Okazaki Taiiku is not your typical musician. At age 26, he’s chubby with unkempt hair and stubble. His typical uniform is a hoodie and baseball cap, which rests haphazardly on his head. He looks more like he’s been lying around playing video games, rather than making what he calls Basin Techno. It’s an odd look that is a stark contrast with his stage name Taiiku, meaning physical education (his real name is Akitoshi Oka). But looks can deceiving and perhaps that is part of the allure to Taiiku, who mixes humor with addictive beats and melodies while jumping around in his music videos out of breath, looking like he may collapse.
According to his official biography Okazaki Taiiku was born in Hyogo, raised in Kyoto and is based in Nara. He’s right-handed, loves ramen and has excellent eyesight. He enjoys watching sports (but not necessarily playing them) and counts EMINEM, Passion Pit, Radiohead and daft punk as major influences. In what is perhaps the most relatable junction of his life, he first began playing music in 2004 on Jam With The Band, a Nintendo DS game.
After circling in and out of bands – most of them electronic – he began a career as a solo artist in 2012. Last year he put out a record called “Measure,” calling it his major label debut (measure and major are pronounced the same in Japanese). But it turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy as Taiku has recently signed on to Sony Music. The new album, which is coming out next month, includes the infectious track “kazoku kosei” (family structure) and could almost be the soundtrack of a game. As the title indicates, the humorous video explains his entire family: father, mother, sister, wife and kid. It’s unclear whether or not actors were used but, judging by their embarrassment I wouldn’t be surprised if each was played by themselves.
It’s this combination of humor and relatability that makes Taiiku’s music such a joy to listen to. Like what you hear? You can find more of his music on YouTube. He’s also on Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to check out our other Music Monday picks.