Interview: Yuki Sato

And now for something completely different… 22 year-old Japanese producer Yuki Sato is the latest fresh talent to catch our ears here at Truants. So far his work is a an experimental sideline to a band project, but it’s certainly considered and subtle enough to be a full-time endeavour. “Yu-Jyu-Mugen” (stream below) has to be one of our favourite tracks, a quirky piece of lo-fi that doesn’t take itself too seriously but manages to charm you anyway. However Sato’s productions range from trippy little pieces with plenty of bells and whistles to gritty, choked up experiments in electronica, such as the glowering “Faster”. We were curious enough about this stellar Soundcloud find to hunt him down for a few questions, and were rewarded with a truly personal insight into the man behind the melodies. If all new producing talents were this genuine and humble, the music industry might be a very different place.

Stream: Yuki Sato – Yu-Jyu-Mugen 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? “I am a 22-year- old Japanese man who lives in Japan. I accepted the interview as a track maker (someone who make electronica to beat music usually based on computers), but my main musical activity is to play a bass guitar in a Japanese indie-rock band called deid whose musicality is influenced by post-hardcore bands such as Fugazi, Braid, and Pinback, and Japanese indie-alternative-rock band such as Bloodthirsty Butchers.

I will talk about my upbringing. I was born in the family which is consisted of my father who is a carpenter, my mother who is a housewife, my elder sister and brother. No one is interested in music except me. When I was 14 years old, I refused to attend my junior high school for a year, because I couldn’t get attached to the school. I contracted a psychogenic disease and had to go to a hospital. During this time, I bought a guitar and its amplifier and started practicing it. That was a start of my music career.

After that, I started buying a lot of CDs, collecting the information by myself. When I was 16, I started listening to Blues such as Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, and Otis Ruch. When I started playing a bass guitar, I started listening to Funk such as The Meters, Sly & the Family Stone and P-Funk. I also listened to Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Fugazi, Jesus Lizard and Wu-Tang Clan frequently. I didn’t really listen to electronic music except the old famous stuff such as Cluster and Kraftwerk. The time I started listening to the new type of beat music such as Flying Lotus, James Blake and the stuff released from Brainfeeder was pretty recently.”

What really inspires you, apart from other musicians? “I think listening to a lot of music inspires me most. Now I have about 1000 records in my home, and I have already bought about 100 records since the beginning of the year. I imitate some of those staff which I listened to, but the results usually sound cheaper than the originals. Except on the internet, there’s no one around me who makes the music which resemble to mine nor who exchange the information about this kind of music, so I can say I’m isolated in that sense. It also might affect to the music I make.”

Stream: Yuki Sato – Throw

Who would you say is your strongest musical influence? “I am influenced by so many musicians and so many types of music, but I think John Frusciante influences me most among them. I pretty like his warm sound. I’m also strongly influenced by Vincent Gallo, D’Angelo, and Oren Ambarchi.”

Can you tell us about any Japanese musicians that influence you? “As I have said above, I’m influenced by so many Western musicians, and equally influenced by many Japanese Musicians such as Haruomi Hosono, Keiji Haino, Wataru Takada, Masayuki Takayanagi, Boredoms, Tatsuro Yamashita, Merzbow, and the recent young band called Skillkills. I’m not familiar with the other regions of Eastern Music, but I like the label called Sublime Frenquencies which is founded by Alan Bishop who used to be a member of Sun City Girls. They released several interesting compilation albums of Indian, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern music. I always buy their records whenever I find it. I really love this label.”

Whereabouts are you from in Japan? Is there a ‘scene’ where you come from or do you feel alone in making the music that you make? “I live in Kanagawa prefecture which is located on a little south of Tokyo Metropolitan. It takes about 2 hours to get to the center of Tokyo. The place where I live is surrounded by mountains, and there are a lot of animals and insects. There’s no place where young people hang out. There are the scenes for computer and sampling music around Tokyo, but I don’t think I belong to the scenes. I don’t really get in touch with the people who belong to there, but I don’t really feel alone nor lonely. I just make the music which I want to. I don’t keep in step with the other people when I make this type of music.”

Stream: Yuki Sato –  Oyasumi

Do you ever play live, or are you more content to simply make tracks for bedroom listening, if you know what I mean? “I have never played live as a track maker. As a band, I play three lives in a month regularly. I’m not really content to simply make tracks for bedroom listening. I also want to make tunes to play live. I hope to play a live as a track maker someday.”

Can you see yourself releasing music with a record label? “I’ve never thought about it. Although I have a vague plan to release an album by myself someday, I cannot see myself releasing records as a professional artist with a record label for now, because I’m not content with the quality of my tracks yet, and also the speed of making tracks is slow. Currently, there’s no concrete plan to release an EP, but after I accepted this interview, I began to think it would be interesting to release an EP by downloads using Bandcamp or somewhere.” We look forward to it! 

Special thanks to Shohei Nagamine for the translation. Check out Yuki on Facebook. All the tracks on his SoundCloud are currently available to download. 

Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura

Camberwell based ricecake enthusiast. twitter

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