We caught up recently with Fukuoka / Tokyo-based musician yurei. Check out what he had to say in our exclusive Insight Interview below…
Hey yurei, thanks so much for agreeing to an interview. Where are you based? Do you tend to travel a lot, or are you firmly rooted at home?
Hey, thanks so much for having me! I’m currently based in Fukuoka, Japan, but I do tend to travel a lot, especially to Tokyo for shows, studio sessions etc. I’ll also be heading out to Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong for a quick tour in the end of November.
Can you recall your first real exposure to music?
The first real exposure I can recall, is listening to Charlie Parker’s “Bird,” with my dad in the house I grew up in back in San Francisco. He always listened to a lot of jazz so that had quite an influence on me.
How and when did you first begin writing and creating music?
I think I first started really writing and creating music when I was around 12, I got my first guitar for my birthday and would try writing using that guitar and my piano. Granted, at that time I was listening to a lot of mainstream Punk/Alternative Rock so it was much different than the music I’m writing now.
How did you decide upon the name yurei?
I started producing in early 2015, and around the same time it was also confirmed that I was going to study abroad in Japan, so I wanted to use a Japanese word because I felt it would stick if I was going to make moves in Japan as well. I translated “ghost” into Japanese and 幽霊 (yurei) came up so I ended up going with it. Haha!
Have you made or released music under any other name?
I’ve been in so many bands in high school, and college but looking back they’re all kind of embarrassing so I don’t really want to say haha.
Can you describe your music for us?
To be honest, I’m not even sure how to describe it, but I combine a lot of influences from genres like heavy metal, jazz, hip hop and much more so I feel like I have my own distinct style.
Have you played live recently? Would you like to do more shows or tours in future? Anything coming up soon you’d like to tell us about?
I had a headlining show in Fukuoka back in September, and have been doing small stuff like playing live streams, doing some sets on radio shows etc. I have a tour coming up in November and I’ll be doing a quick round of Asia. I’ll be hitting up Taiwan, on November 20th, South Korea on November 22nd, and Hong Kong on November 30th. I also might be doing a secret show in Tokyo hehehehe.
What have been your biggest influences?
100% my parents. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be as interested in music as I am now and I’m honestly so thankful for all the stuff they’ve done for me. They honestly influence me so much to learn more, and try harder. Not to sound cheesy, but I’m trying to make this music thing work, so I can give back at least twice of what they gave me.
Music-wise, recently I’ve only been listening to my friends, and they def. inspire my music. Quick shout out to my family in La Lumiere, my boy Abelest, and the homies in Curse Boyz. Love you all.
Do you think producing electronic music requires technical or creative skill? Or both?
Definitely both! I personally prioritize the creative aspect, but recently I’ve come to learn no matter how creatively satisfying a song is, if the technical (such as sound design and mix/master) aspect is weak, the overall satisfaction you receive from the song decreases.
Do you tend to find the creative process a cathartic or therapeutic experience? Has creating music helped you cope with difficult times in your life?
Yup, if I didn’t make music I’d be depressed. Haha
Any collaborations, remixes or joint projects on the horizon?
Oh man, so many collabs and remixes coming up. I’m not allowed to say some of the features yet, but they’ll be w/ artists I’ve looked up to ever since I started producing. But at the current moment I can say: my uncle Jaxx Da Fishworks, YonYon, Abelest, Steffen Yoshiki, and the boys in my collective La Lumiere are def gonna be on it.
Outside of the album, I got a lot of collaborations coming up including stuff w/ Japanese rapper’s Kid Nathan and Jinmenusagi.
Any new genres or musical styles you’d like to explore in future?
So one of my collective members, DIVA has recently been on a footwork binge and it’s been inspiring me to make so much more juke/footwork style music as well. Also, DIVA’s mixes are honestly so dope, so ya’ll need to check that out.
Do you have any thoughts on the future of electronic music? Do you think the scene will evolve further?
If there are talented people continuously making music, the scene will undoubtedly evolve.
Any new releases coming our way?
I have a song coming out soon on my friend’s Steffen Yoshiki’s label dosing, and I usually releases singles at least once or twice a month on my Soundcloud, Spotify and iTunes. Also, like I mentioned I’ll have an album coming out early next year as well.
Any artists or other individuals / collectives you’ve not worked with yet that you’d like to work with in future?
I want to make a song w/ a country artist so bad, just to see what it’d be like. Gonna call the genre “tractor trap” or something. Haha!
Do you have a favourite track / song of all time? Favourite artist?
As far as electronic music goes, I think “discombobulate” by oshi might be one of my favorite tracks of all time. I’ve literally never gotten bored of it.
It’s been said that a life in music can be a hard one. Would you agree with that?
Yes. Please give me money 🙁
Do you have any words of advice for aspiring young producers?
Honestly, just keep on writing and keep on experimenting with new sounds and styles. It’s easy to lose motivation, but the work you put in will definitely pay off in the future,
Any other projects on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?
I’ll be doing a bi-monthly radio show for a radio station based in England. I’ll be posting more about on my twitter and Instagram when details are confirmed.
And finally – are there any tracks / artists that are relatively unknown that you’d like people to know about?
Yeah, I think a lot of people are sleeping on my friend Jayso. Not only is he 5 years old, but he’s super talented both technically and creatively so it pushes me to work harder. I’m just kidding he’s actually 17 hehe, but regardless his skill despite his age is definitely inspiring.
Thanks so much yurei!
Thank you too 🙂