Wata Igarashi Noisey interview
The Japanese techno icon conversed with Vice’s music-focused extension Noisey. Originally it was conducted in Spanish which you can read here.
The interview touches on growing up in Japan, influences and his recent releases on Midgar and The Bunker NY. Short but to the point the interview gives a deeper insight into the workhorse that is Wata Igarashi.
Tell us how Wata Igarashi was born and grew up in Japan, tell us about your first encounter with techno music…
I was born and grew up in a really small town in the east of Tokyo. When I was a teenager my family moved to Europe, and I spent time living in London and Madrid, where I learned English and developed a more international mindset. But it was only later, when I came back to Tokyo, that I discovered techno as a university student. My first encounter to techno came after my return to Tokyo for university. My friends took me around to clubs like Maniac Love to and outdoor rave parties. Though I was heavily into the guitar, playing Jazz and improve music at the time, I was fascinated witnessing Jeff Mills, Plastikman and many more. And eventually after doing other music, I came back to focusing on techno.
What inspires you most recently, musical and aesthetically speaking…
Recently I have been touring more, both internationally and inside Japan, and this experience I get from playing in different environments inspires me the most. I am constantly getting new ideas and discovering nuances in how to perform and produce this way.
Why mental techno, why did you decide to choose for this hypnotic and almost shamanic side of the genre?
I have always preferred music that takes you on a journey. Whether jazz, rock, world music, electronic music or any kind of music, I always prefer the kind where you can just dive deep into and let go everything else in mind. So it was a natural choice for me, wanting to navigate the listeners into this kind of journey, with both DJing and producing. I don’t really consciously think of making it hypnotic or shamanic, but some people may perceive the sound this way.
You just released a double EP with Midgar and you’re about to release a new EP onThe Bunker NY. Tell us about the approach to does works, what are the questions, sonically and conceptually, that you are exploring with these recent EPs…
The recent two EPs, ‘Niskala’ and ‘Sekala’ were the next step of my relationship with Midgar. They are inspired by time I spent in a town called Ubud, in Bali, Indonesia. I think Ubud is very mysterious. It is surrounded by deep nature and has very spiritual culture. I absorbed the vibe and tried to output this atmosphere through my own filter to produce the tracks. ‘Question and Answer”, an upcoming release from The Bunker New York, is about communication and connections, so it makes sense for it to be on Bunker NY, a label that features so many friends and artists that inspire me
Now, do you have plans to release your first album? We are very curious how it would be…
No plans for an album at this moment. I am still focusing on developing my sound one EP at a time.
We are also very intrigued by the tools or machines that you use to develop your music, reveal us your essential pieces! Is there any special one that is the key piece of your sequences?
My day job is music production, so I have had a lot of experience trying and using different instruments and machines. I use both analogue machines and plug-in software. As long I get the right result, I don’t really mind what I use. But for example, for lots of arpeggio, I use Cwejman S1 or Minimoog plug-in. They have three oscillators and I like to put them in different octaves, then tweak them real time to have this live feeling. For sequencing, sometimes I love coming up with weird and unexpected lines with Doepfer Dark Time, but usually I like to compose the sequence lines and so in that case I use Logic Pro to program all the midi notes.
When will we have the pleasure of seeing you in Latin America? Some DJ friend of yours has told you something about these scenes?
I am hoping there will be a possibility to tour Latin America soon. My friend Svreca has told me about his amazing experiences there, that it has a great vibe and you can create a really tight bond with the audience. As I said, I am really getting inspired from touring to different places, and I am sure coming to Latin America would allow me to discover more.