Name: Randall Murchison (aka Shux Wun)
Occupation: Multimedia production
Likes: Creativity, adventure
Dislikes: Wasting time, fear
1. What first brought you to Japan? As a youth, my dad’s job brought me to Japan for a few years. Decades later my own work, completely unrelated, brought me back.
2. What’s keeping you here? Opportunity. There are many moves to be made in this town. It feels right to stay for now.
3. When you think of Japan, you think of … a society functioning on extremely old culture and extremely futuristic technology at the same time — both made to look perfect.
4. Whom in Japan do you most admire? Kobayashi-san, an older gentleman I befriended many years ago. He makes a living playing his enormous collection of jazz, soul, funk and hip-hop records for people who come to visit his pub from all over the world. That’s the life.
5. Where do you go to escape Tokyo? Usually places like Enoshima, Gunma or Kawaguchiko for outdoor adventures and onsen (hot-spring baths).
6. What’s your favorite Japanese word or phrase? 音楽 (music), because the first kanji, “音,” means “sound,” and the second kanji, “楽,” means “comfort/ease.” So “音楽” literally means “sound comfort/ease” but is pronounced as “ongaku,” the Japanese word meaning music. Bang.
7. What’s your favorite phrase in any language? “Art before industry,” because it describes the balance of two things vital to my chosen survival. It’s a concept founded by Dante “Ndure” Cain, which we are developing into a creative venture as we speak.
8. You lived in Okinawa for 3½ years when you were young. Any notable memories? Skateboarding with friends to local sugar cane farms on the island, breaking off large portions of the stalks and chewing on baton-sized sticks of 100 percent raw sugar while skating.
9. You are part of a coalition of artists in Japan and the U.S. called Music & Strength. What are the group’s goals? My personal goal since birthing it in 1997 has always been about promoting artistic expression — all elements. It is a creative family to collaborate with and find support in, a springboard providing bigger opportunities for myself, the crew and youth in the community.
10. Your artist name is Shux Wun. Is there a story behind the name? The moniker “Shux” was a graffiti name I used as a teen, then added “Wun” to distinguish myself from others I discovered also using the name. Eventually, it became my director’s credits in videos. Search “Shux Wun” on YouTube for my old stuff!
11. Working as a videographer and cameraman, you have worked live with ’90s hip-hop legends such as De La Soul, Public Enemy, Wu-Tang Clan and Ice Cube. Any memorable moments of note? Meeting legendary soul/funk artists like Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder or interviewing George Clinton, for example, is notable. Touring alongside Wu, The Roots, Rage Against the Machine and many more is also notable for the life experience.
12. You are currently a media and events coordinator for an educational theme park in Tokyo. What is your role there? I create cultural events, often in collaboration with embassies of various countries, web content, videos, and Japanese-English translations. They are my biggest client.
13. You have also created hip-hop programs for kids. What kind of life skills do children learn in your programs? They learn self conﬁdence in regards to individuality. They learn to understand creative expression and utilize it via DJ and MC workshops, music production, visual art, dance, and also gain exposure to a foreign language.
14. More generally, what can people around the world take away from hip-hop? You mean besides the impact that its music, dance, visual art, fashion, language and lifestyle has already made all over the world?
15. If you could have dinner with any hip-hop artist from history, who would you choose? I wouldn’t choose a hip-hop artist, as that wouldn’t be exciting for me. I’d rather choose a legendary soul or funk artist, or someone that I had a crush on, like Sade.
16. What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? When I had my hip-hop creative expression courses for kids going on at one particular school in west Tokyo, they asked me to also tutor the kids’ Japanese language skills. All of the students were Japanese. Let that one sink in.
17. What song best describes your work ethic? “Behavior Control Technician” by Fishbone. It’s funky chaos with a positive message and, just when you think it’s done, it gives you more. YouTube it.
18. Who would win a fight between a lion and a tiger? A lion, because we are kings of our habitat.
19. What do you want to be when you grow up? A great provider for my family, a vessel of the higher power.
20. Do you have any words of advice for young people? Give thanks every day for your blessings and your hardships. Remain thankful for whatever makes you wiser and stronger, then you can’t be stopped.