All posts in “Shonen Knife”

Making a Great Music Video for Zero Budget

“Good ideas will replace a lack of cash any day.” – Mike Rogers

Su Ko D Koi – Japanese girls band

     I was asked by a friend to help with making a music video for a band. My friend is on the other side of the earth, so I don’t know how much help I can be.

     So here is my freebie advice (for what it is worth)….First things first… As far as making a video. My friend wrote that she’s: “been given the opportunity to produce/direct a music video for the title track of a soon-to-be-released CD.”

     I can guess that she reached out to me because she might not know where to start. That’s normal. I’m the same way every time I make a video.

     I always remember one important thing that my hero Quentin Tarantino once said (I’m paraphrasing here):

     “It is not necessary that I know how to do everything: camera, editing, lighting, etc…. As the producer/director/writer it is only important that I have a vision and am smart enough to gather people around me who have more talent and are smarter than me. Also, after I gather them, it is ultimately most important that I am skilled enough in communication to get them to understand my vision….. That’s all.

     I used to be a (sort of) good cameraman and editor and lighting… Now? I have gotten old and my eyes are bad so I can’t see if the shots are in focus…. The editing software constantly changes so I don’t know how to use the new software and am very slow (always was)…. The lighting? I can still do that…. (Yuji Wada who does the lighting for all of Sophie Coppola’s movies – Lost in Translation, etc. – was my teacher and best friend.)

     But it is better for me to find people who are better than me and smarter than me to work on the project. I just have to make sure they understand the vision and to have them help me achieve that vision.

     Always remember: We don’t hire smart/talented people so that we can tell them what to do; we hire people smarter and more talented than us so that they tell us what to do! (We tell them the vision. They tell us how to implement).


     A while back, I stumbled upon this (at the time) unknown girls band, named Su Ko D Koi. I liked them a lot and asked them if we could make their video (as a DJ, I do have an eye and ear for what might become big). We had a zero budget of course. So, we figured the best way is to shoot their live show, rehearsal, and not spend any money. Then we add some “spice” to make the video fun and entertaining.

     The basic way to do this for a music video? Shoot at the venue of a live show for that band. Shoot the live show but also shoot full dress rehearsal a few hours before the live show. (Why at a venue? Because one of the biggest problems with cheap assed videos is poor lighting… At most venues they have professional lighting. Use it.) Also have the band make damned sure the venue knows what is going on (they have to know, someone needs to control the lighting!) Every one shows up to sound check/rehearsal at least 1.5 hours early ready to start.

Use at least two cameras. Shoot the exact same song (Shoot the exact same song (lip synched to CD) three times at full dress rehearsal (these are almost all very close up shots). Then two cameras shooting the song performed live one time. (Tell the band to play live as close to the CD recording as possible because syncing up for edit is difficult and time consuming if versions are different or timing is different.)

     Also remember:

1) For bands that do not move around a lot: Move the cameras around a lot to create the feel of action.
2) At the dress rehearsal shoots: Tell the lighting people to do the lighting the same as the actual live.
3) Make sure the bands tell the venue  way before the day of the shoot. Thank the venue folks for supporting your efforts (make damned sure the venue name appears in the video or at the ending – ask the venue boss for a logo to be sent to you. – Hell, you never know, if you do a good job, the venue might ask you back!)
4) For one song, it takes at least three or four takes at rehearsal to get footage you need. That only takes 15 ~ 25 minutes. But set up takes time… Make sure everyone (and venue lighting people) know what’s going on and arrive 1.5 hours earlier than usual.
5) If the band will be lip syncing to a song, better make damned sure you have that song on a CD (and a backup CD) when you get to the club…. Duh!

The Actual Video Concept?

     This is the producers/directors/writers job (that’s you). Come up with an idea for the base. This will be the “Spice” that makes the video stand out. Make sure everyone “gets it.”

This Su Ko D Koi video was completely inspired by the ending theme of the Monkees TV show from the sixties (See below). This video was a smash success and one of their most viewed videos of all time (even though the budget was basically zero). 170,000 views in less than 2 years (actually, over 200,000 views adding in another link that we have deleted now.)

Here is the original Monkees TV show ending for your reference:

Original Monkees TV Show ending:

We use this low-budget concept for almost all the videos we make. My partner (and video genius extraordinaire), Ken Nishikawa, (and I) make these videos for basically free for bands because music has given us a good life and we want to “pay back” and help Indies bands…. In most cases, if we don’t help these indies bands make a professional video, they’ll never have one.

Su Ko D Koi is now becoming very famous in Japan…. The next band, Shonen Knife, has been famous for a long time. We shot their video in order to give ourselves some credibility. Oh, and they also paid us a little bit because they are so cool – and famous! But the basic plan: Shoot dress rehearsal before a live show and the live show to cut costs remains the same.

This video was inspired by 1960s Beatles videos and an old 1930s movie of the title I’ve forgotten.  The archival scenes inside the video can be used for free from here (read terms of use: You’ll have to write to them to get clearance, but they are happy if you credit them and use their footage!

Shonen Knife – Ghost Train:

     The Shonen Knife video was made for less than a few hundred dollars. But you don’t have to tell your client that. There are LOTS of band video on the internet around that cost several thousand dollars that are terrible! The trick is to get your $100 video to look like it cost $5,000 or $10,000 or more!

     Always remember that: “Good ideas will replace a lack of cash any day.”

     That’s my best advice on making a great band video.

Some others we made using the technique above:

The Pats Pats – A.A.A. (We did shoot some shots with them hugging and playing with a cat…. But the cat wasn’t cooperative at all and got mad and scratched one of the girls (uh oh!) so we trashed all those shots…. Working with animals? Not recommended.) Oh, and can you tell that this Pats Pats video was shot at the same venue as much of the Shonen Knife video was shot at?

Make sure the venue you choose has great lighting – dark clubs are not good.

This next one is an old one from a punk band from Kobe. I want you to look at this one as it uses archival footage from too (like the Shonen Knife video). Once again, there’s tons of great footage at but you have to write to them…. Don’t be lazy! It just takes a few minutes to write to these kind people and ask them for permission! And, as in this case, it’s well worth the effort… Not every Japanese punk band can be in a video with the legendary Bela Lugosi!

The Soap – The Street

The next video of Japan’s seminal rock band, the Privates, was shot before a live show at a club in Shinjuku. The club’s stage was so small that we moved the band to the crowd area and shot there. This was done with three cameras and four takes lip synched to the CD. This club is small and, since the Privates were playing there, it was sold out months in advance (of course)… So there is no live footage because that club was sardine can packed that night!

This video was directed by Ken Nishikawa. Brilliant editing by Ken too… It reminds me of trippy music videos from back in the days when people dropped a lot of acid (Repo-Man reference for those of you paying attention.)

The Privates – Action Woman

Here’s another old one: Moja! This got great reviews…. Moja is interesting as they are a very difficult band to capture their true spirit in a video. Has to be live…. Lots of spice.

Moja – Hello Hello

Ken and I with the team also made a full length motion picture that hits theaters in Japan in Sept. 2017. The same concept for the music videos. Lots of fast cuts, on sync, good lighting….

Oh, and the last important thing, always believe in the project. You have to believe in yours. I always believe in mine or I don’t do them. As for this movie, we have garnered a deal with a very famous Japanese major film studio for release as well as some film festivals. I found out later that my team didn’t think that was possible (so maybe I need to work on convincing people and explaining the vision). But I expected to sell the movie and I expected success.

Believe in your project. Believe in yourself.

Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story

The ideas above will work for all music videos. So what are you waiting for?

Thanks to my genius friend and partner Ken Nishikawa. Without him, I couldn’t do anything!

Top 3 Indies Videos 7/9/17! Pats Pats (Jpn), Pale Lips, Flemmings & Peeling!

It’s time once again for the Top 3 Indies Artist Video Countdown. The Top 3 best Indies and Alternative Music artists for the week of July 9, 2017!

First up is a brand new artist called the Flemmings that was introduced to us by Alex over at Wassup Rocker Radio (Check their newest groovy video here: The Flemmings just released a cool punk vinyl 10-inch EP with a mere 250 copies, so we’re seeing some really fresh new stuff here. There is absolutely no information about this band anywhere but I gather from the jacket art, it is a guy and a girl – the video shows 4 of them. Their label, ODD Records is in Cardiff in the UK. Nope! No Facebook page or Twitter that I can find!

#3) Flemmings – The Rats Are Back

Next up is a 4-piece “psych punk/noise pop” unit from Toronto. Their name is “Peeling.” Band info? Ha! You now know as much as I do; which is next to nuttin’. (I wonder why bands seem to have stopped posting basic information? Hmmm?) Here is their Facebook page:

And their Bandcamp page:

#2) Peeling – Leisure Life

At #1 is a band that I just discovered yesterday and I LOVE THIS BAND!!!! It’s the Pale Lips who claim to be “Drippy mascara slopped rock n’ roll with sprinkles!” from Montreal, Canada…. (Hey! That’s two bands from Canada on this week! What’s going on up there?) The Pale Lips are a Bubblegum Punk/ Power Pop/ Rock n’ Roll all-girl quartet and they get the enthusiastic nod for #1 this week. Here’s their Facebook page. Go “Like” it. I did:

#1) Pale Lips – Mary-Lou Sniffin’ Glue

Spotlight Artist! Today’s spotlight goes to one of my favorite Japanese girls bands of all time. Their name are the “Pats Pats.” AND I AM SO DAMNED PROUD OF THEM!!!!!! I’ve been telling people for a few years now that I think the Pats Pats are going to become famous and that they could become the “Next Shonen Knife!” Well, well, well… Lookie here! Give you one guess who is opening for the legendary Shonen Knife’s tour starting tomorrow night! The Pats Pats!!!! Yeah!!!!!

Check it!

Pats Pats Shonen Knife Tour

Be there! Also, here is the Pats Pats Facebook page:

(I like this band so much that my friend Ken Nishikawa and I made their latest video!)

Spotlight Artist! The Pats Pats A.A.A.

Here’s a freebie for all you Shonen Knife fans. Here’s another video Ken Nishikawa and I made – for Shonen Knife!

Shonen Knife – Ghost Train / 少年ナイフ – ゴースト・トレイン

That’s all for today! See you next week when we return to the Top 3 Indies Artist Videos Countdown. See ya! – Mike in Tokyo Rogers


About Mike in Tokyo Rogers: Mike has been a professional music/TV/radio/anime-related program producer in Japan since the eighties. He began in the music business in 1977 as lead vocalist with the legendary Los Angeles Punk Band, “The Rotters” (Sit on My Face Stevie Nix.). As a university student, he was assistant to the legendary Rodney Bingenheimer (Rodney on the ROQ – KROQ Los Angeles from 1980 ~ 1981.) Mike was the first and only foreigner in Japanese history to become the General Manager of a major Japanese broadcasting station (TV Tokyo owned InterFM). Has produced a few smash hit programs (some real losers, too!) and several of Tokyo’s highest rated and most famous radio programs. A recent hit program was “The TV Show” (Set Program with “Ninja Slayer”) which, between April – Oct. 2015, garnered over 10 million viewers.  He is currently producing and hosting “WTF?” the hugely popular Sunday live show on InterFM 89.7 . And his life’s dream is his just completed full-length motion picture, Ghostroads – A Japanese Rock and Roll Ghost Storywhich will be released by a major Japanese motion picture company and in theaters all across Japan in Autumn 2017. (See trailer here:… Oh, and he likes to write about himself in the third person!)




Top 3 Indies Videos 7/1/17! Vile Assembly, Wolf Girl, Taffy (Jpn), Mutation, The Darling Buds, Bonsai Kitten!

Top 3 Indies Videos 6/25/17! The Shit! The Goggles (Jpn)! The Bopp! Ice Cold Slush!

Top 3 Indies Videos 6/18/17! Molly & The Krells, Shirley Holmes, JinnyOops (Jpn), Blood People!
Top 3 Indies Videos 6/11/17! The Fontaines, Beck Black, Taffy (Japan) The Beverleys!

Top 3 Indies Videos 6/4/17! Bobby’s Bar (Japan), Trash Templars, Peeling, Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas!

Top 3 Indies Videos 5/28/17! The Atomics, Fiona Silver, Plastic Girl in Closet (Japan), Blaire Alise & the Bombshells!

Top 3 Indies Videos 5/21/17! Moja (Japan), Baby Shakes, Sloan Peterson, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas!

Top 3 Indies Videos 5/14/17! Blaire Alise & the Bombshells, Lisa Mychols, Pats Pats (Japan), Single By Sunday

Top 3 Indies Videos 5/07/17!

Top 3 Indies Videos 4/30/17! No Girlfriends, pinksideofthemoon, Lisa Mychols, Bo-Peep!

Top 3 Indies Videos 4/23/17! Daphne Guinness, Potty Mouth, Femmepop, Hands Off Gretel!

Top 3 Indies Videos 4/16/17! Warbly Jets, Baby Shakes, Samehada Shiroko & Dynamite, Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors!

Top 3 Indies Music Videos 4/9/17! Miss Derringer, 222, Glam Skanks, Yanagiya Mutsumi&The Ratbones (Japan)

Top 3 Indies Music Videos 4/2/17! Lisa Mychols, The Routes, Circe Link, Su Ko D Koi!


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Top 3 Indies Artist Videos for Oct. 29, 2016! Love Zombies, Louise Distras, NØISE, Shonen Knife!

It’s time once again for the Top 3 Indies Artist Video Countdown. The Top 3 best Indies and Alternative Music artists for the week of Oct. 29, 2016! And it’s ladies nite once again! All female or female fronted bands!

First up today is a band from London and Los Angeles that call themselves the Love Zombies. The Love Zombies are fronted by Hollis and Davey and this is their latest single. It’s fab. Go “Like” their Facebook page:

#3) Love Zombies Birthday

Next up is Louise Distras. Louise Distras is an alternative rock singer-songwriter from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. I’m pretty sure, though, that I did read somewhere that described her as “The revival of British Punk” (or something to that effect) so that’s why I first checked her music out and I was not disappointed! She’s on tour throughout England and going to Germany and other parts of Europe soon, so go check it out if you have time. Here’s the tour schedule. Go “Like” her Facebook page too!

#2) Louise Distras – Aileen

At #1 this week is a great song along with a really great video. The band is called Noise. Their webpage says: “Noise” has myriad connotations… a sound, a sonic disturbance, a fluctuation in a transmitted electrical signal, and so on, but for the moment, tune out the noise and tune in to NØISE. NØISE is the name of the musical endeavor that sees Shepard Fairey, known for creating iconic artwork, such as the Barack Obama “Hope” image, and the Obey Giant campaign, teaming with veteran musicians John Goff, Merritt Lear, and Joe Cassidy. This band is HOT! Sorry, I can’t find any Facebook or Twitter or anything else besides their webpage:

#1) NØISE – Little Lions

 SPOTLIGHT ARTIST! On our weekly countdown, I usually spotlight at least one cool Japanese rock band. And since today is Ladies Nite, here’s Japan’s most famous female band ever: Shonen Knife! They are currently on a US tour and I hear they are getting rave reviews! Check out their Facebook page:

#1) Shonen Knife “Like A Cat”

That’s all for today! See you next week when we return to the Top 3 Indies Artist Videos Countdown. See ya! – Mike in Tokyo Rogers




Top 3 Indies Artist Videos for Oct. 22, 2016! The Shit, Honeyblood, Black Honey, Spam69 (Japan)

Top 3 Indies Artist Videos for Oct. 15, 2016! Chris Catalyst, Suzy Blu, Garbage, Su Ko D Koi (Japan)

Top 3 Videos for Oct. 2, 2016! Dwarf! Sandinistas! Pats Pats (Japan), The Coathangers!

Top 3 Videos for Sept. 24, 2016! The Rock N Roll Summit 2016 at Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan!

Top 3 Videos for Sept. 17, 2016! Dog Party, Kinoko Hotel (Japan) Lovely Eggs, Peach Kelli Pop!

Top 3 Videos for Sept. 3, 2016! Big Jesus, Suzy Blu, Peach Kelli Pop, The Mackshow (Japan)!

Top 3 Videos for Aug. 27, 2016! Hands Off Gretel, Death Valley Girls, Stephanies (Japan), Summer Twins!

Top 3 Videos for Aug. 13, 2016! Black Honey, Mirror Trap, Spam 69 (Japan), Rock ‘n’ Roll Monkey & the Robots!

Top 3 Videos for Aug. 6, 2016! The Whereabouts, Guitarwolf, Mirror Trap, Dog Party!


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Top 3 Videos for May 14, 2016! The Mirror Trap! Shonen Knife, Lucy’s Crown, Peter118!

It’s Top 3 Video time! The best of the Top 3 videos for May 14, 2016!

First up is a punk band from Stoke-on-Trent in England. “What’s a ‘Stoke-on-Trent’?” you say? Well, according to Wikipedia, it’s a city in Staffordshire, England with an area of 36 square miles. The band’s name is Peter118 and it is fronted by a gentleman named Peter James Field. This is their second time on our countdown. Go “Like” their FB page:

#3) Peter118 – ‘Need You More’ ft. Lisa Cox

At #2 is a band that has been getting weekly airplay on my FM radio show (that’s me at the far right) WTF? on InterFM 897. (Please come “Like” our FB page: The band is a trio from Melbourne, Australia and their name is “Lucy’s Crown.”  Lucy’s Crown describes themselves as a Grunge/Alternative outfit and I think we’ll be seeing more of them on the countdown soon. Go “Like” their FB page:

#2) Lucy’s Crown – Skinn

At #1 this week is a band from Dundee, Scotland that features five members who will enjoy their debut release in Japan on May 18, 2016. This is their 4th time on our Top 3 and the second time this year! They will be opening many shows for Placebo in 2016 so be on the lookout for them coming to a town near you. These guys are HOT! Seriously, The Mirror Trap could be the next big thing. Go check their Facebook page:

#1) The Mirror Trap – Piranhas

SPOTLIGHT ARTIST! Today’s spotlight artist from Japan probably needs no introduction. They’ve been around since 1981 and are still going strong. It’s Osaka Japan’s own Shonen Knife! I love these girls!!!! This is from their latest album “Adventure” that is their 20th album celebrating their 35th anniversary! Congrats ladies! Go “Like” their FB page:

SPOTLIGHT ARTIST! Shonen Knife – “Jump into the New World”

Well, that’s it for today! See you next week!!!!!  – Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers




Top 3 Videos for April 30, 2016! Mitski, Skating Polly, Palaye Royale, Japan’s own Molice!

Top 3 Videos for April 23, 2016! Frankie Cosmos, Bleached, Dog Party and Japan’s Count Phantom!

Top 3 Videos for April 17, 2016! Japanese Punk Bands! The Privates, Moja, Su Ko D Koi, The Soap!

Top 3 Videos for April 9, 2016! Doll Skin, Rews, Ginger Wildheart, Japan’s own The Privates!

Top 3 Videos for April 3, 2016! The Mirror Trap, Taymir, Pom Poms, Japan’s Thunderroads!

Top 3 Videos for Mar. 26, 2016! Reverend Horton Heat, Dog Party, Aquadolls, Walkings from Japan!

Top 3 Videos for Mar. 19, 2016! Purple, Pom Poms, Taymir and Wotzit from Japan!!

Top 3 Videos for Mar. 12, 2016! HINDS, Lola Dutronic, Rews, Japan’s TADZIO!

Top 3 Videos for Mar. 3, 2016! The Mirror Trap, The Love Me Nots, The Jacques, Eddie Legend Story!



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This Week’s Top 3 New Artist Videos & Shonen Knife!〜ミュージックビデオも制作

In my weekly chores, I produce and direct and make the playlist for a very popular weekly radio show on InterFM entitled, “What the Funday” (Every Sunday morning from 8 am ~ 11 am on InterFM) so I am constantly checking out about 30 to 40 new artists every week. So, I see lots of great stuff. Why not share them with you, dear reader? Yes! Why not?

This Week’s Top 3 New Artist Videos by Robot55 (pronounced: “Robot Go-Go” 「ロボット・ゴー・ゴー」) will showcase what I think are the best of those artists and their videos. So, without any further ado, let’s get into it, shall we?

#3) HAPPY FANGS – Raw Nights (

I read a review of Happy Fangs that said, “A raucous force of noisy guitar and anthemic vocals that thrill me like the late-1970s sounds of X-Ray Spex, Siouxsie, & Suburban Lawns.” Boing Boing online zine wrote: “Happy Fangs is a war-painted and wiry rock trio. Rebecca brings her high-energy vocals. Mr. Cobra brings his grit-pop guitar. Jess brings her hard-hitting melodic beats.”

Wow! I like that! I just had to check them out. Glad I did! They are at this week’s #3 on the video countdown!


#2) Jordan Allen – Set in Stone (

Some people like to say Jordan Allen is somewhat like Jake Bugg or Alex Turner. I think Jordan Allen has more of that raw sound that I like. The amazing thing about Jordan Allen is that he isn’t signed to an record label! So, since Robot55 is always cheering for the little guy, here he is at #2!


#1) Findlay – Greasy Love  (

Findlay is from London. Findlay is now getting a buzz about her and this great video. She was the opening act for Jake Bugg and performed to a sold out crowd at Dot to Dot 2013. This is Pop Music with an edge…. Because I’m such a wimp (and this is a family web site) I didn’t link to her other video, “Electric Bones.” See that one here: Findlay – Electric Bones (



And finally, this week’s giveaway is Shonen Knife. This was shot in Tokyo and Osaka and the total budget was well under $1000! The girls were thrilled with the video and so were their fans!

Extra! Shonen Knife – Ghost Train (


At Robot55 we make video productions for businesses and services and products, but we also pride ourselves on making videos for art and music. This video was made by the team at Robot55. Our starting price is ¥80,000 and we are sure we can work out something that fits your budget.

Contact us!


ビデオ制作、格安ビデオ制作、ROBOT55, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー,