Interview: Soichi Terada
Almost 2 years on from his now historic set at Strawberry fields, we chat to Soichi Terada about his early days as a producer, why he loves Australian audiences and when we can expect to see him next on our shores.
Your friendship with Shinichiro Yokota is of very humble beginnings. So much so that your musical histories are almost confusingly intertwined. How much influence have you both had on each others lives and musical careers?
In 90's we had almost same system of electronic instruments like Akai Sampler and Japanese computer and shared our data, so that we got much interactive influences for each sounds.
Shinichiro has spoken of his love for cars and them being an inspiration for him which makes sense when you think of Japan’s manufacturing boom in the late 70s and 80s. What was it about Japan in the 80s that inspired you?
It was a Japanese personal computer I think. My father brought it to home in 1983, then I just began to use it as digital sequencer with an interface that I was getting from a recording magazine's offer prize.
Considering the infamous Japanese dancing ban, what was it like to be a house music fan in in the country during the 70s/80s?
The law of dancing ban was not applicable much in 80's as far as I remember. It began to apply to night clubs again recently around 2010's though, I think congress changed that law now.
Japan has a fascinatingly convoluted history with the US that crosses numerous economic, social and cultural barriers, do you think this has had an affect on how your music is received in “the west” now compared to 25 years ago?
I am not clear about that. In those days I attempted to make house music like American, but I just could not. I appreciate so much that Rush Hour re-issue our music and introduced them ‘Eastness’ to "the west".
Of course Japan has changed plenty in that amount of time as well, what’s the local electronic scene like in your home city Tokyo right now?
I think we have many kinds of electronic music scene in Tokyo not only at night club but small venues. Those are inspiring me always.
Could you tell us about the role Hunee played in getting your music heard across the globe and what kickstarted Far East Recordings?
Hunee was the curator of our re-issue album "The Sounds From The Far East". One day he just mailed me about re-issuing project in 2014, then introduce me to Rush Hour. I started my private label from 1988 and named it as "Far East Recording" in 1991 when we had the first split EP.
You purvey such an infectious joy whenever you perform and I’ve had friends from all different corners of the globe refer to you as the “smiling assassin”. What is Soichi Terada’s key to a good time?
I am so happy to have that nickname! Fortunately I had opportunity to play my live set in many places after re-issuing. Every time the audiences gave me energy and I tried to bring it back to them. That feedback made me super happy like.
Your Strawberry Fields festival set is cemented in the memories of the many people fortunate enough to witness it in 2017, what do you remember from the day and how does it rank amongst other sets you’ve played across the country?
I remember I got so much emotional feedback between audience and me in Strawberry Fields. Then its feedback was spreading out from my mind as huge stream. It was in the last day of Australian tour and an unforgettable moment for me.
What is it about Australian audiences and the dance music scene that you like?
I am loving their straight way to express emotions and feedback!
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year and when will we see you return to Australia?
Now I am making new tracks and preparing a new live set. I think I can probably play in Melbourne again in November 2019 again, even though I am not sure how much I can prepare new live set.
Interviewed by Jack Ball and Liam Moss