Having now been in Europe since 2007, what are the main differences between being an electronic artist based in the UK as opposed to your home city of Tokyo?
There is always a particular trend in electronic music in Europe, especially UK, but there was no such thing in the underground scene in Tokyo. The Japanese music industry hardly supports them, so the artists were just making whatever they think is cool, rather than producing a hit single. It’s a heathy attitude as an artist, but I do like the existence of the trend here as it stimulates the scene.
Do you feel that you will remain here or do you foresee moving back to Tokyo or even moving to say America or elsewhere?
I’m really enjoying living in London, so I’ll remain here as long as I’m allowed, probably. I used to live in NY as a student, and the idea to live there again excites me a lot as well.
Did you play any instruments as a child, if so which ones and do they influence your current setup?
I wasn’t particularly interested in playing instruments as a child, but I was a Japanese traditional Awa dancer and was very good at it. I probably had a good sense of rhythm naturally.
Who first introduced you to the MPC and why do you love it so much?
A staff from the used musical instruments shop in Tokyo. After my band split up, I was looking for something I’d never played, and this guy explained to me what MPC can do. I didn’t fully understand it that time, but I liked it because I could literally “play” it with my fingers as I had been doing with a guitar and keyboard.
Akai have recently announced the MPC Fly for the Ipad and MPC Rennaisance for desktop production. What do you make of these new additions to the range and do you feel that you may start using these or will you stick with your tried and tested MPC 2500?
Both of them will meet the demand of the current market well for sure, but I’m not going to use them, because I prefer hardwares. I’m considering using my old MPC 2000XL again along with 2500 though.
You have supported some pretty big names over the past few years. Which electronic artists do you admire and respect most and is there anyone you have played with that you would like to support or work with?
It was a great pleasure to support Prefuse 73 in London couple of years ago as I’ve been a big fan of his productions. I like the works of Araabmuzik nowadays, and it’d be great to share a stage with him one day.
You previously released material on your own label, Case Study. You are now signed to Tru Thoughts. Has this affected your music in any way or restricted your releases now that you are answerable to a label?
I’m making music to which I want to listen, and the label is just happy with it (as far as I know!) The previous album Chapters had been completed before I signed to them, and they agreed to release it as it was.
Where would you like to see yourself musically over the next few years? Some artists move onto produce soundtracks, art installations or even operas. Is this something that interests you?
Sure, I’m keen to make music for external projects. I’d like to produce a record of other musicians too, especially rock bands.
The music industry is struggling to deal with online piracy. How does this affect you as an artist and what can be done to either combat the pirates or the music industry to sell content in a different way?
There’re not much we can do about the piracy. It’s certainly harmful for the music industry, however, there’re some positive things about it too. Some people download music for free, but then they might come to like the artist a lot and actually buy a ticket to see them live. So we musicians have to tour a lot to keep putting the food on our table, and that’s exactly the musicians were doing before the era of Internet arrived.
Your show with Hidden Orchestra is coming up, do you have anything special planned for this gig?
I’m working on the new LP right now, and I’m going to play some materials from it with the help of string quartet. I’m looking forward to it very much myself.
Anchorsong plays with Hidden Orchestra on Saturday 29th Sept at The Village Underground in London. For more details and for tickets, go here.
Interview by 25ThC.