About Kaala

काल, kaala (sanskrit): time, Death, black, change

At 2:38pm on March 11th, 2011, I ran up the hill behind my apartment in the small town of Miyako on Japan’s northeastern coast to watch, first, the entire bay get sucked out by some unfathomable force of nature, and then, a gigantic wall of black muck sweep away half of the town, including my apartment.

I spent every day of the next 5 weeks as a homeless first responder, digging literally everything you can imagine out of ravaged, filth-covered buildings with a rag-tag crew of very good friends, all of whom thankfully made it out alive.

It was during that surreal time that the concept of community first started to take on new meaning - it was an audacious thing, something that ought not to be there given the circumstances but nevertheless persisted, and grew.

When I was moved to Tokyo and removed from that powerfully unifying environment, I felt an intense need to discover that sense of interconnection in the sprawling metropolis I now found myself trying to navigate. And, as it turns out, I found it in the underground venues and extreme music community I had long been passionate about, and quickly became active in both playing and booking gigs.

The deeper I went, the more I saw of the only thing that matters in the world: audacious community, where people come together in circumstances that are not predicted, encouraged, or limited by the status quo. Just like during the disaster.

But while that community was both vast and flourishing, it lacked the kind of organization necessary to have the impact it deserved. So, I set out to create a central source to track bands, venues, and events, and assembled an outstanding team to help support and grow the local music scene in Japan. This is Kaala. And we’re aiming to take it everywhere we can.

Matt Ketchum, Founder

Matt Ketchum, Founder



Meet The Team

Who are you people anyway?


We're musicians, developers, designers, journalists, and researchers with years of experience playing and booking in Japan's extreme music scene.


We hail from Japan, France, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Norway, and the US, and we're incredibly serious people.


Our team has spent the last 2 years building systems and networks to better support the scene through education, organization, and mobilization.