Hailing from the modern day mega metropolis that is Tokyo and currently residing in Berlin, Tomoyoshi is one Drum and Bass artist currently making strong headway into the scene. With releases across some very reputable imprints including Nemisis and Young Guns, this week sees his first solo album drop on Dj Okey's German based imprint Original Key Recordings.
The album is an eclectic mix of 15 tunes personally selected by Tomoyoshi to showcase his ever evolving production repertoire. This journey through multiple Drum and Bass sub-genres makes for a varied and wholesome listening experience that encompass influences from traditional Japanese music to funk samples and 90s Jungle loops.
Guestlist chatted with Tomoyoshi via the magic of the internet to find out a bit more about the album, his influences and what it is like for a young Japanese producer trying to crack into the European Drum and Bass scene.
What was the first thing you thought of this morning when you woke up? Coffee & Cigarette.
If you could only eat/drink 3 things for the rest of your life what would they be? Beer, Yoghurt and Miso Soup.
If I could give you a plane ticket to anywhere in the world right now where would you go? The Greek Isle of Paros. I went on holiday there last month, it was a really chilled place.
If you didn't have a career making music what would you be doing? I worked as a renovator before moved to Berlin and I was really into that job. So if I didn't work in music, I would have continued with that. I love to turn something old into something new. That is very relevant in my music as well.
What was the first record you bought? I can't remember but I've got a feeling I bought Cypress Hill – 'I Ain't Goin' Out Like That'
Which 3 artists have been the biggest influence on your sound? This is a Very hard question! If I had to narrow it down to just 3, it would be Serum, Clipz and DJ Die but there are a lot more.
Is there a meaning behind the name Tomoyoshi? Actually it's my real name! I'm Japanese so I thought It would be good to show my originality.
Being from Japan what first got you into Drum and Bass? Where did you first hear the music? When I first heard Jungle and DnB I lived in London. I was there from 2011-2013. I had never heard it before that but it inspired me to make my own.
Whats the scene like back home in Japan? Are there many events? If I was to go out there where which clubs would you recommend? The Drum and Bass scene in Japan is getting bigger and a lot of good young DJs are coming through now. There aren't many events like in England but you can find at least 2 or 3 in Tokyo each month. The best venue is a club called Circus they host events regularly and the sound system is really good.
Did you find networking with the scene over in Europe while you were over in Japan? At first it was pretty hard, today its easier to connect via the internet. For me face to face is very important, since I have been in Germany it has been much easier though.
So you have moved to Berlin now? Why Germany? How are you finding it? I have been in Germany since 2017. It was quite hard to keep working on my music in Japan there seems to be a lot of pressure on artists there. A friend of mine told me about Berlin it seems like a great place for music producers and is still relatively easy to get a visa so I decided to come over and try it.
How would you describe the Tomoyoshi sound? In a word – funky! Not that I use a lot of funk samples but more the vibe I go for when I make a track. Nowadays I am trying to make a few different style tracks and spread my musical wings into more sub-genres. Hopefully I will get to put a few of them in the future.
How long have you been making music for? About 6-7 years. Its still not good enough. Learning til I die.
What has been your biggest achievement as an artist so far? To be honest I don't think I have got there yet! I am only on the starting line now! This year I have had releases on Young Guns, Nemesis and Original key though so that has been an excellent start.
The album is a collection of 15 tracks covering various styles of Drum and Bass, is there a storey behind it or is it more of a collection of work? Before I started to work on the album I had to face myself! I asked myself musically what do I like and which styles of DNB are my favourite and went from there. I think it is important to ask yourselves these questions when you go into a musical project, especially an album. The concept was to showcase my musical roots. When I first got into Drum and Bass it was the earlier Jungle sound that appealed to me most especially the 92-98 era you will hear a lot of sounds inspired by this period in my production, more so on this album.
Which is your favourite track? Why? I love them all, it's very hard to narrow it down just to one! If I had to choose, it would have to be “Funk Manner” or 'Black Smoke'. That is just how I'm feeling right now though, it will probably change in a few days!
Which was most fun to make? Why? It has to be one of the co-labs. 'I Do' with DJ H.A.L who is another Japanese Jump-up producer doing big things for the scene out there. We run a unit called 154Trooperz. I really like doing co-lab's with him because he comes with his own very individual sound which compliments what I do really nicely. I love the bass he made for the track – it's pure fire!
I would also like to mention the track I made with O.R here called 'Kagerou' as well as this was also really fun. Kagerou means heat haze in Japanese. This one isn't my usual style, a more low tempo affair. We seemed to combine our skills really well on this one, O.R uses a lot more organic sounding samples than I do which made the track sound a lot different from the rest of the album so I think it's an important one to mention.
Which part of making music do you like the best? Why? Basslines, what DNB producer doesn't love a good bassline! When I know I have got it right it can be really motivational.
Which part do you find the hardest? Why? I have always chased the perfect snare. Finding one is something a lot of Drum and Bass producers will sympathise with I think!
2019 has been a big year for you, what are your plans for 2020? I have been working on a music and video project with my friend Kaz Shibu which is very exciting. We have made a couple in the past and have one in progress now so hopefully next year we will be able to showcase them.
Finally, where can we catch you performing over the next few months? I don't actually have a lot lined up for the next few months to be honest, If there are any promoters that would like to book me hit me up on email@example.com.
The 'Black Smoke' Album is available from Junodownload now!
Tomoyoshi - Facebook - Soundcloud - Twitter
Original Key Recordings - Facebook - Soundcloud