The Red Bull Music Academy have announced their next session will take place in Toyko, Japan near the end of 2011.
Next year's edition will be the RBMA's 14th, and will mark a rare non-European location for the Academy. To get an idea of the planning and thought process that goes into each session, we caught up with Davide Bortot, one of the many organizers, for a quick phone interview earlier this week.
Why is Tokyo a good city for the RBMA?
We wanted to do something outside Europe, and Tokyo just felt right. It has an amazingly vibrant subculture, great clubs, record shops, a lot of people who are really into underground music. But then again there are not that many institutions for music in Japan, it's hard for people who grew up there to actually make a living out of their passion. You have a great scene there, and music fans love to dig deeper. So it's the perfect space for a project like this. It's also quite challenging, and very different from cities we've done before, like Barcelona or London.
What's your criteria for choosing each city?
We started the Academy in Berlin, that was 12 years ago. Since then, we've looked for a city that has an interesting musical history every year, and we try to incorporate that local influence into the program at the Academy. So we always change the style a little bit. Tokyo’s quite different from Cape Town and Sao Paolo, where it was more about delving into the musical heritage that's there and trying to support the local scene. But then again it's not like London where everybody runs a club night or everybody runs a label, or there's like 20 million pirate stations. It's a city that's at an interesting point right now. One of the most exciting places in the world, I guess.
So part of your goal is to help foster a local scene?
Well, of course it would be absurd to claim we tried to foster a local scene in London. But we always try to put on interesting events where local heroes team up with their counterparts from all around the world, events that showcase current developments in the global music scene to our host city. And we always try to leave a little legacy as well. In Cape Town, for example, the Academy HQs are still used for workshops. In Barcelona, the building we used is now being operated as a cultural center. And in London, the studio has become a hub for locals, international artists that stop in the city, and alumni of the Academy. So, I wouldn't say we try to foster local scenes, that would be somehow pretentious. But we always want to leave something substantial in the city, add something to the cultural landscape, and I think Tokyo's a great place for doing something like that.
How do you find out what each city's scene is like?
We come to the city and meet up with key figures from every single area, from music journalists, to bookers, promoters, art curators, designers, artists. Just get a good idea of everything that's happening in the city, what locals artists want to do and what we can do to support. We also build up a huge local team of creative people that we work with during and after the Academy. This preparation process usually spans more than a year. All we really know right now is that the Academy will be in September or October of 2011, and the applications will be in spring 2011.
RBMA are also ready to release a compilation of tracks from last winter's edition in London. Entitled Various Assets: Not For Sale, the two-disc collection will be available for free at selected record shops, parties and festivals, as well as on the RBMA's official site from July 19th. The collection features academy participants such as Hudson Mohawke, Jackmaster and Space Dimension Controller, and provides a glimpse of what young artists get up to during their stay at the academy.
01. Flava D - Ragga Run
02. Robin Hannibal & Jullian Gomes - I Need Your Love
03. J-Wow & Sui Zhen - River Song
04. Marco Passarani & Jullian Gomes - Walking Down Tooley Street
05. 00Genesis feat. Oddisee - Jackin4beats pt. 1
06. Hudson Mohawke, Robin Hannibal & Myele Manzanza - Ain't Nobody Like You
07. Lucrecia Dalt & James Pants - Too Much Light
08. Chester Lone Ranger - Boogie Dreams
09. James Pants & Lucrecia Dalt - A Breezy Slide Into Hell
10. ANGO feat. Katy B - Fireworks
11. Poirier feat. Hasan Hujairi - Loop 1
12. Space Dimension Controller - Hazeygalacticwonkafunk
13. 00Genesis feat. Tranqill - Jackin4beats pt. 2
14. Andras Fox, Sui Zhen & James Pants - Touch-N-Talk
15. Osborne, Modeselektor, ANGO, Akshun, AD Bourke & Vlad Caia - Jacob Has Arrived
16. TOKiMONSTA, Lunice & Swede:art - Alpenglow
17. A Lone Boy, An Oud, A Theremin & A Funky Dread - T M 2
18. Clinic & Sui Zhen - Tell Me Once
19. Bala - London Mantra
01. Kidkanevil feat. Oddisee - Jackin4beats pt.3
02. Kool Clap & Venice - Vitamine
03. Ross McHenry, Biel Nascimbeni, Myele Manzanza, Jakob Schneidewind, Katy B & Infestus - The Song
04. Jackmaster, Mau’lin, Markur & Tony Nwachukwu - UK Hunky
05. Lunice - Strahl
06. Master MP6-6o & Robin Hannibal - Rocking All Night
07. TOKiMONSTA feat. Andreya Triana & Oddisee - Jackin4beats pt. 4
08. B. Bravo & Robin Hannibal - What’s It Gonna Be?
09. Dam-Funk - I Need 2 Know (Demo Version)
10. Sergej Fresh, Tutu Sweeney, Andras Fox, DJ Klem & Sui Zhen - Told Me
11. Lucrecia Dalt & Hasan Hujairi - Mimbre
12. ooGenesis - Endless OCean
13. Homeless INc, Juan Son & Jakob Schneidewind - Solo
14. ooGenesis feat. Tranquill - Jackin4beats pt.5
15. Tony Nwachukwu & Tutu Sweeney - Breathin’
16. Daisuke Tanabe feat. May Roosevelt - Cka3ka
17. Amenta & J - Wow
18. DZA feat. AD Bourke - Endless Wishes
19. Flava D - It’s So Hard
20. Biel Nascimbeni & Juan Son - Cucaracha Madness Mix
21. Minus - Calling Number
22. Hasan Hujairi & May Roosevelt - Improvisation No. 136253892
Red Bull Music Academy will release Various Assets: Not For Sale on July 19th, 2010.