Satoshi Tomiie – An Exclusive Interview With A True Pioneer

Satoshi Tomiie rightfully earns his place in C-U’s masters category. This is a man who has remixed the likes of U2 and David Bowie and teamed up with the late Frankie Knuckles on his first ever release! After taking a career break for a while, he’s back stronger than ever and in the process perfecting his new hybrid dj/live show.

Can you describe what you listened to as a kid plus what got you in to dance music?

Satoshi Tomiie: The first music I was really into as a teen was Jazz. I was not a big fan of Japanese pop songs on TV and radio back then, instead I discovered something more “abstract” – in this case the main thing was not about vocal and the lyrics – instrumental oriented music. Miles Davis was my hero.

I started playing piano and I was practising jazz when I was 13 or 14. My next discovery was Hip Hop. My parents bought me Technics and started scratching records and making music on Tascam cassette 4 track recorder. Around the same time I started using dad’s NEC computer to sequence about that time. The music I was making was something like with Hip Hop beats, scratching and playing jazz piano on top. I wanted to do something like this and was trying to be different. I should have kept all the tapes!

TR-808 was on top of the wish list to make beats, but found a 909 for cheap instead. Back then I was into early Def Jam stuff and also into kind of electronic Hip Hop like Mantronix.

(This track’s elements are like Acid House aren’t they?).  I still use the same 909 to produce music.

What do you feel was the break through point in your career?

Satoshi Tomiie: I still feel so lucky to have “Tears” as my first release, working with Frankie (Knuckles) definitely was a great honor and helped me open the many doors. Real ‘break through” as an solo artist came after 10 years, with the release of the album “Full Lick”

Love in Traffic has to go down own as one of my favourite releases of yours from the past but could you share with me your all time favourite Satoshi Tomiie track.

Satoshi Tomiie: Thank you, that’s one of my tracks I am really proud of! It’s clear that I am not as talented as my hero Mr. (Miles) Davis but I loved his philosophy and the attitude to his music “never look back, keep moving forward” and I’ve received a huge influence. My favourite track of my own is always the one I am making now 🙂 A lot in the pipeline at the moment.

I used to own lots of SAW Recordings releases on vinyl. The label had it’s own very distinctive sound. Your last release on Beatport was back in 2014. Do you have any plans to take revive the label and take it to your 100th release (currently on 90)?

Satoshi Tomiie: Everything is possible!

How’s your relationship with co-founder Hector Romero these days? Are you still working together?

Satoshi Tomiie: We are in touch constantly exchange stories and talking about music. We are still a good team!

You’ve got a release coming up on Tomoki Tamura’s Holic Trax? What is it about the label that made you feel it’d work well for your sound?

Satoshi Tomiie: 5 years of great history of music, I am feeling what they have been releasing. Me and Tuccillo agreed the tracks we did together would work and fit perfectly on Holic, we were happy Tomoki thought the same.

You produced this one alongside Tucillo – how did that work? Did you get to the studio together or send bits to one another online?

Satoshi Tomiie: The classic studio collaboration, we were in Tucillo’s studio in Valencia together. With tons of his vintage synth collections, outboards and a big console, we were having a “production boot camp” for a few days and boom! The EP was born.

C-U is all about showcasing new talent. Which producers in the Japanese underground stand out for you? What advice would you give to anyone looking to break through?

Satoshi Tomiie: Not because I am working with him, Tomoki Tamura’s production is getting stronger and stronger. He is definitely the one to watch.

What keeps you excited about the current scene?

Satoshi Tomiie: New music… Always!

We saw (no pun intended) you did an amazing hybrid set for Mixmag recently. How long did it take you to practice and is this way you’re performing these days?

Satoshi Tomiie: Thank you, it took weeks to prepare, from picking the right modules to putting together the rig and optimizing the workflow. I am still at the beginning stage of this setup, really having a lot of fun. Playing my favourite music on DJ rig and performing live set with machines.. there is a something organic chemical interaction.

Thanks to Pioneer DJ, they created a sampler (TORAIZ SP-16) that connects to my DJ setup and Live setup without a laptop. It actually inspired me doing the hybrid set.

What’s next for Satoshi Tomiie?

Satoshi Tomiie: As I’ve told above a lot in the pipeline. Besides this EP on Holic, I am preparing a remix album called “Abstract Nature” on my new label Abstract Architecture. It features unreleased remixes from the album “New Day”, with the remixers including Ron Trent, Maayan Nidam, Pablo Mateo, DJ Sneak, Fred P, Cab Drivers, Brawther, Hugo LX and myself.

Really excited about playing 3 times this summer for Circoloco at DC-10, just came back from the first gig and now preparing my new hybrid dj set for the Tokyo show.

HT23, by Satoshi Tommie & Tuccillo is out soon on Holic Trax


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