Shugo Tokumaru

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Shugo Tokumaru
Shugo Tokumarucropped.jpg
Shugo Tokumaru at the Bowery Ballroom.
Background information
Born May 29, 1980 (age 33)
Origin Tokyo
Genres Indie folk, Indie pop, Psych pop
Occupations Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist
Instruments Guitar
Years active 2004–present
Labels Compare Notes (2004-2005)
Music Related (2004)
Active Suspension (2006)
Lil' Chief Records (2006)
P-Vine Records (2007-present)
Almost Gold Recordings (2008-present)
Associated acts Gellers, Deerhoof, David Fenech, I Am Robot and Proud, Mesomeso, Moools, Oorutaichi, Tenniscoats, Unicorn
Website shugotokumaru.com

Shugo Tokumaru (トクマルシューゴ Tokumaru Shūgo?, born May 29, 1980) is a Japanese singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who debuted in May 2004 in America with his album Night Piece.[1] He creates every aspect of his music, including the lyrics, music, arrangements, recording and mixing.[2] He is known for the variety of instruments he uses in his music, using over 100 different traditional and non-traditional instruments in his recordings.[2][3] Tokumaru is also a member of the Japanese rock band Gellers.[4] Tokumaru's 2010 album Port Entropy was his most commercially successful album in Japan, breaking into the top 40.[5]

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Shugo Tokumaru was born and raised in Tokyo. His first instrument was the piano, which he started between 5–6 years old after seeing a friend playing it. Much later on in junior high school, Tokumaru started playing the electric guitar, originally only playing songs by The Clash.[6][7] He joined a band called Gellers, made up of people he had known throughout his childhood. The band formed around 1994, however at the very beginning Tokumaru was not a member.[7] He started writing songs at 17 for the band,[8] however had not had much of a need to earlier, as the other guitarist of the band was the chief songwriter.[7] From this point, Tokumaru began an interest with multi-instrumentalisation, thinking that just the guitar/bass/drum set of a standard band wasn't enough.[6]

Tokumaru travelled overseas after he finished High School for 2 and a half years, spending most of his time living in Los Angeles.[7][8] While staying in America, he was a part of a jazz band, and recorded songs in his home.[7]

Debut[edit]

In 2003 after returning to Japan, Tokumaru finished recording a 10 track demo album called Fragment.[9] He gave this demo CD to a friend who was an acquaintance of Trevor Sias, owner of US independent record label Music Related.[10] The label was impressed with the CD, and wanted to release the demo album just as it was, however Tokumaru did not like the idea.[7] He created an entirely new album,[9] which was released under the label in the United States on May 11, 2004.[11] Night Piece originally planned to be just an American only release, but due to strong sales on internet sites, it was released in other countries.[7] It was released in Japan three months later, in August 2004 through independent label Compare Notes.[12]

Tokumaru released his second album, L.S.T., in 2006, and his third, Exit, in 2007. In this time, his music started to become more recognised globally. L.S.T. was also released in Europe and New Zealand, with Tokumaru performing on a French and Spanish tour.[1] In Japan Tokumaru performed lives at such places as the Ginza Apple Store and Shinjuku Tower Records, and his music started being featured in commercials for companies such as Shiseido and Japan Airlines.[13] Also in 2007, Tokumaru's childhood band Gellers reformed, releasing their debut album and performing at high profile festivals, such as the Fuji Rock Festival and Borofesta. However, the group went on hiatus in 2008.[4]

In 2008, Tokumaru worked on soundtrack for Kōji Hagiuda directed film Kodomo no Kodomo (コドモのコドモ Children's Children?).[1] He performed his first US tour, with four sold out dates to halls with a capacity of around 2,000 people each.[13] He continued to perform at high profile Japanese music festivals, such as the Fuji Rock Festival (this time as a solo artist) and Asian Kung-Fu Generation's Nano-Mugen Festival.[13]

Commercial success[edit]

In 2009, Sony used Tokumaru's song "Rum Hee" for commercials for their VAIO L series of touchscreen computers.[1] The resulting extended play, Rum Hee, was Tokumaru's first top 100 release.[14] In 2010, his fourth album Port Entropy broke into the top 40.[5] He performed his first Japanese tour, featuring 13 dates across the country. Every venue was a sold out concert.[13] After the tour, Gellers started activities again in 2010.[4]

Tokumaru's song "Parachute" was featured in soundtrack for Canadian film Year of the Carnivore.[13]

Songwriting[edit]

Shugo Tokumaru considers some of his influences to be The Beach Boys, older Japanese musicians such as Hachidai Nakamura, and traditional Japanese music styles, such as gagaku.[citation needed] Tokumaru plays all of his instruments on his albums, and records his songs alone.[10][15] Tokumaru sings his lyrics solely in Japanese.[1] The basis of his lyrics come from his daily dream diary.[7][10] When writing music, he first comes up with a melody solely inside his head. When creating the song, he tries to use as many instruments as possible, to illustrate the different aspects of his dreams.[15]

Discography[edit]

Original albums[edit]

Year Album Information Oricon
Albums
Charts
[16]
Reported
sales
[17]
2003 Fragment
  • Pre-debut demo album.
  • Released: 2003[9]
  • Formats: CD
2004 Night Piece
  • Official debut album.
  • Released: May 11, 2004[11]
  • Label: Music Related (ML-12) (US)
  • Released in Japan on August 20, 2004, through Compare Notes (cn-0007)[12]
  • Formats: CD
2005 L.S.T.
  • Released: August 25, 2005[18]
  • Label: Compare Notes (cn-0006) (JP)
  • Formats: CD
2007 Exit 239 1,400
2010 Port Entropy 33 10,000
2012 In Focus?
  • Released: November 7, 2012[21]
  • Formats: CD, vinyl

Other albums[edit]

Year Album Information Oricon
Albums
Charts
[16]
Reported
sales
[17]
2005 NPRMX
  • Remix album for Night Piece.
  • Released: April, 2005[22]
  • Label: Our Small Label (OSR-CDR1) (US)
  • Formats: CD
2009 Rum Hee (ラムヒー Ramu Hī?) 85 2,800

Singles[edit]

  • "Vista" (January 2006, vinyl single)[24]
  • "Sleigh Ride" (November 25, 2009, digital download)[25]

Other appearances[edit]

  • "Sleeping Bird (Remixed by Shugo Tokumaru)" (February 2006, Apartment's Apremix album)[26]
  • "Tournament (Remixed by Shugo Tokumaru)" (March 2007, Moools' "Tournament" remix single)[27]
  • "Akairo Elegy" (赤色エレジー Red Elegy?) (June 2007, various artists album Akairo Elegy Mania, featuring just covers of Morio Agata's song of the same name)[28]
  • "Spiderwoman w/ Shugo Tokumaru" (January 2008, David Fenech's album Polochon Battle)[29]
  • "Micro Guitar Music" (July 2008, various artists Kyokutō Saizensen 2)[30]
  • "With Pail (Shugo Tokumaru Remix)" (July 2008, .Tape. remix album .Tape. Repainted)[31]
  • "Jitensha Dorobō (Shugo Tokumaru Remix)" (自転車泥棒 Bicycle Thief?) (July 2009, Unicorn URMX)[32]
  • "401 Circuit (Shugo Tokumaru Remix)" (March 2010, I Am Robot and Proud remix album Uphill City Remixes & Collaborations)[33]
  • Vicious Circles Vol 1 (Digital)
  • "Video Killed The Radio Star" (September 2011, Polyvinyl Records's Japan 3.11.11: A Benefit Album)[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Barks. "トクマルシューゴ : バイオグラフィー / BARKS アーティスト". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  2. ^ a b Tsutaya. "トクマルシューゴ アーティストページ". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  3. ^ CDJournal. "トクマルシューゴ(Tokumaru Shugo)". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  4. ^ a b c Gellers Official Web Site. "About Gellers". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  5. ^ a b "Port Entropy - トクマルシューゴ / オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」". Oricon. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  6. ^ a b HMV (April 20, 2010). "【HMVインタビュー】 トクマルシューゴ". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Tokyo Source (April 28, 2008). "041 トクマルシューゴ (ミュージシャン)". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  8. ^ a b Ontonson (October 2007). "トクマルシューゴ インタビュー". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  9. ^ a b c "SHUGO TOKUMARU ~NEWS~". Music Related label site. Archived from the original on August 4, 2004. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site (December 8, 2005). "Interview / Shugo Tokumaru". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  11. ^ a b "05.15.04// ml12 shugo tokumaru "night piece"". Music Related. June 4, 2004. Archived from the original on June 15, 2004. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  12. ^ a b "トクマルシューゴ Night Piece". Map Up. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. "SHUGO TOKUMARU/BIO". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  14. ^ "ラムヒー - トクマルシューゴ / オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」". Oricon. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  15. ^ a b MTV Iggy. "Shugo Tokumaru Interview". Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  16. ^ a b "アーティスト: Shugo Tokumaru". Oricon. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  17. ^ a b "オリコンランキング情報サービス「you大樹」". Oricon. Retrieved 2010-08-02.  (subscription only)
  18. ^ "トクマルシューゴ L.S.T.". Map Up. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  19. ^ "「EXIT」SHUGO TOKUMARU". Blues Interactions. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  20. ^ "「Port Entropy」SHUGO TOKUMARU". Blues Interactions. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  21. ^ "トクマルシューゴ新アルバム「In Focus?』発売!!!!!". Retrieved Jan 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ "V.A. / nprmx". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  23. ^ "「ラムヒー」トクマルシューゴ". Blues Interactions. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  24. ^ "SHUGO TOKUMARU / Vista". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  25. ^ "SHUGO TOKUMARU / Sleigh Ride". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  26. ^ "V.A. / apremix (CD-R)". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  27. ^ "V.A. / Tournament". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  28. ^ "V.A. / 赤色エレジーマニア". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  29. ^ "David Fenech / polochon battle". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  30. ^ "V.A. / 極東最前線2". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  31. ^ "V.A. / .TAPE. REPAINTED". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  32. ^ "URMX / ユニコーン". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  33. ^ "UPHILL CITY REMIXES & COLLABORATIONS / i am robot and proud". Shugo Tokumaru Official Web Site. Retrieved August 2, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Polyvinyl Records - Japan 3.11.11: A Benefit Album". Polyvinyl Records Official Web Site. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 

External links[edit]