Have you really made it if you haven’t toured in Japan?
For most bands out there, playing a show in Japan is a career milestone. There’s something special about the Japanese market that seems to extend over to the music industry. Physical sales (like CDs) still remain high over there despite most of the world’s affinity towards digital streaming and big city music scenes are still flourishing.
Perhaps that’s just it: the combination of unique culture and musical celebration makes Japan a must-visit during your world tour. Luckily for those of us not in a band, we get to experience what it’s like to play a Japanese tour, courtesy of Taiwanese smooth-rockers Sunset Rollercoaster. Soundtracked by various hits from their discography (like “My Jinji”), “Kakudmi” is a short documentary that follows the band on their recent summer tour in Tokyo. Cinematographer 賈思揚 artistically captures the boys’ experiences in their unfamiliar surroundings, captured by a combination of 90s era camcorders (true to their retro aesthetic) and high-res modern equipment.
But there’s more to this documentary than the five of them rocking out on stage. “Kakudmi” is a film that exposes the more human side to their art, reminding us all of the people behind the band. The bandmembers record a number of voiceovers, voicing their concerns about greeting cities by the wrong name (“Kyoto” instead of “Tokyo”), their feelings about touring in a place like Japan, and what they see themselves doing 10 years into the future. It’s also an opportunity for them to reveal the origins behind their name and talk about their rise to fame from the early days of MySpace. Despite the documentary being centered around the topic of Japan, “Kakudmi” is a glimpse into the humble personalities behind the breezy, retro-rock sound that made them so famous.
Give it a watch–“Kakudmi” will make you want to drop everything and pick up a guitar in a heartbeat.
Li-Wei Chu is a recent graduate from UC Davis who majored in Cinema and Digital Media who also briefly studied film at Queen Mary, University of London. Li-Wei is obsessed with horror films (especially the ones that give him nightmares), films from East Asia, and really, any film that makes you stop and think.
He loves talking about film and indie music with others. He’s also a record collector and cross-stitches when he has free time. In the future, he hopes to be able to write about film and wants to find a job in the film industry that can support his record buying habits. Maybe one day he’ll also be able to play the guitar.