Matt Lyne is a UK born DJ and producer based in Tokyo, whose talents have been gaining worldwide recognition through releases under the “Greeen Linez” and “A Taut Line” monikers. His work runs the gamut from bubbly, sundrenched City Pop (think mid 80s era Japanese Jazz Funk great Toshiki Kadomatsu) to avant-garde house. The latest Greeen Linez 12″ single “Hibiscus Pacific” was recently released on US label Alliance Upholstery.
How long have you lived in Japan?
I have lived in Japan for 9 years now. The first 4 years were spent in Osaka, and I have been in Tokyo for 5 years now.
What sparked the move?
My girlfriend at university in the UK was Japanese from Osaka. After we both graduated, I had no massive life plan laid out in front of me so I decided to give living in Japan a go, and I’ve been here for 9 years now. The girlfriend from university isn’t my girlfriend anymore, she’s my wife. We’ve been married for 4 years now.
I run the Diskotopia label with Brian “BD1982” Durr. He was living in Japan when we first set it up together. Previously to meeting Brian my wife and I had been running Diskotopia events in Osaka, and then Tokyo for 5 years prior to making the transition to a label. I’d been making music, doing remixes and DJing as A Taut Line before releasing a full EP as the first Diskotopia release. Greeen Linez is Chris Greenberg and myself. We’ve been making music together since we were 10 or 11 years old under various different guises and projects. With the progress in technology and the internet we’ve been able to continue doing so with out having to even be in the same country at the same time. We released our first EP on Diskotopia in 2011, followed by the debut album “Things That Fade” in 2012. After the success of the album, we’ve also had releases on Japanese label Catune (a forthcoming remix compilation will be released on Catune also in June 2014) plus Eli Cohen reached out and re-released our track Hibiscus Pacific from Things That Fade on 12″ on his Alliance Upholstery label backed with 3 fantastic remixes.
People in Osaka are so much more friendly and open that people in Tokyo, so it’s a really good crowd at any event there. However, being the capital, there are much more opportunities for musicians and DJs in Tokyo, and it’s been a lot easier to run a label in Tokyo, because you can make connections with other people in the industry a lot easier. For example we set up Japan-physical distribution for the label by meeting a guy that runs his own distribution in a club night that we put on jointly, and from there have been working together for some time now.
We did a release with Fujimoto Tetsuro from the Cosmopolyphonic crew last year. Really like that guy’s sound and also his DJing too. Not to mention that he’s a top top guy along with all of the talented Cosmopolyphonic crew. Awa is also very talented. We’ve worked with him in the past on Greeen Linez releases and he’s back again for our 2nd Greeen Linez album. We’ve also been working with a sax player called Yoshihiro Nakagawa who is part of Costa De Palma and also plays sax for Japanese idol group Especia’s productions. He’s a nice guy too, and a great sax player!
Living in Tokyo is much the same as living anywhere in terms of good points and bad points. I think living in big Japanese cities’ biggest advantages are the day to day safety. You don’t have to constantly be checking your pockets and behind you here as street crime is very low compared to other big cities in other countries. Also the 24 hour 7 days a week convenience of cities in Japan. I have a convenience store in the ground floor of my building, meaning I can go down there and get basic groceries, beer, cigarettes, soft drinks, coffees, teas and crisps at anytime of the day or night. Not to mention deodorant and other healthcare/cosmetics products like that. Which is amazing obviously, but also a little dangerous for people who once has had a few beers, tends to like a few more, like me.
Unit is a great venue in Tokyo. Large place with 3 different floors. The soundsystem in the main room is fantastic. Recently I’m getting into playing in smaller bar type venues, as I enjoy the culture of them a lot more. Zu Bar (between Shibuya and Ebisu) is good for that. Also Office in Gaienmae. Osaka – Noon is a fantastic place and really enjoyed playing there everytime I did. They recently won a court case after being shut down for breaking the “no-dancing” law here, which was really great to see.
Currently working on the 2nd Greeen Linez album, which will hopefully be out in the Summer. So that’s exciting. We’re excited about it, and hope that it will be received well by people!!!