What is EATBEAT!?

What is EATBEAT!? You can say that Yusuke Hotta who is a cooking pioneer and myself, a musician henlywork, are a duo under that name. EATBEAT! is also the title of our event. Our event combines dining with music. We record food related sounds such as people dining or cooking, or even the sounds of crops being harvested and create music with it during our events while cooking for our guests simultaneously. Our guests can taste the food while enjoying the music at the same time, simply that’s what we do at EATBEAT! We’ve organized about 40 to 50 similar events in total with various capacities. 

How did this event start?

It all started when Hotta san came to watch me perform at a live event. Immediately after I finished performing, Hotta san came to chat with me. He said, “I’m doing an event, do you want to do something together?”

At that time, I’d perform with a lot of broken toys and music instruments gathered on a table. I’d bang them to build up beats. I wanted my audience to enjoy my process of beat making as a music experience. Hotta san suggested if I could do something similar with cooking. He already had some ideas in his mind. So our first EATBEAT! began as an experiment.

For our first event I was still in Osaka and we didn’t use the title of EATBEAT! It was an event where Hotta san was in charge of catering. It was an art event with a focus on Onsa, or a tool used to tune music instruments. It looks to me like they had a music theme for the art event. 

We decided to provide a dining experience at our event where the guests can enjoy the food through all five senses. Instead of giving them chopsticks, we provided rubber gloves so they could eat with their hands. I was invited to add music to the dining experience. So I recorded the sounds of food being cooked at the spot and used the sound to perform music. That’s how everything started.

How did you come up with the title EATBEAT!?

I came up with the title. What we’re doing is really interesting and unique. It’s also difficult to explain in words. I just realized “eat” and “beat” sound very similar. That was the simple inspiration. 

How did you learn the process of making inspiring concepts like all the project by henlywork?

I didn’t particularly learn it anywhere. But I’ve been taking art classes since I was in high school. So I’ve experienced being reviewed or critiqued, where I was often torn into pieces. Most of the harsh critiques were based on my lack of concept. It was rare to get negative feedback on my technique. Even when I did get criticized for my technique it was easy to accept. But when I get criticized on the concept, it’s heartbreaking. It’s frustrating to understand that my concept didn’t clearly communicate, and often the critique is so true that it really hurts. Through these experiences I learned very clearly that concept is important. I repetitively thought about the importance. I think really deeply about why I’m doing what I’m doing to clarify my concepts.

How did you feel about the latest EATBEAT!?

The latest one was at this place called Purveyors in Kiryu. It was one of the lowest budget events that we’ve done. Purveyors did sponsor the cost but it really wasn’t all about the profit. We did it because we wanted to do it. That was the pure motivation for this particular EATBEAT!

No one wants to do things that they don’t want to do. I feel threatened to make something really interesting or otherwise nothing will continue. We would get bored of our own work and expressions. I always try to make things fun. We’ve invited ISHIKA san who is one of the staff members from Purveyors and is also a guitarist. We’ve also invited Shimizu-ya san who is an Udon maker. He coordinates Udon making events titled “udonbiento” where people knead Udon noodles while watching ambient guitar performances. So Shimizu-ya san is also into music. One of the things we always do is to incorporate local talents. We have to look for the ingredients, sounds and people from the local area or otherwise the people will get bored. It helps us connect with our audience. By incorporating the local talents, our event will be unique every time, which makes it really special. 

We have to continue to challenge and try new things. It’s easy to get stuck on ideas if it’s just the two of us. Things will look the same all the time. Especially when we have a limited budget, it’s possible to get downgraded as we continue to do these events. That’s something I want to avoid. I’ve worked with Hotta san to brainstorm ideas and we’re getting better at coming up with realistic ideas. 

What’s the essence of EATBEAT!?

The most important essence of EATBEAT! Is that the food is tasty. I can almost guarantee that the food we provide is always delicious. Our guests have certain expectations for our events and there’s a certain satisfaction level that we need to achieve. I’d say we can bring to 80% satisfaction with our food alone. Our guests get quite full. But we have to challenge ourselves to achieve another 20% with our performance. It’s like musicians how their fans will fill up the 80% of the event venue so the atmosphere is extremely welcoming for the artists from the beginning. Everything goes well in that positive atmosphere.

The expectations are on the rise, what’s the future for EATBEAT?

Our next event is already scheduled. We’re planning to do a food critique rap battle. We have a great rapper and he’s going to do a freestyle battle while doing a food critique. Eat something good and say something cool. It’s a benefit for us that we don’t have to really care about the profit. Each of us has a job that pays for our life. EATBEAT! Is not for profit. It’s healthy for us and it helps us continue to do creative stuff. We can focus on what we truly want to do and what we’re curious about. It helps us listen to others. It’s not always good to push our opinions. We understood it’s impossible to do things beyond our imagination. So it helps us to balance by listening to others. Having that balance is vital to produce positive things. 

Please look forward to our upcoming EATBEAT!

Comments: henrywork


Musician: henlywork
henlywork plans, organizes, performs and MCs for the event titled EATBEAT!. He’s also known as an artist named chalkboy who’s exploring new possibilities of handwriting. He thoughtfully plans various forms of creative expressions and knows how to execute them with humor and flexibility. Anyone who gets to be involved with this guy will have great time. henlywork is a one of a kind person.