Since we started building Kaala a year and a half ago, we have largely been focused on domestic development simply because this is the backbone of everything. To us here at Kaala, there is literally nothing more important than seeing it thrive. To accomplish this we have been hard at work documenting the goings-ons across the nation and have built a database that, as of this writing, contains information on 2,198 bands, 212 venues, and 297 events. If you didn’t notice, let me point it out: This is a crazy amount of information. All on it’s own, Kaala’s event schedule provides the community with access to event, band, and venue information to a degree none of us thought possible until we actually went and did it! And honestly? I think that’s awesome.
But there’s more to it than making access to this information easier for all the fans who wish they could go to these shows, buy these albums, and be a part of this scene but can’t because they don’t know how. With all of this information we’re now able to analyse it for intelligence about the health of the scene across the country. To whit: are tickets cheaper in summer for Kanto residents or Kansai residents? What if it’s a festival instead of a one-off concert? What genres and which bands specifically from abroad spend the most time touring in Japan, and vice versa? These are questions we’re going to know the answer to, and that information is valuable because it provides bands and promoters with the means to make smarter decisions based on actual precedents. Tours can become cheaper; audiences can become larger; merch can be distributed where it is most needed, etc. all because of these analytics.
We’re not just trying to make the Japanese extreme underground bigger by attracting more fans. We want to make it more accessible. We want to make it easier for anyone with a computer to do a simple google search for a band they saw on a flyer and receive a wealth of information on how to buy their album or how to see them in person. We want to make it easier for artists with an interest in collaborating with bands to find them. We want that 16 year old with a guitar but no idea how to start playing with others to find bandmates. Basically, we want to empower the creatively inclined here in Japan to pursue their dreams more readily. That is what we’ve been working at so hard for the last 18 months.
But that’s domestic, only ½ of the equation. Now that the community is better equipped to organize, the international angle needs be approached to make sure this happens. This involves on-the-ground integration with people in other communities, all over the world - we need to reach out. Our web developer is already in the States, but in order to effectively get Japan’s underground proper exposure outside of Japan we would do well to have a more organized effort centered there. If Japan’s underground were better able to connect with its international fans, and with various distributors, labels, organizers, promoters, etc., then it would be much easier for a wider swathe of the scene to get exposure abroad, especially if it were more organized on the domestic front, which it now is.
Over the past 7 years, the time I have spent in the Japanese extreme underground has been exceedingly excellent/gnarly/radical, and though it kills me to leave, I will be flying back to my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 17th, 2016, and you can be damn sure I’ll be taking Kaala with me! I do, of course, plan to return to Japan in short order, and when I do I’ll be coming back with a vastly improved system. I’m doing this because it’s the next step for Kaala -- there are things that need to be done, and because I’m American they are most easily accomplished in the US. Kaala operations in Japan will continue, of course -- only I am returning to the States, which leaves a half-dozen of us still here attending shows, booking events, and being active and supportive members of the outstanding, wonderful, totally radical community that exists here in Japan. Oh, and by the way: we are always looking for more people to help us further develop our system to better support all of this excellence, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re interested in participating! Get in touch with us through our contact form, and we’ll respond so excitedly you won’t believe it.
In the meantime, my last (but not Kaala's!) concert will be held on September 24th, 2016, over at Nakano’s Moonstep with Funeral Sutra, Begrabnis, SSORC, Crucem, and Khola Cosmica. So drop by, say “hi,” bang your head a good bit, and bask yet again in the glory of Japan’s extreme music underground!
Oh, and if you really want to help out but don't have the time or aren't close by, have no fear! We also have a Patreon account for donations. Truth be told, we're outstandingly boot-strapped and putting a lot of work into this - any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated!