Stand at attention! Nightrider here!

In today’s installment of Hidden Gems I will examine one of the acts I saw on the YouTube live stream of the Fuji Rock Festival held on the last weekend of July. There were many bands that performed at different stages at different times. This band caught my attention because it reminded me of the Manchester rock scene from the early 80’s. That band’s name: mitsume.

In 2009, mitsume was formed by four college students from Keio University: Kawabe Sono (guitar, lead vocals), Otake Masao (guitar, synthesizer, chorus), Nakayaan (bass, chorus) and Suda Yoshiro (drums, sampling pad). They shared interests in the U.S. Indie rock scene and began creating their own music. They released their first album, mitsume, in 2011. After 2011, they followed with three other albums: eye (2012), Whisper (2014), and A Long Day (2016).

The main difference of their music in the Japanese indie rock scene is that their lyrics are in Japanese; as a result, mitsume’s music becomes more accessible to Japan. They also distribute their music in their own way by promoting themselves online (Otake designs the band’s website) and personally handling their CD releases with their own money.

It is very rare that musicians hold on to creativity without succumbing to the pressures and lifestyle that the mainstream media is noted for. It seems that mitsume has left a template for other Japanese indie rock bands to find success and promote genuine creativity at the same time. Only time will tell if bands like mitsume will overtake the mainstream music scene.