Looking back at the past two months — and the year — and so much has happened it's been a very not unproductive 2020, despite the pandemic bringing so much of the world to a halt.
Especially DJ gigs, and travel. Two things that I enjoy doing (travel more so than events), but also know require a good deal of time invested to be truly worthwhile.
So when the universe hit "pause" on all our gigs for the year, I burrowed my head in propping up the business-side of things, the important backend stuff that's been neglected for longer than should be. I spent several months working on admin-y type things that the label really needed in place in order to ensure its longevity. (At one point I realized — we need to make sure AGS is essential, to make use of a word we've all become familiar with in 2020; and part of being essential means having everything together so that we can do our best work).
But despite spending long hours in front of a computer screen, organizing and prioritizing projects and formatting and cleaning metadata (have you seen this yet? I scraped the publicly available Island Music Source Book database and made it more user friendly and accessible for all to explore. It was a kind of "side project" to the internal label stuff I've been working on), I managed to keep our Soul Time in Tokyo party alive with the help of Jun Saito.
Since day one, Jun's been the reason Soul Time in Tokyo exists. As the bandleader of Your Song Is Good and Kakubarhythm label rep, Jun has been responsible for creating so many of the wonderful connections we've made in Japan — notably with Beams and its Tokyo Cultuart gallery in Harajuku, where we'd hosting STIT annually since 2017.
Jun posited the need for a 2020 edition of our always-lots-of-fun, feels-like-it'll-never-end party ("party don't stop" were his words in 2018 at the Daikanyama UNIT concert) — even if it meant going 100% virtual.
Having kept myself from any DJing for several months, I welcomed the idea to finish the year with a Soul Time set.
Seeing how Vinyl Don played a big role in our 2019 Japan tour, we knew a tri-coastal affair was in order for a virtual event, bringing Los Angeles into the mix with Tokyo and Honolulu. We each pre-recorded our sets, about 30 minutes for each city, and Tats Nakahara (another Jun Saito connect!) put together a full-length version to stream.
Not to be left without so quality merch for the occasion, Jun coordinated a handful of specialty items from Beams, Kakubarhythm, and Cup & Cone (yups~ another Jun Saito connect—shoutout to Ryo!). In previous years, we've made tees, totes, and beer glasses. But since this would be a kind of "stay at home" version of Soul Time, our friend and Tokyo Cultuart manager Yoshi Ogawa had the idea to create Aloha Got Soul "rugmats" (just rug is fine for native English speakers, but rugmat sounds better for the Japanese speaker, it seems!).
Good news: Beams ships worldwide, so anyone can purchase the rugmat and other AGS x Beams goods. Hop over here to browse and buy: https://www.beams.co.jp/
Cup & Cone produced a simple, "made in Japan" beanie (their signature style) with the AGS logo. Kakubarhythm produced a collab "Aloha Got Rhythm" long sleeve. (Sales for those have since closed).
On the evening of Saturday, December 12th, Soul Time in Tokyo 2020 streamed worldwide.
SOUL TIME IN TOKYO 2020 supported by Technics
HONOLULU / DEC 12 SAT 8PM
LOS ANGELES / DEC 12 SAT 10PM
TOKYO / DEC 13 SUN 3PM
ROGER BONG & OLIVER SEGUIN (HONOLULU)
VINYL DON (LOS ANGELES)
JUN SAITO (TOKYO)
TOKYO - TOKYO CULTUART by BEAMS
LOS ANGELES - VINYL DON HOMEBASE
HONOLULU - IDEA'S MUSIC & BOOKS
As I'm writing this post-event, you'll find that the video is no longer available. It was a one-time stream kind of thing. We might post the audio, but the vid is in the ephemera.