Guest Post by Eric David (from Animal Dads)
It’s common knowledge that the Internet has opened new doors for smaller bands. Vampire Weekend, Tapes’nTapes and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have gone from blog favorites to talk-show guests within a calendar year. A textbook example of this shift in the music industry, Oita, Japan’s Nanbanjin are taking full advantage of our global society. Not only did they book their upcoming Seoul performances entirely through myspace.com, they also joined the growing number of bands that give their music away for free online.
That’s not to say Nanbanjin (Japanese; a derogatory term for foreigners that literally means southern savages) couldn’t make money from their recordings if they chose to. Their new ep, “Hi-Fi Ro-Fi,” smartly marries prog-rock arrangements with punk spirit. They say the limitations of their three-piece lineup discourages them from falling into the conventional song structures and allows each person more freedom to explore their parts.
Guitarist/vocalist Dai Evans and bassist Eoin Jordan have a knack for writing angular yet catchy melodies that intertwine seamlessly with drummer Manabu Mouri’s jazz-inflected rhythms. Together, they create a spacious but highly rhythmic sound that falls somewhere between the Mars Volta and Field Music.
The decision to allow their songs to be downloaded for free (via tadamusic.org) came when they realized why they were recording in the first place. They didn’t care about making a living from their music, but rather making their songs accessible to as many people as possible. In fact, they regard their MP3s as a primer to their dynamic live show.
It’s a sentiment that has earned them a large following in Japan, as well as an invitation from a beer company for a sponsored tour of Uzbekistan, a nation largely a mystery to the world of indie rock.
In a second online chat, Jordan reveals what he bought his father for his birthday: a cookbook. It seems old-fashioned coming from someone so tech-savvy, but these guys know when to drop the gadgets in favor of something tried and true, like catchy guitar pop.
Nanjanbin visits Seoul June 20 and 21.
June 20 @ Freebird with We Need Surgery, Ryan Warner
June 21 @ Club TA with Animal Dads, Blakk Zeppelin (members of SSSighborgggg and Master Musik)
June 21 @ FF w/ Plastic Day
Visit them on the web: www.myspace.com/nanbanjin
Download their music for free: www.tadamusic.org
(Mark here: Many thanks to Eric for the guest post. This website needs all the help it can get. And I am always happy to support more interaction between the Korean and Japanese music scenes).