Digging Japan With Gianluca Beccarisi (Tava Tava Rare)

It’s been an interesting journey over the years how I’ve met people with similar interest either through word of mouth, social media or personal connections via others that are in a small circle of collectors and before those same people became known relatively know by the masses. Serious collectors always seem to find one another especially in a world where every suddenly collects but there’s usually some that uniquely stands out about certain people that make you gravitate towards them. Records are usually the common denominator but as my brother and deep collector Biz Markie (R.I.P) would say, “what else you got!?” is exactly how I’ve become friends with some of the most dedicated collectors in the world. As a collector, I’ve always had a love for Japanese culture of all sorts which dates back to the 70’s as a kid, from samurai films to anime and manga to soundtracks and beyond but throughout the years, I’ve only met a handful of collectors here in the states that I really connected with. Maybe it’s because we’re in totally different scenes or the stars haven’t aligned up yet why it hasn’t happened. But through mutual friends in other areas which in this case is my brother Mike Wallace is how I was first introduced to one of Italy’s deepest collectors of Japense culture, Gianluca Beccarisi also known as 2Daze.

Spending 30 years building an incredible collection to taking that same passion and starting the Tava Tava Rare record label which quickly turned into a headquarters which serves not only as a retail store but community gathering space, art gallery and film / soundtrack lovers heaven known as Tava Tava Cave, 2Daze has bottled all is loves up in one to bring something unique to his city. I recently caught up with Gianluca to discuss how get was first introduced to a culture that was so far away from his home country and what drives him to continue the preservation of the culture that he loves so much.

*Note: Tava Tava Rare isn’t all Japanese, no! His love of Italian crime cinema and Poliziotteschi films are equally as loved as you will find when browsing the labels catalog that he’s done special releases to some of his favorite films and soundtracks.


Skeme: Let’s start out at the beginning, how did you first get introduced to anime and manga and why did it capture attention so much?

Gianluca: I had my very first approach to the world of anime as a child in April 1978 when the first episode of the anime UFO ROBOT GRENDIZER (UFO ROBOT GOLDRAKE in Italy) was broadcast in Italy. Grendizer was the first anime robotic broadcast in Italy and paved the way for the invasion of Japanese anime. It was a shock! Something really powerful, something never seen before! Space thunder! Spin drill! Rocket punch! giant robots, cruel villains engaging music! Oh!! Everyone the next day at school wanted to be Duke Fleed and save the earth from King Vega!

Skeme: That’s really interesting to hear because we had similar experiences here in the states with various series as well. I’ve always heard that anime was very big in Italy as it was in Japan early on so that’s good to know. What were some of your favorite series and how was the scene of fans and collectors during that time?

Gianluca: With grendizer there was the real boom of anime in Italy, wherever you found toys and gadgets that came from japan, it was a real invasion! A pleasure for us guys! There was everything! From “die cast toys” to comics to vinyl records with the TV theme songs (in Italian) of each series that arrived. The interest then revived in the early 90s with the arrival of the first manga traslated in italian, the series on VHS and TV BGM CD. My favorite series were the sci-fi series (tatsunoko heroes, yamato, Harlock etc.), Lupine 3 (first series), robotic series (Mazinger Z, Getter Robot, Daitarn3, Gundam, Zambot 3, Grendizer, Jeeg, Gaiking etc..) Tokusatsu (Spectraman, Megaloman, Zabogar) and horror like Devilman and Yokai Ningen Bem. What I can tell you is that right at the time, in the early 90s, a scene of anime collectors and lovers began to form. Basically we were the children of the Grendizer generation who were trying to reappropriate and relive those atmospheres and a fundamental part of this was precisely my obsessive search for that music that accompanied those images. Even though I had already shared a passion for hip hop with that of anime and 70s genre cinema for some time.

Skeme: You seem to really have a strong appreciation and connection to anime and soundtracks and have built up a very impressive collection. When did you start becoming serious with collecting and have soundtracks, posters, vintage toys and more. What are some of your favorite things in your collection?

Gianluca: Thanks for the “impressive” let’s say that it was in those years, at the end of the 80s, that I began to feel that impulse to seek out and have everything that linked me to a particular emotion from the past. But at the time it was very difficult to find material, we often went hunting for old shops or warehouses or comic fairs, flea markets, former cinemas and the SAC, where the old posters were archived. The more organized relied on friends who left for Japan, entrusting them with long lists of CDs, LPs or toys to look for and buy. Unfortunately the internet was still a mirage. The pieces of my collection that I am most proud of are certainly the Jumbos of Grendizer and Great Mazinger, my CD boxes of TV BGM and the original Japanese vinyls of TV BGM.

Skeme: Let’s talk about your record label Tava Tava Rare which focuses on reissuing, but also presenting for the first time some of the best TV BGM, OST’s and deep rare grooves from Japan in the 1970’s but also rare Italian soundtracks as well. You’ve released some really amazing stuff so far and some of my favorite series and soundtracks like The Gorilla Seven, UFO Robot Grendizer and Tokyo Violenta to name a few. How did the idea of making a record label focusing on these genres come about?

Gianluca: The thing that mainly struck me from an early age was the music. Then when I later began to frequent the hip-hop world and collect funk rap music and all kinds of music, I found songs that contained mega grooves and perfect parts to be sampled. So from the first hour I compared my musical searches, those of the perfect B-Boy and those that went beyond my passion for rap and funk classics, and in the end, I found myself looking for everything. Starting from the old soundtracks LPs of the 70s, especially police ones with the music of Micalizzi, De Angelis, Trovajoli, Cipriani, Umiliani, Morricone to name a few, which recreated that groove up obviously in the Blaxploitation and the soundtracks of Quincy Jones, Schifrin, Roy Budd, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, in the TV Libraries etc.. And the same sound I found in BGM TVs of Chumei Watanabe, Shunsuke Kikuchi, Takeo Yamashita, Bob Sakuma, Ichiro Araki etc. Then I got the idea after having collaborated in the reissue of some Cometa music editions records before and the experience of the collective of DJ’s TAVA TAVA in Bologna with the DJ’s Guenda & Kyna and others with whom we periodically organized vinyl markets and DJ’ing open practices where in the my DJ sets I also began to insert BGM, soundtracks and rare grooves from all over the world and I thought of them, “it wouldn’t be bad to create compilations with the rarest pieces full of grooves and the beautiful ones to be sampled with mega samples!”. From there to the printing of PINKY VIOLENCE, the step was short and given the success of the operation together with my wife KYNA (DJ of the old hip-hop school of Bologna) we decided to found TAVA TAVA RARE, a label to reprint only rare grooves TV BGM and 70s niche and mostly little known soundtracks (GORILLA 7, Play Girl, Pinky Violence movies etc). Carefully selected by 2DAZE, that is me 🙂

Skeme:You’ve chosen a really nice catalog of sounds and series, how do you know and choose what you want to present on vinyl?

Gianluca: I think it’s cause my continuous research that has been going on for more than thirty years in the search for groove and my passion for cinema and anime that leads me to dig even more into the productions of those years of that fantastic decade, late 60s early 80s, which was so prolific and rich in experimentation, all over the world. And this led me to have a house full of records and rare CD boxes from all the craziest and rarest series of those times and a decent knowledge on the subject :). Perhaps you who have the same passions as me and have traveled the world, you will have realized apart from Japan and the USA as in every part of Europe, Africa, India, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Korea, China, Asia, countries Arabs, South America, Australia etc. every country in the world at the time had recorded some groove bomb on a vinyl. Knowing this always leads me to go forward in research and try as much as possible to bring some rare pearls back to everyone’s knowledge, just for the pleasure of doing it and for passion, absolutely not for money. in fact what I earn with one project I reinvest in the next project. I would always like to discover songs and composers who may not be too well known to the masses.

Skeme: One thing that I really love is that you present things really well with all new cover artwork and sound quality is amazing. Who creates the artwork for the covers for Tava Tava Rare?

Gianluca: Thanks for the question and for the compliments. In the end, in this project I wanted to involve my homies writers, graphic artists and calligraphers: DEEP MASITO (CDF) and RICCARDO ALI as regards the graphics, the drawings and the original writings/logos of the LPs and the cinematic Frank Gnafo (Trigemino) for the research of the drawings and graphics of the 7” detective stories. One of the things I don’t really like are copy and paste, in fact all the records I produce, as well as having new graphics and covers, are always a collection of songs selected by me. So if, for example, I reissue the Grendizer tv bgm LP , it’s not the faithful copy of the bgm LP printed in japan in the 70s, but the best (in my opinion) of the songs of all the existing bgm tracks of the series, chosen based on the groove and presence samples without neglecting the historical and representative songs of the Anime tv series. For the mastering I rely on DJ Argento and his Silverroom studio. Let’s say that the merit of the success of the Tava Tava Rare products is certainly also theirs, a real team of enthusiasts.

Skeme: Having a great team around you to help foster and bring visions to light is so important. Those talented people that all share the same love bring amazing ideas out. Let’s talk about your new business that you’ve recently begun, Tava Tava Cave which is a store that focuses on selling releases from your label and other vinyl. What made you want to open a store?

Gianluca: TAVA TAVA CAVE is more than a real shop it’s the “container” of the TAVA TAVA with open practices, workshops, the headquarters of the Tava Tava Rare label and of the cultural association. A real den where lovers of vinyl, cinema, music, anime, collecting etc. can meet and exchange ideas, participate in our initiatives and workshops. For example, in January we organized an exhibition on anime with the drawings of the master Junichi Hayama and in October a vinyl market for a first time in Isernia ). I was a cameraman for 30 years, but working with music and having a space where being able to share my passions has always been a dream of mine and I finally had the opportunity to make it come true in a place where this reality did not exist.

Skeme: That’s amazing! You’ve really helped to build a community of people who love and appreciate the same things that you do as well. It’s seems so simple yet so in-depth with the passion. What else do you sell in the store besides your releases?

Gianluca: Here you can find many vintage Japanese toys, Japanese art books, DVD, CD, vinyl, manga, original movie posters, books about cinema, art, music and more that associated with it.

Skeme: What are your top 5 anime series”

Gianluca: Definitely UFO Robot Grendizer and the Go Nagai anime, Cashern. Tatsunoko super heroes anime, Gundam, Ashita No Joe and Lupin 3 (1st series).

Skeme: Since you are Italian it’s only right that I ask you what your top 5 favorite Poliziotteschi movies / soundtracks are?

Gianluca: FILMS: LA Banda Del Gobbo (Brothers Til We Die), Milano Calibro 9, Roma A Mano Armata (The Tough Ones), Squadra Antiscippo (A Cop In Blue Jeans), Il Cittadino Si Ribella (Street Law) Soundtracks: Rome Violenta, Squadra Anitruffa, Roma A Mano Armata, La Mala Ordina, Il Cittadino Si Ribella, Il Giustiziere Sfida La Citta’.. Ops Only 5?? 🙂

Skeme: What can we expect next from Tava Tava Rare?

Gianluca: More beautiful records made with passion. Another long series of vinyl surprises for rare groove lovers!