Hironori Takahashi is a DJ and producer based in Tokyo. In the midts of his latest release Gravitational Singularity on Seance, we caught up with this talented artist who also recorded an enthralling set for us.
Tell us about your musical background and how you discovered techno?
When I was a High School student in Iwate, I met my friend DJ Dropkick. That was an important turning point for me. Although I already liked dance music, I began to have an interest in Techno and he taught me what it was about.
I started to collect CDs and some of my first purchases were LFO and Leftfield for example, then when I discovered Underworld. They became one of my favourites. I also went to an open-air festival called ‘Rainbow 2000’ in Hakusan with Dropkick. Here we saw guys like Fumiya Tanaka, Alex Paterson (The Orb), Photek and more. That became my first rave experience and I was shocked at how DJs created their own worlds with their sets. So wanting to be a DJ I started to buy vinyls from that point, going to vinyl shops like “Store 15 Nov” in Sendai and ‘Disk Note’ in Iwate.
I met Takaaki Itoh when I was a high school student too. I don’t know if he remembers, but he said to me “Are you a DJ?” because only a few people bought techno vinyls in Iwate, so I think he thought I was somewhat of a rarity.
You also work at Disk Union in Tokyo, so I guess you know what’s going on in the music scene there. Is techno considered an important genre in the Japanese underground scene?
When the big summer festival season comes around and events like ‘Rural’ and ‘Labyrinth’ are happening, many people from different countries come to my shop. There are many famous Japanese artists who do overseas gigs too, so I think Techno has now become an important genre here and, the interest abroad fuels it. But, many teens here don’t have an interest in Techno.
Clubs are unstable and repeatedly open and close, but there are some carrying the torch. I know many people who love Techno and support the scene a lot… Masafumi Take, Kannabi, Nao, Erica, Yuri, Eree, Qmico, Sayaka Ando, Mark Kaji, Blackmanba, Yudai, Shimoyan, Tatsuoki, Norihiro Yukimasa, Masumi Hinago, Kazuo Tanaka, Yamada, Yossydance, Ballack, Rawfila, Jal, Naoki Yoshioka, Sho Mochizuki, Ryosuke Nasu, Toru Ueda, Yu Nakagami, Hirokazu Taguchi, Jokei, AnN, Hiromo Ochi, Nob, Gokijet and more.
If you want to know real Japanese Techno you should come to the underground events they play. There is also an event called ‘Mountain Massive’ in my hometown Iwate that is in a great location and hosts a lot of leading DJs from the scene.
By listening to your releases on Informa, Chronicle and Arts it seems that you intuitively vary between different techno styles; like it’s all about expression through music. It’s difficult to “pin-point” your style, what is your philosophy behind your music?
When I release music, it is usually the label that has selected the tracks, so if you feel such a difference, it might be that of the labels choosing. I just make tracks that I love, there is no kind of special philosophical meaning while I produce, but I am always conscious of creating my own world or style in my tracks.
Let’s talk about your latest release on EP on Seance. How does the name Gravitational Singularity connect with these two tracks?
My track names like “Millios” and “Misrandros” don’t have a special meaning, I just focus on the sounds. Some people think these are a character from a myth for example, others a phenomenon or something. I titled my EP “Gravitational Singularity” because it felt like the pressure from the two tracks was something beyond human force or mortal control.
You also did a podcast for us, tell us about your process with recording it. Was it planned or just a spontaneous joy ride?
Yes, it was just a spontaneous joy ride. I was very happy to receive my Seance record in time and to include something in this all vinyl mix for you.
Finally, we have to say thank you! Do you have anything in store that we should be looking out for?
My next release is likely to be early next year, I will also have a track on a VA and some remix works too. I had a great experience for my first overseas gig in Georgia this year and I hope to get the opportunity to visit more great places very soon 🙂