Spotlight: Big Love Records

Big Love Records is an independent record label and record store based in Harajuku, Tokyo.

biglove_gumTell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. We are an independent record label and record store accompanying a small craft beer bar, located in Harajuku, Tokyo. Run by Naka, who DJs, and Haruka, who translates lyrics and writes poetry. Our recent interest is to bring over great bands for our music event called “ONE”.

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Naka (left) and Haruka (right)

How has living in Tokyo affected your work? Naka: I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to work like this if I wasn’t in Tokyo.

Haruka: Being born and currently living in Tokyo has never inspired me; it’s still weird how people are attracted to this city. It is glittering and well-organized, although it is empty unless you DO something. I see people around me spoiled with the fact that they became a Tokyo citizen. I spent my childhood in Thessaloniki (Greece) as well, that city still roots in me so deeply.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? New music.

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What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? 12” / VHS of Yacht Club, 7” of Puzzle (Fletcher Shears’ solo project from the band The Garden), exhibition of Cali Thornhill DeWitt, Girlseeker and Youth Code’s show in September.

How did your interest in your work begin? Naka: Since I was a kid I have only loved new music, clothes, and movies—all that didn’t come from the mainstream.

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? We’d like to release AKIRA’s soundtrack on vinyl “officially” for the 2020 Olympics.

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What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Naka: My absolute favorite is definitely Big Love, there are my favorite records and craft beers. I wish it wasn’t my store, I would hang around every single day. Some other favorite places…when our friends, Iceage from Copenhagen and Lust For Youth are here, we’d go to a noise bar called Nightingale in Shinjuku Golden Gai. There is also web Mishuku, where we throw parties, Disk Union in Shibuya, another one of the few record stores here, and vintage clothing in Yutenji (Yutenji is Haruka’s hometown).

What are you really excited about right now? Always excited about the new vinyl releases.

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What were you like in high school? Naka: I was friends with my classmates shouting “Drop Dead” inside, so my only pleasure (only twice a month) was going to the record stores and the clothing stores in downtown. What occupied my mind since age 10 was moving to Tokyo—that’s because I’m from Nagoya. However, Haruka, who was born in Tokyo, should have a different point of view.

Haruka: Since I was in a posh-private girls school, as many of them did, I tried to flee from the tedious regulations. I was in Shibuya or Shinjuku almost everyday and had always been caught by the teachers on patrol. I hated and despised everything because I was aware that both intellectually and physically, I was at the highest quality in my life. I still remember the day I turned 17, I was walking down the Shibuya crossing in my school uniform, strongly feeling that I will die once when I turned 18. And I did.

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Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Reactions from people? That we have no idea. I can tell what those music editors and fans would love, and I have never done a release to meet that.