Lyrics Born - Wax Lyrical
Friday, 8 August 2008
If independent hip hop is your thing, Tom Shimura is definitely your man. Born in Tokyo, he ended in the USA and inspired by the rappers of the day, decided to pursue his own direction with the music and over 10 years on continues to dazzle crowds with his hot shows and fat beats.
Of course his most recent album, Everywhere At Once, is the one he feels is his most accomplished. 'Yeah, really on this album I definitely wanted to take a new direction in the sense that I wanted to write things that were a little more personal. With songs like Cakewalk and Is It The Skin I'm In- and Whispers and even songs like Don't Change - these are all songs that are probably taking pieces out of my life. I think in the past, you kind of know how you feel about certain things but you never really discuss those sorts of personal challenges or victories that much. In addition, I also took a different approach to production as well - it is more live, there is more instrumentation as opposed to in the past where I worked exclusively with samples.'
Likewise, having been in the game for some time now, he feels more philosophical about things now too. 'The way I see it, as long as I continue to grow and try new things, I'm not really too worried about staying too relevant or current. Don't take that the wrong way - it still means I'm committed to doing the best I can - but as long as I'm continuing to stretch, I'm happy. I don't know that people really expect me to do that same thing over and over again. People have grown to accept and appreciate what we do as musicians so hopefully I'm going to continue to evolve and the next album won't sound like the last one!'
And this album, at least in Tom's view, is the encapsulation of everything he has learnt and encountered over the years. 'When you say it incorporates everything, I think you just answered the question - it really is all of the above. The more you grow and the more albums you make, the more challenging it becomes to do the things that you haven't done before. With every album, I try to step up and make new challenges for myself and that's the only way I can stay inspired. If I set the bar high enough and set the goals high enough, that's the way I stay inspired and actually inspiring.'
He is also behind the Quannum Projects label which has releases from artists he respects and appreciates - the project was formed with fellow innovator DJ Shadow and Chief XL from Blackalicious. 'I'm always writing and producing; right now I'm dedicated to supporting all these different artists, but in my downtime and in between touring I try and stay busy in the studio or whatever. When I get home from Europe, I plan to get right back into the studio again. Right now, I'm hyped because I've played all the major festivals in Europe - and then I'm off on a club tour. I start off again and I'll have the whole band with me in Australia. Even tomorrow, I still see myself doing what I'm doing whether it's writing and producing and touring. I also want to be a songwriter for other people and perhaps try my hand at other things. As I said, I think it's important to continue and set new goals and new challenges. Everything else will flow from there, I'm sure.'
WHO: Lyrics Born
WHAT: Plays The Forum
WHEN: Saturday 9 August