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Life in Music

Steve Jansen (born Stephen Ian Batt on 1 December 1959) is an English musician, composer and record producer

Jansen was a founding member of the band Japan, along with his brother David Sylvian (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Mick Karn (bass guitar), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), and Rob Dean (guitar)

Steve school photo aged 4
Steve & Dave early 70s

Japan began as an amateur band in 1974, while their first studio album entitled "Adolescent Sex" was released in 1978, followed by "Obscure Alternatives" the same year. Both albums were commercially successful overseas but not in the UK

The band's third album "Quiet Life" marked a significant departure from their original style, with the change in sound causing them to be unintentionally associated with the New Romantic movement by critics, though this was repeatedly rejected by the members themselves

Steve recording drums/photo Fin Costello
Japan early 80s/Photo Nicola Tyson

The band briefly reunited in 1991 under the name Rain Tree Crow and released a self-titled album

Rain Tree Crow/Photo Douglas Brothers

In 1991, Jansen, Barbieri, and Karn formed Medium Productions as a venue for releasing their own music, as well as releases by other artists

Jansen has worked as a session musician and in collaboration with a wide range of international artists which you can find here

He released his first solo album, entitled "Slope" in 2007 and has since released a number of titles which you can view and purchase here

During his time with Japan, Jansen dabbled in photography, documenting the band and their transient lifestyle. He held small-scale photographic exhibitions in Tokyo, Sapporo and London during 1982 and 1983. In October 2015, Steve released a book of his photography entitled "Through a Quiet Window". Steve has since had further exhibitions, in Japan and Canada

Through a Quiet Window book cover

There are two detailed biographies on the group JAPAN and subsequent solo works by the auother Anthony Reynolds

Virgin Records released Japan's final studio albums, "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" and "Tin Drum". The band had their final live performance in Nagoya on 16th December 1982. Japan suffered from personal and creative clashes and decided to split during a period when they were beginning to experience significant commercial success both in their native UK and internationally

Japan 82/Photo Fin Costello

After Japan's break up, Jansen recorded with bandmate Richard Barbieri under the name Jansen/Barbieri and released an instrumental album "Worlds in a Small Room" and later "Catch the Fall" as the Dolphin Brothers, with Jansen handling lead vocals.

The Dolphin Brothers/Photo Sheila Rock

In 2014, Jansen formed a new musical project, Exit North, with three Swedish musicians Charlie Storm, Ulf Jansson and Thomas Feiner. They worked together in Charlie Storm's studio in Gothenburg, and their first album was released on 1 October 2018, entitled "Book of Romance and Dust". Exit North played live in Japan in 2019.

In 2020, Exit North released a new single, "Let Their Hearts Desire" with their second album, "Anyway, Still", released on 14 April 2023. Exit North performed more shows in Japan in 2023 as well as in Sweden and Holland

Exit North live in Helmond/Photo Josanne van der Heijden
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