It was somewhere on I80 in Pennsylvania that I first discovered Japanese rock music. My friend, John, was playing the If I Were a Carpenter tribute CD, and the best song on the album was easily Shonen Knife’s brilliant cover of “Top of the World,” which you may remember from a Microsoft commercial many years back. That got me into Shonen Knife, who eventually opened the doors to Puffy AmiYumi, Go!Go!7188, Unicorn, and many others on the way to Good Charamel Records, an indie record label in Buffalo that has pretty much become of the western champion of J-Rock.
This April, Good Charamel released outstanding albums by three acts on their label: Shonen Knife, Molice, and the U.S. debut of Pinky Doodle Poodle. That’s a big month, and it prompted me to get into contact with Good Charamel owner and founder Robby Takac (who also happens to be the bass player for a decidedly more western band you may know) to discuss how he ended up working with so many J-Rock acts, what it takes to promote Japanese rock bands in the U.S., and how Apple and iTunes has helped (or possibly hurt) the process.
Whether you’re familiar with J-Rock or new to its wild, wonderful world, Robby offers a very interesting and unique take on the music that’s now available to us and the ways in which we access it. And don’t worry, the entire interview’s in English…although not all the music is. As always, you can listen to the interview right here, or subscribe to AppleTell All Night in iTunes.