Shugo Tokumaru: Indie Pop At Its Finest

By Shawn Despres

After bringing Toe over for an excellent showing in May, local imprint BGBG Records is presenting another of Tokyo’s top talents in Seoul, Shugo Tokumaru.  The multi-instrumentalist will be making his South Korean live debut on Friday, July 9 @ Live Club Ssam (Ssamzie Space) in Hongdae.

Although he’ll only be in town for a short time, Tokumaru hopes to do some exploring and enjoy some spicy, tasty grub.

“This will be my first time to travel to Korea,” he says.  “Of course I’m looking forward to the food in Korea first and foremost.  I’m also interested to learn about Korean culture as it is lived now.”

Tokumaru is touring in support of his latest lush mix of eccentric indie pop and folk, “Port Entropy.”  Issued in Japan in April, the disc should be out in South Korea in mid-August through the abovementioned BGBG Records.  Two-and-a-half years in the making, the album was recorded and mixed by Tokumaru.

“‘Port Entropy’ is a sequel to “Exit” as well as a summary of all my previous records,” he says.  “Even to me, it still sounds fresh, so that’s something that I really like about it.”

Tokumaru has toured throughout his homeland, Europe, and the United States and has shared stages with the likes of The Magnetic Fields, Animal Collective, and Iron and Wine.  He sold out a dozen dates in Japan in May and early June for his “Port Entropy” release tour.  I had the pleasure of watching him in 2008 at the Fuji Rock Festival and he was absolutely amazing.

“My live performances are in a way completely different from my albums, but each has its own merit and I like both,” he offers.

“Recently I’ve been playing with a band quite often, but this time it will be a solo performance.  Since I will be alone on the stage I cannot really bring anything besides my guitar, but I will do my best.”

Fans at Live Club Ssam will have the opportunity to hear cuts from “Port Entropy” along with a few gems from Tokumaru’s back catalogue.  Each of his past efforts, which includes 2004’s “Night Piece,” 2005’s “L.S.T.,” and 2007’s “Exit” are highly lauded fantastic listens (click the album titles for reviews).

“I’m surprised that my music is heard in so many countries,” he humbly offers.  “I feel really happy to know that are some people out there who love my music.

“If there’s any possibility that any single person in another country listens to my music and likes it, I’d just like to bring it there.  That’s fine by me. That’s all I would ask for.”

Friday night’s concert starts at 7:30 p.m.  Sogyumo Acacia Band, Amature Amplifier, and Earip are scheduled to open.  Tickets are 20,000 won in advance and 25,000 won at the door.  For more information, e-mail

2 thoughts on “Shugo Tokumaru: Indie Pop At Its Finest

  1. oh my god! i missed this one and i felt terrible. i have been listening to his music for quite a while and love his tunes. now, i just hope i can have another chance to see him again in the future. :( *cried*

  2. I’ve heard there’s a chance Shugo will be back in South Korea before year end with a full band. He was great solo, but he’s amazing with his backing band.

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