Say ‘hello’ to our friend, Hiro Tanaka and his book Dew Dew, Dew Its (it was recently nominated for the Photobook Award at the International Foto Book Festival Kassel in Germany). It is a collection of photos taken over many years while traveling with US indie rock, punk and hard core bands. What did this Japanese man observe while roaming different parts of the world? Check it out…
Union: These photos were taken while you were on tour with which bands?
Hiro: Cursive, Lawrence Arms, Minus the Bear, Har Mar Superstar, Anti-Flag, Bomb the Music Industry, Portugal the Man, Toys That Kill, Birthday Suits, Chotto Ghetto, Sundowner, Mike Park and more. I feel very honored that I had the chance to travel with these generous people.
Union: Which countries were these photos taken in?
Hiro: Mostly in the U.S and Europe while on tour.
Union: What does the title “Dew Dew Dew Its” mean?
Hiro: It’s Welsh and I put my arbitrary interpretation on this word. When I was living in London for a while, I used to hang out with my mate Simon Leahy-Clark from Wales and he would teach me some Welsh words. He is a very interesting artist. At that moment he was making these paintings with his own pee. We used to go to pubs and drink lots of pints on weekends. We usually ended up missing the last train home and would have to take the night bus back to our neighborhood, Seven Sisters. Under the dim florescent light of the night bus, which was always filled with drunk people and the smell of vinegar emanating from fish and chips, Simon was usually wasted and passed out on the seat, mumbling “oh dew dew, oh dew dew”. Those moments are some of my favorites and are deeply imprinted in my mind. To me ‘dew dew’, means a big praise for an event and also a personal speculation of an object and an atmosphere.
Union: Did you tour with Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? How did he end up writing the Introduction?
Hiro: When I was traveling with Chotto Ghetto and Bomb the Music Industry, we had couple of days off in NY. I went to city and hung out with Nick Zinner. At that time I had a rough idea about making this photo book and when we were having lunch I asked him if he could write something for the book. I was very happy that he told me right away he would do it! Nick is a total master blaster of photography and touring. I have such a high respect for his work in both his photography and music. I feel very honored to have his writing in my book. I haven’t toured with Nick but, hopefully I can someday.
Union: Would you consider these photographs a type of personal diary of your life? Hiro’s Adventures?!
Hiro: It could be but I think they are more about observations and documentations of events. I was experienced a whole other journey during the editing process! If I wanted to make this book more like a personal diary, then the editing process I took would have been very different and the result would have been really different as well. I don’t really have a definition for what it ended up becoming. It’s completely reliant on the viewer’s perspective. Yes! Adventures! I had a super electric time with all the people I traveled with. Buenos momentos!
Union: Where are you from in Japan? How long have you been living outside Japan?
Hiro: I was born in Fukuoka and lived in Tokyo for a while. I’ve been living in Santa Monica for over 4 years now. California is so beautiful… the climate is moderate and so easy-going. I am spoiled big time! I think Santa Monica is a paradise. Every day when I go outside, I always think this is too good and I don’t deserve this ….. hahaha!
Union: What’s your favorite thing to shoot?
Hiro: Mmm, I don’t know if I have a favorite thing to shoot… I just shoot anything that surrounds us. Things that catch my attention or interests me enough where I want to look deeper to see what its all about. I just follow my instinct.
Union: Dope! Thanks for your time Hiro!