Dazed Digital



January 16, 2012

As Satellite Voices Tokyo prepares to media partner on landmark new night WE HERE NOW, we sit down with Chris Akira, one of the event's creators

  • Text by Sophie Jackson

I think creating a space for a passionate younger generation and mixing them with their predecessors would be something exciting. 

Satellite Voices Tokyo are incredibly happy to announce their partnership on WE HERE NOW, a new event launching in Tokyo on January 26th. Taking place at Seco Bar in Shibuya, WE HERE NOW seeks to redefine the Tokyo club scene for a new generation. Chris Akira who is one half of the project's organisers took some time to explain a bit about himself and the thinking behind this exciting new night...

Satellite Voices: Where are you from?
Chris Akira: I am from Tokyo originally and am half Japanese, half French. I went to France for high school then I went to university in Rotterdam in Holland. I consider myself to be Japanese inside but I have definite European tendencies and feel like a foreigner sometimes in Japan. I am now living in Tokyo, I moved back here last July and I am definitely going to be around for a while.

SV: Could you describe your background?
Chris Akira:
 I was born in Japan and spent some time from 12-to-16 at a very conservative boarding school in Chiba, which is just outside of Tokyo. Then I decided to go to France to learn French at 16 and I had two months worth of intensive course in French in a crazy place in Cannes, which was a bit like something from "American Pie"! 

I moved back to Japan after high school and afterwards took a six month break to do some studying. I moved to Holland for university which I subsequently decided to leave, I just couldn't face studying business for two more years.

After March 11th when the earthquake happened I felt that I should be here and be close to my family. I felt that there was a need for me to be back in Tokyo doing something and so I came back. The first thing that I decided to do was events because that was the only thing that I knew how to do and the only way I knew to make new friends and find a new community. The purpose changed a little bit when I began planning an event as I had wanted to do an event bringing DJs over from Europe, but then I thought that I should do something with more purpose that would define a movement that could be Japanese.

SV: What do you think of the Tokyo club scene at the moment?
Chris Akira:
 From what I have seen over the last six months, I think the Japanese club scene is a bit older. The club scene didn't really start here until the 90s when people that had been going to rock gigs had been getting into something a bit more electro, there was a psychedelic trance movement with a lot of raves in Yoyogi park and in the woods. Then the movement kind of had its own power for a while but after a while it got more strict and regulated, clubs had to stop after 12 as there were regulations on not drinking and dancing at the same time after midnight.

People who are over 30 are still the majority in the clubs here as they are the first ones to have been part of that scene and haven’t yet left it. For young people they seem to lack the passion to want to get involved in this scene, but it doesn't seem to belong to them. There needs to be a new scene to represent young people and new platforms to help this along, we are the internet generation and we should be using it to make something happen here.

SV: Where did the idea for WE HERE NOW come from?
Chris Akira:
 With WE HERE NOW, we want to make an event that is easy to understand and affordable. We are open to welcome anyone who is interested and might hopefully take something from it. We want to be the catalyst for a new Japanese scene. I realised when I was abroad, that foreigners don't really talk about the club scene in Tokyo, so I want people to be interested in what we do in Tokyo.

I think creating a space for a passionate younger generation and mixing them with their predecessors would be something exciting. We want to be moving constantly, finding a new taste in music, the concept itself of the club scene or the the way of life, and be able to speak of WE HERE NOW.  We would like to have a new style of music that isn’t too serious but which is inclusive and fun, that makes people excited. Something original to Tokyo that can draw some attention internationally.

SV: Your track for 2012?
Chris Akira: My track for 2012 is Durerstuben "Sonnenblut am Platz der Perlen", it’s pretty deep and I think that Japan has just had the worst year imaginable but we have to look forward whilst accepting and recognizing what has happened. It is a hopeful song I think.

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