Japan’s Leading Underground Dance Music DJ and Producer Yukihiro Fukutomi
Yukihiro Fukutomi started his career as a DJ during the late 80’s, at the dawn of the Japanese dance music scene at clubs like Gold, Zoo and Cave in Tokyo. At the same time he started working as a composer, arranger, programmer and producer. Fukutomi was also involved with the programming for Pizzacato 5. With his first solo project, a track titled ‘Tokyo DJs Only’, he received recognition as a pioneer and creator innovator of house and dance music.
Since then Fukutomi has been immeshed in the entire process of creating rhythmic music: producing, arranging, composing, programming and remixing. From 1991 to 1995, he released three solo albums and got high acclaim for each one in various music circles. In 1999, his mini album titled “Brasilia 2000″ and 12” remix single titled PEG from Galactic Disco (Hospital) were released and further enhanced his reputation as a top artist. After releasing Brasilia 2000 EP (bpm king street sounds / nite grooves)] Fukutomi was recognized by the likes of Gilles Peterson and Blaze.
Japan’s Pantone music have now released Fukutomi’s ninth full-length, “Equality” his most ambitious project to date. “Equality” unites artists from all corners of the globe beginning with Philly’s urban poet Rich Medina who speaks of inner city pressure. Next, 4-hero and King Britt collaborator Lady Alma screams the house down on two soulful jams. East London crooner Victor Davies teams up for some pure samba soul on ‘All over the world’. And Sweden’s Ernesto teams up with Isabella Antena with a beautiful harmonious Brazilian flavour with ‘Love is to blame’ and ‘Cat and mouse’. Adding an extra edge are the broken-beat London flavoured ‘Road to Nowhere’ and ‘Continuous Function’. “Equality” is a far-reaching recording, bound to further secure Fukutomi’s reputation as a creative force on the world dance scene.
Mundovibes: How do you feel about “Equality”? Are you happy with this record and the reaction it is getting?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: I think this work is my best and I’m happy about the reaction.
Mundovibes: “Equality” seems to have a theme of peace and unity. What is the “message” of this recording?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: I’m convinced that music can go beyond the cultural and linguistic barriers.
Mundovibes: Your music incorporates many influences and sounds. Are you influenced by many different sounds and cultures?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: Yes, during my high school year, I was listening to miles davis, the soft machine, steve reich, the Clash…I think I am influenced by various kinds music.
Mundovibes: There’s an overall mellowness and tranquility to “Equality”. Does this reflect your state of mind?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: Well, I’m no longer a young guy and am not an aggressive one in a first place. Becoming a father may attribute to that.
Mundovibes: How do you put warmth and humanity into your music?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: I guess my preference toward music with warmth and humanity naturally came out. I don’t intend to put those elements into my music but if thats what you hear then cool!
Mundovibes: What do you like about collaboration and what are the greatest challenges?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: The fact that my favorite artists contribute toward my music makes me very happy.
Mundovibes: How are you involved in the Tokyo scene and what is it like at this moment?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: When djing, I’m concentrating on increasing listeners who understand and appreciate music little by little. I’d like to increase not only good audience but whose who understand music.
Mundovibes: What is in your mind when you remix another artist? What goes through your mind?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: My basic idea is to deliver original messages through different vibe.
Mundovibes: “Equality” is a very international recording, with artists from all over the world. What is the link to all of these various contributors together?
The beginning with Isabelle Antena’s was an email to me. I had met Rich before. Other collaborators, I contacted through my friends.
Mundovibes: “Equality” features both dance-tracks and mellow tracks: a little of both. Is it important for you to show two sides of your character?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: It is not really my interest to produce dance track oriented album.i like all kinds of music so hopefully this is reflected inthe end result of ‘equality’.
Mundovibes: What tracks came most naturally or easily for you?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: “Equality”. There had been this ambiguous image of the word equality (equality means so many things and has so many interpretations) and one day it was given a form out of blue.
Mundovibes: What are your favorite tracks on the album?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: “Equality” is my favorite track on the album.
Mundovibes: How does “Equality” differ from your previous two full-lengths? How has your sound evolved?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: More live instruments this time. Especially percussionists….we use 2 on the album.
Mundovibes: What is your primary instrument(s) or equipment in the studio?
software:Pro Tools, Digital performer, peak, recycle.
hardware:AKAI Z4, nord rack2, nord electro, memorymoog, access
Indigo, korg MS2000R, roland-XV5080/MKS50/MKS30 /JUNO60/TR606/TB303
Mundovibes: What was it like to work with Pizzicato 5 and Blaze?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: I had worked with pizzicato five. It was fun to do different type of music and I was able to brush up my skill. I respect Konishi and I learned a lot from him. With Blaze, I sent them a track and asked them to collaborate if they like it. We worked together in NY and it was a great experience.
Mundovibes: Has your “sound” changed as the technology has changed and, if so, how?
Yukihiro Fukutomi: With the advancement of hard-disk recording, we came to use live instruments and programming. We are now able to control various elements.