Pelago Interviews: Anchorsong

We sat down with Japanese electronic music artist Anchorsong to hit him with a few questions ahead of his performance this Saturday night at OMA.

Anchorsong has become globally recognised for his unique live shows, which many people have described as "like watching a painter drawing on a white canvas", as he creates electronic music completely live using a sampler (MPC2500) and a keyboard, right in front of the audience. While he mainly performs solo, he frequently augments this setup with a string quartet, for a truly spellbinding show.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?
Joni Mitchell “Blue” CAN “Ege Bamyasi” Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On” are my all time favorites among many others

What was your first public performance?
We played as a duo. I played MPC, and the other guy played the guitar and synth. It was awful I think, but I really enjoyed playing in public. The other guy left the band after the show, then I became on my own.

What was the first musical experience that really touched you?
Seeing DJ Shadow live at Roseland in NY. It was The Private Press tour, and he played amazing set. It’s well documented on his DVD “In Tune and On Time”

How has the process of making music changed for you over the years?
It hasn’t changed that much. I still prefer using hardware, and MPC still takes the central part of my studio. I recently started using Logic Pro though.

Performing live or making music in the studio – what do you prefer?
When you’re in studio, you want to play at night clubs. When you’re on tour, you feel like separating yourself from outer world and just making a beat in your bedroom.

Do you think growing up in the countryside in Japan has paved the way for your musical style and passion?
Not really. It was a small town, and I could only access to particular type of music. The main resource was MTV, and I was into 90’s alternative rock a lot. I found artists like J Dilla and Boards Of Canada after I moved to Tokyo.

Are you ambitious? If so, towards what ends?
I think I am. I want to make music which will be loved for generations. That’s pretty much every musician’s dream I guess.

Do you think that some of your harsher or darker or more melancholic songs reflect a melancholic or paranoid part of you or do they just result from momentary moods?
None of my music is personal, but it is inevitable that it reflects my mood I believe. I was probably feeling melancholic when the track has the same mood, but it’s not intentional.

Do you mostly make music just for yourself or do you make it for others?
Both. I make music I want to listen to while hoping others to like it too.

As you’re getting into a phase of your career where you’re finding yourself among often much younger DJs and producers: Do you sometimes feel it is important to pass some of your ideas and techniques to those who are curious about them?
Sure, only if there’s anyone who wants to learn my rather primitive method. There are way more flexible and versatile ways to do it if they don’t mind using software on stage, but the vast capability makes you less creative.

Which relatively new musicians have you been listening to or enjoying recently?
The fin. from Japan. They’re my current favorite band.

Do you feel curious about how people will react on your new album Tru Thoughts?
Sure, I made myself happy with this record, and I hope it does the same for some people too.

Do you continue using the MPC2500 as your main musical tool?
For my live set, that’ll be the case. I want to work with more real musicians for my studio work from now on though.

Have there been any funny examples of people biting your style?
Not really, I’ll be rather pleased if I see it.

What are your thoughts on the explosion of „EDM“ worldwide, but especially in the US, and all those massive LED light shows with only one guy performing on a stage?
No matter how bad the music is, I think it’s a good thing that every small town have a night club where people can dance there.

If you were curating a party or festival, what would be your dream line up of artists?
J Dilla and his friends.

Facebook: Facebook/Anchorsong
Soundcloud: Soundcloud/Anchorsong

Anchorsong will be at OMA on Saturday 23rd Jan. Get tickets HERE!