Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on April 2010
As Womb prepares to celebrate ten years as the anchor of Shibuya’s nightlife district, director Sabi Takahashi and manager Naohiro Momoi jointly reflect on their first decade.
Womb’s opening ten years ago was delayed. Exactly what happened?
We had to reconstruct the building to improve “the environment” before the opening.
The club is reportedly owned by an adult video production company. Who actually owns Womb and why did they start it?
It was started to create a new culture. Following NYC, London, Berlin and Barcelona, Tokyo has grown into one of the top cities for dance music. We have tried to help the Tokyo scene flourish.
What are the challenges of running a big club in Tokyo?
Creating a Womb community and leading the scene. Creating a new culture and showing the direction that we are heading in clearly. Ensuring strict quality control.
The opening party featured Junior Vasquez for a cover charge of ¥10,000. Is it still possible to charge ¥10,000 for a club event?
At that time, it was rare to see a big name from abroad such as Junior Vasquez in Japan, which made it worth ¥10,000. Recently, events are being held in Tokyo every weekend with top artists from abroad. And actually, it is Womb that has built up this environment. We have been trying to produce events with attractive lineups, high-quality sound and a great atmosphere, and to make it less expensive so clubbers can come more often. So we don’t [charge ¥10,000].
How have the economics of the clubbing business changed?
Actually, it has gotten better. Many parties are held in a variety of venues on the same night, which means there has been an explosive increase in demand. Also, much to our joy, we have many customers from abroad—both people who live in Japan and tourists—and they don’t just go out on weekends but also on weekdays. We appreciate foreigners’ support and have tried to create an international playground that anyone can come to and enjoy.
Is the Japanese club scene healthy?
It’s healthy. In comparison with other Asian countries, Japanese crowds have a pure sense and attitude toward music.
What are your most memorable events over ten years, both good and bad?
Womb Adventure. We brought the atmosphere of Womb parties to Makuhari Messe and held large-scale events that attracted nearly 10,000 people. There were no bad ones.
What can clubbers look forward to in Womb’s tenth year?
Our resident events held this year will represent the best parties of the past ten years. Under the concept “Restart & Continue,” we continue to attempt new things and are reflecting this in each event.
Is Womb profitable? How much money did it make or lose in 2009?
We direct our whole energy to each and every event. We spend money on booking, PR, production, and improving the environment of Womb to make it more enjoyable and comfortable. This means we don’t make much money running the club.
Womb 10th Anniversary. DJs Aki, Dexpistols, Ken Ishii, etc. Apr 10, from 11pm, ¥4,000. Shibuya. Tel: 03-5459-0039. www.womb.co.jp