Women in Vinyl Logo

Ruriko Tsuruta

Board Director, Tuff Beats

This week, we're excited to share how the vinyl making landscape is continuing to grow in Japan! Meet Ruriko Tsuruta, a Board Director at Tuff Beats, a Japanese music label established in 2004, which then launched a record pressing business in 2018 called TUFF VINYL with a partner company. Ruriko is in charge of production coordination, accounting, legal affairs at the label and vinyl pressing operations. Known for having such a long standing and wonderful vinyl culture in Japan, it's great to see the pressing landscape also continuing to grow.

When she's not at work, Ruriko spends her time traveling, watching movies, reading books, studying foreign languages, "...above all, enjoying delicious food and drinks with my husband and friends".

How did you get into your industry / What motivated you?

During my time at a junior college, I worked part-time for two years at a rental record store that primarily dealt with vinyl records. After graduating, in 1989, I joined a major record company called Nippon Columbia. I only had thoughts of working in the music industry because I simply loved music.

After leaving the major record company, I went through two indie labels before founding Tuff Beats with a business partner in 2004. We were exploring a business beyond just being a label, and upon learning about the revival of vinyl overseas in 2018, we made plans to purchase our own vinyl pressing machine in Canada. Realizing the significant cost involved, we decided to let another company make the purchase while we handled the sales and operations of the vinyl pressing.

And finally the end of last year, we have purchased a new pressing machine from a company in Sweden ourselves. Through involvement in vinyl manufacturing, I've had the chance to connect with people from all over the world who making vinyl, in Canada, the United States, Taiwan, Sweden, and more. They are all filled with love for vinyl and have been incredibly kind to us newcomers from Japan, always offering advice whenever we needed it. I hope to carry on that love and spread it further in Japan / world, so that more people here can experience the joy of vinyl.

What is a day in the life like?

On weekdays, I'm busy with work, but occasionally I go out for drinks with friends or go to the movies on the way home.

In your opinion what has been your favorite / the coolest thing you've worked on?

In 2022, I participated in the official album project of Les Rallizes Dénudés, a legendary Japanese psychedelic noise band that was active from the 1960s to the 1990s. They have a passionate fanbase not only in Japan but also worldwide. Prior to 2022, apart from three original albums, many bootlegs were sold worldwide. I’m responsible for the production of their official vinyl/ CD /cassette tape for the Japanese/Asian market.

What has been / is the most difficult part of your job?

My job involves interacting with various people who have different positions, so I always strive to meet each of their requests. Sometimes it takes time to reach the goal.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to get into pursuing what you’re doing?

Even in negative failures, try to think positively that behind them lie ideas and lessons learned that can be applied in the future, and keep moving forward!

In this industry, interpersonal relationships are extremely important, so I believe having allies who will fight alongside you makes it easier to progress toward your goals. Additionally, no matter how capable you are at your job, failures and setbacks are inevitable. However, how you perceive and deal with them varies from person to person.

Are you a vinyl collector yourself? What drew you to it?

I don't consider myself a vinyl collector. I'm just a music lover. That being said, my relationship with vinyl has been long-standing, starting from part-time jobs during my student days, now, they have returned to my hands once again.

What types of things are happening in your industry / with vinyl that you’re excited or worried about? i.e. innovation, or trends you’re seeing.

After the pandemic, people may have had more opportunities to attend outside events and fewer opportunities to listen to vinyl at home. However, the demand for vinyl remains constant, and customers who appreciate the value of large jackets and high-quality sound in vinyl are expected to continue increasing.

Additionally, I feel that the desire of artists and labels to provide important recordings to fans on vinyl is growing regardless of the pandemic. I believe it would be great if we could meet the demands of both parties.

Who has been influential to you and your growth as a professional in this industry? 

The president of The Last One Musique, the official label of Les Rallizes Dénudés, is Ms. Yoshimi Makoto. She is about 20 years older than me, but seeing her actively fulfilling the mission she's been given reminds me of the significance of working as a professional.

Anything else you’d like to add; if not tell us what you're listening to: 

Last year, we released an album by Sachiko Kanenobu, whose song was featured in director Wim Wendors new film "Perfect Days." She has been living in the United States for a long time, and this year, a tour in the US is also scheduled.

This reproduction vinyl "Fork in the Road" by the Japanese producer Makoto Kubota is highly recommended. Unfortunately, it's sold out in Japan, but it will be available for sale during her US tour via Temporal Drift.

Find Ruriko

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