Ahead of the release of Late Spring, the new album by Japanese ambient producer Chihei Hatakeyama, we conducted an interview with the artist to find out more about his background and musical approach.
1. Where did you grow up and what are your earliest musical memories?
I grew up in the suburbs of Fujisawa-shi in Kanagawa by the sea. My earliest musical memory is when I was in the kindergarten. I remember the song “Sotsugyou Shashin” by Yumi Arai playing in our local supermarkets which was very memorable. I wasn’t aware who the artist or what the song was back then so it was exciting when I figured it out later in my life.
2. What inspired your own music? (artists? films?)
Often films, but lots of kind of things. Most recent ones being David Lynch, and Nuovo Cinema Paradiso. Sometimes I get inspired by paintings. Paintings actually play a big part. Books also. Novels and historical books I get inspired by a lot. The most recent one being a Chinese history book.
3. What have been the highlights so far of your own work?
Personally, the LP called "Forgotten Hill" which I released in 2019.
4. Tell us about the new album - how does it differ to others you have made?
For this album, I reexamined my guitar performance. I bought myself a new guitar amplifier and also recorded using particular microphones. I even used the guitar amp to output synthesizers and recorded it. I stopped using this technique now though.
5. What does the title mean?
The inspiration behind this album was the spring atmosphere. I liked how it has the positivity of the spring, as well as the sadness of that season coming to an end.
6. Where are your fans mainly based? Japan? US?
Mostly US and UK.
7. What are your hopes for 2021?
Ideally, Covid-19 will be out of our lives and I get to travel overseas again, but it might be difficult for the next few years…
8. Why do you think your music transcends borders and attracts listeners outside of Japan?
It is strange. Perhaps because I listened to a lot of music from UK and US so the music that naturally comes out of me has both those elements as well as a Japanese point of view? Maybe that is appealing to some listeners?
9. Please give us a brief introduction of your character.
I am modest, but at the same time like to stand out.