Kansai Scene Magazine


More than just music

With this year’s Kansai Music Conference looking to be bigger than last year’s, KS finds out that it is about more than just music.

More than just music

“We have this singer who used to be signed to a major label. She had the big apartment,all that stuff. Then one day she stopped making money for [the label] and they dropped her just like that,” Duane Levi, the organizer of the Kansai Music Conference, explains as he mulls over the conference’s success stories, “She is now able to use KMC to build a following and have a forum to put out her music.”

With the majority of people seemingly obsessed with the latest hot trend and faddish pre-teen pop sensation it can be hard for musicians just to survive, let alone thrive. Consumer confidence has never been lower, as people have begun to save the money that usually would go towards concert tickets and the latest pop music. While this trend means that music has become even more disposable and may lead to an uncertain future for the saccharine J-pop princesses, their loss may be the independent scene’s gain. Some of the bands that have been bubbling away beneath the surface might soon be able to blow-up and the Kansai Music Conference intends to be there to light the fuse.

The conference runs for two days, September 19th and 20th, with concurrent events in three spaces in the Osaka Museum of History … but some readers may be scratching their heads at this point, wondering exactly what a music conference is. Don’t worry you are not alone. “Many Japanese people couldn’t understand what a music conference was last year, they expected it to be talks and speeches,” Duane tells me, “I told them that it’s like a showcase for musical talent ... You could compare it to any other kind of conference. At an electronics show, people come together to see all the latest gadgets. At a music conference you come together to learn about upcoming artists that might blow up in the future.”

In that spirit this year’s bands are all hungry up-and-comers looking to spread their influence in Asia. The punk-influenced ska band known as Random Order promise to bring enough energy to keep Osaka rocking all night. Similarly the Malaysian stars Prema Yin and Mon9 have already conquered their homeland and are looking to make Japan the next step in taking over the world. The breathless energy of their hit song ‘Blow My Mind’ should make them one of the highlights.

For those that would rather relax and listen to something more earthy, Deobrat Mishra will be bringing the sounds of the sitar to the Osaka faithful. His soulful sounds promise an enlightening experience. If you would prefer to relax in more western surroundings, then the YouTube favorite Dale Campbell will bestretch- ing the limits of the acoustic guitar with solo renditions of famous songs and his own creations. With previous renditions of Billie Jean, Zombie and Mmmbop getting over 100,000 views on YouTube, this may be the last chance to say that you “saw him here first”.

This year there will also be an opportunity for the visitors to join in with classes including gospel singing, acoustic guitar techniques, Southern Indian dance, Caribbean culture and swing dance.

“We are an equal opportunity musician supporter,” Duane grins as I ask him to summarize the vision of the KMC, “At the moment we are securing venues and making big moves ... The key is for people to understand that KMC supports all musicians, unlike the industry which only supports [certain artists] whereas KMC invites anyone to come along and support, network and hear some great music.”

Kansai Music Conference
•Sep 17-20 at venues around Osaka & Kobe • Sep 19 & 20 at the Osaka Museum of History
• For more information and schedule of events, visit: www.kansaimusicconference.com

Osaka Museum of History
1-32 Otemae 4-Chome, Chuo-ku, Osaka City, 540-0008
(Subway Tanimachi and Chuo Line, Tanimachi 4-chome station, exit 9)

Text: Matthew Coslett • Photos: Courtsey KMF

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