• The Watanabes (2016)

    The Watanabes are two British brothers in Tokyo doing it the indie way; sharing a room together, sipping on green tea while writing heartfelt pop songs on second hand guitars. They perform either as an acoustic duo, or as a band with Ayumi Sato on bass and Tomoyuki Yamada on drums, and have been active in the Japanese music scene since 2005, releasing three albums at major record stores nationwide. Their songs have appeared on TV and received airplay on national radio both in the UK and in Japan, and they’ve made some notable fans along the way including Academy Award winner Ric O’Barry, 60’s legend David Crosby of The Byrds, BBC Radio 6 DJ Tom Robinson, and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Matt Sorum of Guns N Roses, who joined them on stage in August 2013. The BBC have described their work as “pure Indie, with floating verses and catchy choruses”, while Time Out Tokyo call them “Tokyo’s answer to The Smiths”.


  • The Watanabes
    The Watanabes unveiled Spoiled and Nostalgic as a worldwide digital download on November 25th 2016. Produced by David Naughton (Teenage Fan Club, Belle & Sebastian), and mastered by Frank Arkwright (The Smiths, Blur, New Order) at the world famous Abbey Road Studios in London, the EP has already found favour with the BBC. Made “Record of the Week” on BBC Radio Norfolk, Radio One DJ Sophie Little chimed enthusiastically about the band’s “sweet, beautiful music”, calling Hummingbird an “absolute belter of a tune”. Soon after, DJ Tom Robinson aired ‘Tonight‘ on his BBC Radio 6 show, and included the track in his BBC Mixtape for December 2016. Meanwhile in Japan, long time InterFM DJ Mike Rogers has given ‘Over Romantic regular airplay on his popular morning shows, both on InterFm and Rakuten Fm, describing the band as “Japan’s answer to Belle & Sebastian”. Fellow DJ Guy Perryman – awarded an MBE for his services to British music – was equally impressed, inviting the band in for an extensive interview on his London Hit Radio show and calling ‘Hummingbird’ “one of [his] favourite tracks of the year” .
  • The Watanabes

    The band’s fundraising efforts have been praised both by Japanese national newspaper Mainichi Shimbun, and Time Out Tokyo, who described them as a band with “more heart than ego”. On the day before the release party of their second album, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. Filled with a desire to support their adopted homeland, the band have organised and performed in many charity events in aid of Tohoku, and recently visited Fukushima to help build a playground alongside NPO Playground of Hope. The trip was documented in the shape of a collaborative music video, which will be used to promote the charity, and The Watanabes’ single Make Things Better. The same track was one of three Watanabes’ songs chosen by CNN International to feature in a TV documentary on Japan. Other tunes penned by the group have been adopted by Western Union, Triumph Motorcycles and the BBC.
  • The Watanabes (2007)
    The Watanabes have played at venues across Japan, headlining at Japan Music Week, Asian indie showcase Tokyo BootUp!, The Tokyo Tower, The Kansai Music Conference, and Shibuya based international indie festival Rock God Dam. In April 2014 they were invited to perform live on one of Japan’s biggest radio stations, InterFm, as part of their 24-hour live radio event. In the space of 8 years, the band have developed a small but dedicated international following within the country. The British Chamber of Commerce featured the group as an example of the thriving British music scene in Japan, describing them as “one of the biggest names on the live circuit here”. According to Tokyo Weekender, they are “one of Tokyo’s best known indie bands”, while Japanzine magazine simply asks, “You’ve heard of The Watanabes, surely? Everyone has!”


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