We're still reeling from the release party with Kakubarhythm at Daikanyama UNIT. It was amazing — probably the best concert any of us have ever experienced, as our friend Mark told us at the end of the night (grateful for that compliment, Mark!). The venue was packed, everyone was dancing, and so many of our friends from Hawaii were there, too! Can't wait for 2019 — we'll definitely be back! (Order the Coast to Coast EP on 12" vinyl here) Briefly: Hideki and I opened the night with an hour-long DJ set of Hawaii tunes to get the crowd ready for VIDEOTAPEMUSIC's set. By the time VTM was on stage, the venue was full and the crowd ready for the band's unique modern exotica groove, backed by curious tropical VHS samples projecting on the screen behind the band. Nick Kurosawa took stage next, solo, feeding off the immense energy coming from the audience. At the end of his set, Nick invited Your Song Is Good percussionist Izumi Matsui on stage, and they closed with a rather intimate cover of "What Do I Do" by Kalapana. Finally, YSIG stormed the stage with their high-powered, dance-friendly sound that incited some form of ecstasy in all of us — we couldn't help but move and jump and smile and scream and shout. VTM hopped onstage with his band for their version of "We're Not To Blame", followed by Nick Kurosawa (with the biggest grin we'd ever seen) to sing his version of the Babadu classic. Once it was all pau, I closed the evening with a set of new music coming soon for the Aloha Got Soul label, including tracks by Maryanne Ito, Front Business, and Jah Gumby. Photographer and close friend Mark Kushimi captured the evening: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bi8d5GtA0MH/?taken-by=markkushimi Last year in May 2017, we hosted our first ‘Soul Time in Tokyo’ party with Kakubarhythm at an art gallery space called Tokyo Cultuart, located on the top floor of Beams' flagship store in Harajuku. At that 2017 event, YSIG's Jun "JxJx" Saito, percussionist Izumi Matsui, and "VIDEO-kun" pulled off a stripped down, chilled out instrumental version of Babadu’s “We’re Not To Blame”. It gave me chicken skin. At the end of that gig, the crowd wanted one last song — hana hou! — Leimomi looked at me and said "Babadu", so I grabbed my OG copy of the LP and dropped the needle on “We’re Not To Blame”. Instinctively, VIDEO-kun, JxJx, and Izumi picked up their instruments. Together we closed out the party with an unexpected DJ/musician jam session. When we started 2018's Soul Time in Tokyo, I pitched JxJx the idea of releasing a 7-inch of their instrumental version. JxJx said yes! And then he got the whole YSIG band involved, they recorded in Tokyo and sent me the final mixdown in January 2018. This was around the same time we were recording Nick Kurosawa’s debut EP, so I asked Nick to lend his soulful voice to the instrumental. That's when we decided to turn this release into a 12". This collaborative release, the Coast to Coast EP, represents a unique opportunity for us to connect the past and the present, and as bridge the musical relationship we share between Hawaii and Japan. Following the concert at Daikanyama UNIT, the 12" sold out within two weeks throughout Japan. HMV, Diskunion, Jet Set, Tower — no one has copies available anymore. Good news: AGS has a small stock of vinyl available. Grab a copy here before it's gone.
More updates on the way — this is all I could get up in the time following our return home. Six days after arrival in Honolulu, Nick and I flew to Los Angeles for an extended weekend doing a variety of gigs. It's the most traveling we've ever done in a short timespan — can't wait to be back home (and back at the beach) once again!