Tokyo Below is a subterranean train ride through the city's underground music scene. Down here it seems as though the overwhelming pop culture of the streets of Tokyo has had little effect. Starting at its rock and roll influences and progressing into the sounds of punk, hardcore, and emo the Tokyo music scene more directly parallels its American counterpart than the native pop mainstream.
Featuring the political punk music of DStolemybear, the melodic sounds of Bluebeard, and the glam rock of the Blue Velvets, Tokyo Below captures the struggle of the independent band to be heard among the overwhelming popularity of Japanese pop music. The film also explores the next generation of indie bands making a name for themselves including 13th Month, I am Yours, and Cloud Egg.
Produced, directed, and edited by filmmaker James R. Petix in 2001, the film gives a new look at the documentary medium combining music video style editing with non-linear storytelling.
The film was shot using a combination of digital video and Super 8mm film to create the look of a nostalgic tour through an ultra modern city. Like a subway train, the film takes time to stop and look at the many different music styles and the individuals that choose to go against the grain and stand out amongst the crowds of people up above.