YUJIRO FUJI | bandcamp |
By: Jake Murray
It isn’t every day that an artist comes along and reinvents the wheel. When we first heard YUJIRO FUJI’s hypnotic debut album 1-10 it was immediately clear we had to talk. With the help of Kohei at Japanese blog Lomophy we were able to talk with the experimental Japenese artist about the making of this highly unique, mangled record.
(((o))): First of all, could you introduce yourself and when did you start making music?
I am 30 years old guy in Japan. When I was 16, I’d had reclassification in 1st year of high school. I was nervous and shaken then so I made a folk style song for the first time that is called “Homeroom Changing.”
(((o))): Let’s talk about your album 1-10, the sound of 1-10 is so consistent, as if one long piece in ten movements, what was the writing and production process like?
I’m happy to hear you listening like it!! I made this album with a concept from the first step, actually I didn’t mean it, but “one long piece” is pretty good expression. Well, the album is made by some pattern of pitchshifted my voices what I recorded firstly.
(((o))): Was the album always intended to be ten set pieces or was it variations on a single idea and these are the best results? It sounds like someone scrambled up a Speak’N’Spell in a blender!
I made these songs one by one while I got rid of songs that were out of the concept. The fist song I finished was #9 EEIUI. I thought all songs was properly under the concept. To be honest, last song AEIAIUEO doesn’t fit in slightly if you listen the album through to the end, even so I screwed it in stream cuz it’s not out of my concept. Anyway how great what you said about a Speak’N’Spell!! LOL! I’ve never heard it, but I thought the person who made it might have same design concept with me. I’d like to perform with it!!
(((o))): How do you write and produce music usually? Do you want to produce this sound from the start?
Two ways of composing I usually do, one of them, Develop a melody from a humming I got, another one, I play guitar and write melodies. As for sounds of the album, I imagine them to be very rich as you can hear breath and nuance of natural voices. But I just had USB microphone with PC and it sounds pretty dead (which means it doesn’t have much reflected sounds), then so I accept that’s it and make sounds more like synthesizer. I didn’t mean to make these sounds, however I always see some new stuff in sounds and fortunately I received good reviews from listeners who love like Chiptune or so, well these things are what I didn’t expected though I’m very glad to hear them.
(((o))): This is about “1-10″s concept, you said the album had it first of all, so what concept is you thought when you started?
My concept is “low cost and don’t take a simple time as much as I can, also all songs made from my voices.” Finally, I spent just 1000yen (about £5) to buy a USB microphone without PC costs. However I stay in some share-houses while I compose this album, so I’d like to give some money back them when I have a round sum.
(((o))): The closest example I have been able to use when describing “1-10” to people has been the works of Oneohtrix Point Never in Brooklyn. What are the influences behind the writing and production?
I’ve just listened Oneothtrix Point Never a couple of times, well I want to listen thorough his album one day. The biggest influences are albums called as Nu-Jazz i.e. Avishai Cohen or Tigran Hamasyan played. Their music scale is pretty interesting and rhymes exited me that finely change in one song.
(((o))): How about International artists discovered through the Internet? local scene in Japan? or just you find ideas in the studio?
Yeah, These are very big part of me! I’m happy to listen new sounds as one listener but I’m also jealous as composer that hear new sound which precedent to mine. Then I think there is something I can get for my works. I always try to find a new way or style in mine though generally I take same trick I used.
(((o))): Have you played before as a band member or unit?
This is my first album in earnest.
(((o))): The artwork for “1-10” and your website is both minimal and striking, perfectly representing your music. Do you consider imagery an important part of your composition?
Thanks a lot! I didn’t mean to suit them with music but it expressed my eccentric and cynical character. My music is what I am as well, I think that’s why it matches artworks. Actually I don’t need to music come with something, so the best way to show is just only music played. This is the most beautiful situation, however it’s very hard to let anyone hear songs if not a person try to catch by anyhow. Something I added with music is what to tell someone “there is my music!” and so I honestly get titles and lyrics off from my music if I have a choice. It’s my opinion but what music sounds like basically depends on the song’s melody, scale and tone without any phrases impression. You know, I don’t weight words or phrases, if I do, I will write poems or stories.
(((o))): You said Avishai Cohen and Tigran Hamasyan’s work influence on 1-10 production, well how about what albums or artists influence your career?
It’s Freak Kitchen’s “Dead Soul Men”! When I was teenager, my brother let me hear this album, and so I was shaken cuz it was my first experience that irregular time sounds catchy! All of the album was still filled with attractive rhythms and ideas.
(((o))): Could we expect any music videos from this album? for example by animation?
I don’t have any ideas about it. Frankly I used to run web-site that you can watch my songs with short animations, but I could made better songs in the middle and animations didn’t compare them. So I changed the way I just upload only songs. Now I compose and store short size motifs for new works, so I can’t say when I finish, but one day I have enough stocks of them to do then I finish writing and producing all at once. I’ll announce you in anyhow and I hope you enjoy it.
(((o))): In the same way experimental composers Matmos often use themes to guide their composition “1-10” is very focused on human vocal sounds. Can we expect something thematic again along a new form for the future, or something that is more disparate?
In this case, I focus on to make songs by human voices. The important point is to make by “my voices” not just “voices”. I think I compose all of my works as leave my DNA in the world. It could emphasis this point that play my voices with my melodies. Well why I pick my voice from any instruments is that most individual stuff and hardest one to copy. If I just talk about sounds, my favourite is piano, but I prefer to take my composition philosophy and so I will keep both composing process and how to produce as much as I can.
(((o))): How about live performances? is this music you would like to perform in public? is it even possible?
I don’t have any plan to do, but I want to. To be honest, it’s 50/50 and it’s still bit far if I play cuz my plan to perform is to use Ableton Live to handle sound loops in real time. Due to needing much more time to practice it, I can’t say exactly date. However I’d like to show my performance on streaming service like Ustream or so if I’m good enough to play.
(((o))): Do you have goals when creating a set of music?
I’d want to produce brand-new music as anyone have never heard. My works could be told yet like for fans of aaaaaa, bbbbbb, or sounds like xxxxxx plus zzzzzz. My ideal sounds is what anyone can’t see roots of it, styles, genre or how to tell where it came from.