Bradcat’s J-Music Focus… JPU Records

When you’re a fan of Japanese music and you don’t live in Japan, you’re always faced with the same problem: imports. Some Japanese artists make their music available through iTunes, while others can’t for legal reasons due to their record contract. If you do manage to track down the CD you want, you’ll be faced with ludicrous shipping costs, often costing more than the CD itself.

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This is where UK based company “JPU Records” can help. They’re relatively new being established in 2012, and going from strength to strength ever since by helping huge Japanese artists gain popularity in the UK such as SCANDAL and Spyair.

My favourite band SCANDAL, give a message to their UK fans via JPU Records

But that’s not all JPU Records provide fans of Japanese music with. They’re a growing network operating out of London, and touching base with the artists. Their website contains extra content such as reviews, interviews, and dates of underground performances. Their news section is updated regularly by Tom Smith who publishes awesome articles on the latest ins and outs of Japanese pop and rock music. This helps to further raise the profile of bands already gaining more popularity in the UK such as BabyMetal and ONE OK ROCK, who recently sold out London shows.

With conventions like Hyper Japan gaining more popularity each year, this provides an amazing platform for JPU Records to introduce more exciting music to their target audience. Hyper Japan continue to hire exciting new acts every year, and recently hinted at the possibility of having Dempagumi Inc. perform at their next event, so here’s hoping!

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It’s good for the music industry to have a company like JPU based in the UK as they’re not a specific genre label. If it impresses them, it gets their attention, which in turn will grab your attention. This allows the best Japanese music to reach the UK and even parts of Europe, as their distribution network continues to grow.

Taken from the JPU Records website, here’s what they’ve accomplished over the past few years:

Our journey so far has led to our first release, DIVISION by the GazettE, being featured as a Q4 hot release in British industry mag Music Week (found here on page 35), as well as the band being voted Music Act of 2012 by the readers of NEO Magazine. We followed that up in 2013 by getting their next album BEAUTIFUL DEFORMITY into charts across Europe, including #3 in the iTunes UK Metal Chart and #2 and #5 Finland and France’s respective iTunes Rock Charts, as well as in the top ten of Amazon UK’s rock chart.

With exclusive versions of artists albums being offered to JPU Records, I know where I’ll be getting my releases from in future (Sorry PlayAsia). I was too hasty with the latest SCANDAL release and preordered it when it was announced in Japan. Little did I know, that a few weeks later that JPU Records would bag an exclusive edition with two bonus tracks, a signed poster card, an A4 folder, and all the lyrics in the cover booklet would be in Romaji and English. There’s still time for you to grab yours here though!

You can check out JPU Records (and Japan Underground) and their connected networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) right here.

Bradcat’s J-Music Focus… Dempagumi.inc (でんぱ組.inc)

Dempagumi.inc (でんぱ組.inc) are a Japanese pop idol group who formed in 2008 performing daily on Akihabara’s DearStage live bar. Dempagumi are; Nemu Yumemi, Ayane Fujisaki, Eimi Naruse, Risa Aizawa, Mirin Furukawa and Moga Mogami. They are currently signed to MEME TOKYO.

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Idol groups in Japan are huge, that’s obvious. There’s even a Wikipedia-esque website that has a full A-Z of every idol group in Japan. Many idol groups follow the same format and can often find it difficult to break away from the mould. However Dempagumi.inc have kicked up somewhat of a storm in the last two or three years. I think it can mainly be attributed to their attempts to appeal to the otaku crowd, with each member specialising in a particular otaku genre (they’re also colour coordinated for easy identification). They’ve all expressed in previous interviews about being shut-ins and that the music has been a way for them to break out of their shells. What better way to connect with the modern hikikomori generation?

でんぱ組.inc「バリ3共和国」

I first heard of Dempagumi.inc when browsing YouTube for cover versions of rock music, believe it or not. This was attributed to their *ahem* unique cover of Beastie Boys – Sabotage which Daniel Robson of “It Came From Japan” also mentions in his recent MTV article. Since 2008 the girls have gone on to become one of the biggest exports of Akihabara. Not to mention, a force to be reckoned with in the fashion world, with many of the members featuring on the front cover of magazines such as KERA. Let’s take a closer look at the members…

risa

相沢梨紗 Aizawa Risa (Leader)
Nickname: りさちー Risachi
Team Colour; White
Date of Birth: 1986年8月2日
Otaku Genre: 90’s anime songs
Trivia: She’s good at making sweets!

furukawa

古川未鈴 Furukawa Mirin
Nickname: みりんちゃん Mirinchan
Team Colour; Red
Date of Birth: 1987年9月19日
Otaku Genre: Video Games
Trivia: Originally a solo idol, and an avid gamer

nemu

夢眠ねむ Yumemi Nemu
Nickname: ねむきゅん Nemukyun
Team Colour; Mint Green
Date of Birth: 1988年7月14日
Otaku Genre: Fine Art
Trivia: Also DJs under “DJ Nemukyun” and models

naruseemi

成瀬瑛美 Naruse Eimi
Nickname: えいたそ Eitaso
Team Colour; Yellow
Date of Birth: 1988年2月16日
Otaku Genre: Anime and Manga
Trivia: She was previously in another idol group called “Mizutama Online”

moga

最上もが Mogami Moga
Nickname: もがたんぺ Mogatanpe
Team Colour; Purple
Date of Birth: 1989年2月25日
Otaku Genre: Online Games
Trivia: She’s good at Ikebana, and she won the “Next Gravure Queen Battle” in 2013

ayane
藤咲彩音 Fujisaki Ayane
Nickname: ピンキー!Pinky!
Team Colour; Blue
Date of Birth: 1996年2月25日
Otaku Genre: Cosplay
Trivia: She used to upload dancing videos to Niconico before joining Dempagumi.inc

You can find out more about Demagumi.inc via their:
Official Website
YouTube Channel
Twitter
Facebook