
– Why Def Tech succeeded ?

When I first heard
their music, their big break seemed just around the corner, although I
didn?t expect it to be so big. They have two key points necessary to
break in Japan, and two added bonuses that have certainly helped.

Their
music is catchy and cheerful. These are all-important qualities for
capturing Japanese hearts, and effective not only for music but also
for movies or books. I don?t know if Def Tech planned this strategy,
but their music embodies these two points.

A full-scale break for
this kind of music is a first in Japan, and westerners are rare in the
Japanese music industry. These are very big bonuses. Def Tech?s style
of pop songs mixed with reggae does not exist in mainstream music.
Their lyrics are a combination of Japanese and English, without any
hint of contrivance. Also, most Japanese like anything western,
including people. This has accelerated their popularity.

で、肝心の音楽は、どうな〜ん?
De, kanjin no ongaku wa, dounan?
– Is their music worth listening to? –

Def
Tech’s music is a fusion of Japanese, Jamaican and Hawaiian music,
spiced with Hip Hop. They have called their sound ?Jawaiian Reggae?.
The shamisen, a classical Japanese guitar, is featured in their songs.

When
l listened to their hit single, ‘My Way’, it reminded me of the
Barenaked Ladies? ‘One Week’. Def Tech is a vital reggae version of the
Barenaked Ladies, with a bit of ska thrown in. I thought it was only my
impression, until someone else who heard the song said the same thing.

で、最近はこんな感じ、らしい。
De, saikin wa konna kanji, rashii.
– Their latest news –

Def Tech’s second
mini-album, Lokahi Lani, is now on sale. They have released their CD
through their own independent label, Tensaibaka Records, which was
started with their mate, so the price is only ?050 yen. Sales are now
high.

They will perform at Summer Sonic, on Saturday the 13th in Tokyo and Sunday the 14th in Osaka.

According
to an interview on some HP, Def Tech hope to break overseas in the near
future.  If they really feel that way, maybe they should make an
English site!

Def Tech official site: www.deftech.jp

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