In 1998 Bape wasn’t quite the empire it is now, and the brand was exploring new ideas such as putting on an annual concert featuring Bape’s founder Nigo’s friends and favourite artists.
Bape was founded in Japan by Nigo in 1993 with the designer Sk8thing. They started giving t-shirts to musician Keigo Oyamada (aka Cornelius) who wore them during his performances which helped promote the brand.
In 1997 Nigo organised a series of Apehead Shows which featured Nigo, Cornelius, Scha Dara Parr, Takagi Kan, and others performing. But in 1998 Nigo wanted to do something even more special, and he put on one big show at Tokyo’s Akasaka Blitz featuring his musician friends and collaborators from all over the world.
A Bathing Ape presents Worldwide Bapeheads Show 1998
1998’s show included performances from Cornelius, Scha Dara Parr, Ben Lee, Money Mark, and UNKLE, and the show was recorded for a TV program which aired in 1999 and was luckily copied and later uploaded to the internet. Sometime around 2011 the show was available on YouTube cut in to nine seperate parts, but unfortunately it was later removed. In 2018 I managed to find these online again and joined them back up into one video, which is once more available on YouTube.
The video goes for just over an hour, and contains interviews with Nigo in between each musical performance as he explains why he chose the specific guest, as well as a short overview of the history of Bape and the Bapeheads Tour.
In 1998 UNKLE had released their debut album Psyence Fiction to great aclaim. The album featured production by DJ Shadow, and guest vocals from Richard Ashcroft and Thom Yorke among others. Following the albums release DJ Shadow had moved on to other projects, so UNKLE’s founder James Lavelle was left to tour by himself.