The Rise and Fall of Plastics, Melon, and Major Force

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The autobiography of Toshio Nakanishi, this book details his career and includes sections on his time in London, including meeting James Lavelle and Howie B.

The Rise and Fall of Plastics, Melon, and Major Force
Toshi Book 2013.jpg
AuthorToshio Nakanishi
PublisherK&B Publishers
Publication date

The book includes a CD of early Plastics demos.[1]


Note: These have been edited from translations from Japanese using Google Translate. They are not perfect translations by any means, and therefore some context may have been lost.

On Meeting James Laelle

There was a record shop called Honest Johns in Portobello, London, where eight-year-old James Lavelle worked. As I walked in, James, wearing glasses like Kent Derricott, said, "Are you Japanese? If you have a Major Force record, I'll buy anything!" James's face when I said, "I'm Major Force, Tycoon Tosh!" OMG his chin was about to come off!


On Visa issues in England and working with Mo' Wax

Since I went to London, Neneh Cherry's office Cherry Boy had been the underwriter for my working visa, but I have to go abroad and renew every 6 months, and I have to renew it at the same office. If you update it twice under the name of recording, why does it take so long? Well, there is an agent who is a purveyor to the music industry, and he gets the documents and letters of the client properly and gets a visa, but there is no proof of fact or income that he is actually recording with a different client. I was told that the next one would be tough ...

At that time, I consulted with James and he said, "I'm thinking of starting a label called MO'WAX. I borrowed money to press records from my Dad, and I can sell 2-3,000 singles easily. By all means, I want to do TKO! You're Major Force. There's no way it won't sell. I'll start a company properly and get you a working visa! Can you leave it to me? It will definitely be big," he told me...But the following month he quit Honest Johns and launched MO'WAX, so it was a big deal. At that time, I thought that I needed a manager, so I consulted with Michael Koperman of Gimme 5, who was doing something like Hiroshi Fujiwara's London side, and he said that Marts was the perfect one. I was introduced.


The problem was that I had to leave England every six months. Paris is nearby. It's like going to Osaka, how many times I've been there. If you go anyway, go where you want to go, the delicious Lisbon of Meshi (croquette, castella, from Portugal). Sadistic Mika's recommendation is the Canary Islands (Makaroni Western landscape), Greece...but it's a lot of stress, and I feel uncomfortable. Children are charged as adults, and it hurts economically. In fact, I think I was doing well ...

MO'WAX had applied for all the visas, but after James Lavelle released the UNKLE album, it became visibly strange.


When you think MO'WAX is no longer good.

When I went to New Mexico after my visa expired as usual, I asked MO'WAX to apply for documents, and I was told that I should bring the document letter with me, but I couldn't make it in time and they would fax it, so there was no problem. I left for a trip. However, I've been waiting in New Mexico, but I haven't received a fax with a copy of the letter that MO'WAX proves my identity. Without any documents, if I landed at Heathrow in the middle of the night dressed like a cowboy, I was detained for 6 hours and ordered to be deported with my child, and in this case, I was told to return to Chicago because the last ride was Chicago ...

I explained the situation from the beginning, and in the morning, the customs called the MO'WAX office and finally I was able to enter the country, but the deadline is two weeks. Deportation within two weeks ...

After consulting with a lawyer specializing in immigration, it was easier to get a visa at the British Embassy in Japan, so I decided to go back to Japan. If I can't get a visa like this, what should I do with my house in London? England is a country where even people without permanent residence can buy a house. Well, Chika bought it. Aside from that, when I called James and exploded with anger, he said in a vague voice, "Oh, I'm sorry I forgot ... don't get so angry. I ended up putting it in, chill out, man, what? What's the problem?" And I didn't hear anything from Kudo, and he didn't even know where I went. I thought this was no good ..... That 18-year-old, leave it to me, but James wasn't there. I thought I couldn't rely on James anymore, but in the end, there was a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Still on the shoulders of children aged 20 and so ..... well done. I think it's the same with our visas, we have to run the company, we have to pay our employees, and our album has a big advance contract with a major...I forgave him when I thought so, and now I don't have any clue.

There was also a funny story. When we heard "Come together" in the studio, James jumped in and said, "What's this? The best song I've ever heard! Who?" "Eh? The Beatles! It ’s John Lennon, it ’s common sense!” I had a terrible face ... There is another story. James invited Kudo-chan to be a hip-hop DJ, with a Bali Barris Clatched Old Style ... but he didn't shake his head. So Kudo-chan said, "I want to do this. Whether you like it or not, just listen to it once." The Beatles' "Tomorrow never knows" was played at a loud volume. was. James was blown away ...


On recording at Major Force West studios and working with James Lavelle

At that time, the studio was Madness's own building called Holloway Road (famous for Joe Meek), a cold, murderous street. Moreover, our studio was in the basement, and the humidity and chills were not good. There were people who didn't know it. One day, I was struck by the fact that the Rickenbacker I had been using since the Melon era was stolen. Then I stopped putting expensive guitars in the studio.

Another thing that came to my mind was when James left a record box and went out saying, "The records in this, you can sample," and we got the basic shape of a song. A few months after I made it, it was released under the name of Uncle, and the composer credit became James Lavelle.

"I don't say I'm composing when I leave a record and go somewhere!" I went to complain and said, "Oh, sorry, but I've been sitting in the studio like Kudo and Toshi. It's not a songwriting type. Don't forget to credit this time." Things went crazy. Even though the musicians' guarantees, including us, haven't been paid, a number of ridiculous Futura 2000 paintings have been brought into the studio. Basquiat ...


Except Saturdays and Sundays, I basically did major force studios every day. Kudo-chan liked to go to 9-5 every day and tinker with it. Sometimes it didn't make sense, and I was messing around with it. That's because I had time ... On the contrary, I liked to get to the core with a quick finish. Probably it worked because the approach was different.

Since we had a lot of songs that we hadn't released, we released a compilation album as "Major Force West '93 -'97" and we faded out from MO'WAX. Kudo-chan refused even to be photographed for the album cover. So a slide show ...

Also, as a favour for James, I was releasing Cut Chemist, Major Force, Remix and so on, but I wasn't interested in it, so I didn't know it at all. If you want to remix, do it yourself ...

On Howie B and Skylab

At first I didn't know what he was saying because of the Scottish accent, but after years of staying in the studio, I could understand Howie's Scottish English, which even the English people don't understand. And he has a good sense of humour ... A Scottish Jew, a little bit intense. Because Howie is an engineer, he has a solid foundation. He can't play any instrument, but he can make the effector sound like an instrument. The rest is good.

Howie smoked marijuana all day, and his ears were solid even when his eyes were bright red...He is better at choosing the sound when it's a gem mix. This was very useful when recording the always chaotic Skylab ... Howie brought Matt to become a member of Skylab...

Around that time, Howie started the Pussyfoot label with Nick Yang, the manager of Milo Studios in Hoxton Square. Since the time of TKO, I've been using the Milo studio more often, and I've become more involved with it, including the artwork for Pussyfoot.

After making Skylab's 1999, the Millennium really came and we celebrated New Year's Eve on a flat with a West Hampstead spiral staircase. I remember my daughter's dog, Tabasa, barking for fear of fireworks. On TV, Prince was playing "1999" somewhere in Scotland.

And in the first century, MO'WAX was gone and Mercury was gone. Pussyfoot was barely alive, but Howie's cocaine addiction was getting worse and even the payment for artwork to me was delayed. When my girlfriend ran into Howie, who was snorting at the West End, and asked, "What's going on with that payment?", he said "Pussy foot is my baby, you'll be paid soon." You may not have noticed, but the baby is dying!

Further Reading

Article on Major Force West and the careers of Toshi and Kudo