goh nakamura

GR2: 11/24 7pm Goh Nakamura LIVE Music


Enjoy the sounds of Goh Nakamura Live at Giant Robot 2.

On November 24th, Sunday 7pm, Goh Nakamura will wield his axe to perform a set of songs at GR2. The type of set is undetermined, but most likely will be a mixture of his acoustic songs and perhaps some of his musical compositions. For any additional information: please contact us at: [email protected]

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Son of Animal Style at SDAFF Recap

My curated program of skate shorts had its third and final showing at the San Diego Asian Film Festival on Saturday afternoon, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Having skateboarding-related or -inspired videos made by friends alongside indie flicks like Daylight Savings and old-school kung-fu classics like Five Fingers of Death is not only cool but important. It puts a niche genre into a larger context, and hopefully exposes skate video junkies to other forms of moving pictures while turning on film festival folks to the energy and aesthetics of skateboarding. (Above, left to right: Me, Wing Ko, Tad Suzuki, Eric Matthies, Ben Clark, Willy Santos.) (more…)


Son of Animal Style/Hawaii International Film Festival Recap

The best thing about editing Giant Robot magazine was being able to share the rad things that friends do. And make new friends that do rad things. That’s how I feel about my first sizable “solo” project, assembling (and sometimes even participating in) excellent shorts that friends have created and then complementing them with works by new friends. So while the Animal Style (Chicago) and Son of Animal Style (Honolulu, San Diego) skate video programs have given my crew an outlet for their hard work, they have provided me with fodder to keep engaged, keep pushing culture.

And is there a better place to do it than the Hawaii International Film Festival? No other fest balances East and West, high and low, or big budget and indie like HIFF. And while it makes sense for the latest iteration of the Animal Style program to show alongside the long-awaited Bones Brigade: An Autobiography, it’s even cooler that it is on the same roster as Cloud Atlas, Tai Chi 0, and The King of Pigs. It puts skateboard movies in the same conversation as “real” cinema. And with guys like Spike Jonze, Mike Mills, Jason Lee, and even Sam Lee coming from the world of skateboarding, why not? (more…)


Show reviews: Goh Nakamura in La Jolla, Best Coast at the Santa Monica Pier

Attending free shows in La Jolla and Santa Monica makes it seem like I’m living in some sort of Gidget beach movie paradise. Well, maybe I am. The photo above was taken two Friday nights ago, when we arrived at the San Diego beach town. Goh Nakamura, who flew down to perform at my brother’s wedding, was cool enough to play an hour-long solo set at the guest house where a bunch of us stayed. And although the evening was hot and humid, it turned out to be the longest and perhaps tightest set that I’ve ever seen Goh play, balancing his perfectly honest originals (“Daylight Savings,” “Sarah Rose,” and even a new one or two) with a few personalized-yet-respectful covers (The Cure, Bee-Gees) as well as a Van Halen-related story that I had never heard. Very cool. Yes, his number-one fan Eloise loved it, too, and so did my dad and everyone else in the house. (more…)

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Not Robot Power/Greg and Sharon’s wedding zine

I apologize in advance for being the guy who puts up a blog about something cool that’s impossible to acquire. My brother getting married last week provided an opportunity for me to help make a print zine for the first time since Robot Power (the stapled-and-folded half issues between Giant Robot 17 through 21). The first couple of spreads had the ceremony program, thanks list, menu, and seating chart. After that, a full-on zine!

Serious Giant Robot readers will be familiar with much of the contents and vibe. It was conceptualized, designed, and laid out by San Diego artist and wedding speaker/guest Susie Ghahremani, who has been featured in the magazine and shown at the art galleries. Giant Robot readers will also be familiar with interview subject and wedding weekend contributor Goh Nakamura, who has also been in the pages of GR and performed at GR events. (more…)


Free show reviews: Dum Dum Girls at The Getty, Gizzelle at Amoeba Hollywood, Goh Nakamura at Eloise’s House

If you read this blog, you’ve probably gathered that I fully advocate supporting bands by purchasing records from merch table, cool shops, or the labels themselves. Downloading free MP3s is strictly for bootlegs, demos, and so on. But I have no qualms about attending free shows–especially ones that I can take my four-year-old daughter to. And what could be better than a trip to see one of Eloise’s three favorite groups (Dum Dum Girls) at one of her favorite places (The Getty)?

The Dum Dums kicked off the museum’s free Saturday evening concerts two weekends ago with a full set of dreamy, goth-y, garage-y rock. The band has been touring in support of its excellent second album with its extra lush sound for a while now. So of course they sound as great as ever, but there are extra hints at showmanship this time around. Members step up, back, and converge in the middle of the stage. New bassist Malia fits right in, and Eloise and her cousins rocked out nonstop after the sun went down and the volume turned up. So rad to get an hour-long fix in such a setting, and Eloise even got a heads-up from her Facebook/Instagram fans Sandy and Dee Dee. Gotta find out when Sandy returns to town for a Fiore date, and keep checking the Getty’s Saturdays Off the 405 schedule as the summer goes on. (more…)


Film Fest Photos

Film Festivals create photo ops and those make for weird photos. So here’s one of them that showed up in the Rafu Shimpo. I’m on the right not smiling. Yes, 1 shot, no smile, but I was having a decent time I think. Was I? There’s no mention of why we’re there, but we were and I guess Goh, cousin Mike (they star in Daylight Savings) and myself are Japanese American so here we are. It’s an honor regardless. They do mention the doc on photographer and friend, Mario Reyes along with other big points of the LAAPFF this year. Thanks Mikey Culross. (Rafu Shimpo – photo)




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Goh Nakamurathon – 40, 40, 41 hours to go

Anyone who’s read Giant Robot magazine, been to one of the shops, or visits the website knows that we’re big supporters of Goh Nakamura and his music. While his roots are in ’80s metal and his style is more like Elvis Costello or Elliott Smith, his worth ethic is as indie as you can get. He plays living rooms and theater lobbies, sits in on local jam nights and community gatherings. Most recently, he’s been featured in two independent features, Surrogate Valentine and Daylight Savings, which are making the film fest circuit.  The movies directed by David Boyle are very cool and I hope everyone supports them, but in the meantime Goh hasn’t been releasing enough of his own new music… Yes, the Music from the Motion Picture CD is a cool collection of tunes and scores from both flicks, but we fans are ready for a full-on album.

The Dream Sessions, Goh’s latest Kickstarter effort, would remedy that. He’s trying to raise money to record sessions in three studios. Three cities, three different sets of musicians, same rad guitarist and singer. To help publicize the campaign, he’s been webcasting live sets featuring various friends playing music or just hanging out. Today, I was the visitor, and brought Eloise as long as well. You can watch the link here, in which she sings along to The Ramones and The Go-Go’s and dances around to The Beatles. How lucky are we? Coming up on Wednesday is Tamlyn Tomita, star of Karate Kid II and patron saint of Asian American cinema. I hear she used to skateboard in pools, so watch the webcast, jump in the chatroom, and request Agent Orange’s “Bloodstains” or some other skate rock! Then support Goh, a rad musician, good friend, and awesome guy.


Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival: The Working Man, Goh Nakamura, Closing Night

The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival just ended and now I’m wondering what to do. Sounds like a good time to share some pictures. Of course, my focus was on my pals from The Working Man enjoying a moment in the spotlight.

I spotted my good friends Tadashi Suzuki (the star) and Wing Ko (co-director) before the shorts program began, and had a good time hanging out with them, saying hi to friends, and looking forward to their artful skate video’s hometown premiere. (more…)

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Closing Night LAAPFF (Film Festival)

Another year rolls by. The LA Asian Pacific Film Festival has run through a week of film programming. Congrats to the folks who work on this festival. It’s looking up – way up. The closing night took place at the CGV Cinemas in Koreatown. The pics don’t do the event justice, but that’s my cousin Michael Aki who starred in the film, Daylight Savings. Yes, there are better photos of him, but these are iPhone specials!



People dancing and Michael stares at who knows what. A starlet?


Then it’s beer time. Chug.


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New York City Meditations

For some, life begins and ends with pizza. After visiting a Belgian Beer bar, yes I admit I went to a bar, the pizza place next door is said to be the quality of crap. The bartender said that the place to go is Joe’s in Greenwich Village. It might be one of the best. Newbs like me tried the pepperoni first, but the real test is the simple cheese. That’s what 95% of the people walking in get.


That is Goh Nakamura at Grumpy’s Coffee. They use a Clover machine. See the phone on the table? Goh is tethered to it.

Caught in the act. That’s musician Jane Lui looking surprised and Zach Gage who created Spelltower. A hot iPhone game.



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Asian American Film Festival in Chicago

Greetings from Chicago

Tim Hugh, one man bandleader of the Chicago Asian American Film Festival

This is Tim Hugh and his dog Helga in his kitchen in Chicago. Tim has run the only Asian American Indie Film Fest (i.e. no “imports”) for 12 of the 17 years that it’s been in existence. In this picture, he’s a one man bandleader- running it solo, something I can relate to as a solo musician. I’m in town to promote my film “Daylight Savings” which premiered at SXSW this year, and will be the opening night film this year. Joining me at the screening will be Michael Aki who plays my cousin in the film. I met Mike at this very festival in 2010 when he was showing his films Sunsets that he directed with Eric Nakamura, and his Film Noir tribute “Strangers”

I asked Tim a bunch of questions:

Goh: Why is this festival important?

Tim: It’s one of the only festivals that shows only Asian American films; produced, directed and/or about the Asian American experience. In the midwest more so than the coastal states, you’re constantly asked that stupid question “Where are you from?”… so it’s important to help define what being Asian and American is.

I’m a fourth generation Chinese American. In the midwest, it’s usually under the assumption that you’re just “Asian”… and not “Asian American.” When I see Causasian people I don’t ask them “are you from Poland? are you European?” I just see them for who they are, not what they look like.

Goh: How did you get involved in the festival?

Tim: I was just a fan of the band Seam, and Sooyoung Park, Ben Kim and Billy Shin started the festival in 1995 after they released the Ear of the Dragon CD, which was the first Asian American Rock Compliation. I’d always go and watch everything I could. I’d never seen films like this before; Asian American characters that spoke like me; the actors weren’t forced to speak with a bad accent. I could relate to these images and characters that I was seeing at this festival.

I became obsessed and would watch everything I could, whether it be a feature, documentary, or shorts program. I just wanted to see as much as I could, because I knew I’d never get a chance to see these movies again. Plus, being able to meet the directors and hear them speak about their films was one of the coolest things for me. I remember hanging out with Justin Lin, back when he was just a shorts director.

They noticed me being there year after year, and began to recognize me. Eventually, they would ask me to do little things like hand out program booklets, take tickets, watch the table, and take pictures during the Q&A’s. Basically, I became a volunteer. I remember standing there back in the day giving out Giant Robot magazines!


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New music reviews: Goh Nakamura, Jah Wobble & Keith Levene, High on Fire

Goh Nakamura at Donut Man (courtesy of GN)

So much new music has dropped this month that my head hurts–and I love it. For starters, there’s a soundtrack CD that veteran indie musician/upstart actor Goh Nakamura dropped in the mailbox for me between his stops on the film festival circuit. You won’t find the Kickstarter-funded release in stores yet–although some of it can be sampled on SoundCloud–but I’m guessing Goh will have copies at the Asian American Showcase on Friday, April 6 when Daylight Savings makes its Chicago premiere. Catch him there or wherever you can!

Goh Nakamura – Music From The Motion Picture
Because the songs and scores were intended to support scenes from director Dave Boyle’s Surrogate Valentine films, this sprawling collection might not be the best introduction to singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura‘s ultra clever, catchy, and honest Elvis Costello-meets-The-Beatles pop–although there is plenty of it (“Walk,” “Here’s a Secret”…). However, it is an awesome sampler of his skills and versatility. From dreamy instrumentals (“That’s Why I Miss You,” “Don’t Look Away”) and funky bumpers (“Shirtless Curtis,” “Whistlin’ “) to Plimsouls-like power pop (“Better”), the tracks show as much range as they do polish. Acting may be new to Goh’s repertoire, but the conceiving of heartfelt music for different scenes and moods is nothing but a musical, masterful game of H-O-R-S-E for the ace guitar player. [Goh Nakamura]

Jah Wobble & Keith Levene – S/T EP
Levene’s screeching guitars and Wobble’s throbbing bass are instantly recognizable in “Back on the Block,” a cool, killer instrumental that recall not only the duo’s contributions to the first Public Image Ltd. releases but also the generations of bands they influenced from Butthole Surfers to Fugazi to Radio 4. Their dubby baseline and droning guitar are as timeless as they are hypnotic and catchy. “Mississippi” is almost the polar opposite: snappy and organ-driven country-flavored pop. Its too-good-to-true vibe is tweaked only by Wobble’s disarming lyrics about the smell of gasoline. Two dubs (one coasting, one toasting) round out the limited-edition 12″ EP that comes in a hand-stamped envelope. Definitely worth seeking out and playing often. [Pressure Sounds]

High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis
While leader Matt Pike has reunited his previous band (the much loved and more stoneriffic Sleep) for the festival circuit, High on Fire keeps ratcheting up the tension. Producer Kurt Ballou (Converge) brings a dose of crushing post-hardcore intensity to the mix, bringing the band’s Motörhead-heavy riffs and Slayer-speed solos to new heights and ensuring that the song cycle’s conceit about a conspiracy involving Jesus’ twin brother and time travel never gets in the way of the rock. All of the cuts are capable of shaking the hair between one’s nuts, but “Madness of an Architect” might be the heaviest, grooviest song of all, at once recalling the droning brilliance of Sleep’s “Dopesmoker” while space trucking into the future cosmos. [oOne Music]

Also check out: Black Breath – Sentenced to Life [Southern Lord], Paul Weller – Sonik Kicks (Deluxe Edition) [Island], V/A – Listen To The Music – Caltone’s Jamaican 45′s 1966-69 [Pressure Sounds]


Here’s A Secret

    I have a long playlist on my ipod that I call “the song graveyard” of old unfinished verses,choruses and riffs. It’s a musical “to do” list that I consult every now and then.
    One of the songs on there was a sad tune that started with the words “Here’s A Secret”… but then ended in gibberish. Songs can stay in this suspended state for years, until something jolts me emotionally to fill in the blanks. Such is the case for this tune.

    This is the first single from the Soundtrack album I’m about to release called “Motion from the Music Picture.” There’s 2 exclusive cues from my upcoming film Daylight Savings, too. Hope you dig.

    Here’s A Secret

    I’d imagine writers, artists have a similar “graveyard” that they consult from time to time…I’m curious. How do you guys work with older material?

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Rock Quietly Photos by Oscar Rios

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Nakamura Trio – Goh and Automator Visit

Goh, Dan and myself. The Nakamuras. It’s common, but less common than Kim, Nguyen, and Wong.


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Rock Quietly Sessions: Goh Nakamura and Jane Lui and Helping Janet

Goh Nakamura and Jane Lui played quietly and nicely at GR2. Aside from the great sets by both, GR2 was visited by the Helpingjanet.com folks. You’ve seen her viral video, and Janet Liang needs your help. The exhibition of music went from sounds and a captive audience to getting involved in being involved in trying to help others. The end of the show became a bone marrow drive! Below, Goh Nakamura plays his set among dragons!



Jane Lui plays to a nice crowd of at least 30, who sat on the old shelves that are now benches!


Star citing: Janet Liang, Jane Lui and Tamlyn Tomita


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GR2 Sat Feb 11 4-6pm – Free Concert: Goh Nakamura and Jane Lui – Rock Quietly Sessions 4-6pm

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Surrogate Valentine II = Daylight Savings

The film is actually called Daylight Savings. It’s debuting at the SXSW film festival, but a day later, it’s in SF.

The tickets are available at CAAM. It’s the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. That’s Goh Nakamura (right) and Ayako Fujitani (left).


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Walk – Single


Here’s a new tune I wrote. Actually wrote it on a walk to the coffee shop one day, just speaking words into my phone as they came into my head… pretending like I was having a conversation with someone.

This song was sort of an experiment, I wanted to write it away from an instrument… starting with words. I usually sit around with a pen and paper, but I found that the left/right rhythm of feet against concrete gets my brain going. When I get to the coffee shop, I sit down with a cup of joe, jot stuff down. Then I walk home, humming revisions or new ideas.

I made this video yesterday, walking the same route as I did when I wrote the song in November. I tried walking my cat on a leash, but he wasn’t having it. There’s some footage of my friend’s home/studio in San Juan Bautista, where I recorded it. The video’s like a little commercial for the song, which you can purchase Here

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