Buried Treasures Of Japanese Underground vol.1 dip

Text by YODA (KiliKiliVilla)
On this page, I would like to share the thoughts of the label's artists and myself with our international supporters who continue to show interest and support in KiliKiliVilla on Bandcamp.
If you can read pages written in Japanese with automatic translation, please check out KiliKiliVilla's WEB MAGAZINE, where you can find past interviews with the artists and detailed introductions of the albums.

dip 2014

I was born in 1967, became a teenager in 1980, and spent the most formative period of my life in the 1980s. At that time, Japanese society was very bright and hopeful, and young men were able to spend their time dreaming. Things are never that simple, of course. But, growing up in a bedroom town by the sea close to Tokyo, I had a fairly peaceful childhood. I discovered The Jam and The Clash, and then I started listening to everything from The Ramones and Television to The Kinks, The Who, The Velvet Underground and The Stooges, and then I discovered my own music. The 60's were a distant memory, and in Japan in 1981, even 1977, only four years earlier, seemed a long way off. The generation that was not ready for punk music was my generation - high school students who loved "My Generation", "Blank Generation", and "Your Generation".
During this time, I also discovered Cherry Red's "Pillow and Prayers'' compilation, Tracey Thorn's "A Distant Shore" and Aztec Camera's "High Land, Hard Rain". It was a natural progression that led me to The Smiths and Jesus & Mary Chain. After entering college, I went to import record stores three times a week and began a crazy life in which buying records had become sole purpose.
While buying records in 1989, when life was at its most heated, I sensed that something special was happening in the UK. New bands and numerous new songs of hope were coming out one after another with a feverish intensity. A movement called Second Summer Of Love had begun in his land. It was during this time that I started working as an assistant at a small indie label.

In the 35 years since then, many things have changed. I can only say that I am lucky to have been able to continue making music in Japan, where music is lower in youth culture than manga and anime, and even more difficult to make minor music. In this series of articles, I will write about KIliKiliVilla with comments from the artists and my own thoughts in order to give the international fans who follow KIliKiliVilla on Bandcamp a better understanding of the background and implications of the label's releases. I'm sure you will find answers to your questions about what kind of label KIliKiliVilla is, why they stick to punk, and why they release indie-pop and dance music.

dip 1992

For the first issue, I would like to take a look at dip.
DIP THE FLAG, the predecessor of dip, was formed in 1987, when new wave music was still popular among music lovers and Echo & The Bunnymen, BAUHAUS, and The Cure were the big hits. The group started as a four-piece with guitarist Yamaji at the center. Soon after, the singer left the group and Yamaji became the vocalist as well. With their skinny bodies, black clothes, and slim black jeans, they looked like The Velvet Underground of the 1960s, a style that was common at live houses in Tokyo at the time. In the mid-1980s, a full-fledged indie scene began to emerge in Japan, based in small live houses. Punk, hardcore, new wave, and various other types of bands were active, and several full-fledged labels were born. Many of them were influenced by the British scene, but both Les Rallizes Dénudés and Friction were still active at this time, and the underground music scene was very unique.

DIP THE FLAG began their activities during this period, and although they disbanded in 1990, they began their activities again as dip in 1991. Both bands are still solid rock with Yamaji's guitar at the center. From the beginning, his style has been cool like Tom Verlaine, sharp like Robert Quine, and snarling and driving like Ron Asheton. I saw DIP THE FLAG live a few times and was impressed by the way he played a cover of Television's "Friction" with such freedom. I was not able to talk to Yamaji because he was very quiet and unapproachable at the time. When I did finally have the opportunity to interview him, I asked him about his musical roots, and he gave me an answer that surprised me:

"I had no interest in music until I was in junior high school. One day a song by Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi came on the radio, and when I heard it, I suddenly wanted to play the guitar, so I started out on the folk guitar."
(Tsuyoshi Nagabuchi is an immensely popular singer in Japan, but somewhat notorious for his macho personality..)

"I finally picked up an electric guitar in high school, but I still didn't know anything about punk or new wave. I started out playing hard rock, which my friends taught me. Then I finally discovered RC Succession and the Roosters and got into rock. I finally made friends in university and discovered Television and The Velvet Underground."

"I knew of Echo & Bunnymen and The Cure, but I didn't listen to them that much, I just knew their singles."

By the time dip was formed in 1991, the Japanese scene had once again changed dramatically. A new generation had emerged on the scene with the appearance of The Stone Roses and Nirvana after 1989. Punk had been updated once more, new wave had become indie rock, and this was no different in Tokyo.

Starting out in that era, dip expanded from the edgy, straight-ahead garage sound of the past to a deep psychedelic sound. Just as Primal Scream changed with "Screamadelica" and My Bloody Valentine transformed with "Loveless," dip was sensitive to the changing times. The 90's brought a new generation of sound; he too sensed the change.

"I used to go to see a lot of artists in Japan at that time, such as Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and I especially liked Dinosaur Jr. because he reminded me of Neil Young."

dip 1995

In 1993, they released their first album, "dip", which attracted a lot of attention. The following year, they signed a contract with EMI, a major label. By 1999, they had released four albums, but, without much success in terms of sales, they returned to the indie scene. The 1990s could be called the golden age of the Japanese music scene, but dip did not coast through it in an easy way. The band members had drug problems, and from 2000 onward, label transfers and departures of band members prevented them from performing as well as they would have liked.

The band's 2009 album "afterLOUD" was a turning point in the band's history, as Yamaji overcame his problems and came clean for the first time in 20 years. Original members Nakanishi and Nagata returned to the band in 2007 after departing years prior. Since then, the band has continued to perform regularly.

Yamaji is a highly acclaimed guitarist who has played with Keiji Haino, Damo Suzuki, and Tom Verlaine, as well as in legendary singer of The Roosters Shinya Ohe's band , and Jun Togawa's band. After surviving the first two decades of the 2000s, which could have ended at any moment, he released his 15th album #HOLLOWGALLOW " in 2023.

dip 2003

Looking at their recent live performances, I feel that they are now performing most consistently in their career of more than 30 years. I think the essence of dip is garage rock.
In the fast-paced eight-beat songs, all the instruments are driven, and you feel the tight yet intense contours of the sound vibrating and shaking.
At the same time, there is a psychedelic aspect to the music, and it has a strong aura as a very literary presence, including its taciturn appearance, and you will feel a strange shimmering in repetitions such as Krautrock.

If you have a chance to see them live, you will be surprised - and perhaps thankful - to know that there is still such a band in the world.