TF Archives

Yamaoka interview

Author: Andrez Bergen
Monday, March 6, 2006
Japan has an exceptional history when it comes to electronic music and its various angles - from the production of most of the machines that have made the muzak, as well as boasting pioneers like Ryuichi Sakamoto's old outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra, plus the Major Force label guys back in the day.

More recently this nation has spawned cutting edge producers like Ken Ishii, Fumiya Tanaka, Takkyu Ishino, Hideaki Ishi (a.k.a. DJ Krush), Tatsuya Kanamori (DJ Shufflemaster), Susumu Yokota, Tatsuya Oe (Captain Funk), Tomoyuki Tanaka (Fantastic Plastic Machine), Aoki Takamasa, and Shuji Wada and Heigo Tani (Co-Fusion).

Five years ago Yoshinori Yamazaki and Kenichi Oka - better known under their alias of Yamaoka - made a huge splash in tech/electro circles with their wad of releases through Kazumi, a subsidiary of German label Holzplatten.

Who is Yamaoka and how did you meet-
Yamaoka are Yoshinori Yamazaki and Kenichi Oka, and we were classmates at high school at the age of 17.

What influences encouraged you both to get started making electronic music-
Our influences have been in Y.M.O. [Yellow Magic Orchestra), Japan, Duran Duran, and - of course - Kraftwerk.

Why do you continue making it-
That's a difficult question. We like making music; moreover, we also like performing live. But we don't want to become major stars - we're satisfied with the present environment.

What equipment do you use in the studio-
We're using a TR-909, Juno 106, TX81Z, PRO 600, K4R, S2800, etc, as well as and MC 50 and Cubase.

How would you describe your current musical style in 2006-
We make club tracks and ambient ones, with an interest in electro.

How has your style changed over the last 5 years-
Possibly our music-style became softer. We were fortunate enough to release many club tracks five years ago, but we haven't had an opportunity to release the more recent the ambient material.

What kind of music do you listen to at home-
There's much techno music at my house. Yamazaki is a wonderful bass player, and he listens to a broad range of music, such as jazz and rock, and also does his own performances.

Which artists and labels do you like-
We like Tresor, UR, Sublime, and Moon Age - and, even now, we like the sound of Harthouse.

You've released your own music through Brixton's Kazumi label. How did you meet him-
My friend sent my music to him, and the releases began from there. We're thankful to him.

When will you release your next record, and through which label-
An album is due to be released through Belgian label U-Cover, and we'll also participate in a CD release through Japanese label Moon Age.

How is Yamaoka unique-
We live in a town 800 km from Tokyo. My town is a very quiet town - there're no clubs or parties. We have to buy CDs and vinyl from Tokyo by mail order. I have a wife, a seven-year-old daughter, and a three-year-old son. This may be unique.