Where are you currently based and what’s the music scene like there?
I’m currently based in Osaka, Japan.
There are a lot of bands playing — rock, punk, heavy metal, noise, hip hop.
There are a few clubs — drum n bass, techno, house, bass music.
There are some spaces for more experimental music, ambient, IDM, modular.
So there is a good music scene, but it’s all quite hidden and underground.
Only certain people go to these kind of places which is a shame.
You recently spent a prolonged period in London, what took you there?
I actually came back to Osaka in 2012.
The love of music took me there.
I found myself getting into music from the UK when I was in Japan, and I was curious to experience the music scene and culture for myself.
I wasn’t really into electronic music until I experienced it in London. I had some many memorable nights there.
How is it being back in Japan? Did you experience any reverse culture shock?
When I came back to Japan, I stopped making music for a while and worked full time as an English teacher.
Having a routine and not having to think too much was quite nice, after my more free-like lifestyle in London.
The first year was fine, but during the second year, I started to feel like I was starting to miss something.
I missed something so much, I can’t explain what that something was, but I knew I wanted to create music again.
How has it been getting back into the music scene there?
It has been really great. I saw Andy Stott, Mala and DBridge amongst others, and I have played in various venues around Osaka, such as Circus Club supporting Machinedrum.
How did you first start playing music and how did you evolve into electronic music?
I first got into music writing songs with my acoustic guitar, and being in a band.
I still love bands. I got into electronic music after I experienced some amazing nights at clubs in London.
I also became a member of Nedry (electronic band).
How would you describe your sound/the music that you play?
My music, especially, the latest album sayonara dance is like you are under the water.
Swimming slowly, trying to get to the other side.
Last year you released a new album ‘Sayonara Dance’. Can you tell us a bit about it?
I did everything except mastering, so it was a challenge and it took me 4 years to make this album.
I wanted to paint feelings with the sound. I was interested in the feelings in between.
Between the light and the darkness. I was very inspired by Four Quartets by T.S.Eliot
The track in the middle of the album “The lights are extinguished “ has the lines from East Coaker by T.S. Eliot.
——So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing————
Then at the end of last year, dBridge made a remix of this song, and I was blown away by it.
The titled song sayonara dance is saying sayonara to your love by dancing together for the last time.
Was there anything in particular that influenced the sound behind it?
Not really, nothing in particular.
Can you tell us a bit about the process?
I first bought a new computer, a good audio interface(RME) and monitors
Then after that it was pretty much, trying, failing, trying , failing until I was happy with it.
Did you record the parts yourself?
Yes, I did everything in my bedroom.
What programs/instruments do you use?
Ableton Live mostly, I used to use pro-tools but I got Ableton Live and taught myself to use that.
I also used KORG MS200, and Gibson acoustic guitar
Tell us about your live set up, what do you use?
A:I use Ableton push, a guitar with various effect pedals, vocal with voice live, a RME interface, and MacBook
Where can we see you perform?
At music venues in Osaka such as Socore Factory, environment 0g
Follow me on instagram @ayu_okakita
What do you like to do away from music?
I love swimming and going to sentos (Japanese public bath)
Being in a sauna after a cold bath feels so good, and after that I love taking a walk with a drink.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been listening to a lot of UK Grime because of my boyfriend, he has introduced me to some other music too.
My favorite songs of the month are Patience by RHYE and Dismantle by Andy Stott.
What’s planned for the remainder of 2020?
I’m working on my next album!!
And I’m planning to organise a music event with Jack, called 深音(shinon), a night that focuses on deep sounds.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
I love going to standing bars, one of my favorites is Ushitora in Minami.
Base Island Kitchen serves great vegan food. And for a late night Bar Muffin is a fun intimate bar with an amazing sound system.
If you have the opportunity to assist to one of Ayu’s perfomance, take it, she’s incredible on stage and her live music bring you a new world !