Live music venues are spreading across the city giving a lot of intriguing bands, from every musical genre imaginable, more opportunity to perform their songs and increase their exposure through live gigs. This month, Cross, a new live venue, is opening its doors in Chofu — only 30 minutes from the major Tokyo indie music hubs of Shimokitazawa and Shibuya. Metropolis talked to Takagi-san, the owner of Chofu’s first ever live music venue ahead of its grand opening.
Metropolis: How did you come to open a live house in Chofu?
Takagi: I’ve been working at a live house called Basemetbar and Three in Shimokitazawa for almost 15 years now. One day my boss and I were talking about how cool it would be to open a new live house in Chofu. I think it was a sort of a joke but we then really liked the idea so we decided to make it happen. Also I’m from Chofu and knew that there were no music venues there. So it felt the right place. I think this project has so much potential, I am very excited about it.
M: What was it like working in Shimokitazawa?
T: I’m also in my own band RUNRUNRUNS so I have played at so many live houses. One day I met my current boss and he asked me if I want to join. That’s how I started working for him. For the past 15 years, I gained the know-how and met an incredible amount of people such as FINLANDS, Stereo Girl and Hitsuji-Bungaku. They are already confirmed to come to Cross for the opening event which I am very excited about. The experience of working in Shimokitazawa was challenging and fun and gave me confidence in myself. I will just do the same thing in Chofu instead of Shimokitazawa aiming to create a new music scene.
M: Chofu is a bit far from major areas of Tokyo. Don’t you have any concerns in terms of location?
T: Not really, if I’m being honest. There’s some popular venues in Hachioji (Match Box and Lips) and in Fuchu (Flight) and Hatsudai (Wall). There’s no venue between Fuchu and Hatsudai. It makes more sense to me that Chofu has one too. Lots of buses are available to get to Chofu from several places including Kichijoji, Komae and Mitaka. I believe Cross can be a cultural hub outside of the city’s 23 wards.
M: What would you like this place to be?
T: If I had to pick a keyword for this venue, it would be “community.” Chofu is a bedtown (suburb) unlike Shimokitazawa or Shibuya where lots of bands come to play from all over the country, or even all over the world. I know some Japanese artists are actually living in Chofu, the members of Hitsuji-Bjngaku and Stereo Girl for example. This place aims to showcase local bands too. I’m also thinking about events for high school students as I know some high schools near the venue are really famous for music. I would like to give them a chance to perform, which I dreamed of when I was young. I would be jealous of them having a live house in the city in which they live.
M: Do you have any concrete plans for the venue?
T: Yes, day time events for high school students with no alcohol and foreign bands who tour Japan. I want to try to do it at least once a month. I am aware that the Japanese live house system is not so kind to bands in terms of money so I would like to build up a system that pays back bands. I am trying to figure out the best way right now. Also the venue will transform into a bar everyday after events until around 2am. Everyone’s welcome just for drinks. We take drink very seriously too so it won’t be just beer and gin and tonic. On top of that, as community is very important possibly I would like to work with shops or other organizations in Chofu in the future. I am not sure how yet but I’ve spoken to some people and they already knew that Cross is opening soon. That surprised me and made me happy at the same time. I can’t wait to make it happen.
M: Could you tell us a bit about the opening week events?
Takagi: November 13 is the pre-opening date with possibly the best lineup to start with. I’m so proud of it. My band and another band KONCOS and great DJs I put so much trust in. I’ve known them all for a long time and so excited to see them together. It only costs ¥1,000 so just come and I would like to hear what people think about the venue. On November 14, I’ll showcase the bands I’ve met when I was working in Shimokitazawa. Stereo Girl, Hitsuji-Bungaku and Bakyun. Three scene-leading bands in Shimokitazawa will come to Chofu to celebrate. It is such an honor. I am sure that there’s no better way to kick off than with those bands. We have so many other events coming up and I’m already working on a lot of events for next year too. I can’t wait to announce them and see the venue filled with music and people. Please check our website.
1-35-3 Kojimacho, Chofu-ku
For more events:https: https://metropolis.zaiko.io/