• Kaala

    Exploring Japan’s Extreme Music Underground

Extreme Music In My Blood


grew up in the extreme music scene of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at places like The Mr. Roboto Project, The Rat Cellar, The Brillo Box, Gooski’s, and more. While they all had their own unique personalities, they also had a few things in common. They are all small, cramped, busted holes in the wall that cater to the wandering souls of rock and roll.

I learned a lot about how to plan events, organize people, and party like you mean it at those places. Some might scoff at the notion that dirty underground clubs are the place to cut your teeth in business. To them, I dutifully lift my middle finger. There are no truer, and harder to please lifestyle devotees than the crust punks and grind freaks of the world.

Japan’s Underground


moved to Japan in 2009. I experienced a lot of changes very quickly, but suffice it to say I soon started playing in bands. Then I started recording and gigging, booking concerts and running series, managing tours, and more. There’s a huge amount to learn in the non-standard business practices of the underground, and much of it is extremely risky.

Members of the scene struggle stoically through the many ridiculous circumstances of independent music. I can understand this to an extent, but I am not one to let undue risk persist. So, after a few years of learning the idiosyncrasies of Japan’s extreme music ecosystems, I started Kaala to deal with the many hurdles holding it back.

Streaming from the Underground

Coronavirus Hits Extreme Music Hard


p until about February 2020, Japan’s extreme music scene was thriving. Death Metal still reigned supreme, but it had become increasingly obvious that 2 genres – Doom and Grind – were challenging that. With acts like Self Deconstruction, Begräbnis, GUEVNNA, Su19b, Nepenthes, Friendship, and many more, Japan was a growing force to be reckoned with.

But then coronavirus happened and everything came screeching to a halt. The “extreme music methodology” had been pretty comfortable for some time, making it hard to adjust. It had not modernized where it could be avoided: poorly maintained wifi networks, mishandled bandcamp accounts, and manual distribution channels are all too common.

This all spelled trouble, and so we moved to action. Working with Tokyo-local events startup Zaiko and a slew of camera and audio gear, we started producing audience-less concert streams. 100% of our proceeds have been given to struggling venues.

We are now upping our game to include full-length documentaries on the people and culture behind Japan’s extreme music and how they’re dealing with Coronatime. This is expensive, time-consuming work, though, and so we’re also accepting donations to support our mission through Buy Me a Coffee.