Shingo Nakamura – one of the brightest-burning stars of the progressive house scene, one of the biggest names in the Silk Music roster and revered as a melodic musical genius by fans, fellow producer/DJs and critics alike. His debut album ‘Sapporo’ received a rapturous reception earlier this year, so I wanted to talk to Shingo to find out how that felt as well as more about ‘Sapporo’, his musical influences and inspirations, forthcoming releases, collaborations, branching out into DJ gigs, top tracks and what the future holds…
Hi Shingo. Let’s start out by talking about your debut artist album, ‘Sapporo’. The name comes from the town you live in – how much would you say that Japan and your origins influenced the music on the album?
My motives and inspirations for making music are ordinary life, changing feelings, travelling, beautiful landscapes and so on. Which means that the origins of my music do indeed stem from my experiences in Sapporo and Hokkaido. They have been a huge influence on me, so it’s was only natural for me to name the album ‘Sapporo’.
In some tracks, I tried to represent beautiful landscapes through music. ‘Sapporo’ and ‘Hakodate’ are defined places. But other songs aren’t – listeners are able to imagine the landscape by themselves. I’m glad if listeners can feel things that I’ve experienced or they have imagined.
On the album you collaborated with fellow Japanese artists Kyohei Akagawa and Kazusa – are there any other up and coming Japanese producers who we should be looking out for?
In my opinion, the hottest Japanese producer on the scene is KaNa, a Japanese female producer who has already released on labels including Arrival, Unearthed and Otographic. I’m a fan of her melodies and incredible ideas for making music. Her masterpiece remix work, Tomoyuki Sakakida – ‘Fraibow’ (which I also remixed), creates a completely different sound to the original. The original is very trancey, but her remix changes the track to house through changing the chords – and the breakdown starts with a sound of an opening music box before the melody. The idea for the remix is fantastic! In trance – another of my favourite genres – Nhato and Sou Kanai are my ones to watch.
You’ve stated previously that James Grant’s visit to Japan when you were 19 was a big inspiration for you. Who else has inspired/influence you to make music during your career?
The man I’ve been most influenced by is Alex Mango, manager of Mango Alley. After signing ‘Alice In Wonderland’, my first release on Silk Digital, I started making a remix of Orion, J.Shore & Mango – ‘Raining In Osaka’. I chatted with him about my remix and I had received a lot of advice about it, but at first I couldn’t express my style – I was a little nervous because it was my first remix for a foreign label. But through Alex’s advice, I was able to finish the remix. And actually, the plan to release my album was originally his suggestion. I definitely couldn’t have made it a reality without him.
How much input/support did the Silk team give you while you were making ‘Sapporo’?
The team allowed me to make the album exactly as I wanted to. So I was able to spend 2 years making it, and to express sounds freely the way I wanted to.
‘Sapporo’ received rave reviews from the EDM community and fans alike – how did that feel?
I’m really happy to have received so much positive feedback. Some listeners have even said that they want to visit Sapporo and Hakodate because of the album! I’m glad many listeners were interested in Hokkaido.
With ‘Sapporo’ out, what are you currently working on and what’s coming up next for you?
In December I have 2 remixes of vocal tracks coming out – the first is Oza & T4L ‘Remember That’ (out now on Enhanced Recordings) and the second is DJ Yoko feat. MASMIN – Howling Soul 2011 (out now on Galaxy Recz).
And in 2012, some single cuts from ‘Sapporo’ will be released with some remixes. Plus new original tracks called ‘There For Me’ and ‘Perception’ will be also released.
But before that, I’ll actually have a short rest this winter. I’d like to try a new style, maybe uplifting progressive house. I think you’ll be able to listen to my new style next spring or summer!
Who haven’t you worked with yet who you’d like to?
I’ve worked with my favorite progressive house artists like Mango, Kyohei Akagawa and Kazusa – so for the next collaboration, I’d like to work with artists from another style or genre. Tom Fall is one of my top picks I hope to work with. His latest remix of Orion & J. Shore – ‘White Birds’ is massive!
And actually I’m going to work on collaborations with Justin OH and B.O.N.G, which should be great tracks!
Who would be your dream artist to remix, and who would you most like to remix one of your own tracks?
The answer to this is pretty much the same as to the previous question – because the aim of remixes and collaborations are to combine my sound with different sounds and tastes.
What are your Top 5 tracks right now?
BT, Adam K – Tomahawk (Original Mix) [Armind]
Soundprank, Boom Jinx – Pieces Of The Puzzle [Anjunadeep]
Mike Foyle, Zo – Simple Thinks (Original Mix) [Soundpiercing]
Orion & J.Shore – White Birds (Tom Fall Remix) [Silk Royal]
Andrew Bayer – From The Earth (Club Mix) [Anjunabeats]
You’ve also said in previous interviews that you’d like to DJ outside of Japan – do you have any plans on the horizon to do that soon?
I’ve had some offers from promoters and club owners abroad, but unfortunately nothing has materialised as yet. I’m currently in discussions again and I hope to make this dream come true next year.
What else do you hope to achieve with your music career – what’s your ultimate goal/dream?
I want to DJ and play my music all around the world. Playing in new places and at big parties would be wonderful.
On the production side, I want to become a true professional. I think BT is the perfect electronic producer. His album ‘E.S.C.M’ is the best album and I yearn to be able to make music at his level in future.
Also, right now I’m a producer of progressive house, but my other goal is making multi-genre music like jazz, pop, even classical and brass music – a return to the origins of my musical life!
Thanks Shingo – can’t wait to hear your new styles and all your forthcoming material in 2012 and beyond!