Koji Asano: Actually the disaster changed all our life in Japan not only people in Fukushima. After the quake and radiation problem in Fukushima on March 11, I had to evacuate with my family to far south city of Japan by plane on the next day, March 12. Then we had to stay there few weeks to see the situation. During days of nuclear disaster, I had to collect information from international press like New York Times, BBC through internet. Because Japanese press and government opened very limited information – often wrong or false – about the disaster. We have a long history of natural disaster in this island, Typhoons, earthquakes and others. But this time with nuclear is completely
different from them, it’s a human disaster caused by the huge nuclear industry strongly connected with the government. Many people in Japan clearly realized that we have so dangerous political system through the disaster
Chain D.L.K.: Why have you created a label to put out your own releases? I’m sure you would have never had problem to find some label to put out your materials
Koji Asano: In 1993-1994, I was looking for some label, when I was 19 – 20 years old, to release my first album “Solstice”. I didn’t know anybody in the music industry and I couldn’t really wait for someone showing up and release CD for me, so I had to publish by myself by creating a label Solstice Records. Because I really needed to release that first CD “Solstice” to go forward – to compose next album. Maybe that’s my problem that I can’t change. Still the same now but I really wanted to release lots of work from that time, and once I completed new work, I had to release it. It’s like I compose music to release, and I release it to compose next new work. So creating my own label Solstice Records was a quick solution for that.
Chain D.L.K.: Why have you changed so many styles? You have a classical training, right? By the way, the most of your works are electronic oriented but you also played prog-rock, field-recordings, classic music, etc.
Koji Asano: I learned piano when I was a child but otherwise I’ve learnt by myself including theory stuff, no music school nor real training. I used to play Piano, Violin, Guitar and my singing is really terrible. Mostly it’s electronic based music, but when I have ideas I try any form of music, even piano, bands, or insects like “Galaxies”. As I’ve said in the previous answer, I would like to challenge different things to go forward to the next work. At least I would like to try to do my best for that style at that moment. In that sense, all 46 albums are different styles for me. Nowadays I have 2 ways to make music, computer processed music or score writing based classic music for classic instruments. And these years I’m more interested in composing for classic instruments, I found lots of possibilities with them, inspired by fantastic classical musicians I worked with in Japan and Europe. I write score almost everyday and I turn on computer once a week to compose electronic music. Simply writing score takes more time than computer processing electronic music. I would like to compose orchestral works like symphonies, eventually.
Chain D.L.K.: Some years ago you were hyperactive, now it takes more time before you put out a new recording? Just a matter of inspiration or you simply changed your working process?
Koji Asano: Working process and pace are the same but here is the situation: 2007 was a dark year in my personal life with lots of troubles, but I finally survived that year and I needed whole 2008 to rebuild my life. Then I spent 2009 training lot to participate a marathon race (I love running since 1998), and finally the situation and circumstances became fine, I could release 44th “Galaxies” in 2010 which I completed most part in 2006. However through in these dark and rebuilding years, I was very healthily so I kept composing all the time but I couldn’t just release them as CD. So I have several stocks now. Last year 2011, I could release more albums because I had finished more titles including classical instruments recording, but due to the disaster of March, it was limited to release only 2 albums 45th “Solstice Eclipse” and 46th “Polar Parliament”. I hope to put out more materials this year.
Chain D.L.K.: hey I’m a runner too (not marathon by the way)..a friend of mine says that those who chose to run have always something/somebody to run away from and a lot of time to think…he says somehow it’s a psychedelic sport..what do you think about it?
Koji Asano: Yes I agree, it has a psychedelic and addictive. Running is really important to me physically and mentally. I can’t compose without running. The reason I started running was quite simple, when I was my mid 20s, I questioned myself that sitting all day in front of computer to compose was not quite good, in general. Then I soon became a serious runner because I realized I needed to run to keep composing in healthy way. I felt that way because mostly in every country, I saw some people in the art/music scene who is getting stuck in alcohol and/or other addiction. And it seems to me that when they get older, more they need it. How to deal with creative stress might be different for each person, but in my case, it worked. Running keeps me sane and creative. The more I live in heathy condition, the more I can compose, it means more chances to create better works. Last year I stop drinking alcohol to run better, I also swim and do gym training almost every day. I learned a lot of things through running, I could have actual ideas and inspiration in many ways, not only for music but also for life things and stuff. I could have real feelings of the Earth’s rotation and revolution, season’s changing, especially when I run in the dawn or in the evening falls. Anyway, it’s just fun. I’m a slow runner but it’s just great.
Chain D.L.K.: Here in the west of the world we tend to consider Japan a really strange country, for example, lately a japanese musician living in France told me how hard is in a country like yours to enter in the productive process once you’re out, above all if you’re a bit old. What can you tell us about it all?
Koji Asano: Please allow me to confirm I’ve understood your question before I answer: you mean that, an artist in Japan is hard to continue productive activity if he/she once stop creating, or if he/she is out of Japan? or it is hard to enter to the Japanese music/art scene if you are not in the scene all the time? I couldn’t clearly understand it, so please let me know. Anyway, sure it is extremely strange country! that’s true.
Chain D.L.K.: I was meaning for a japanese worker in general, not just a musician… an average worker…
Koji Asano: Ok, in general – I think it’s strange country and the society has quiet extreme side. I would like to point here that people in Japan don’t realize how strange we are, compare to the rest of the world even in this internet age. And my concern is the average Japanese worker become more and more like a robot, under too controlled society like 1984 world. It’s really terrifying.
Chain D.L.K.: What are you planning for the next future?
Koji Asano: I will continue to compose, writing score in the morning and processing sound wave in the night and release them every year. Also start again live performances this year as I stopped to perform these years for same reason with CD releasing. It’s been 8 years since we moved to Japan from Spain, although Japan is very interesting country in a sense, I would like to move to other country (Europe, America or anywhere) in the future when I get any opportunities. These days studio equipments are quite compact and for me and it doesn’t much matter where I live to compose. so I’m very interested to discover new situation.
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