fumiya tanaka

de-VICE #2
can oral / khan oral: captain comatose, el turco loco, bizz o.d., 4e, gizz tv, etc
little nobody
takeshi kitano: takeshis' review
luke vibert
from dada to disco - a (brief) history of electronic music
if? records
yoko umehara - art
mamoru oshii - ghost in the shell/innocence
reinhard voigt - kompakt
joey beltram, live @ womb, tokyo
album of the year (2005): jamie lidell "multiply", warp
si begg - noodles
fumiya tanaka
andrew weatherall
goldie - metalheadz
coldcut & ninja tune
nightmares on wax
gene farris - 2006
captain funk / oe
tigger vs. andrez
tobita-san... the yoda of j-english
zen paradox
george w. bush
top 10 aussie electronic artists (from the past decade) to investigate...
keitai kouture
jeff mills
juan atkins
king britt
cabaret voltaire
orde miekle - slam
speedy j - 1998
damon wild
hmc, cinnaman, dirty house & juice records
martin damm: biochip c, subsonic 808 & steel
the advent
milkcrate man sightings
de-vice's gratuitous top 10 lists for no reason whatsoever
some interestingly diverting links
makeshift archive: neural imp
'zeitgeist': a whole world full of (scary) other uses

interview by andrez published in zebra, melbourne, in 2000


Japan and electronic culture go hand-in-hand. It's evident in the technological inroads the country has pursued since the 1950s; even more so in the strange
love-hate relationship expressed in films like 'Godzilla' and 'Mothra' right through to 'Gunhed' and 'Tetsuo: Iron Man'. Electronica shaped the soundtracks composed for these two most recent films by Toshiyuki Honda and Kenji Kawai; there's the legacy of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Merzbow.

Contemporary electronica and its disparate off-shoots have found a home in Tokyo, from Coldcut and the Ninja Tune posse through to Jeff Mills and Hardfloor.

Then there's the home-grown fraternity. The litany of names as huge as it is diverse and talented. Think Takkyu Ishino, Susumu Yakota, Co-Fusion, Ken Ishii, DJ Krush, Super Cozi, Dumb Type, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Otomo Yoshihide. Now add Fumiya Tanaka to the equation. He's been called the Japanese answer to Jeff Mills by some short-sighted journalists, but there's a lot more to the man behind both the decks and the Torema production line.

Given the comparisons with Jeff Mills early on in his DJing career, and the prolific amount of records he's unleashed since 'Unknown Possibilities' emerged a few
years back, it would be interesting to note just how different Fumiya Tanaka sees his DJing style of sound from the music he makes. "What I enjoy most about
DJing is not so much choosing the records that I personally want to play, but choosing ones that are suited to the mood of the room, to the general atmosphere, depending on factors such as how people react," he says. "My recent album is based on the idea of the DJing mood; that sort of atmosphere. I see singles as part of an overall sound, something that you play at a club to generate an overall mood. The club scene is very much to do with the overall
atmosphere. An album is more."

Japan is hot right now for creativity across the spectrum, from techno to experimental sounds. While he's best known as a DJ and a solo studio boffin,
Tanaka is keen to work with fellow Japanese musicians. "Yes, I have done in the past and am keen to keep doing so in the future. Two years ago I made an album
with various session musicians, not under my own name - it was more like a band situation. But I found it took a long time to get the results I wanted because
Japanese session musicians are not particularly interested in creating, just in playing the parts they've been given. In future, I'll probably try a different approach. I also play in a band, but we only get together very occasionally. I'm keen to keep doing the band, but at the moment we don't have any concrete plans for the future."

Japan is the home of manga and anime, and Ken Ishii paid homage to the mediums with his video for 'Extra' just a few years back. Fumiya Tanaka sees it differently. "I'd have to say it's had next to zero influence [on my work]," he assesses. Japan also had a strong industrial/experimental electronic scene in the '80s, but again Tanaka sees little influence upon his own music. "I can't recollect much about that scene at all, actually - I mean, I was only a teenager in the
'80s, only just starting to go out to clubs. And I was probably more interested in having fun than in listening to the music."

The first release through Tanaka's label Torema was by Takehito Miyagi and Tamotsu Ide under the alias of Last Front, yet these days most Torema releases are the owner's own. "Up until 1995 I was putting out other records from other artists, but then I started making my own music and became more interested in
putting out my own music, to the point where it's now largely my own label. I mean, I'd like to put out other music that interests me, but I find that a lot
of the time the artists I like already have their own labels anyway. So for the moment it's only my staff. My other label, Untitled, started in 1996 - through
that I release what I guess you could call techno-inspired music, band music, including jazz - that isn't quite techno or dance music as such. Does that make sense?"

He's lived and worked in both Osaka and Tokyo - what are the main differences between the scenes in the two cities? "Population, firstly. There are heaps more
people out and about in Tokyo, so you get more clubs and they're generally bigger. Osaka people are often more likely to get into your music."

His favourite DJs and producers? "There are lots of people I like, but in techno the person I would name in particular would be Steve Bicknell." Tanaka has an
interesting career lined up if he ever stops DJing and making music. "It's hard to imagine, because I've been making music as long as I can remember. I love doing
it. I guess if I was to be born again, though, I'd like to be a highly skilled soccer player."


This article contributed by nobody you wanna know.