Yasutaka Nakata Interview

Translated by spacecadet

-part 1-

Readers who know his name might be deep music fans. Yasutaka Nakata, 27 years old, is a sound producer who is expected to be a representative of next-generation J-POP artists.

Besides his own unit capsule, he is also the sound-producer of the artists such as Perfume, Ami Suzuki, MEG. And including his works as a re-mixer of songs by m-flo and Leah Donna Dizon and so on, Yasutaka takes part in producing sound of 12 artists, only this year. If we take Yasutaka’s personal works (the soundtrack of drama Liar Game) into account, the number of the songs he released this year are over 70. His sound has multiple tastes of electronic/house/lounge, and some even say he can become a successor to former great producers in J-POP, such as Tetsuya Komuro, Takeshi Kobayashi, and Tsunku.

Among Yasutaka’s works, Perfume songs have achieved the biggest praise especially. Since before, Perfume’s techno/electronic sounds far beyond average idol pops have gained praise from deep music fans, and after Polyrhythm ranked in 4th place in Oricon daily chart, Perfume has become popular nationwide.

“Because I want to concentrate to make music, I do not care whether the atmosphere of the people around me is hot or cold. But, one thing I can say is that becoming popular and record good sales is the job of an idol, so I have always hoped Perfume’s success in business, at least better than my unit capsule. So I think Perfume has at last become its healthy position.”
Yasutaka says like this calmly, but the way toward this success hasn’t been flat. He says making music for Perfume has been always a battle.

“I receive many requests and restrictions. I have to make tie-up campaign song, I have to compose for three-girl singers, I have to make them suitable for live singing, and so on. But if I cared too much about such restrictions I could only make typical, mediocre songs. If I made songs based on the scheme of getting easy popularity, wouldn’t it be notorious? I do not mean to make CDs as a kind of fan-goods at all. So I think it is happy that I kept making songs which can be listened as good music and succeeded.”

-part 2-

There is a reason for Yasutaka to keep Perfume’s songs far away from that of J-POP artists or idol singers.
He seems to think of breaking the dead-end feelings which are filled in current J-POP scene.

“Originally, pop is a kind of music which is highly advanced but can listen and understand with ease. But current J-POP is losing its coolness. I find all songs ranked in Oricon top 10 are so common, and boring songs. I even wonder that they are made by only about a few composers. I think the people in music industry believe in hit-making methods which had been popular in 90’s. And they are trapped in a fantasy that such method will be unchanged forever. If someone shows another cool, stylish music, they say “Isn’t it strange?”

He supposes such situation made many artists and musicians avoid to challenge.
“Looking at bands and singers around me, I often see they are not making music for their fans but for executives of the record companies. But currently listeners have become wise. They can see into creators’ mind with listening a song.
They can see whether a creator was happy with making a song or not. They can see whether a creator was free from business restrictions or not.
I believe that every musician has to release music to which he can say “I love this song”.
If he wants to say “This song is one of the best!” proudly, he must do his best to remove every note or sound he dislikes from a song. I hope the number of musicians with that mind to increase in the field of pop.”

26/11/07. From WEEKLY PLAYBOY JAPAN.

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