This spring, the pandemic turned the music industry onto its head. The cancellation of concerts, tours and festivals forced artists and venues to remain active in innovative and — above all — digital ways. For this stay at home soundtrack, we asked some of our favorite artists what they’ve been listening to during quarantine.
Yurika / drummer / Tawings
🎶 Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Lately, I purchased a yoga mat and redesigned my room. I’ve finally built a rhythm of cleaning and cooking at home. For the first time in a long time, I have time to focus on myself and reevaluate various aspects of my life.”
Natsuko Miyamoto / bassist and vocalist / MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS
🎶 Natsuko Miyamoto: Pop Virus by Gen Hoshino
Naoya Oguya: Live at Madison Square Garden by Vulfpeck
Isao Yoshino: Hephaestus by Iceburn
“Since we can’t record in a studio, I’ve set up a basic recording space at home and come up with ideas for some songs.
“We need [music] now more than ever. It’s something we can’t let go of. … Even while stuck at home, I’m listening to music and watching movies like any other day. Those are things I enjoyed doing as a child, and still enjoy as an adult today. It doesn’t matter how old we are; we need the things we love.”
Taichi Furukawa / keyboardist, bassist and vocalist / KONCOS
🎶 Skimming Spotify playlists
“Right now I’m focused on design-based projects, like illustrating, painting and artwork created through pencil, pen and brush. Mostly I’m working on artwork for the project we finished recording in March.
“This has been a period of reflection, a time to reconfirm my values. Thanks to music, I have friends, a family and a reason to design. I believe that music is hope.”
Keitaro Goto -Fukai / co-founder / Gampeki Music Festival
🎶 Quarters! by King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard
“The seven-member Melbourne rock band recorded this album while jamming on their world tour. Each of the four songs is exactly 10 minutes and 10 seconds long. They recorded the album with the playful concept of stopping the tape when it hit that time mark. Lately, I listen to music at home, rather than when I’m commuting or on the move, so I’m able to really indulge in a 10-minute track.”
Oct 31 – Nov 1
Gampeki Music Festival 2020
Masaki Ueda / co-founder / Gampeki Music Festival
🎶 Artist: spill tab
“I’m working with various artists on their live streaming projects. Since listeners aren’t able to experience the energy of a traditional live performance, the quality of the content becomes much more important in these online events. So I try my best to curate a two-way interaction that feels like real-time communication between artists and the viewers.
“I think it’s the artist’s mission to take in the times and convert what they see and feel into a piece of work. It gives me hope that artists in the Japanese music scene are pushing the boundaries of our current situation in new, interesting ways.”
Zach Choy / drummer / Crack Cloud
🎶 Exploring the metal genre thoroughly for the first time
“As a creative entity, our work ethic hasn’t wavered. We continue to develop our storytelling, without the spectre of touring internationally to distract us from the work we want to do.
“Art and culture feel amplified as both a privilege and necessity right now.”
Maki Morita / TOGE Records
🎶 Modern Lovers 88 by Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
“I’ve always liked making things at home, so [my lifestyle] hasn’t changed much. I continue to work on songs for my band Foodie. Also, I learned how to make a mask!”
Crack Cloud Japan Tour
HUCK FINN, Nagoya
SOCORE FACTORY, Osaka
*Please check the website for dates and details.
Maika Loubté / singer-songwriter and electronic producer
🎶 Joyful by Andras, R.Y.C by Mura Masa, Zilla With Her Eyes Shut by Zilla With Her Eyes Shut
“For me, music is fun and brings fantasy to my life. I feel like this about so many other aspects of art and culture, too. These things connect me to another world that can’t be affected by any external factors, one that’s separated from the real world. Seeing how each country handles the current situation shows very clearly whether or not art and culture are deeply ingrained in that place and tells me that I’m not living in one of those culturally cultivated countries. It really hurts seeing so many places such as night clubs, live houses and theaters being forced to close.
“I’m working on some amazing experimental projects, like doing live-stream shows with faraway artists and asking people from all over the world to send me photos of their daily life for artwork for a new song. Bless the internet.”
eill / singer-songwriter
🎶 Artists: UMI and Yumi Matsutouya
“My tour was postponed and I didn’t get a chance to see my fans, so I’m working on a song we can all sing together once this crisis is over, as proof that we’ve overcome it. The plan is to have fans send me some melodies, which I’ll compile into a single song.
“Being home all the time and not being able to see the people I love has felt really lonely, like the world is leaving me behind. There’s an app that tells you how many people are listening to your music in real time. Seeing those numbers and knowing that someone out there is choosing to listen to my songs during a time like this saved me. It’s like we’re all connected by an invisible thread.”
Tamio / guitarist / Luby Sparks
🎶 Immunity by Clairo
“The band can’t get together in person, so we’ve been communicating online, bouncing ideas about songs and sharing our opinions that way. A new challenge we’re taking on is merging each member’s favorite genre into one coherent track. Rather than one person dominating the process, each of us contributes in a bigger way, which I think will result in an album that’s quite different from our previous projects.”
Great Maekawa / bassist / Flower Companyz
🎶 DAY OFF by The Chang
“It’s been 25 years since this album was released and I still find myself listening to it every spring.
Music is irreplaceable. Beyond music and culture though, recently, I’m realizing the value of everything.”
Kento Nagatsuka / vocalist / WONK
🎶 Hundred Fifty Roses by Duñe x Crayon
“Now that our music production has slowed down, I’ve been spending a lot of time cooking, which was my former profession. I hope that the recipes I post on social media inspire people to cook and help them discover more of our music as well. Other than that, the other members have been working on radio series, game-streaming and overall exploring channels other than music to interact with audiences.
“I think it’s a big change that more and more artists are releasing remotely-produced songs and live performance videos on social media. Now that working from separate places is no longer a problem, I’m hoping to collaborate more with artists from abroad and use this opportunity to reach a wider audience.”