Tokyo trip-ambient unit UNKNOWN ME make transportive vignettes with minimal means: soft-focus static, translucent loops, muted metronomes, field recordings. Comprised of DJ / producer Yakenohara, radloop label boss P-RUFF, electronic texturalist H. Takahashi, and art director Osawa Yudai, the foursome’s compositions imaginatively wander back and forth through time and space, unfolding like a holographic guided meditation. Bishintai, the group’s new record for Not Not Fun, will release on 30 April. ‘Made for the maintenance of the minds of city dwellers’, the album features contributions from Jim O’ Rourke, Lisa Nakagawa, and foodman, among others.
1: Y: Researching of classical and ethnic music.
2: P: I want to go on a trip. And Izakaya, Japanese style pub restaurant.
3: H: Music production for some new projects.
4: O: Plum blossoms are in bloom in Tokyo. It’s spring so I want to go fishing. The effects of vitamin D on the body.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Y: Other music. The thought of others.
P: Traveling by vehicle.
H: Surroundings and feelings.
O: Listening to music with friends. Talking about it.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
Y: When I was junior high school student. Before I knew it.
P: When I was in high school. I recorded rap song on a cassette tape using the ping-pong recording with my friend.
H: I started making music when I got an iPhone around 2014.
O: I’m not in charge of music in this group, but I bought a KORG sampler for the first time when I was 16 years old.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Y: There are too many to decide. I’m just listening to a record by Michio Miyagi, a traditional Japanese musician. I was listening to Jungle music yesterday.
P: Rhythm & Sound – w/ The Artists
Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer – Re: ECM
Pole – Pole
Kraftwerk – Computer World
Can – Future Days
H: Boards Of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Roedelius – Wenn Der Südwind Weht
Dominique Lawalree – First Meeting
Hajime Tachibana – Low Power
Haruomi Hosono – Watering the Flowers
O: The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Jim O’Rourke – Eureka
Minilogue – Animals
Robert Hood – Fabric 39
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Y: Techno, David Bowie, wall.
P: Hard wax, white wine, graffiti.
H: The Jewish Museum.
O: The most advanced city of mankind.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Y: Park, Record shop.
P: Haneda Airport.
H: Green way.
O: My office.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Y: Writing a sentence, Drawing a picture.
P: Video production.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Y: The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy
P: APIFERA – Overstand
H: K-LONE – Cape Cira
O: HOMESHAKE – Helium
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Y: Friend. If possible, I would like to make a track with AI (although it will become normal in the future).
P: Previously it was Jim O’Rourke, but with this release it’s happening…
H: Saigo no Shudan, Japanese animator team.
O: Nothing special.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Y: I can’t decide because there are so many, but when I performed at an outdoor festival called “Metamorphose”, there were more than 10,000 people up to the other side of the hill, and I felt a huge energy wriggling (Even if the party is small, many wonderful unforgettable nights exist).
P: The final of the host party that was held every month for 5 years. After DJing to the limit on the floor with a sense of unity, I fainted at the booth until the evening of the next day.
H: I’ve never had a satisfying gig yet.
O: When DJing at an art fair in Taiwan.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
Y: It’s extremely important. I make tracks using equal temperament, which has been used since the invention of the piano (equal temperament is unnatural, but it opens up possibilities). Due to the musical score printing technology, the great songs of the past remained in posterity. Without recording technology, we can only listen to music by going live. I can make music thanks to all the technologies, not to mention the synthesizer. I can’t express anything in a cappella songs.
P: In my case, it’s very important because I can co-create music with people through technology.
H: The fact that I can produce at any time and place is very important for my production.
O: I like technology that opens the door to something. I hate technology that makes someone unhappy.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
Y: I have no siblings.
P: I have a younger sister. I think we have a musical influence on each other.
H: I have a younger sister. She probably feels I’m doing incomprehensible something. I have never asked about it.
O: I have an older brother and a younger brother. They are probably in favor.
Photo © UNKNOWN ME