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Post-grunge unit Fat Prop were formed in 2002 while the bandmembers were attending college in Kagoshima, Japan. With its punchy power chords and tight, aggressive sound, the group, which sings entirely in English, appears to be inspired by U.S. punk-pop acts such as Good Charlotte and blink-182. Closer to home, Japanese acts Ellegarden and Beat Crusaders — for whom Fat Prop have opened — are the most obvious reference points. Like Beat Crusaders, Fat Prop distinguish themselves from the scores of post-SoCal punk bands by incorporating elements of synth pop into their sound — singer Tomohiro Imabeppu plays keyboards while fronting the band.

Imabeppu met one of his future Fat Prop cohorts, bassist Kenichiro Nagi, as part of the same university club, and within two months they were playing their first live show in Kagoshima, on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, which is geographically distant from Tokyo. In 2003 the band toured Kyushu and the tropical southern climes of Okinawa rather than heading to the capital. It was only in 2004 that a guitarist entered the fold, in Kouichi Mukai, lending the band a rockier edge. (An auxiliary guitarist, Shintaro Uehara, also performs on live dates.) The group's debut single, "Blue Beach," was released in 2006, available only at the Kagoshima branch of Tower Records. Largely by word of mouth, the single spent four weeks at the top of Tower's charts, shifting 1,000 copies inside three months of release. This release was followed up by the mini-album This Is Life, released nationwide on the independent NMNL Records label in early 2006.

Fat Prop promptly embarked on a 30-date tour to promote the album, as well as dates supporting some wildly different-sounding Japanese acts, including Sambomaster, Rhymster, Doping Panda, and 10-Feet. Another mini-album, Looking for Joy, followed in 2007, before Fat Prop jumped ship to the Junk Museum label, a subsidiary of Avex. Drummer Akikane Uehara, formerly of short-lived rock band Road of Major and another group once signed to Junk Museum, joined the band in 2008. Fat Prop's third mini-album, Change the Future, was released in 2008. That year also saw Fat Prop demonstrate their eco credentials when they contributed the theme song to a Kyushu-only segment of NTV's Loves Save the Earth show.

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2002 in Kagoshima, Japan

Years Active: