Following up on last Friday's 12th label release on Loose Lips, we're proud to present the first ever mix and interview from the man behind the album...the mysterious Masaki Uchida.
The debut album from this mind-boggling Japanese producer leaves the listener dazzled, moving from perturbed ambience and experimental sound design through to baffling broken rhythms. It is now available both on cassette, and digitally.
Masaki, tell us about where you’re from…
I’m from a place away from major cities. I will refrain from talking about the exact place here.
When did music first enter your life?
In early childhood my parents made me learn the piano, but I didn’t have any interest in music at that time so I quit it immediately.
It was during the second half of junior high school that I really started to get interested in music. But that was still nothing more than a hobby. And I started with a band: drums, guitar, etc...
It is even later that I started composing music.
Do you feel that your surroundings and country have played a very formative role in your music production?
I can answer yes to this question, but I can also say no. That’s because good music is good independent of its genre, style, or country of origin.
What are your thoughts on the Japanese music scene at the moment? Tell us all about it.
To tell you the truth, I don’t have an interest in the recent Japanese music scene so I don’t know too well.
I’m now in a place far from the present day music industry or music scene.
Some time ago I had offers from major labels or entertainment offices. But they tried to change my music and image to match the Japanese market. And even though they should know that there are CDs that don’t sell well, they forcibly try to sell them to the listeners. And without trying to make good music they prioritise live performances only.
If I were to answer objectively about pop music or band music scenes, I would have to say I grew tired of such cute music like that, made by idols or for some anime. Most of it is just business and is all very similar. Also, I don’t go to clubs. So I don’t know much about the Japanese underground scene.
It seems that overseas, among people who are interested in Japan, anime music or cute (kawaii) pop music is a bit prevalent. But I think it is only a passing fad. These are mostly just business-orientated.
Who are some of the most exciting musicians you know in Japan at the moment?
As I said before, I don’t know too well because I haven’t done any research into Japanese music lately.
But there is a band called Dir En Grey that I personally like. I think they are very unique within Japan.
What are your perceptions of the scenes in more Western countries and how do you think it juxtaposes with that of Japan’s?
I have an impression that people can work more freely than in Japan. Become more their true selves. The point where society accepts you, despite you doing things your own way, is really great. But seeing things objectively, it also seems that an artist has to match his sound or track’s image to the scene in question. This part feels a bit exclusive. And it becomes a reason why a lot of similar music is being produced.
Do you think your perceptions match those of the wider Japanese musical population?
I don’t think my opinions are those of the wider Japanese populace. But I think that artists who are trying to find themselves share similar opinions.
Who are your biggest influences? Labels/producers etc…
It’s difficult for me to pinpoint them. That’s because I’ve been influenced by various music. And not only music, but also art, fashion, history, emotions and psyche.
How have your tastes evolved over the years since you first become obsessed with music?
Due to the state of my mind and my way of thinking about life at that time, I think I’ve always steadily changed since.
I always think about wanting to grow. And I always seek an answer to the question of 'what kind of person am I myself?'.
Your music productions and tastes are very diverse – is there anyway in which you’d define your output? Does ‘Masaki Uchida’ have any definitional limits to what he would release?
That is a very hard question. If I were to say figuratively...darkness and light. A tale, a story. Art. But I can’t express it with those words alone.
There is also a lot of music I wouldn’t release. But fundamentally, I don’t put limits on myself. I have many different projects.
That being said, I want to work even more freely.
Do you tend to obsess over specific styles, or are you always jumping between producing very varied tracks?
I always have various ideas and visions. So I always draw a lot of rough sketches of different styles. And I have both instances when I create consciously, deliberately...and instances when I create music unconsciously, without thinking almost.
And also, there are times when I start creating from a vision, from the sound, or from the beat. It all depends on a case.
Lots of your music is very industrial and experimental. Why is this?
That is mostly just a coincidence. I didn’t think about creating industrial music.
There are a lot of times when I create music from the image that came to my mind...or some feelings that present themselves. In that moment, I need this intense and rough sound.
In short, I just use the sound that I deem necessary for my expression.
What do you use to produce your music?
Basically the music software and VST synths that most of the others use. In my case it’s Cubase and FL Studio.
And among others I have two analog synthesisers, a guitar with analog effects, and an amp...as well as a real piano.
You have your debut album now released on Loose Lips. Tell us about this album and your journey into making it…
To tell you the truth, most of the tracks on this album were created unconsciously about four years ago. And those were not tracks that I thought to make an album from. At the time I simply created tracks from ideas that I felt were interesting. But now, they are being released by Loose Lips. That’s really interesting. This album will incite many different emotions and take you to many different places.
This album has come to express a dark side of my music. But I want to let you know that it is only one part of my many world views and styles.
If you could collaborate with one producer, who would it be?
I don’t think about collaborating with anyone right now. I want to pursue my own music more. But I’d like to try collaborating if there is an artist that I find very interesting. I might also like to try collaborating with a rapper or a singer.
What would your one bit of advice be for aspiring music producers?
I don’t have any advice. My views are not necessarily right. I think you should just do what you like.