Interview: Uyama Hiroto

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Downtempo/ambient jazz hip-hop has an affluent fan base around the world, and will likely turn you into a fiend from the first time you hear an Uyama Hiroto production. Often laced with lyrics from some of the best MC's in the underground scene, Hiroto-san's music links jazz-hop artists, producers, and listeners, from across the planet, with the common interest of a beautiful sound and conscious lyrics. We were recently able to talk to Hiroto-san about his inspiration, influences, and newest album, Freedom of the Sun. MS: When did your love for music begin? UH: My love for music started when I was about 3, since my parents were always listening to jazz. 私は3歳くらいから、音楽が好きだったと思います。いつも父と母がソウルやジャズを聴かせてくれていました。

MS: How did you start to make music? UH: I started composing when I was about 10 for a school festival. At that time I had a Casio family keyboard and made simple sequences. Around 13, I bought CBX-T3 and started DTM. At that time I had to use MS-DOS which took me a while to learn how to use and get used to it. 10歳位に学校の文化祭の為に作曲を始めました。その時はカシオのファミリーキーボードを使って簡単にシーケンスを組んでいました。 13歳の頃には、CBX-T3を買ってDTMを始めていました。まだMS-DOSの時代で、コンピューターのプログラムを覚えるのが大変でした。

MS: What are some of the best experiences you’ve had through music? UH: It is amazing how I can connect with people's feelings and emotions through music. It is definitely a one and only experience. 音楽を作って人の感情や心の中の情景とシンクロできる事が、とても素晴らしい。最大の経験だと思います。

MS: Your music is full of soothing brass instruments and smooth key riffs that send a sensation of wonder to the listeners’ ear. Who are some of your biggest influences within the music industry? UH: Artists' like John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, John Hicks, Keith Jarrett has inspired me, but it would be an endless list to name all of my inspirational artists. 影響を受けたのは、john coltrane、pharoah sanders、john hicks、keith jarrettなど、他にも沢山のアーティストがいますが、全てを挙げるのは難しいです。

MS: Who or what inspires you outside of the music realm? UH: I love riding my motorcycle to somewhere with an amazing view; physically experiencing nature inspires me a lot. 音楽以外では、バイクで景色の良い場所に走りに行ったりします。身体で体感できる自然の素晴らしさには、とても影響を受けています。

MS: Are there any creative outlets other than music in which you partake in? UH: Of course, just like the cover of waltz, I draw, I take photos, and customize bikes. I'm the kind of person that immerses myself into something that I enjoy doing. Check my instagram, and you'll see! もちろん、waltzのジャケットの様に、絵も描くし、写真なんかも好きです。バイクをカスタムするのも好きだし、好きなものにはとことん没頭します。 インスタグラムをチェックすると、その様子が分かりますよ。

MS: You have just released your second album, “Freedom of the Son.” Can you tell us a little bit about the thought process and ideologies behind this album? UH: Music is freedom and thinking about that I symbolized my music as my son. There are things that symbolizes "freedom" hidden in this album. 音楽は自由、それを僕の音楽(息子)に当てはめました。自由な思想はこのアルバムの様々な部分に表れていると思います。

Is there an overall message the album portrays? UH: I wrote this message on the back of my album.

"Music is air. Scene and feeling that is in my mind. Air becomes the vibration that moves the waves, and creates new scenes and senses. Music has no shape. Music is something that resonates in my soul. They change their shapes into something more obvious and becomes new emotion in your mind. Behind that mirror of the disk, There is a bridge and it connects my specially scene and senses to your soul. You've taken them, A great thanks to you

Music is vibrates with you..."

アルバムの裏側にこのメッセージを書きました。

“音楽は空気。 自分の中にある情景や感覚。 空気は振動し波となり、あなたの中で新しい情景や感覚となる。 音楽は無形。 自分の魂と共鳴する自由な音楽達。 それらは有形なものへと変化し、 あなたの手元で新しい温もりとなる。 この円盤の鏡の向こう側には、 自分の特別な情景や感覚と、あなたの心を繋げる架け橋がある。 手にとってくれたあなたに最大限の感謝と共に、、

音楽は振動していく。"

Ms: You've worked closely with artists such as Pase Rock and Cise Starr, lead vocalist of C.Y.N.E. What is it like creating with them? UH: I've been working with them for a long time, so it's very easy to work with them. They have a sensitivity like a Japanese person and even without telling them exactly what I want, they will rap something that goes perfectly with what I had imagined. 彼らとは長い付き合いで、とても共作しやすいです。凄く日本人的な感性を持っていて、こちらの意図している事を細かく伝えなくても、私の頭の中にあるイメージのままでラップしてくれます。私の作ったビートに命を吹き込んでくれる最高のアーティスト達です。

MS: How do you produce a track differently when someone has lyrics for it? UH: In my case, I don’t create music thinking this is for a rap song or instrumental. I just send my music to an artist that I think would go well with what I've created and ask them to write lyrics based on what they thought listening to my music. 私の場合、これはラップ用とか、インストとかは特に意識して作っていません。これに誰かのラップが乗ったら良いなと思ったものを、アーティストに送り、 それを聴いてもらって感じてもらった事をリリックにしてもらっています。

MS: Deep reds, yellows, pinks, and oranges have been used for both albums “Freedom of the Son” and “A Son of the Sun.” Why are these colors always used? UH: Simply because the image of this album just made me think of warm colors, and this album is a continuation of my 1st album’s world. 単純にアルバム全体を通して感じた色が暖色系だったからです。また、前作の世界観からの続編的な意味合いも持たせているので、このような色使いとなりました。

MS: Who are the artists that created the covers? How did each album cover relate to the music on each album? UH: FJD is the artist who created the covers. He listened prior to completion of the album and he painted from music of my spiritual world. これを描いてくれたのはFJDです。「各タイトルともに音楽を先に聴いてもらって、音楽で表現した精神世界を絵で具現化してもらいました」

MS: The words sun and son play a consist theme within your album titles and album artwork. What does this symbolize to you? UH: Sun means exactly what it sounds like; the warmth and the light of the sun. Son, symbolizes myself, music and the air. 太陽は、まさに太陽の光や暖かみなど。息子は、私自身、そして私が作った音楽、空気などを比喩表現しています。

MS: Are there any other underlying themes or messages laced within your music? UH: All the love I have for the music I've listened to, and how that became a base and an inspiration for me to create my own music. It makes me feel like things just made a full circle. 根底には、私の聴いてきた音楽達への愛があり、それらが私なりのフィルターを通して羽ばたいていく、輪廻のようなものを感じています。