“I was playing electric piano at random and stumbled upon the main phrase. Other parts just followed without a problem, and the entire thing was completed in a few days. It reminds me of feeling mildly drunk.”
So I met Anchorsong (Masaaki Yoshida) in Candid Arts Café earlier in the summer; he's a quietly spoken, nice guy, hails originally from Tokushima, southern Japan; he arrived in London in 2007 to expand his musical horizons fresh from an anthropology degree at Tokyo's Waseda University (there was also a brief stint at language school). He counts among his fans Radio 1's Huw Stephens and XFM's John Kennedy, with his first album 'Chapters' released late last year via Brighton label Tru Thoughts. Now comes the LP's second single, Darkrum, available to download as an EP in GB on 28 August and the US the following day. On 29 September he'll be at Village Underground alongside Edinburgh's Hidden Orchestra (buy tickets here).
Yoshida says he couldn't get hold of anything other than mainstream US music when growing up so played in a heavy metal band; unusual given the all-out electronic nature of his work. He "listened to the same Japanese pop in my youth that everyone else does" (he still confesses the odd guilty pleasure) and after moving to Tokyo at 18 he "expanded his musical horizons", discovering DJ Shadow, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada, blending it with a longstanding love of homegrown talent: Shugo Tokumaru, Bo Ningen, SOUR, Romancrew, Cornelius and DJ Krush. He's also currently listening to Ariel Pink's 'Before Today'.
"In London there are clear trends to the music which people are crazy about," he says. "It changes every few years. But in Tokyo it feels like there's no trends…almost all of the music industry revolves around the mainstream stuff and there's no room for someone like me. You don't expect to be successful playing anything close to underground music".
His favourite venues include AgeHa in Japan, Le Lieu Unique and KOKO, where he has played regularly over the last few years. A limited array of equipment "forces me to be more creative" on stage: an MPC2500, Korg Triton LE, and Nord Electro 3 contribute to an energetic presence. Forthcoming plans include a new LP in early 2013 and tours across the US, Europe and Asia.
"I'm not crazy about being part of a movement," he concludes. "I'm just aware of what's happening. The new and the old; I play whatever I like."