Japanese Curiosity In Europe: Anchorsong Talks


Anchorsong's new album “Ceremonial” was released earlier this month by TruThoughts. We reached out to Masaaki to chat and to ask him to talk about it. The Japanese producer will embark on a UK tour next month. Meanwhile check his Soundcloud page and listen to the Podcast he recently recorded for his label, which reached #1 in the Afrobeat chart on Mixcloud last week.

This is your second LP, how did you approach the production of this new project? Do you follow a particular methodology? Do you start with the sample research, for example ?

Before I started working on this record, I disposed an album which was supposed to be the follow up to my debut LP. It wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t much difference from my previous works. I was bored with my old methodology and wanted to try something I hadn’t done yet. I’d just begun to get into 70’s african music, and thought I could make something inspired by it. That was the start point of this record, and the rest is history.

You are a master in using the MPC and you have been showcasing your skills in your previous live shows, is there a specific reason why you use this particular machine?

I make it a rule using only hardwares for live performance. Majority of the electronic producers nowadays use laptop for their live set, which only makes sense considering its capability, but I’d rather keep my set up primitive. The concept of my live show is very simple so that audience can easily figure out what’s going on. What I do is just hitting pads and making loops, and MPC is a perfect tool for the purpose.

This record is a natural evolution from your previous works, the project is more focused towards a specific sound, with less reference to wider music genres than in your previous works, how come? 

I’m not particularly interested in making so called crossover music. The reason why my older works reflects more diverse influences, I was probably just listening to different kind of music all the time. I was mostly listening to the music from west Africa while I was working on this record, and its influence surfaced almost unconsciously as I move my hands. 

You are Japanese, but living in London. Is there a reason as to why you decided to move to Europe? And what is your relationship with London – something you love and/or hate about it?

I moved to UK out of pure curiosity. I grew up with the music of The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Radiohead, Aphex Twin, Board of Canada etc, and I just wanted to know what it’s like to be a musician in this country. One of the many things I like about London is that I can feel the long history the city has and make me realise I’m just a tiny part of it. You don’t get that feeling in the city like Tokyo where everything looks new and modern.

In the past you produced more remixes, but your are not collaborating often. Is this a choice? Is there an artist you would like to work with? Or someone who has caught your attention recently?

I’m always up for collaboration, but just haven’t found right opportunity yet. There are couple of artists I’ve been working with, but none of them haven’t materialised properly. Hope fully I can share something before long.

You will be performing soon in the UK, with a mini-tour, what shall we expect from your live shows?

I usually perform on my own but occasionally team up with string quartet. I intend to bring them to some shows including LP launch in London. Although you don’t hear much strings on the new album, I’ll be playing those tracks with different arrangements.

Listen and buy "Ceremonial" on Anchorsong's bandcamp.