If you're heavily into underground electronica or hip-hop, there is a good chance that you're familiar with Shin-Ski.
After being inspired by early sci-fi and Japanese electronica, he began producing during his time as a college student here in the US.
Equipped with the MPCXL2000 as his primary instrument, he has went on to craft numerous projects that have intrigued and enraptured listeners from all walks of life.
His latest release Virtuality, expands his discography and showcases more of his diverse talents. He had this to say about how he approached the project sonically:
"On Virtuality I focused on giving the music a more physical, human feel, so you hear a lot of live acoustic instruments. I also focused on creating a horizontal progression whereas my older music is more focused on vertical progression."
Shin-Ski tells us more about Virtuality and his influences.
Prox: For starters, let’s hear a bit about the local scene in Japan and it’s impact on your sound. Who were some of your favorites growing up?
Shin-Ski: As a kid I grew up listening to Tatsuro Yamashita, Maria Takeuchi, and lots of Japanese fusion because my father was listening to them. My personal favorite was TM Network who are more electronic music enthusiast than others.
Prox: How would you describe your process? Do you usually have an idea in mind or is your work mostly improvised?
Shin-Ski: I usually start with a blurry idea of what I wan to create, but I don’t tend to keep the idea throughout the whole process of creation. I usually end up going to somewhere far from my ideas in the beginning. So most of the time I improvise as the process goes along.
Prox: I’ve noticed much of your music and cover art deals with space and technology. Why do concepts interest you so much?
Shin-Ski: It’s definitely comes from my father again. The very first movie that I watched was Gundam (an anime about giant robots fighting in space) which my father put me on, then followed by Star Wars. I got really hooked on the space and machinery stuff and I am still watching my childhood favorites to this day.
The reason why it attracts me so much is the idea of vast, beautiful but deadly, lonely just like my music.
Prox: A good portion of your tracks have this really chill psychedelic feel. What draws you towards that kind of energy?
Shin-Ski: In the very beginning when I started making music as teenager, with a little help from a friend, I literally saw sounds as visual images, since then I just like those kinds of visible sounds. So I just do what I like to do. No psychedelic substances anymore though.
Shin-Ski: On Virtuality I focused on giving the music a more physical, human feel, so you hear a lot of live acoustic instruments. I also focused on creating a horizontal progression whereas my older music is more focused on vertical progression.
I was listening to a lot of Jazz and Minimal music while I was making Virtuality, so those types of music had heavy influences on making this album.
Prox: While your music and craft itself is very important as an artist, what are some tenets that you acquired outside of music that helped you just as much as knowing your way around your DAW, sampling, etc?
Shin-Ski: I don’t know about tenets, but I love cooking, and basically cooking is the same as making music. So it inspires me. Also, I have another job that gives me a break from making music all day which clears my head. I also like to go out in the nature and just observe.
I see a lot of rhythmic ideas in nature which are converted into my music.
Prox: What are some of your go to tools these days? Have you upgraded any gear or programs?
Shin-Ski: I just bought a marimba and that is my fav thing nowadays. So you will be hearing a lot of marimba sounds in the near future. I don’t like using new gear, I usually stick with what I been using, and I only upgrade or buy new gear when it’s necessary.
Prox: Are there any artists, books, movies/TV shows or music you’d like to recommend to the readers?
Shin-Ski: I listen to a lot of 80’s Italian electronic reissues tapes from back in the day. I really like what they did in the past and they all sound so fresh. It’s almost as if they were creating music that came out a year or two ago. I listen to more ambient music and less beats nowadays.
Prox: Any other releases or projects on the way that you’d like to tell us about?
Shin-Ski: I have a few collab projects lined up, and I am also thinking of putting beat tapes out that include my Hip Hop instrumentals that I love making, but never leave my hard drive.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Shin-Ski: Thank you for checking out! If you have heard my new LP Virtuality, I hope you enjoy it, and if you haven’t be sure to check it out. It is an awesome project and won’t let you down.
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