On a secluded island of neon and wonder, from the ashes of innovation, a RockN’Roll Samurai has come to take you on a musical quest. He does not need to speak, although his words can be loud, cutting through all boarders from East to West leaving a musical vein for us to follow its aerodynamic flow. From the Land of the Rising Sun, a new Moon has risen as we feel protected under it’s glow. A beam of moonlight shines upon us, let us take this journey to this remote land. Happy Birthday Keisuke from Dark Beauty Magazine!
Interview/Styling by Meikee Magnetic
Photography by James Lisle
Finger Armor Ring by Fangophilia
Where were you born?
Can you explain to our readers what kind of producer you are?
I’ve been working as a producer for almost 40 years and will be XX years old around the time this interview will be released. Until my mid 30’s, I struggled with many highs and lows to make “Rock” a business in Japan, a country that has a special culture. In 1981, I debuted a heavy metal band called LOUDNESS. Japan has an isolated culture, this can be called ‘Galapagos Syndrome’. It refers to an isolated development branch of a globally available product and idea. This word is derived from the phenomenon Charles Darwin encountered in the Galapagos Islands, in other words Japan has its own unique attributes.
Before LOUDNESS there were no hard rock bands who were able to make a living in Japan. Their debut concert sold out all 3000 tickets on the day of release, it was like magic at that time. They debuted internationally from Atlantic Records for their 5th release. Then I debuted a band called BOOWY in 1982. I feel this band matches the Galapagos sized Japan more, however, their first release went badly. In 1983 for their second release the band was reduced from 6 to 4 members and around that time BOOWY started drawing attention from people and rose to stardom. Later, the first album became popular during their live shows. After that I stopped producing them and left the music publishing company to build a new company by myself. In 1987 I produced ZIGGY and debuted them as an indie band promoting them to the market that BOOWY established. This was very successful and they became a million seller band. Through this experience I learned how to produce a successful band in isolated Japan and with this know how I then produced LINDBERG (they had a multiple million seller release). Working with this band I was able to establish my own position as a producer and they had 25 million album sales. Around that time I started to see the Japanese music industry was falling apart as the Galapagos syndrome became stronger. In 2006, at the time when Tower Records closed down, causing the value of the CD to become worthless there were no big hit records in Japan.
I’ve been producing for such a long time my ears became damaged so I was unable to stay in the studio for to long. After that I produced one or two albums per year but all of those were not something I had planned to do, those artists were already in existence. In 2014 I’m producing my artists with the intention of promoting them to the international markets with new producers Oliver Goldstein, Cory Enemy and my old friend Daniel Merlot from the US. We started a new project to market Asian artists to the world. Asian people are not seen as a unique race in the US and Europe today, so I would like to challenge this international idea and promote them to the world again.
So many people would love to visit or live in Tokyo, Japan. How would you describe Japan in your own opinion?
I believe 90% of the time people would be safe to walk around Tokyo at night. I would say Tokyo is not only the biggest city in the world but also the safest. This is very attractive for young people. Tokyo has a unique cultural aspect that allows people to live in both a traditional town and a metropolis at the same time. It’s like Disneyland which has different themed “lands” in it and each town of Tokyo has a different culture like the “Lands” of Disneyland. You don’t want to leave once you’ve lived here. You can access anywhere without a car because of the subways, trains, buses, taxis and many other forms of transportation. They are are spread entirely throughout Tokyo like a spider web. Other cities have their own cultures too. For instance, Kyoto and Nara have many buildings that were built over 1000 years ago, so people can enjoy the mysterious atmosphere created from the past, present, and future.
Who were some of the first musical groups that inspired you to do what you do today?
Definitely the Beatles inspired me. When I was twelve years old I wanted to be an artist and kept creating lots of paintings. My older brother, whom has already passed away, told me “Dude, don’t stay inside all the time! Listen to this!!!” He gave me a Beatles record of “Love Me Do”, when I listened to this song I felt a rush go through my body. I’ll never forget that feeling.
Describe Loudness and Boowy a bit more and tell us which band had the most impact?
Heavy metal bands LOUDNESS and BOOWY both had punkish vibes with great melody lines. Those two bands are legendary, even today especially BOOWY, who heavily influenced the “Galapagos syndrome” of the Japanese music scene. Sometimes I feel regretful about this; if I didn’t debut them, Japanese rock could be more international. However, it was BOOWY who shaped the Japanese rock industry.
You recently made a trip to Hollywood, let our readers know about your visit:
This visit was to begin working on the worldwide debut for Korean artists ‘SPICA’ with US producers Oliver Goldstein, Cory Enemy and Daniel Merlot. I’m the executive producer for this project.
You were involved with the J-Pop group Hangry and Angry, let us know more about this:
There is a gothic style clothing brand called h.Naoto <CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE. This brand has two cat characters named “Hangry & Angry” and I asked h.Naoto to create a girl duo of the characters.
He said that’s an interesting idea so I chose two members from the most famous idol group at that time “Morning Musume”. This unit is legendary among the Otaku culture even today.
HANGRY AND ANGRY
I remember when we first met in Tokyo, it was such a special time and we’ve stayed close friends for years. You continue to work with my best friend Daniel Merlot, he’s very a talented producer. How has this partnership been for you?
I was struggling at that time because the Japanese music industry started falling apart and I questioned myself what have I done that was really right. I was impressed by the band you had “CHILLDREN OV PARADISE”, it felt like hippies doing digital music.
I still remember that you and Daniel argued during the recording because of conflicting musical ideas (laughs). I feel that bands are the same everywhere. Dan is my best friend and the one person who understands me well, he’s undoubtedly talented and I believe he’ll become an even better producer.
Dark Beauty Magazine loves cutting edge fashion, you are also involved in the fashion world. Tell us about the Tokyo Girls Collection event in Beijing China and how your involved:
Frankly speaking, I had some hellishly bad experiences for the first Tokyo Girls Collection in Beijing. There were countless issues such as different customs, ways of thinking and technical problems, etc. I can understand that young Chinese people are very interested in Japanese fashion. Harajuku is filled with many different fashion brands and has been creating its own unique fashion in it’s own right. Harajuku has a culture that accepts young people’s talents and creativity.
What projects are you working on in Korea past and present?
I can’t talk about the details too much due to the NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) but what I’m trying to do is make an impact on the future of the music industry in a big way.
What legacy would you like to leave in this world and what are some of your dreams?
Everything that exists in this world will vanish one day. The destiny for all humans from the day they are born is that death will inevitably come one day. Therefore, the present moment is precious so I would like to believe in tomorrow. I believe that hit songs will cure and encourage many peoples’ hearts. I’ve been healing and inspiring peoples’ hearts in the “Galapagosization” of Japan, this is my legacy. I don’t hope for anything more but if I had one last wish, I would make the “Galapagosized” Japanese artists become more open-minded towards the rest of the world. I would like to create an environment that attracts the rest of the world to Japanese artists.
Japan seems to be a mecca for innovative technology and is racing towards the future faster then the Bullet Train. Sometimes simple things can be lost in this fast paced world. The one thing that unites us all where we can take a moment to slow things down and find our inner self is MUSIC. What’s the meaning of music to you?
Before technology destroys music, I believe music has to remember its primitivity. Music is originally like a heartbeat: sometimes it gets faster or slows down. So instead of letting technology destroy music, we should use technology to convey the “heartbeat” of traditional music. If we can do this, the next Beatles could be born. Music is breathing and that breath will save the people. I would like to create this kind of music.
What does Dark Beauty mean to Keisuke Moonlight Tsukimitsu?
To me it means darkness of heart and death. Death is not meaningless. It is said that ever since the planet earth was created that its atoms have remained the same. Death is like a return to the atom and one day, I will return there to become part of this planet. This is my Dark Beauty.