Bien que peu mise en avant en Occident, la scène Hip Hop Japonaise regorge de talents. Deejays, emcees, producteurs et beatmakers ont bien souvent une empreinte qui leur est propre. Au delà des sonorités singulières de la langue et de la cadence particulière du phrasé, le Hip Hop Japonais revêt une certaine identité musicale, une signature perceptible - souvent empruntée au Jazz - qui séduit l'auditeur en quête de découverte et d'exotisme.
Shin Ski fait partie de ces artistes expérimentés, qui au fil du temps a acquis une véritable patte, un son qui lui appartient.
Alors qu'il vient à peine de sortir son dernier album "Memories ", Shin-Ski répond à nos questions et partage un mix exclusif pour Magical Mystery Mix consacré à la Nu Soul, au Hip Hop et au Jazz. Retour sur la carrière d'un producteur accompli.
Le mix sera diffusé ce soir à partir de 23 heures sur Radio Laser.
- Shin-Ski, could you please introduce yourself to our readers and listeners ?
My name is Shin-Ski from Japan. I am a member of group called ShinSight Trio, and I also go by the name of ALMA DE STELLA which I use to make more electronic music.
- Where does the name Shin-Ski come from ?
It comes from my first name Shinsuke.
- When did you come into hip hop ? how ?
I always liked Hiphop music, but never thought of making some until I met my good friend and mentor DJ Real in US. We went to the same university in Massachusetts, and got to know each other through mutual friends. At this time my production style was more breakbeatish. Then he introduced me to all sorts of battle dj tricks which really got to me. That is how i started making HipHop beats.
- Hip Hop headz around the globe first heard your production from your work on ShinSight Trio first album « Shallow Nights Blurry Moon », then in 2007 on your first solo « Shattered Soul On A Pastel Sky » which includes a lot of featurings, and on « Blue Chronicle EP » which are considered as HH classics.
How would you describe Shinsight Trio and how did the band come together ? Last release is from 2011, do you plan to drop a new album in the future ?
ShinSight Trio is a group in which each member has a clear role, me on the beats, Insight on rhymes, and Ryow on turntables. We all make beats and DJ on our own, but in this group we stick to our part to bring out the best.
We have daily jobs now, so it is very hard to find time to make an album as a group.
But when we get a chance we will come with new album. I just can't say when, but we will come back.
- Your first solo had a lot of success, how did you react to this ?
I was very happy that my first album was doing very good. At the same time I felt like I had to do something new and different from the first album to prove myself that I am always trying to evolve.
- Your name is always mentioned « of Martiangang ». What is Martiangang ? Is this combo still existing ?
Martiangang is a production team formed by me and DJ Real. It is not active right now. Nowadays DJ Real does a group called Real Dag Duo which is him and Dagha, they released an album called "rap fantastic" couple of years ago. It is a classic album, so if you haven't heard it You def should!
- Your productions are clearly recognizable. It could be chopped ethereal & aerial classical music patterns, jazzy pianos with mellow female voices and atmospheric synthesizer, bouncing melodies etc. It’s always combined with breathtaking drum breaks. Your sound is always luminous, full of energy - even if it’s melancholic - and filled with good vibes. It stimulates further thought and transports you into an alternate reality…
How did you find your own way to produce, your own « sound » ?
I came to this style through lots of try and error. I am very glad that my sound is recognizable, but I am still looking for a better way for my sound. I guess the explore for my own sound never ends.
- What’s your first step to create a new track ?
I usually start listening to bunch of records, sample whatever that sounds good to me.
Stock them to a folder, pick ones that sounds good together, and play some instruments (usually bass, keys, and sometime guitar) over it. Once main samples and chord progression is set, then I beat drums on MPC, or find breaks that goes well.
- How do you differentiate the approach to produce for a solo or a band ?
When I make beats for group I always leave space for vocals, and not to do so much on a beat, so that vocals and beat has equal strength.
- What equipment setup do you use to produce ?
I use ProTools for main sequencing and mixing. MPC2000XL for my drums. Korg and Nordlead for keys , melodies and bass.
sometime I use plugin synth, but I prefer analog keys, which I think easier to create sound that i want.
- Can you tell us about your influences and what's currently inspiring you?
Recently I am into minimal music. one of my favorite at the moment is Hans Joachim Roedelius.
His music is very unique and chill.
I also discovered pianist/guitarist Egberto Gismonti recently, I listens to his music a lot.
My influence comes from various genre, Jazz and soul music for sure, techno, electronic, progressive rock, folk and classical music.
- You dropped your new album « Memories » on bandcamp. People can already listen to it and buy the digital version, when will it be available physically ?
How would you describe this album ?
On this album I tried to transform pieces of my memories into sounds. I think I did a very good job on expressing what i had in mind. also I am very happy that i was able to show my music is always progressing.
There are no vocals on your two last albums, why this choice ?
I like my beats with vocals on, but for the last two album, it was not necessary. I felt like It was the best way to express the scenery I see in my head.
- What’s your point of view on beatmaking worldwide ?
It is going to a whole new era, next stage. and I really like it. But personally i don't need to follow what is going on. I wanna stick to what i have been done, and take that to a new level.
- How is Hip Hop perceived in Japan ?
It is very popular like the rest of the world.
- Which Japanese hip hop artists would you recommend people overseas check out for?
I would recommend my good friends Siffee and Noah. they both have their own style which is very different from mine. Siffee has his soundcloud page. I want y'all to check it out. His music is very raw, strange , and unique. Something that I could never come up with. Noah does lots of producing for Japanese rappers. His music is a bit dark, and have something that i can't resist.
- Could you name five albums that you can’t stay away from ?
- A Tribe Called Quest / Midnight Marauders
- Orbital / Orbital
- Jeff Buckley / Grace
- Joni Mitchell / Turbulent Indigo
- Steve Reich / Music for 18 musicians
- Now it’s time for the last question. If you could invite one of your favorite artist at your place for lunch, who would he/she be ? What would be your first question to him/her ? And what would you cook for him/her ?
I would like to invite Egberto Gismonti. My first question will be "What is going on inside your head?"
and I would cook him traditional Japanese cuisine.
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