November 2017


Danger Boys Punks in Osaka A Documentary:
An Interview With Film Maker
Nick Romi
Interview By: Janet E. Hammer

Watching the trailer for this film you can’t help but want to hop on a plane and go to Japan. Osaka is not Tokyo, it is on the opposite end of the Country and many people may have seen the other famous documentary about Osaka “The Great Happiness Space,” which goes into great detail about the male host clubs of the city and the people who work there. Where “The Great Happiness Space” shows off a particular section and culture of the city, “Danger Boys” shows us the regular people of the city. These are people who you could find in any city, people you work with or live next door to. These people, much like many of us when we were young, are a part of an underground scene much like punk rock and hardcore were here a long time ago. It’s great to see people gathering together to support each other and to see people from other countries there because when they came they just loved it so much they wanted to stay. The music is great and the live shows in the movie look like they are a lot of fun. I have always wanted to go to Japan but now I have a whole new reason to add to the list, which is very long indeed. We were lucky enough to get some time from Nick Romi the director of the film to ask about the city and the people and most of all the music.

PUNK GLOBE: Tell us who you are and why you became so interested in the music scene in Japan, specifically Osaka.

Nick Romi: 1. My name is Nick Romi. I am a filmmaker in Los Angeles, but I grew up in Connecticut. Throughout my entire life I have always found myself involved in the hardcore/punk scene. I set out back in 2015 to start a tattoo series on YouTube, which brought me to a couple of different countries, one being Japan. I never set out to find the hardcore/punk scene specifically in Osaka. I knew once I arrived in Japan, whatever free time I had off from the filming the tattoo series, I wanted to tour with bands. I do a lot of touring and video/photography production in the United States with bands. I knew this was something I wanted to continue doing, especially in a foreign country. One of the landmark punk venues in Osaka, Hokage Bar, was near the tattoo shop I was filming at. This bar was my entry, my portal into the world of punk in Osaka. The scene was so real and rich and raw. I've never seen anything like it. Typically, most of the punks I come across today could care less about music and more about fashion and ripped jeans. Or everyone just argues about who is the bigger Black Flag fan. It's really annoying. This scene in Osaka was totally the opposite of everything punk I've experienced in the States. There was no animosity towards one another. Nobody was trying to be "the punk" of the group. It was an underground utopia of good music and people so open towards all types of sub-genres of punk.

PUNK GLOBE: I have a favorite band from Osaka The King Brothers but they are more garage. When did hardcore make a big resurgence in Osaka?

Nick Romi: I don't think hardcore has made a big resurgence. All of the bands I work with and concerts I go to are very underground and have that "garage" feel. I think the most people I've seen at a show have been around 50. I see the same people at each show. It is still a hidden community that lies beneath the streets of Osaka. When people hear about the documentary I made, Danger Boys: Punks in Osaka, they always ask who the bands in it are? When I tell them, most people have never heard of those bands before, even though some are 20 years old. It goes to show that although punk and hardcore is very much alive, it's still hidden to the world.

PUNK GLOBE: Who are some of the bands you have in your movie and what about them made you chose them?

Nick Romi: The bands featured in the film are: SK8NIKS, Flat Sucks, Terrible Joke, C.W. (Concrete Waves), PiPi, Low Card de la morte, By-Pass and a few others. The reason why I chose these bands is because these are bands most people have never heard of outside of Japan. People know Balzac, Aburadako, Hi-Standard, and other popular Japanese bands, but nobody knows the bands in this film. People keep clinging onto the past when it comes to Japanese punk. I get flack for not including popular bands in the film, but people don't understand that in Osaka, these are the popular bands. Just because you heard a Japanese punk band, doesn't mean that is the only Japanese punk band out there. There's so many, and they all are incredible in their own way. I hope my film can open people's minds a little bit and introduce something new. By the way most of these bands are absent of online social media and don't have music available to download. So, this is your ticket to a show without having to go to Japan.

PUNK GLOBE: Japanese music had a pretty big presence here in the USA in the 90's into the 2000'nds with bands like Guitar Wolf, Thee Michelle Gunn Elephant, Teen Generate, Supersnazz amongst others. There has not been a lot of Japanese touring over here lately. The last two I heard of were Dir En Grey and Baby Metal. Are these new bands ready to come to America and start a new era of Japanese Touring bands?

Nick Romi: I really can't speak for these bands and what they hope to accomplish when it comes to touring. I mean, every band wants to be huge and tour the world, right? These bands are not like Baby Metal. There aren't cults of foreigner fans that listen to the bands in the film. I think most of the bands would like to tour in the US. I know Flat Sucks just toured in Malaysia and SK8NIKS is down in Okinawa for a tour. I would love to see these guys tour in the States but I don't think the majority of people here would give them as much love and appreciation as Osaka does. Like I said, it's all about love. This community is tight. It's a hard thing to walk away from. Something I surely wouldn't want to leave.

PUNK GLOBE: What about this scene in this city makes it so special you felt the need to Document it?

Nick Romi: I live in Osaka and Los Angeles (It's a shitty commute). I've always been a part of my local scene, no matter where I called home. Once I became friends with everyone and truly experienced the sense of family, as a filmmaker, I knew I had a story to tell. These bands don't do it for the money, the online presence, the fame or anything else. They do it for each other. Every person in the crowd is equally as excited for each band to play. There is no hate. There is no jealousy. It's all love.

I want to thank Nick for his time. I hope you all watch this film to find out more about the world around you and the music out there.

All photos used with the permission of Nick Romi.

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