After hearing a Japanese Folk Band in a farmer’s market in California, Cody Winters and his brother Danny Hiltz were hooked on Japanese music. Overtime, their love for Japanese music blossomed into a love of Japanese culture in general as the two brothers dreamed of eventually moving to Japan themselves. Eventually, the duo actually did just that. Now the two share their love of Japanese music with Lafayette and the world through their KRVS radio show, Japan Jukebox.
Hiltz and Winters may exclusively play Japanese music on their show, but don’t think for a second that all the music is similar. The two play music like Japanese Jazz, Rock and much, much more.
“Just last Monday I did Classic Rockabilly and Swing,” Winters said.
The duo often also host special events on the show where they play music to fit a certain theme such as their Halloween show and their Christmas show.
“We put on a spooky Halloween character and do our best to get a Halloween playlist from Japan, which is not easy,” Winters said. “And then after that, we have other special episodes like Japan Jingle Box, which is our Christmas special, which is pretty easy to make because there's lots of it.”
While the two take on much of the heavy lifting for the show, they have help assembling their playlists from their friend Zack Leal in Houston.
“He provides so much of the playlists and he's, I feel like he's a really big part of the show now,” Winters said.
In Japan, Hiltz works as a translator.
“(I translate) all kinds of stuff like websites and books and occasionally music Japanese lyrics into English,” he said.
Winters works as a musician, writing Japanese-styled songs with a Western flair.
According to Hiltz, Winters also won first place in an international cover contest for his cover of the song “Another Morning” by the Pillows, Winters and Hiltz’s favorite band. The video was shot in Lafayette at the Horse Farm before Moncus Park started construction.
“At that time it was just a big field, and it was the perfect place to film something like that,” Winters said.
While the two love Japan, they do miss Lafayette and being able to work closely with the others at KRVS.
“I really miss all the staff and all the wonderful people involved in the station,” Winters said.
Winters said he appreciated the staff at KRVS and their willingness to work with him and his brother from such a great distance.
“They've been really accommodating and very understanding about having us host our show from Japan,” he said.
Winters said he hopes to see more people listen to KRVS, and feels the station has a wide appeal to people of various cultures and backgrounds.
“We've been trying, just being in Japan, to kind of spread the word and, and it's interesting finding out that hey, there's listeners, even in Japan, there are listeners all over the world who really love KRVS,” he said.
If you’re interested in Japan Jukebox you can tune in on Mondays at 11 p.m. and on Saturdays at 3 a.m. You can also listen to all the episodes they’ve recorded on KRVS.com.