I had the utmost privilege to visit Japan this last winter. While I could write a 25 page paper on my trip, may I direct you to my podcast discussing it with fellow podcast host Huansolo of Dumb Podcast Show:

One such event I attended was a party thrown by our friends from Attack the Music called Frequency Blitz!! at Mogra in Akihabara Tokyo, Japan. Attack the Music is a label ran by fans for fans of Japanese hardcore and electronic music. They’ve hosted events at Anime Expo and Anime Central in the U.S. and this was their first event in Japan.  The event served as a release party for their new release “futuresong” by American-born, New York-based producer and singer Voia. Many DJ’s and producers on the label attended and performed at the event and even international performer Teddyloid made a surprise appearance during Voia’s set!

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Photos courtesy of Alex Chov

Unfortunately, I was unable to take any photos of Club Mogra itself, but let me paint you a picture. As we walked through the streets of famed city, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, we came upon a small door that lay on the corner of a dead street. As I walked in, I was met by an incredibly sweet and tall doorman. The square room I was now standing in was covered in wood, top to bottom, with a small bar in the back. The room itself was rather small, and I honestly didn’t know how they were going to throw a party in such a small space. But, this was Japan; rooms tend to be on the smaller side. I sat down on a bench in the corner to get my barrings when my arm was grabbed. I was lead through a door (which I thought was the bathroom) and down a flight of stairs into a larger room, with an additional  bar, projector screens and a stage. After a discussion with the boys, it turns out the the downstairs room was the setting for the show and upstairs would serve as a lounge where other DJ’s would be playing more mellow sounds. Fans and attendees could also sit and purchase Attack the Music merch.

Mogra, from what I understand, is the only nightclub in Akiba. The staff was great. The prices for drinks were very reasonable; a vodka tonic with lime cost $5 compared to $15 in Los Angeles. The bathroom was covered in graffiti and served as a nice break from the chaos.

The night was filled with music and talent, as producers and DJ’s gave us their best. For most of the night, I danced alone. It was my first time in a club in Japan and I have to admit, I didn’t know the protocol. Here in the United States, if a woman is dancing alone, you bet she won’t be for long. Hell, I’ve gone up to complete strangers, both men and women, and asked for a dance. I can’t count how many times I myself have been approached. But to have zero people come up to me in a club was shocking and amazing. Japan has so much respect for each other and it’s visitors and, to be honest, I was actually afraid to approach anyone! Towards the end of the night, I found out from a few English-speaking locals that there were quite a few attendees that wanted to dance with “the silver-haired American anime girl” (that is what someone called me!) but were too shy themselves to talk to me.

Among the Japanese talent, two American musicians performed as well. As I mentioned above, Voia, as it was his release party, and Raif, a funk master based in Orange County. We snuck away from the party for a few hours to get a feel of the neighborhood. Surprisingly, we were right down the street from some popular spots such as the Square Enix Cafe. Not knowing where I was going, I led them down dark street away from the hustle and bustle to a small and very local bar.

All I had on me was my phone.

We sat down and I ordered us some drinks and food with what Japanese I knew. We started talking and I proceeded to ask some questions to the boys about their careers and their time in Japan. I asked Voia, aka Chris, how he thought his set went. He seemed a bit nervous and a little exhausted from his set but I informed him that the crowd certainly loved his performance and really felt the music as he played. I then asked him how his first trip to Japan is going. He told me that since he was there to promote his new album, he has been running around with the label to different music stores and, while having fun doing that, so far hadn’t had a chance to take in the country and that this, being what we were doing right now, was the most intimate activity he’s done all week. Understandable, honestly.

Raif, aka Jason, has been to Japan before and fell in love with the culture and people. This was his first time performing in Japan. I told him that I was also on the floor while he performed at the crowd didn’t seem to know how to handle his music. The majority of the music that was played that night was definitely more hardcore and in my opinion sounded pretty similar. Raif’s style is hard-hitting funk and with the exception of some producers such as Taku Takehashi, there aren’t that many who play that style; at least not to my knowledge. But, that didn’t put a damper on him since not only was he a headliner along with Voia, he plans to play in the country again.

After a couple of hours we made our way back to Mogra to finish the night. Frequency Blitz!! closed with MC Stone and one of the men from the label bringing up all the performers on stage. With a round of applause from the audience, the night came to a close. Thus ends my first Japanese club experience and, while I wasn’t there from beginning to end, it certainly was a fun and new experience.

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