PEOPLEText: Hiroshi Kotake

In addition to Merce Death, you are working at web design and graphic design. Which parts are you giving importance to? Also, what is the most impressive project you’ve ever worked for?

Everything is the same basically. I personally think the right word for me is “designer”, and I like to design using various ways of communication. As the web communication is being developed at an alarming rate among those, and I think it’s very exciting to work around the area, it is certainly to spend time to the web concerned projects.

All the web production is impressive as I’ve tried to do new things for every project. The website for Sony Walkman made in 2003 had the core concept in substance satisfactory to me and won the silver award in Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. The award was only a secondary thing, but it was a memorable project which encouraged me a lot that time.

In fact, I did a musical experiment in collaboration with polo-Really for the site too. What we tried to express was outside sounds of the walkmans’ headphones. The system had Flash which automatically generates various sounds made by chopping up the materials from field recordings, and the random music come out all the time. It was a quite big challenge in the environment that it was not possible to keep that much of data at that time.

Are you planning to release recording things like CD or DVD in the future?

I’d like to increase video archives. I used to upload the sound source in mp3, but it was hard to let the audience know that it’s an improvisation or that I’m playing only with the guitar. Now I’m using Xacti, and recording almost every GIG, so I want to archives those. It’s only as samples to call people coming to my GIG though.

By the way it’s been acceptable for iPod video since several years ago. If you have iPod and still don’t have contents, download and enjoy my GIG. It’s free. (laugh)

As for the CD or DVD, it depends on the demand. To me, it’s low-priority.

How many kind of effectors and guitars do you use?

The pedals for the sound effect are only 2, Overdrive and Auto Wah. The rest is a volume pedal and a loop machine called loop station (Roland RC-50).

The guitar is a cheap one from Squire that I bought for 3000yen from my senior associate in my junior high. But I think the guitar is all about if it’s played often or not, regardless of the price. Also I interchanged all parts to new ones several years ago, and I think it makes good sounds.

For now, I don’t think I’m going to change this set because personally I prefer to make various sounds with only one guitar than to make various sounds with various instruments. It’s more stoic and cool making the sound original. To stretch a point, as I recently got a compact synthesizer called Kaossilator, it might be interesting to use it in some unique ways, but I don’t know yet.

Please tell us about CANON.

This work was inspired by the hyped Amateur – Lasse Gjertsen on YouTube, which is the video editor to create music.

I’ve been making the sound source called “Rec series”, which was for example, to play single sound with the guitar for about 3 min each and mix those later to enjoy unexpected coincidence of the combination. Developing this idea, we wondered if music can be made by making the several phrases one, and putting off by one bar as editing. The experiment went well and was interesting including its visuals, so we made several versions.

Furthermore, we tried to do the idea in real time. We asked Mr.ko-hey-hey’s advice, one of our friends who has started studying MAX/MSP recently. And the “Real Time CANON” was made.

The “Real Time CANON” is an expression with performance, there are lot more things to be improved including my movement. I hope to develop it in a good way in the future.

What is your next plan?

I’d like to continue doing GIG at various places as much as possible. I could have my show in Firenze last year, which was my first performance overseas. I hope to go somewhere abroad this year as well.

It would be also very nice to be in some festivals if possible, as I hope many people to listen my GIG. Like “Fuji Rock”, “Sonar” and “ATP” seem very exciting. For persons concerned, I’m always open for your offers, feel free to contact me! (laugh)

Text: Hiroshi Kotake
Translation: Yurie Hatano

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Chih-Yang Chen