Digiki - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Digiki Takes A Beat Vacation

May 2007

MVRemix: You said that you rarely even create songs and wouldn't call yourself a musician. What do you do for a living?

Digiki: This is a difficult question. I do a lot of different things, but money-wise, my activity is consulting. I'm a freelance consultant in Tokyo, specialized in marketing and strategy. So, I work for Japanese companies and try to inject new ideas in their strategies. I also run the Tokyo Fun Party label with my friend, Takashi Otagiri. I do A&R for the label. I meet people, I give ideas, and I select music for my podcast Polypunk and for the different parties I DJ at. I record sounds from time to time and I am always looking for something new to do.

MVRemix: Musically, what else have you been working on?

Digiki: In the past, I have done remixes but now, I am preparing my next album. 'Beat Vacation' was recorded at the end of 2005, mixed in 2006 and finally, released in 2007. It is time to think of the next album.

MVRemix: Tell us about your next album.

Digiki: I always have tons of ideas and even song titles before actually starting working on the album. So, I could say today that the album will be very '90s club music, but it could end up been very glitchy-electronic. What I know for sure is that I want to have guests again on the next album. I can do an album on my own and I did with ‘Beat Vacation', but I love working with others. It's really inspiring. People I would love to work with on this album include Momus, some Japanese cult musicians, Matmos, Mai Ueda, and a lot of visual artists. I want it to be big, exciting, surprising, and fun for me and for you. I got to work on that. Visuals and graphics are very important. I was about to ask Bernhard Willheim to do the artwork for ‘Beat Vacation' and he ended up doing Bjork / Volta cover! (Laughs).

MVRemix: How do you approach a remix? What remix are you most proud of?

Digiki: I think remixes are still too often considered as boring, alternative or dance version of original songs. To me, remixing is an art and could be as important as the original mix. Remixing is about changing the context in which the elements like vocals, instruments, structures, song title, words that were used. This is my approach to remixing. I always try to work on the context. I tweak it and play with it. Because I can't play any instruments and I don't have a classic musical education, I can't play by the usual rules. So, I invent new rules, new forms. I often play with the words, for example, the vocals, which is something you're not supposed to do when remixing. To play with the music is okay, but you got to save the original meaning of the words. I can't do dance remixes. I know that might frustrate people because all my remixes have beats, but are somewhat unpredictable and non-danceable. I like that. My favorite Digiki remix might be the remix I did for Momus actually. Even though it seems inspired by Dymaxion, I like my latest remix for Canadian band, Numero# too. They didn't get it and refused it, which might be a good sign.

MVRemix: Do you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?

Digiki: I think you can be successful and credible. Look at Bjork.

MVRemix: Why did you choose to live in Japan?

Digiki: I visited Japan 7 times before moving. The first time I went there, I expected something different or a huge culture shock. But when I arrived, I felt at home. I love Paris. Actually, I think I realized that after moving to Tokyo, Paris is a great city. But at the same time, I was tired of Paris. It was too small, too Parisian, maybe? A few scenes, and you have to belong to either one or the other, and of course, hate the other group and what they do, which I'm not comfortable with. I like to be an outsider. I like to belong to many groups, but still be independent. So, that's the reason I moved away from Paris. Tokyo seemed like an easy choice because I knew it a little.

MVRemix: How did you get involved with Tokyo Fun Party?

Digiki: I heard about Tokyo Fun Party through the Cornelius remix album I mentioned before. They organized a party in Tokyo with all the people who did remixes Cornelius remix album, including MC Cat Genius. That was first contact with the label. They were not a label at that time, just organizing parties in Tokyo, hence the name. They were trying to push a new Tokyo scene, with new artists. I really liked that idea, and I met Takashi, the main Tokyo Fun Party guy in 2004, when I played in Tokyo. We became friends, so when I moved to Tokyo in 2005, we started doing things together, parties and all. In 2006, Takashi started thinking about releasing records. I wasn't involved with that at first, but we started exchanging ideas on how to release records, what to do, et cetera. Takashi asked me if I wanted to do ‘Beat Vacation' with Tokyo Fun Party and to have a role as A&R guy, to find new artists for the label. That's how Tokyo Fun Party, the label, started.

MVRemix: Word association.

Digiki: Okay. I thought you weren't going to do the word association thing, which I love. Okay.

MVRemix: Felt.

Digiki: Plastic rock.

MVRemix: Toog.

Digiki: Stylish friend.

MVRemix: Momus.

Digiki: A friend.

MVRemix: Severed Heads.

Digiki: I'm more Talking Heads.

MVRemix: Roxy Music.

Digiki: Brian Eno's haircut.

MVRemix: Kahimi Karie.

Digiki: Sleepwalking.

MVRemix: Jarvis Cocker.

Digiki: So cute. I love Jarvis.

MVRemix: Luke Haines.

Digiki: Luke Vibert.

MVRemix: Close Lobsters.

Digiki: No idea.

MVRemix: Joy Division.

Digiki: Les Bains Douches 1979.

MVRemix: Happy Mondays.

Digiki: Colorful.

MVRemix: Stone Roses.

Digiki: Boring.

MVRemix: The Fall.

Digiki: U.K.

MVRemix: George Bush."

Digiki: Exit.

MVRemix: What is next?

Digiki: We have just released ‘Beat Vacation' in Japan, so now we need to do a lot of promotion with it. It's not easy to get people to know about your record. We have to think of new ways to push the records, with online stores, blogs, et cetera. We are already working on the remix album for ‘Beat Vacation' to be released at the end of the year. I have been remixed countless times before, but for this album, we want to have danceable versions of the songs. Danceable, yet interesting remixes. We are trying hard to keep that balance. Before the remix album, we have plans for a series of digital only single releases, with remixes, new tracks, et cetera. Things are very flexible with online stores such as itunes. It's really easy to release a new single. The big problem is promoting things! As for me? I want to produce songs for and with others.

MVRemix: Final words?

Digiki: Be curious!

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    "I like to be an outsider. I like to belong to many groups, but still be independent. So, that's the reason I moved away from Paris."