DMCWORLD checks in with a man on a roll, the superb Tokyo based producer with a packed release history behind him. His latest effort is a punishing bass house number swinging our way on Tchami’s Confession label…
What was your experience like moving to Australia to kickstart your career in music?
Actually, I was just a kid didn’t think properly enough, so went there with a backpack lol. But I luckily met my Aussie friends to learn English from, I spoke no English at all when I landed though haha. I reckon this was a great experience for me to learn how to survive in a life without a skill. Hanging out and learning from a real life are definitely my learning sessions.
If that experience wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here answering the interview for sure, so Australia was the spot I started music properly but more likely my origin for my life. Anyways I used to listen to UNKLE, DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and even more underground hip hop to the abstract type things. DJ Shadow was the reason I started DJing actually. But I started digging breaks and breakbeats as soon as I went to a few clubs in Sydney. Met cool DJs and I still hang out with those guys exchanging music and helping what I can do. Nightclubbing in Sydney changed life and I started making mashups to be able to DJ little differently from others as CDJs were getting installed at nightclubs around that time. This was the start.
What aspects of your Japanese culture and immediate Tokyo surroundings do you find creatively inspire you and your work?
There are lots of legends older than myself and super talented new generation producers too. I hang out with both and learn from both as they are completely different. But there are a few producers who should be going out there and play more shows, they aren’t going to the US or other territories much maybe because of our music industry culture which includes a language barrier too.
I was interviewed by Mixmag Japan and said the same thing to them but J-POP is strong because of the lyrics. dance music can’t beat J-POP probably because of this, so we need to get out of Japan and come back to it again with more experiences overseas, then sometimes some of us make J-POP or keep making dance music, but what I want to do is being in Japan and going out of Japan to educate myself. Probably when I become older, I can manage some of those young producers and direct them to where I want to be right now. Probably 10 years later because I still want to see where I can get to at the moment haha…
Your new single ‘Paranoia’ featuring Dread MC was just released as your debut contribution to Tchami’s Confession label — what’s it like to have support from such a high-profile artist and what was it like working with his imprint for the track’s release?
It was super smooth actually. He sent me an e-mail right after he listened to my demo submitted. Probably he found me on his #lostfilechallenge” he did in the early days of the pandemic. I posted one and he gave me a comment on that. Definitely Tchami is one of the biggest artists in my music field but he’s like a regular man when he speaks to me do you know what I mean? He’s really talented but doesn’t sound arrogant or disrespectful at all. And I quite enjoy chatting or sending new music to him even now.
Confession supports artists well too, so here’s an example. I received a few DJ offers in Japan and was thinking to decline because it’s a weird time to play in front of people because of the virus situation, but clubs in Japan are really strict when it comes to wearing a mask and temperature check. Also they let less than 50% of the capacity in. Even I wanted to support them it was a difficult time for everyone. I spoke to the label and they were happy to support the tour as long as it’s safe for everyone to come and enjoy the shows, so I’m doing a mini release tour in Japan with Confession in Dec. Maybe this is rare because I’m a new guy for them and tour with the brand but they said to me that it would be good to push the release in that way as there are no festivals at the moment.
It might be a normal thing for big artists to go with the brand but I was very happy with how they thought and supported the release / artist.
What was your experience like collaborating with Dread MC?
Very easy. I meant he inspired me a lot on a few productions. I knew he was good, but didn’t know he was very flexible. So, I requested some and changed up some basslines to meet his vocals well or whatever, but I was very happy with the time I was working with him. A few more with him will be out in the next few months, so hope you guys like them all as well.
What has your experience been like working closely with AC Slater’s Night Bass team over the years?
First of all, they are lovely people. I think AC Slater is around my age or actually the same age, but he is like someone I want to hang out even without any businesses or music involved. Good producers with good attitudes, this is what NIGHT BASS is to me. I believe house music is nice in general, I mean house producers. Not comparing though, but I like house producers because they are normal and have human skills even Chris Lake is one of the biggest for sure, but he’s so nice too. We are human before producers for sure.
You’ve been featured on the 6th and 7th volumes of the label’s ‘This Is Night Bass’ compilation albums, and are slated to release a new track on its forthcoming 11th edition — can you tell us a little about this upcoming release?
Yes, I made this tune last year or even little older. I was really happy and received a lot of good feedback from quite many people. I sent it to AC Slater confidently and started talking a big challenge, which was more about how we can make an already good record next level.It was definitely a good and challenging time I haven’t had for a long time. I usually send out to labels (my manager does for me) as soon as I finish. But this talk with AC Slater made me sit on the record way longer than usual and tried many ways I could think of to make it better.This record is littler darker than Paranoia but the key is the bassline. This could be played by anyone because accessible but not poppy. Really hope this goes well to intro another NIGHT BASS EP coming out early in 2021.
What was it like to be able to remix Boombox Cartel’s 2017 hit ‘Alamo’?
This was actually before I’ve gone into house music deeply so I was doing literally everything around that time. The original was so good so I decided not to compete in the same field and chose to be on more radio plays. I met Boombox Cartel 2 years before the release and became good friends, so we hang out when I come over to LA and stuff. I showed them my music and they gave me an opportunity to remix one of their new records then. I fell in love with the vocals first and the melodic future bass idea came in my head. Actually that’s Pat’s (Modestep) favourite songs even after he heard 20 of my house tracks haha, I believe it’s a good remix!
What does your typical production process look like when crafting an original production versus making a remix?
I still remember how Switch (Dave Taylor) remixed all crazy good records back in 2009 I reckon. So vocals are the best tools to show extra uniqueness. He chopped off and place them here and there. Another thing is BPM. I always try to deliver a remix far different from original. Changing its BPM and making the whole vibe different especially on vocals are my favorite. Also if I should say one more, I hardly ever use more than 3 separates (usually vocals only) from original. I don’t see a reason using the files someone already used and call it my remix.
You’ve received firm support from BBC Radio 1’s Annie Nightingale, and even contributed an Ignition Mix for the world-renowned station in May of 2017. What was your experience like producing the mix and how did it feel to get the stamp of approval from a revered industry mainstay such as Nightingale?
I think that was right after I did a tune with R3ll. Of course she’s one of the most important radio hosts in the UK and probably in the world for our kind of music, so I was very happy with that when her assistant messaged me.
I remember this happened because NEST HQ or someone premiered it. Thanks for that! But then I noticed how important to reach out to blogs and influencers rather than just sitting in studio making music lol.
What are your upcoming plans for the remainder of 2020?
I have a few more release in the crazy year. I can leak the dates here, Nov 27th is NIGHT BASS as you know, and Dec 4th and Dec 18th as well. Also my favourite EP in January, so please check them out. I’m trying to have my best ever year in 2021, hope things get better with the virus and I can focus on music. Thank you!