Having recently been supported by artists such as Maceo Plex, Perc and Amelie Lens, Tokyo based DJ and producer Risa Taniguchi introduces herself.
We were first alerted to the talent of Risa Taniguchi with her “Calling You” EP released last year. The lo-fi, eerie and disconcerting moods (take a listen to “Execution” on the aforementioned EP) took us on a journey East where, whilst the sun might eternally rise, an undercurrent of dark and often brutal techno lurks in the shadows. We asked Risa to introduce herself.
Who are you?
Where are you from?
Why should we listen to you?
Because my music which is inspired by my classical training will help you sink into a dark yet passionate acid enhanced world.
What do you sound like?
My songs usually feature progressive drums and the vibe of the track is generated by the acid bassline. Usually I work in a minor scale and I focus on the contrast between my mumbling vocals and that aggressiveness to make them unique to me.
Artist wise, I guess if people listen to Slam or Regal, then they’ll like my music!
How did you get into DJing/producing to begin with?
I found it was very easy to get obsessed with it quickly!
My friend at university took me to my first club, and I felt it opened up my world. It was also the first time that I really was exposed to electronic music, so it didn’t take much time to start digging for new songs and artists from all over the world.
At the time I was studying and practicing classical music, but after a few months I bought my first DJ gear with the money I had saved from working. I DJ’d a few years before I even thought about producing, and I had some friends with studios who helped me kick start with that.
I always wanted to make my own music, which I felt represented me in some way, which I could play in my own sets, so this is really why I started to produce my own tracks. I learned a lot very quickly fast and started to understand what MIDI was!
What or who is your biggest influence and why?
I’m an only child and every single aspect of the way I see things are influenced by her I guess. She was a fashion designer and used to work at Yohji Yamamoto, her closet is filled with black clothes, which has of course influenced my fashion preferences.
What have you released so far? What else have you got coming out in the near future?
When I started out, I was not well known and therefore used to just release my songs on my own label in Japan. My first song which came out on an internationally recognised label was “What Are You Doin” on an Italian label called Lyase Recordings.
My first EP followed that on Clash Lion and then a full EP release on Suara.
Most recently my track “Ridiculous” will be included on Second State’s VA SUM 6 releasing July 19th.
Which of your tracks sums you up? Why?
I’d say ‘What Are You Doin’ as it had a lot of the first elements of my early producing. Things of course have developed since then, but I still have so much love for this track and play it regularly now in my sets. It has a lot of memories for me, as it was the first international release.
What are three things on your studio shopping list?
Focal speakers, Arturia’s Micro Freak and Novation’s Peak.
Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?
Hanging out with my homies and I guess a more stable life….
What’s been your favourite place to play so far?
Where can we hear your music?
At the moment, I am mainly playing in Japan, at Contact or some other cool venues in Shibuya.
Hopefully you’ll catch me at some of the venues in Europe in the near future as well! Stay tuned!
What one song would feature on the soundtrack to your life?
Debussy’s Pagodes (from Estampes)
What motivates you?
When I see my favourite DJ’s playing my songs! That’s always a bit weird at first and then it becomes the most amazing feeling.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I am 152cm (5’0”) tall. I sometimes have difficulty DJing as it’s often installed in too high and I can’t reach anything!!
Complete this sentence: At heart I’m just a …
classical music nerd.
What’s the best bit of advice you’ve received?
“Do push yourself too hard.”
Where will you be in five years’ time?
Spending half my time in Japan and the other half in Europe.