Takecha, the alias of Takeshi Fukushima, is a Japanese label owner and producer hailing from Shiga Prefecture in the west of Japan. A place surrounded by the sereneness of Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. He’s been making music since the early 90s, when he used to record his music onto old DAT tapes. He also counts fellow Japanese producer Soichi Terada as one of his closest friends and confidants. Some of his early productions have never seen a release. Instead, they have been sitting in his basement on old DAT tapes, collecting musical dust. But now, thanks to London-based imprint Trouble Maker, this music is set to finally get the recognition it deserves. Here, Takecha tells Loose Lips about the music scene in his hometown of Shiga, his relationship with Soichi, and his label, Groove With Machine (GWM).
You just released your Mood to Move EP on Trouble Maker. The tracks are outstanding, it’s hard to believe you made them in the early 00s. How come it took so long to get the music out?
Early in the year 2000, when I made these tracks, I was absorbed in distributing music on my site, rather than putting out analogue records. I didn’t do any club activities during the decade 2000 to 2010. Everyday I was chasing the net label at home. It is what’s called Hikikomori (the Japanese word to describe reclusive adults or adolescents who withdraw themselves from social life).
How much of your day is spent on music?
I am currently working at a factory. I purchase new instruments and the necessary software with the money I earn. My main job is far from music. Of course I would like to build a living by music alone if possible. After I return home, take a shower and have dinner, I finally have the time to make music.
You run your own label, GWM (Groove With Machine). Can you tell us more about the artists on the label and the style of music?
Basically, there are some styles of Deep House that I like most, but different styles are included on the label. The human relationships I made at the time led to a working relationship and making music. Now, I have only to release my own tracks.
You began releasing records in the mid-nineties. The first being ‘Kind Of Deep’ in 1995, but your next release was in 2014. What were you doing in between this time?
‘Kind Of Deep’, which I re-released last year, was popular. I think it’s very nice that I have had talks from other labels about potential releases for tracks that to me were buried. Last year I did a live performance in Paris, this year in Stockholm. Both were very successful and my confidence in my music is growing. I am convinced that what I have done so far is not wrong. Also, there was a release as a GWM label. Perhaps about seven works in total. All can be found on his Discogs.
You’re good friends with Soichi Terada. Tell us about that friendship.
We played at a party together this year. Soichi and I got acquainted in the early 90s, when I sent my record to him. This was around 1993 I think. In 2001, I released his remix, Far East Recording Mix, for one song on GWM. He also remembers that he sent me records of his works as well. After that I went to Tokyo and we had a meal together. He makes tracks in various styles besides the house music and I love most of them. He understands my music.
Do you have any plans to work together?
I think there will be things that will come together in the future. It would be nice to be able to make tracks together, but he's very busy touring. I heard he has no time to make new work right now.
You live in a small town in Japan called Shiga. Is it a good place for underground, electronic music? What clubs are there?
I think that it’s not suitable at all. To find people who understand music like me, I feel that I’d have to live in Osaka or Tokyo. There’s no need to stay in Shiga. It may be easier to move to another place in the future. But I do love Shiga Prefecture; it’s my birthplace and it is easy to live. And the owner of the only club (K-Suke of Club Move) cherishes me.
Do you do still DJ a lot? Where have you played?
I was DJing a lot from 1995 to 2001. I played in small clubs: Montage in Tokyo, Karma in Osaka, Metro in Kyoto. Currently, I devote my time to my live act.
Is there a particular record shop you visit to buy records? Tell us about your record collection. What would we find in there?
When I was DJing I bought lots of records in Shibuya. I lived in Tokyo for about a year from 1995. In Shibuya there is CISCO, DMR, Manhattan. There were many good record shops at that time. Recently I distributed a lot of my collection to young DJs, keeping only the records I would like to truly retain. There were 2000 records at the start, but now it is about 300 records. There’s a lot of house music from the 90s.
In London, radio is an important and integral part of the music scene. Is this something you have in Japan? Which stations should we be listening to?
There are very few broadcasting stations dealing with club music in Japan, it is sad. I wonder if I only have to play the music I want to actively listen to on podcasts, Mixcloud, and so on.
Music festivals in the UK are great places to discover new DJ talent. Do you have anything like this in Japan? Where is good to go to discover new music?
There are DJ battles and rap competitions. Recently I got a special prize at a SONY sponsored INTERLUDE, from TDME audition. This was an event to uncover new young generation artists, but I am not young because I will be 47 years old soon! The place to discover new music is exclusively on the net… SoundCloud, YouTube.
What plans do you have for the future? Any releases or gigs?
I want to do a tour, just like Soichi. I would like to live in Europe right now. Of course, there is the language barrier. I feel like I would like to leave Japan. I would also like to devise a way to make the live show involve the audience more. Most importantly, I'd like to release a second EP on Trouble Maker.
You can purchase Takecha’s ‘Mood to Move’ EP now over on the Trouble Maker Bandcamp...