LAST STEP FANZINE INTERVIEW: Hideta of Brightside Booking/Numbernine/Cycosis [Japan]

Brightside Booking/Numbernine/Cycosis/Brave Out
Interview by Daniel of Last Step Zine
Originally published here:

Really really stoked to put this up today!

With trying to get new content up on the site, it’s not always easy to find the time to conduct interviews. So while scrolling through IG a few days ago we came across a really cool new page called Last Step Zine which is run by an American dude who is currently living in Japan. Due to him literally being plopped right into the Japanese hardcore scene, he began conducting interviews with Japanese bands and peeps in English but ALSO having them translated into Japanese. SO SICK.

We hit up Daniel to see if we could simultaneously run his interviews on our site as well and he was DOWN. He’s sent us 4 different interviews he’s done and of course, we started with our incredible friend Hideta.

Though the Japanese scene is full of some of the kindest people on the planet, Hideta is an extra level of awesome. When I was traveling to Osaka in 2019 with my family, he was kind enough to meet me somewhere in Osaka and then proceeded to accompany me on the hour or so long train ride to Kyoto where his band Numbernine were playing. He then made sure I was fed (I’m Muslim so he helped me make sure I didn’t get any pork in my food) before he got on stage and ANNHILIATED the drums (his groove is VERY reminiscent of Mackie). After he was done he made sure to accompany me all the way back to Osaka.

That’s the level of nice this guy exudes.

Not only that, but this dude plays in FOUR incredible bands – Numbernine, Cycosis (had no idea he was the vocalist!), Wrong State, Brave Out. He also runs Brightside Booking booking overseas bands all over the country.

Alright – enough of this. Get reading about one of the nicest dudes ever.

Again, huge thanks to Daniel of Last Step Zine for allowing us to print this!

Following text reprinted with permission from Last Step Zine

I met Hideta at a show in Fukuoka two years ago. We started talking at his band’s merch table and he ended up being the first straight-edge person I met in Japan (which is seemingly quite rare). This zine would not be possible with him as he has helped me since day one translating English interviews to Japanese and checking my questions for me.

After booking local shows for years he brought Odd Man Out and Regulate to Japan (with a Dead Heat tour planned for 2020) and he also plays in four bands from Osaka. In this interview, he gets into how he discovered hardcore, what the Japanese scene is like and he compares it with America’s hardcore scene.

You play in a few different bands based out of Osaka and you also have brought bands from abroad to Japan.  First off, I’m super interested in knowing how you got into hardcore. Did you find it yourself? Were you introduced to it through someone?
I think I just found it by myself. Before I got into hardcore I was into punk, like the Japanese band “The Blue Hearts”. I first heard “The Blue Hearts” in elementary school and the singer looked like he was having a seizure while singing. I felt like it was something I shouldn’t have seen haha. Then I found Ramones and all of the classic stuff which led me to find a lot of 90s bands like Green Day, The Offspring. I listened to everything at the same time,  metal, punk, JPOP, whatever. I discovered hardcore when I was in high school. I researched 80s punk and found Black Flag, the Misfits, etc. The first CD I bought was a Bad Brains “Roir tape”. At first, I didn’t get it at all, like why people listen to this. At the same time, I had to go to Canada as an exchange student. All I had with me at the time was that album because my iPod broke before I went so I had to listen to that album nonstop. The more I listened to it the more I understood why it was cool. But I didn’t really get into hardcore until college. Bad brains felt real to me so I started questioning what is real music and that’s how I got into hardcore.

That’s so funny that you just had to listen to that Bad Brains on repeat. Did you start going to shows in college?
The first hardcore show I ever went to was Gorilla Biscuits in Osaka in 2008, which was the last year of high school for me. 

How did you find music when you were getting into hardcore? Did you use Youtube or did you go to local record stores?
I did both. The first time I got my own laptop was my last year of high school. I would use the internet to search for bands, but before that, I would just go to the record stores and take all of the flyers. Even if I didn’t know the band or the genre I would just go to the ones that seemed interesting. That’s how I found out about the GB show. 

You drum in 3 bands right? Why’d you first learn the drums?
I was in a band club at university. We mainly played metal and that’s where I really started drumming. I started out playing KISS songs and then I tried to play faster stuff like Metallica. By the time I graduated I played with double pedal, playing Lamb of God or BMTH. We got a chance to play at our school festival and we just played covers the whole time. One time I played for three days straight during that weekend. I played in 50 tribute bands at the school festival and I had to memorize 110 songs for that weekend haha.

Hideta on vocals in this killer crossover thrash band – Cycosis!

When and why did you start booking shows? Is Brightside Booking all done by you?
It’s more like a team but I do a lot of things myself. People give me a lot of advice and I hate driving so other guys drive the van for me haha. The main guy I work with is Shoki from Ilska. Before I actually started calling it Brightside Booking I was booking local shows. I started doing it a lot in 2017 but I didn’t have any name for it. I was also really interested in bringing bands from the US over here so I came up with something more official. TOME (Bowlhead inc Records) from Tokyo makes flyers and artwork and he used to do a lot of Japan tours with bands like Soul Search, TUI, and Cold World around 2010. I told him that I’m interested in bringing bands from abroad so we talked and he actually asked me if I wanted to do a tour for Odd man Out. He was already making flyers for me at that time. That tour went well and so did the Regulate tour.

That’s awesome. I didn’t realize Odd Man Out was the first band you brought over here. How were the first two tours?
Two Straight Edge bands from the US but two totally different bands. Odd Man Out were like the nicest people I’d ever met and Regulate were the craziest people I’d ever met haha. I like the way the Regulate guys mosh when they’re into a band.

You’re the first straight-edge person I’ve met in Japan. What is straight edge like here and what caused you to become straight edge (kind of late in life if I remember correctly)?
Yeah, I claimed edge two years ago in November. I knew there were a few straight edge guys when I was around 20 years old. You never expect to see a straight edge person in everyday life. In my mind, I thought I would die before meeting someone who’s straight edge. The reason I didn’t become straight edge earlier is because I didn’t think it was important to me. I didn’t drink that much, maybe one or two beers at a show so I didn’t really see a reason to quit. I had a really rough patch in my personal life that caused me to quit the band in 2016. I was still in Brave Out (whose singer is SE) and they stayed by my side the whole time and tried to prove that I was still a good guy. During that time we played with a lot of straight edge bands and it just kept making more and more sense. There was no point in drinking anymore. 

So it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of SE people in Japan. It seems like there might be a cultural reason because there’s a lot of pressure to drink with coworkers and such.
Yeah, exactly. If you were hired for a full-time job, that’s basically the job that you work your whole life (things have been changing lately but still no one really changes companies or their job), and so you need to make good relationships with your coworkers. The first thing they do is go drinking. Drinking culture is never seen as a problem in Japan. If something bad happens while someone is drunk they just blame the person instead of considering that the alcohol might be the problem. 

When did you start going to shows abroad?
I used to live in the States back for a year but I only went to Warped Tour or punk shows like Rancid and Misfits. I started going to shows in Indonesia and Singapore in 2013 for the Youth of Today shows. 

Brave Out toured SE Asia, South Korea, and China, right? What are those scenes like?
I found Indonesia’s scene to be more like the US. Most of the people are younger, even 15 or 16-year-olds. There were also a lot of straight edge kids. They go off at shows moshing and stage diving. Even between songs they’ll keep moshing haha. China was crazy. I didn’t know there was a hardcore scene in China. I knew there were a few bands from seeing them on Youtube. People at that fest were in their 20s and 30s, kind of similar to Japan. They were all very real though and they would talk shit about the government. So sometimes they would have to check if there were any government spies there to snitch on the people. Once they were sure there weren’t any they would say things like  “Free Hong Kong” and people got really excited. South Korea also had the same vibe. There’s a venue there called GBN Live House(RIP) and they have a lot of anti-racism/sexism stuff pinned up outside the venue. The bands that Brave Out played with really recognized what hardcore is about. In Japan, it’s not really thought-wise a thing. 

Yeah, I don’t usually see bands on stage getting up and having a strong message or preaching about anything.
Yeah, there’s very little of that. My bands Numbernine and Brave Out have the mindset of having something to say. That’s what makes me really comfortable playing in all of those bands. Politically driven bands seem more prevalent in the crust punk scene here. Hardcore bands are more about the music which is cool. Low Vision from Tokyo and Mindsave from Nagoya have a lot to say though. I think the scene still has a lot of Japanese culture embedded into it. For example, Japanese try not to be confrontational and avoid arguments and avoid politics and religion. But if we’re not aware of that then we won’t be able to be more open and learn. 

I can’t help but notice that there aren’t a lot of young kids at shows here. The youngest person I’ve met at a show was maybe 21 but the majority of people are late 20’s or early 30’s (if not older). What are your thoughts on that? Is there a reason that a lot of young kids don’t go to shows here?
I think that promoting is pretty limited here so young kids only hear about shows from bigger bands. Even if they’re exposed to music at a young age most of them don’t look deeper than what is advertised to them. At best they are exposed to bands like Sand and Crystal Lake but those only scratch the surface when it comes to hardcore music. Younger people tend to get drawn more to melodic punk over hardcore. 

I’m amazed at how Okayama and Nagoya have so many young kids. 

Does Japan have any bands that are comparable to STYG or Counterparts (what some people might call “gateway bands”) that can introduce people to hardcore?
Yeah, as I’ve said, I think most people started coming to hardcore shows by seeing Crystal Lake or Sand. Then they learn more about hardcore.

“In Japan, a lot of people just want to go to a show and listen to the music, they don’t really want to hear someone talk about something. However, hardcore is about having a message and having something to say on stage.”

I know you’ve also traveled to the US a lot for shows/fests. What are some differences between Japan and America’s hardcore scenes?
America’s hardcore scene is what I imagine hardcore is. In Japan, a lot of people just want to go to a show and listen to the music, they don’t really want to hear someone talk about something. However, hardcore is about having a message and having something to say on stage. If you’re speaking up you need to be careful not to intrude on other’s thoughts or offend somebody. In America, you’re free to speak your mind and say what you want. I don’t get that feeling here as much. If I were to say something about Japan’s societal issues people wouldn’t really think it’s that bad. 

I also like the way people mosh in America because they mosh like there’s no tomorrow. They don’t seem concerned about getting injured or anything but they don’t try to hurt other people. 

What is the most unique thing about Japan’s hardcore scene?
Since people don’t always have a concept about what is “hardcore” and what isn’t, they can sort of do whatever they want. They can’t really define what hardcore is so they create something uniquely their own. I think you also get more of a mixed bag of people at shows here. 

Who are your favorite Japanese hardcore bands? Are there any bands that you don’t think have the recognition they deserve?
From Kansai area, Nodaysoff is the best if I had to exclude my own bands.

Wrong State, EX-C, B-Side Approach, Palm, Sand, and legendary Terminal Justice. Many good bands from the east side came out last year such as Stand Out, Blow Your Brains Out, Creep Out’s new album could be the best hardcore album came out last year. Every band that ends with “Out” are awesome.

Mindsave from Nagoya, ilska from Okayama, Foetusgod from Hiroshima, H8Call from Fukushima.

Best experience from hardcore or playing music?
There are too many. Everything about hardcore is amazing. This music defined my life and helped shape how I think. It helped me gain a broader perspective on everything. 

How has Osaka’s hardcore scene changed since you got into it?
I think it’s changed a lot since I first started going to shows. When we started Numbernine there was no one under 30 going to shows. They also didn’t know of bands like No Warning, TUI or Cold World. People were all into different genres of hardcore so there wasn’t a unified scene. Numbernine was really the first band to play more modern hardcore. We also saw how people moshed differently in the US and no one here knew how to mosh to a band like Numbernine. People didn’t really like the way we moshed at first cause it looked too choreographed. People thought we were just trying to look cool so the older people looked down on it and the beatdown people hated us. That style was really exclusive to Tokyo at that time. At first, people would say, “Oh Numbernine is kind of like a Tokyo band.” It was kind of tough at first but then we got more recognition and more people started coming to shows. So I’d say things really started to change between 2012 and 2013. Sometimes we had bands like Cruel Hand, Ceremony, Fire & Ice come to Japan but only 10 people would show up to the show or when we had more people no one would mosh. That started changing little by little the more we played. The big game-changer was when Turnstile came to Japan in 2015. The show sold out and everybody was moshing and having a good time. The scene is completely different now. 

Turnstile is definitely the band to do that. Every time I go to shows in Osaka I get the feeling that more young people are starting to get into hardcore there. Lastly, outside of hardcore what are your interests?
I’m really into Kung Fu movies. I’ve seen more than a few hundred kung fu movies. Recently I’ve been watching a lot of OVA’s from the 80’s like Devil Man and Wicked City. Outside of hardcore music, I enjoy old Japanese city pop (70’s-90’s). I also collect original TMNT figures. is an underground Asian music news website created for the sole purpose of supporting our own world. We support all bands and genres HOWEVER we do not support nor have any sympathy for homophobic, racist, sexist rhetoric in lyrical content or band material. UNITE ASIA!