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 “Folktronica”). 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, “Loosing 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 “Put 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, “From 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. “Story Of Surf For Young People” enchants the listeners by using melodies created by graceful vibes and dreamy acoustic guitars. “AM 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, “Put 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, “Put 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. “Put 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.
MVRemix: What goes on?
Lem: I love The Velvet Underground.
MVRemix: Tell us about this new album, ‘Put A Lem In Your Pocket’.
Lem: March 3rd 2005 was Lem’s first album release. This album is my image scenery.
MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title, ‘Put A Lem In Your Pocket?
Lem: It’s from a title of a pocket nude book from the 60’s.
MVRemix: What are your favorite songs on ‘Put A Lem In Your Pocket?
Lem: ‘Loosing Summer Set’, ‘AM 5 Kate’, and ‘Put A Jonathan In My Pocket.’
MVRemix: How is this album different from your previous ‘Loosing Summer Set’ EP?
Lem: I made this album as a single-theme record. There is a connection in all music there.
MVRemix: What song took you the longest to do? Why?
Lem: ‘Am 5 Kate’ because I did product with a friend from Tokyo. I live in Fukuoka.
MVRemix: The shortest? Why?
Lem: ‘From Small Lem’s Space (Intro)’ because it’s short music.
MVRemix: Out of all of your songs, which one do you love the most? Why?
Lem: ‘Put A Jonathan In My Pocket’ because it’s a very personal song.
MVRemix: Does the name Lem have a special meaning?
Lem: I like word’s sound and brevity of Lem.
MVRemix: Most songs are created by you alone. Do you enjoy working with other musicians?
Lem: If there is an opportunity, I want to try to do it by all means.
MVRemix: When 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: I 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.
MVRemix: Tell us about Finderpop / Cassette Vision Label. How did you get involved with them? How are they different from other labels?
Lem: I sent it to see the demo recruitment. Label production is handmade meets myself. I give priority to intention of an artist enough.
MVRemix: Musically, who are you major influences?
Lem: Fishmans, 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.
MVRemix: What was it like growing up in Japan? What kind of kid were you?
Lem: Four beautiful Japanese seasons created my feelings. It was a romantic childhood.
MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?