Could you take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work? Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
I don't have any rules or routine for it. I think music is my hobby, the greatest hobby! I love to make music so I can do that at any point if I have the time. I'm based in Tokyo and travel regularly to Europe, stateside or Asia for DJing, which means I'm jetlagged most of the time. Let's say if I have two hours between sleeping, eating and the other daily matters, I'll switch on my setup and work.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece or album that's particularly dear to you, please? Where did the ideas come from, how were they transformed in your mind, what did you start with and how do you refine these beginnings into the finished work of art?
When producing music for DJs to play, I simply listen to promos and other artists' music and get inspired. There is plenty of good stuff out there. This is more of the DJ side of me. On the other hand, when I produce my own music, bigger stuff like my albums for example, I'm quite open about how I get inspired or refreshed – it could be messing around with new software, listening to other kinds of music, like I was listening to Brian Eno's collaborations in the '70's today and King Tubby yesterday, and visiting a modern art museum to see some crazy artefacts. In the studio, I start with a small piece which can be anything like one synth sound, a loop, a beat or an effect setting. Then I'll add other elements to it one by one. It's hard to tell when to finish it because it's based on my feelings.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
I do have clear and direct words for it. They're not conceptual though: Being awake and healthy! If I start feeling tired in the studio, I quit working.
How is playing live and writing music in the studio connected? What do you achieve and draw from each experience personally? How do you see the relationship between improvisation and composition in this regard?
Those two things interact. Although what you can do live is limited compared to what you can do in the studio, you can see which elements actually attract your listeners' when you play live. I bring what I notice on stage back to my studio and change or modify the music accordingly.
How do you see the relationship between the 'sound' aspects of music and the 'composition' aspects? How do you work with sound and timbre to meet certain production ideas and in which way can certain sounds already take on compositional qualities?
I think I'm more a 'sound' guy. Individual sounds are more important for me than the composition itself. To me, 'composition' is more like things you learn and realize, while 'sound' is more like what you feel. I take my music as layers of sounds, not really compositions.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work? What happens to sound at its outermost borders?
I never thought about that myself as it's such a natural thing. These days you can listen to music for free at home as much as possible, but why do people dare to pay money for going to festivals or drinking at clubs? Music sounds better and more memorable with other senses on!
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I want my music to be pure entertaining art, a bit of an escape from your everyday life, or something to encourage others to make their own music. I don't think what I do is like media that transmits words and attitudes to influence you socially or politically. Rather, it's just something that is transmitted on media. You can enjoy it and hate it as you wish.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
Yes, that's really right! Nothing changes! That proves once again in this century that music is fundamental to humans and it never leaves. It's really hard to predict a next form of it though. I just can tell there will continuously be new and minor variations of the existing styles for sure, like food and clothes.