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.

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