Yu Miyashita, who also goes by the name Yaporigami, is a musician shamefully overlooked. In July, I found myself blown away by his brilliant new track ‘#001’, with its mysterious backdrop and seductive groove. His blend of glitchy, jarring industrial noises will make your head spin, but behind the sheer power of his sound, there is hidden depth and subtlety, available only to those who listen closely.
Earlier this week, we caught up with Miyashita to talk music, film and how cities shape us. We were also very lucky to receive a guest mix from the man, which meanders from post-rock ambience to Wagnerian crescendos and loops of paranoid mutterings…
SL: So to start off, how has 2013 been for you? What have you been up to in the last few months?
Y: Not many releases compared to 2011/2012 however I have got a few bits of brilliant news. To mention one, a music video “Yu Miyashita - Mimic” directed by Lucio Arese has been screened at Cannes Lions Festival this year. I have been quite productive and making new tracks day by day.
SL: Last time we spoke you mentioned a sound design project that you’ve been involved with; can you tell us a little more about that?
Y: To be precise, it is actually more of a soundtrack rather than a sound design project. I seemed to start getting commission offers this year and have created soundtracks to include an art project focusing on abandoned bicycles in Japan called C__ogoo. Furthermore I have done soundtracks for forthcoming British movie called ‘Brash Young Turks’.
SL: Is this connected to the work you do for video - for example, your music for Lucio Arese’s ‘Mimic’?
Y: No. Lucio Arese created this video in his own right using all his own cutting edge ideas and skills with no input from me or Mille Plateaux (the label on which Mimic is released - Album - Noble Niche).
SL: How does the process work for films like that? Is the music completely informed by the visuals or is the whole thing a collaborative effort?
Y: As for the commission work, yes, the music is led by visuals / concept / director’s ideas. As for all the music videos feature my music so far, filmmakers visualised / created respective world based on my finished tracks.
SL: Have you got any plans to do more of this kind of stuff in the future?
Y: If there was a good opportunity coming to me, I would take it.
SL: You seem to be something of a musical dualist - I understand that although you currently reside near Tokyo, you have also been active in Brighton, furthermore; you play under two different monikers; Yaporigami and Yu Miyashita. What do you think differs between these two cities culturally, and what was your thinking behind the use of two separate names?
Y: I’m currently at a prefecture called Yamanashi where my hometown is. This area is totally surrounded by mountains with some lakes. Brighton is facing to the sea and has many different nationalities. According to this fact, it seems that I have spent a time in two quite different places. Cultural differences between these two are too many to mention I feel. They are almost opposite. I feel that living in culturally different places is a real good thing to get outside of the box.
What I mean by the box is a limitation line unconsciously ruled in you defined by your background. I always find “finding this line” interesting and try to overlook it (in the sense of taking a bird’s eye view.) Once you realise it’s there, your new line is now outside of the previous line. Thus you endlessly try to redefine the start of your limitation lines.
I started making electronic music as Yaporigami creating electronica / breakcore. It was all beat-orientated until I started making glitch / noise music. I was initially thinking of using the name Yaporigami for that but came up with an idea of using my real name for it not to confuse listeners and thus I use two names now.
SL: So do you think living in two separate places over your life has shaped your sound? Who were you listening to at the time and who are some of your favorites now?
Y: Yes, definitely. At the very beginning of my career I was heavily influenced by CDR (Japanese breakcore artist on 19-t) and Aphex Twin. I remember music from labels such as ROMZ (JP), Planet-mu (UK), WARP (UK) were often on my speakers. My current favourite labels are 10 LABEL (JP), Blackest Ever Black (UK) and Stroboscopic Artefacts (DE).
SL: Last year you released a split album with Junichi Akagawa. What was that like? Is Akagawa someone you have plans to do more collaborative work with?
Y: I was invited to play in Berlin for Mille Plateaux night and that’s where I met Akagawa. I checked his works after the event and found them interesting. I contacted him soon after and we decided to make a collaborative work during my stay in Berlin. It was all spontaneous. We don’t have a concrete plan to collaborate again yet. Since he does visuals as well it might be interesting to do a music video next time maybe? ;)
SL: You’ve played a great deal of live shows this year. What exactly is involved when you play live? Any plans to come to the UK soon?
Y: I have three upcoming live shows:
First one is for closing party of Transitio MX festival in Mexico on 29th September. It will be audio visual live show with great Japanese artist Vokoi.
Second one is for Hz-records 3rd anniversary event in Tokyo.
Third one is for 2nd day of Electronic Music of Art Festival Tokyo on 4th November. Fennesz and Lusine are on same day.