„Memories in Beach House“, released in 1983, is one of those Japanese gems that, with its wondrous aesthetics, is designed not just to take the listener to another world. The masterpiece, which Hiroshi Sato, together with Akira Inoue and Masataka Matsutoya, has recorded in a one-time collaboration, has always had a high collector value and usually only changes its owner in three digits at Discogs. Not that that’s an argument for the value of a record, but annoying that this seductively dreamlike record was very hard to get. That’s what the New York specialists from Ships to Shore PhonoCo. thought aswell, that’s why they now dedicate a noble reissue to the work of „Seaside Lovers“. Originally specializing in obscure video game soundtracks and horror scores, the fascination with „Memories in Beach House“ was so great that label maker Aoron Hamel wanted to re-release this work for a long time. In the interview he talks about his fascination with the album.
If you look at the previous releases on your label, you will notice that the focus is on soundtracks to obscure horror films and vintage video games. How does the release of the legendary project Seaside Lovers fit in the label roaster?
I’ve always thought of Ship to Shore as a very fluid label that can do a lot of different things. Sure, we’ve done a lot of horror and video game soundtracks, but we’ve also put out reissues like MX80 Sound’s Out of the Tunnel and Paul Williams‘ Someday Man. I don’t think there are two releases in our catalog more different than those two. When Justin and I started the label, we wanted it to be an expression of our personal interests which, I’m sure anyone who has perused our catalog can tell you, are quite varied. Memories in Beach House is just an extension of that idea. It’s a personal favorite of mine and I’ve always wanted to see a reissue of it. Plus, I think there’s definitely a crossover in appeal with the video game soundtrack material to a certain extent.
Memories in Beach House is a Japanese classic that has, in the last few years, ripped the album a bit to the surface due to a certain Japan hype and the famous Youtube Algortithm. Can you still remember when you first became aware of the album?
I found the album through a blog post written many years ago about the CBS Sound and Image Series, of which Memories in Beach House is part. I found the whole idea fascinating and immediately procured the albums that were discussed in that post. Memories definitely stood out from the pack.
What is your fascination with this album? In my view, access to this album is no easy task. It requires a certain amount of humor and willingness on the part of the listener to get involved in this album.
I love how the album has the ability to transport you to another time and place. Sitting back with headphones on and letting the sound take you away is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
In my view, some of the tracks are also difficult to take, but the album is still a masterpiece. Would you agree with me here?
Perhaps on a track by track basis, but I think listening to the entire thing as it was intended is a pretty cohesive experience.
The titles on Memories in Beach House are „Sun Bathing“, „Wind, Wave & Wineglass“ or „Coconuts Island“. The album is longing for retreat, for a better world. It seems like the album is coming at a good time.
I think we can all use an escape to a beach house of our own
Definitely. With everything that’s going on these days, I think we can all use an escape to a beach house of our own.
Tell me about the licensing process of the release. How do the artists react to the interest rediscovered for their music after 30 years?
The project was licensed through Sony Music Japan. We never had any interaction with the artists or anything like that. It took a while for everything to go through the legal process, but it was really just a lot of boring paperwork.
Another feature of the album is the iconic cover that you include in your release as a poster. Did you get further information on the artist in the course of the re-release?
Unfortunately not! If they’re out there and read this, though, I’d love to send them a copy!
On your website, you give an outlook that your variety of releases will be broader. What to expect on Ship to Shore in the future? Do you have other unknown Japanese pearls that you want to pay more attention to?
There are so many Japanese records in the same vein as Memories in Beach House that I would love to reissue. We’re looking at a lot of stuff right now, so I can’t say much. All I can say is that fans of that type of music should keep watch of our store and social media…there will be some announcements in the future that will make them quite happy!