11+3 is designed to give you an insight into the motivations and aspirations of the best creative minds in the world.
:ShigetoThis time with American beat producer Zach Saginaw aka. Shigeto from Michigan. Each artist is asked 11 set questions and to contribute 3 “facts” which can be any statement from them on absolutely anything: their own views on politics, religion, the environment, sport…or just something they read in the paper or saw on TV.
1: When I was a kid I had “night terror” and woke up hallucinating almost every night for years.
2: My great aunt slept with Frank Sinatra.
3: I can break down a 50 kilo cheddar with a wire in under a minute.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
The mind state and environment i’m in at a given moment. I’m very sensitive to my surroundings.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
When I was three my parents gave me a mini drum kit for christmas. I don’t remember really but they said I couldn’t stop banging on things.
3. What are your 5 favorite albums of all time?
That’s a hard question. These come to mind in no order.
Slum Village – Fantastic Vol. 2
Jon Coltrane – A Love Supreme
Aphex Twin – Drukqs
Wu-Tang Clan – 36 Chambers
Dabrye – One/Three
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Techno. Culture. Renaissance.
5. What’s your favorite place in your town?
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Probably open a small specialty foods shop. Cheese, cured meats, olive oil, vinegar etc. Food has been a big part of my life pretty much as long as I’ve been alive.
7. What was the last record you bought?
The Sight Below – It All Falls Apart
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would really love to make some tracks for Georgia Anne Muldrow to sing on. I remember going to New School with her back in 2001. She probably doesn’t remember me but I remember her. She was the first one of us to drop out. It really inspired me, showed me I didn’t need to pay $30,000 a year to grow musically. Anyway, it would be awesome to reconnect.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Wow, best show I’ve ever been to would probably be when I say Prince in London. That was crazy, or maybe when I saw Squarepusher in New York.
The best show I’ve played was probably just recently playing the beatport stage at Movement ( DEMF) this year. That show was insane. I had brought my friend along to play guitar and we had planned an hour set. When we got there we were told to play 2 hours, no exceptions. So we ended up improvising an hour of the set on drums and guitar! Then to top it all off, on our last song it started thunder storming! epic show!
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Pretty important but also very basic. The way I use computers to compose is very hands on and primitive in my opinion. I’m a drummer first and a producer second.
11. Do you have siblings and are they proud or jealous of you?
I have a younger brother. He’s an illustrator and all around creative ball of fire. We put on an annual warehouse show in Ann Arbor, Michigan every July called Forth From its Hinges. It’s pretty sweet. I think I could say we’re proud of each other.
Artists take on pseudonyms for a multitude of reasons, but in Zach Saginaw’s case, those reasons run deeper than most. Zach records under the name Shigeto. It’s his middle name; it’s also his grandfather’s name, a tribute to the Japanese branch of Zach’s family tree.
Shigeto also means “to grow bigger”, appropriate, given Zach’s premature birth-weight of less than a pound. Today, Shigeto stands for Zach’s vividly beautiful lectronic music. Beat-driven but given to richly textured sound design, rhythmically fractured but melodically sumptuous, Shigeto’s music is a bridge between the past and present, bringing the artist face to face with a creative legacy that spans decades.
Zach was brought up on a steady diet of Michigan-bred music, as his father spoon-fed him old Motown and jazz records by the crateload. Zach picked up the drums at an early age, spending much of his childhood playing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor music scene. After nearly flunking out of high school—save for his music studies—Zach spent three years studying jazz at the New School in NYC and three more in London, where he began woodshedding, obsessed with learning electronic production.
Special thanks to Roland, our man in Toronto for doing this interview.