“Would you like to take part in a music video?”- I asked a random couple, Rie and Katchi, on my first day in Tokyo. They had been kind enough to walk me from a bus stop to a pub I was looking for, after I’d asked them for directions. Despite a language barrier, we managed, with a smattering of goodwill (alongside a translating application on my phone!) to arrange details of the shoot. We agreed to rendezvous a few days later at 7pm… at the same bus stop we had first met. At the time, it was the only place I knew I could find again!
I’d been planning to make a music video for CWNN for ages. The concept was very simple. It seemed obvious to me that a band mischievously commenting about being “not so big in Japan” should have their song sung by Japanese people. With no budget, I was entirely reliant on the kindness of strangers. However, despite my extensive search, I couldn’t find any London-based Japanese people willing to perform in front of a camera. So, when I had an opportunity to holiday in Japan, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to upgrade my camera equipment and finally make the video!
By the time I met Rie and Katchi again, I’d acquired a second-hand Canon 70D, a zoom lens and two more performers. The next two and a half weeks was full of adventure, visits to fascinating places and random encounters, which were all captured on the camera. I shot people everywhere I could, from Tokyo to Kyoto, Osaka to Hiroshima, in Mijajima and finally at the smallest and cutest of them all-the fishermen’s village Tomonura, near Fukuyama. The video became a moving photo album; my own souvenir from Japan. I was humbled and remain forever grateful for the generosity of everyone I met. The video is very personal to me but it also, I hope, captures the dreamy sense of this truly beautiful song.
Arigato Japan! I hope I’ll be back one day!
About the band:
East London post-punk electronic balladeers, Cult With No Name, (Erik Stein and Jon Boux) signed to L.A. label, Trakwerx records (founded by Jackson Del Rey of Californian punk legends Savage Republic) in 2007, becoming the label’s first international signing. Legendary UK music critic Mick Mercer made them his discovery of 2007. In between releasing five critically acclaimed albums, Brett Anderson (Suede) invited CWNN to open for him, they collaborated extensively with Kelli Ali (Sneaker Pimps), and BBC 6 and Radio 1 Wales amongst others regularly spun CWNN tracks.
Not So ‘Big in Japan’ is a track from their 6th release, entitled ‘Another Landing‘.