Patrick St. Michel

Patrick St. Michel is a Tokyo-based writer with a focus on Japanese music. He runs the blog Make Believe Melodies, which has focused on Japanese independent music since 2009. Besides The Japan Times, he also contributes to MTV 81 and The Atlantic.

For Patrick St. Michel's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Dec 23, 2014

Lower sales affected acts worldwide

The Japanese music market has faced hard times as of late. Starting with an announcement from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in March that the country’s music sales dropped 16.7 percent in 2013, the past 12 months saw no particular upswing in ...

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

Dec 16, 2014

Rock, J-pop and dance: Albums we liked in 2014

The year-end album charts in Japan have a tendency to prop up the same acts year after year: Exile, anything that ends in a “48,” and almost every group from the Johnny & Associates stable of boy bands. Writers at The Japan Times, however, ...

Taking vocal software beyond Miku

Dec 2, 2014

Taking vocal software beyond Miku

Tokyo-based electronic musician mus.hiba has worked with a handful of vocalists during his short stint as a producer. However, many of them haven’t been human. His go-to voice belongs to Sekka Yufu, who boasts a light delivery that fits with mus.hiba‘s slowly unwinding swirl ...

| Nov 18, 2014

Sumi surprises with impressive debut

Sumi “Resurrect My Independence” (Self-released) Sumiko Yamazaki, who records as Sumi, grew up in Japan, but moved to the United States in 2004 and now resides in New York. On her recently released debut album, “Resurrect My Independence,” she reflects on her experience existing ...

Nico Nico moves into Ikebukuro

Oct 24, 2014

Nico Nico moves into Ikebukuro

Since launching in 2006, online video-sharing service Nico Nico (originally Nico Nico Douga) has become one of Japan’s central hubs for aspiring artists and entertainers to share their talents with users across the country. They’ve fostered a millions-strong community capable of influencing mainstream Japanese ...

Takeuchi sticks to what she knows on 'Trad'

| Oct 14, 2014

Takeuchi sticks to what she knows on 'Trad'

Mariya Takeuchi “Trad” (Warner Music Japan) There are few certainties in the Japanese music industry nowadays, but two trends are definitely sale-driving locks for major labels. First is the trick of turning CDs into glorified containers for more valuable items such as the AKB48 ...

Smany's sophomore outing shows subdued promise

| Oct 14, 2014

Smany's sophomore outing shows subdued promise

Smany “Polyphenic” (Bunkai-kei records) Last year, netlabel Bunkai-Kei records made a big deal about singer Smany’s debut album “komoriuta.” It released a video trailer for it, along with calling up some of the more prominent names in Japan’s online-music scene to remix songs from ...

tofubeats calls on pals for his 'First Album'

Sep 30, 2014

tofubeats calls on pals for his 'First Album'

Yusuke Kawai tries to start a para para dance halfway through his Sept. 5 DJ set, but the inside of an Apple Store isn’t an ideal space for this endeavor. Kawai, who records under the name tofubeats, is performing a special show at the ...