The techno sweetie talks Tokyo, Berlin and her new album iSH
By: Dan Grunebaum | Jun 15, 2012 | Issue: 951 | No Comments | 7,781 views

Photo by Sylvia Stäinhauser

“Panic!” shouted the legendary YMO frontman Ryuichi Sakamoto about Berlin-based Japanese producer Kyoka’s music. “It sounds like a toy box turned upside-down. How can she make such pretty and chaotic sounds? I love it!”

Kyoka has been touring for over a decade, signing with key German label Raster Noton in 2008. Metropolis chatted with Kyoka about her techno-pop deconstructions after her recent visit for the SonarSound Tokyo festival.

Why did you decide to base your music career in Berlin?

I’d been traveling to various countries to gig since 2001, while looking for a place to settle down. I thought about NYC, LA or Paris before I visited Berlin. But once I went to Berlin, I felt really comfortable and that the city would provide a nice motivation for my music.

How does the Berlin music scene compare to Tokyo’s?

The music scene there is simpler, but stronger than in Tokyo. The audience knows what they want to hear.

Tell us how you hooked up with Raster Noton.

I was DJing in a cafe in Berlin one day. One audience member told me she liked some sounds I played there. She brought her friend (renowned German electronic musician) Frank Bretschneider from Raster Noton to another gig. It happened in a natural, friendly way.

Tell us how you created the tracks on iSH and why you gave it that title.

One day I decided iSH would be released on vinyl, not CD. I like DJs who play analog, and enjoyed imagining a DJ playing my sounds on vinyl. So my keywords for this release became “something for DJs.” Then I named it simply “iSH” as in “DJ-ish.”

How has your sound evolved on iSH?

I made “DJ-ish” sounds this time. Normally I aim for something a little more chaotic, but this time I tried to give the productions a punchy, sweet atmosphere.

Tell us about your recent set at Sonar.

It was a 60-min set. I tried to mix sounds from iSH 40%, unreleased demos 35%, ufunfunfufu series 25%.

What’s your preferred technology for live performances?

Laptop. Because of its convenience and flexibility. But I also love vinyl and hardware synthesizer sounds. I’d like to perform with them in the future (if I get my own airplane for touring).

What inspires you besides music?

The way food changes color when you cook it. The smells and colors of each city. Tangled electrical cables, strings, hair and the shadows they cast.

iSH is available on Inpartmaint. Info:



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