Ever since his childhood, Yosi Horikawa has always been the DIY type. At just thirteen he spent most of his time with his tape recorder, recording and overdubbing different elements onto tape, using his headphones as a microphone. Now, although his setup has changed substantially, the same inventive attitude prevails in his work.
Horikawa has more recently been keen on field recording and using organic elements in his music, like creating soundscapes of forest rain to rhythms using the sound of bubbles. We caught up with the Japanese experimental producer after his astonishing performance at PHONO Festival and had a talk about reunion with nature, his home country, and Bento.
Q: Your music seems to be heavily inspired by nature, how is the natural environment influential in your productions?
A: I really love nature. Going up to the mountains, the woods etc. It seems to me like people are forgetting the beauty and importance of them. We can find so much information on the internet now which makes us forget the natural things of life. So I try to use as many nature sounds in my music as possible to make people remember and relax when they listen to it - my goal is to reunite people with nature through my music.
Q:Your music manages to convey strong visual imagery at times. Does that make sense to you, is it your intention to do so?
A: Yes, very much. I want to express my experiences through my music. When I record my sounds, it's not just the sound that is important. The whole process, the scenario, smell and feeling, is also present in the music. When I hear the sound, it brings back the pictures and feelings from when I recorded them. I want people to imagine a story when they listen to my music. I want to generate feelings and create scenarios.
Q: So what is the process of producing like for you?
A: If I had lots of time I would usually start out with deciding the concept and afterwards gathering some ideal sounds for it. Although most of the time it is kinda hard to find the perfect sounds for the concept and instead I do it the other way around. Find some interesting sounds and the concept comes afterwards. It's all about recording some characteristic sounds and develop ideas based on the feelings you get from the sound.
Q: You are here in Europe for a tour at the moment, what is the biggest difference here compared to Japan?
A: I'm really surprised by all the positive reactions at my shows here in Europe. In Japan, I would never get the reactions as I got over here. It's amazing. Although I must say that I'm really fond of the four seasons back home. As I said, I enjoy nature very much. Especially in Japan, because of the vast weather change. It can make you sad and miserable, but it can also make you smile and feel grateful. That is an important thing for me.
Q: Who is, in your opinion, the most overlooked artist in Japan at the moment?
A: He's already famous now I think…anyway I would say Daisuke Tanabe. His music is so original and his sound feels Japanese to me. He is making a new album at the moment which I've heard a bit of. Really good music!
Q: If your debut album was a Japanese dish, what dish would it be?
A: Uuuuuhm…I've put so many different elements in my album…there would be so much food on the dish [laughs].
I would probably say Japanese Bento, which is a takeaway box containing all these different parts of different foods mixed into one assembled dish.