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Lem creates light, elegant, poignant, ethereal, and soulful electronic music. His music is softly cool like the thin water rolling over the wet sand as the wave moves back into the ocean. Hailing from Fukuoka (Japan), he was born under the name Goro Tanaka. Although he is not well known outside of his home country, people may discover Lem if they are lucky enough to stumble on someone playing his music. Other fans may have to seek out his work. Lem describes his art as electronic folk music (or '€œFolktronica'€). Like a theme for an enlightening dream, Lem'€™s music is beautifully subtle and elegantly romantic.

Finderpop / Cassette Vision Label released Lem'€™s debut EP, '€œLoosing Summer Set'€. The Japanese-based label is home to other unique artists like Apartment, Mountainbook, and Ajisaikippu-de. Independent in both business and spirit, Finderpop / Cassette Vision Label started out releasing CD-Rs. These days, they have a handful of artists, a budding following, and a catalogue of official CDs & DVDs. The label'€™s growth was fueled by the unique quality of the music.

In 2005, Lem released his first full-length CD titled '€œPut A Lem In Your Pocket'€. The beautifully romantic songs possess hushed vocals and subtle melodies. The album is perfect theme music for Sunday mornings, summer afternoons, or tender encounters deep within the night. Instead of attacking the listener, Lem'€™s music slowly rolls around the listener like a pleasant aroma. The opening track, '€œFrom Small Lem'€™s Space'€ includes the album'€™s thickest drum track (which still may be considered soft to the typical listener). The cool ease of the hip-hop groove makes the song instantly appealing. The inviting intro track also perfectly sets a mood for the LP. '€œStory Of Surf For Young People'€ enchants the listeners by using melodies created by graceful vibes and dreamy acoustic guitars. '€œAM 5 Kate (Sweet Mix)'€ includes guest female vocals from Babo (from Seisyun Mid Night Runners). One of the several songs that include vocals, the romantic singing is gently dominated by the musical melodies. The light electronic rhythm creates a futuristic new-age atmosphere. The album'€™s superlative final track, '€œPut A Jonathan In Your Pocket'€ is a poignant song which could be played during the ending credits on a romantic film. Through charming melodies and soft rhythms, '€œPut A Jonathan In Your Pocket'€ paints an audio scene of a beautiful Summer day. Although the album may take some time to be fully appreciated, the LP possesses a magnificent exquisiteness reminiscent of Cocteau Twins, Enya, Kahmi Karie, Mazzy Star, Opal, Dead Can Dance, and Massive Attack. In the songs that include vocals, many of the words are difficult to discern. Like the music of My Bloody Valentine, Lem'€™s vocals are woven deep inside, not on top of the instrumentation. '€œPut A Lem In Your Pocket'€ by Lem is a beautifully subtle and relaxing album. If you find Lem'€™s music in your pocket, consider yourself charmed.

T.JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€
LEM: '€œI love The Velvet Underground.'€

T.JONES: '€œTell us about this new album, '€˜Put A Lem In Your Pocket'€™.'€
LEM: '€œMarch 3rd 2005 was Lem'€™s first album release. This album is my image scenery.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the title, '€˜Put A Lem In Your Pocket?'€
LEM: '€œIt'€™s from a title of a pocket nude book from the 60'€™s.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are your favorite songs on '€˜Put A Lem In Your Pocket?'€
LEM: '€œ'€˜Loosing Summer Set'€™, '€˜AM 5 Kate'€™, and '€˜Put A Jonathan In My Pocket.'€™'€

T.JONES: '€œHow is this album different from your previous '€˜Loosing Summer Set'€™ EP?"
LEM: '€œI made this album as a single-theme record. There is a connection in all music there.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat song took you the longest to do? Why?'€
LEM: '€œ'€˜Am 5 Kate'€™ because I did product with a friend from Tokyo. I live in Fukuoka.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe shortest? Why?'€
LEM: '€œ'€˜From Small Lem'€™s Space (Intro)'€™ because it'€™s short music.'€

T.JONES: '€œOut of all of your songs, which one do you love the most? Why?'€
LEM: '€œ'€˜Put A Jonathan In My Pocket'€™ because it'€™s a very personal song.'€

T.JONES: '€œDoes the name Lem have a special meaning?'€
LEM: '€œI like word'€™s sound and brevity of Lem.'€

T.JONES: '€œMost songs are created by you alone. Do you enjoy working with other musicians?'€
LEM: '€œIf there is an opportunity, I want to try to do it by all means.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen making songs, do you go into the studio with pre-written lyrics and themes, or do you write to the music? What is the creative process like?'€
LEM: '€œI begin to make it with a guitar. There is a time when I make it from a rhythm tracks. I write lyrics to the atmosphere of music last.'€

T.JONES: '€œTell us about Finderpop / Cassette Vision Label. How did you get involved with them? How are they different from other labels?'€
LEM: '€œI sent it to see the demo recruitment. Label production is handmade meets myself. I give priority to intention of an artist enough.'€

T.JONES: '€œMusically, who are you major influences?'€
LEM: '€œFishmans, Nick Drake, Boards Of Canada, Madlib, Galaxie 500, Cornelius, Tortoise, Jim O'€™Rourke, Brian Wilson, The Pale Fountains, Four Tet, Prefuse 73, The Books, Elliott Smith, The Pastels, Jonathan Richman, Yo La Tengo, and Morrissey.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was it like growing up in Japan? What kind of kid were you?'€
LEM: '€œFour beautiful Japanese seasons created my feelings. It was a romantic childhood.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite part of your live show?'€
LEM: '€œPlaying a guitar by loud sound.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow has your live show evolved?'€
LEM: '€œExpression of feelings.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho would you like to collaborate with in the future?'€
LEM: '€œThe Books.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat has been in your CD player or on your turntable recently?'€
LEM: '€œ'€™Evolution fight'€™ by Cyne and '€˜Rideau'€™ by Tape.'€

T.JONES: '€œExplain the song '€˜Put A Jonathan In Your Pocket'€™? That is one of my favorites'€
LEM: '€œI love Jonathan Richman'€™s '€˜That Summer Feeling'€™.'€

T.JONES: '€œAbortion '€“ pro-choice or pro-life?'€
LEM: '€œI'€™m against an abortion for oneself.'€

T.JONES: '€œDeath Penalty '€“ For or against?'€
LEM: '€œAgainst.'€

T.JONES: "Where were you on Sept. 11th (The World Trade Center Terrorist Attack)? How did you deal with it? How do you think this event has affected music? What was Japan'€™s reaction?"
LEM: '€œI knew it in news of TV. I felt terrorism close for the first time. I felt importance of a daily living some other time.'€

T.JONES: '€œWord association time. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say '€˜The Beatles'€™, you may say '€˜Revolution'€™ or '€˜Let It Be'€™. Okay?'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Stone Roses.'€
LEM: '€œI Wanna Be Adored!'€

T.JONES: '€œHappy Mondays.'€
LEM: '€œMadchester.'€

T.JONES: '€œMy Bloody Valentine.'€
LEM: '€œA wave of a moment.'€

T.JONES: '€œMomus.'€
LEM: '€œA writer of the shy middle ages.'€

T.JONES: '€œRide.'€
LEM: '€œAn early singles jacket is so cool!'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Roots.'€
LEM: '€œNative.'€

T.JONES: '€œFelt.'€
LEM: '€œDenim.'€

T.JONES: '€œBlur.'€
LEM: '€œNeo mods!'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€
LEM: '€œA poor mouse.'€

T.JONES: '€œYour vocals are very low and drowned-out. It adds to the atmosphere of the song. Was this intentional?'€
LEM: '€œIntentional. It is not accident.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat do you think music industry (in general) needs these days?'€
LEM: '€œAn anti-commercial.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?'€
LEM: '€œYes.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow are audiences from other countries different from Japanese audiences?'€
LEM: '€œOverseas, people accept me.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some major misconceptions that people have of you?'€
LEM: '€œThere is not the popularity that much.'€

T.JONES: '€œIf you could re-make any song, what would it be?'€
LEM: '€œ'€˜Say Yes'€™ by Elliott Smith.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow do you pick the tracks that end up on the final album?'€
LEM: '€œI demand a flow of the music that a feeling is good for myself.'€

T.JONES: '€œYour bio describes your music as '€˜folktronica'€™. Would you agree? Did you ever hear the Momus album called '€˜Folktronica'€™?'€
LEM: '€œYou may invite me to each personapilia. I have not listened to it.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you want to be cremated or buried?'€
LEM: '€œCremated.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat do you want on your epitaph?'€
LEM: '€œGoing zero.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is in the future for Lem?'€
LEM: '€œI want to make the sound that is a more personal sound.'€

T.JONES: '€œAny final words?'€
LEM: '€œSee the distant cloud. Then, you feel so proud. Blessing approaching, it will come with sting.'€


Interview by Todd E. Jones aka New Jeru Poet

NOTICE: This interview is property of Todd E. Jones and cannot be duplicated or posted without written permission.

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