A Sit Down With DJ Satoshi Tomiie
There are few artists who can lay claim to having been picked up by not one but two major forces who have shaped the dance music industry but Japan's Satoshi Tomiie is one such artist.
First it was House God, Frankie Knuckles who invited Satoshi to join the Def Mix production team in New York back in the late eighties early nineties. Then, in the year 2000, it was another of dance music's most religious figures, John Digweed, largely regarded as the founder of the progressive house church, who used several of Satoshi's productions and collaborations on his Global Underground Los Angeles release; Satoshi Tomiie's "Love In Traffic" remixed by John Creamer and Stephane K one of the definitive tunes of that album and indeed, the year 2000 .
"I do not have a narcissistic personality and I have no interest in exposing everything I do in my daily life but what I do in the studio and in the cabin are things I want to share."
What were your main musicial influences for this EP?
I start a song by just vibing the grooves with spontaneous ideas and normally they take me to the right direction. All has to be natural and I feel really good about what we made together on this EP. The reason we named the track Dialogue, it was really a musical dialogue between him and myself. Listening what he played on his keys and I responded with some drums, percussions and my beloved JP8, vice versa. Talking about live hand played elements, DCB is not working on JP8 at the moment, I am not as good player as Mathias but this time I was forced to play all by hands which might have made it more home style. I like it.
What do you feel was the break through point in your career?
I still so lucky to have "Tears" as my first release, working with Frankie definitely was a great honor and helped me open the many doors. Real "break through" as an also artist came after 10 years, with the release of the album "Full Lick".
What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?
I think finding the right groove, that you develop into a track, is probably the most difficult part. Once it is flowing however, then it becomes pure fun. But getting to that point can be hard work.
What does the name Def Mix mean to you both musically and as an organization within the dance music industry, both past and present?
Def Mix is the group of individual DJs/producers who have been delivering and playing quality dance music. Both House Music icons Morales and Knuckles have had a major musical influence on the industry for more than a decade. Their countless numbers of remixes contributed the golden age of house music in the early 90s. Now their residency at Pacha is a proof that Def Mix is still standing strong as ever.
Speaking of the electronic music scene, it can be said that it has been very successful in recent years. Think of the EDM for example. This type of phenomenon has been able to attract large numbers of people, as only the big concerts had done until then. Now it seems that this trend is waning, with a return to the "old style". If you were to make a bet, what musical tendency would you say will develop more and be able to attract more people in the future?
I've never owned the crystal ball and I can not say what the new phenomenon will be. What we can understand is that "everything that becomes popular can die" is a universal law. There will be many new phenomena and all will eventually end. Something that reaches the top can only drop, I do not want to be negative, but that's how it works in the world, so I like to keep climbing gradually, without stopping. I believe that whatever the trend in the landscape, the "real phenomena" survive.
What is your current studio set-up?
I write my music on Ableton Live, so Ableton is the place for my rough sketches. And then I do my mixdowns on Pro Tools. I have a few real vintage analogue machines, which are part of my permanent set up, like a Roland SH101, a Roland TB303, and a Minimoog Voyager. I also have a TR909, and some other analogue drum machines and effect boxes which I pull out from time to time.
Youve been playing a number of DJ dates in support of New Day. Do you have plans to perform live someday?
Ah, the pressure is coming! People are always asking, Do you play live? I have started collecting hardware again, so I would have some knobs to tweak if I did it livewhich would make it a little more interesting to me. It would be fun, and a lot of work, too. So maybe, possibly, yes. Its kind of in the pipeline.
With the ever changing sound of house music, how do you see Saw Recordings developing in the future?
Though the styles and faces of House Music are changing everyday, we will simply keep our musical policy the same. That is, introducing quality music regardless of its style. The result in the future will happen regardless, good or bad, but we have a strong belief in what we are doing.
New Day is out on your freshly-formed label, Abstract Architecture. You've compared music to architecture in the past. Could you elaborate on that?
Well, let's say there is a photographer taking a picture of a part of a buildings architecture; the photographer then is giving his own translation of the architecture, and giving it a new meaning. Its kind of a modern-art way of thinking, I guessthe way you present stuff gives it meaning. And then say you have a sample of some music, a piece of music that was composed by somebody else. The sample is just a cut-up piece of a moment, and then that becomes another piece of art and has a new meaning. The idea is nothing new, but this kind of thing has always fascinated me. Actually, if you Google abstract architecture, you get lots of very cool cut-up images of buildings, and I find that super-interesting.
Other than the fact that the album is on a new label, does its title have any significance?
Theres a track on the album named New Day, and I just realized that this would be a good name for the entire thing. Its just about making a fresh start. The song itself is literally about a new day: You wake up and the day changes. At the same time, its a little bit of a love song.
What is the relationship with your fans? Do you like being recognized by people and also being followed and approached on social channels? Speaking of this, do you spend time on your fans, for example by accepting their music tips or their demos?
Although it is rare, I am very flattered by being recognized. I love and I am grateful to be remembered for what I do and for my passion. People sometimes ask me questions about social media. I like to give musical advice and technical suggestions. Occasionally some write to me to suggest the directions that I should follow musically and so on. The opinions are always welcome, I find it interesting.
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