Music

'Jack' event declares: ‘Let there be J-pop!’

by Patrick St. Michel

Special To The Japan Times

Over the past two years, Simon Whybray’s monthly club night and online mix series “Jack” (stylized in all caps) has featured high-energy songs from around the globe, including a healthy dose of J-pop. It’s surprising, then, when he reveals his gateway into Japanese music was a delicate piano number played frequently during his first job at Starbucks.

“I had to contact our head office to get the track list and figured out it was ‘Railroad Man’ by Ryuichi Sakamoto,” Whybray says via email.

This led him to where he is today, highlighting the more frantic artists out of the country’s netlabel scene alongside superstars such as Namie Amuro. On Oct. 25, he’ll team up with Maltine Records for a party at Akihabara Club Mogra.

“I’m a designer, so I’m attracted to very hi-vis music, and both Maltine and Trekkie Trax do this particularly well,” Whybray says.

Jack has found a receptive crowd both on and offline, and it has helped guide Whybray forward. His event was originally known as “Jack Dansu,” the latter word stylized in Korean Hangul. After some controversy, he recently dropped it.

“I was perpetuating the trend of appropriating other languages as cultural currency,” he says. “(It was) my friends on Twitter that ultimately encouraged the change. I’m blessed to be surrounded by such a smart, sensitive and caring community.”

Poko presents Jack vs. Maltine takes place at Mogra in Taito-ku, Tokyo, on Oct. 25 (3 p.m. start; ¥3,000 in advance) . For details, visit http://club-mogra.jp/2015/10/25/2503/.

In line with the nationwide state of emergency declared on April 16, the government is strongly requesting that residents stay at home whenever possible and refrain from visiting bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.
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