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Interview: Speaker Cone – Masayoshi Fujita – “I’ve never been classically trained”

Speaker Cone, masayoshi fujita, erased tapes on cone magazine interview

For our latest episode of Speaker Cone (our series of recorded conversations with the people doing interesting things in the industry of music, art and Culture) – we catch up with Masayoshi Fujita from London based record label Erased Tapes.

Masayoshi Fujita, known also under the moniker Le Fog, grew up in Japan but has since moved to Berlin. His initial ambient works featured the vibraphone as a standalone cinematic sound, but earlier still are his roots in drum playing and jazz music. His 2015 release, Apologues, is his first on London based label Erased Tapes, and marks a development in sound. Very much in keeping with his strong attachment to nature, his third solo record sees his imagery-focused composition utilize other musicians, instruments, and layers. His move to Berlin has subsequently resulted in further collaboration, especially within their growing electronic music scene.

“I’ve never been classically trained”

When speaking to Masayoshi about his respective cities, it’s clear that each one corresponds with a time and a place, coming with it all the external surroundings. “I needed much softer music in Japan because life was really hectic. Around me I noticed the immense beauty in nature and placed that imagery with sounds. But Berlin has really opened me up to a lot of great art, and people, and life is quieter here so I don’t really have that need for ambient music.

He tells me that he grew up listening to his Dad’s jazz records, and it wasn’t until he started learning vibraphone in his early 20’s that Fujita’s contemporary sound developed. “I’ve never been classically trained. I played drums in a rock band, but always wanted to create my own music. I loved the vibraphone but couldn’t find anyone to play it, so eventually I saw that someone was teaching it so I started lessons.” Whilst the instrument traditionally involves holding four mallets, he tells me about its technical compatibility with the drums. “You are still hitting something, so the coordination is in your hands. At first I started with simple chords, and then moved onto larger arrangements as I developed as a player. I learnt as I went along.”

“I decided to use more instruments on my current record, and even push them more into focus.”

Earlier still, in the previous works of Le Fog, Fujita used the vibraphone, but in plug-in samples from his laptop. “I’d play a little piece, even if it didn’t sound like the instrument, and then loop it. That would become the basis for the track, and then I’d work around it. But it didn’t match the real thing.” He alludes to the natural quality of the sound and the difference it can make to play it in real time. “Even with the previous record, Stories, I had some violin and clarinet added. I just loved how upbeat the clarinet was, and it was something that the plug-in could not do. It didn’t always have the range or match the sound of the real instrument. After this experiment I decided to use more instruments on my current record, and even push them more into focus.”

Apologues still very much holds the same classical purity as Stories, but the sound is deeper and more intricate. The addition of instruments like the violin, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn, and accordion reveal his willingness to broaden his musical palate both as a composer and producer. Both records under his own name, however, reject electronic interference completely and develop in real time.

We end by discussing his recent European dates and his friendly reception in Dublin, Cork, and London. Further shows under both his own name and Le Fog are continuing over the coming months, with a special appearance at Le Guess Who in Utrecht later this month.

You can listen to the full length conversation of our Speaker Cone episode with Masayoshi below or HERE.

Speaker Cone /\ Masayoshi Fujita by Cone_Magazine on Mixcloud


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