This is a 2003 interview with Nujabes about his debut album, Metaphorical Music. It’s kind of special in that it is one of very few interviews ever given by Nujabes. According to friends who were speaking about him in a posthumous Japan Times article, this is “the only interview they could remember him ever doing.” That certainly makes this a rare treat.
A special shout-out to members of the r/Nujabes community for pointing me in the direction of this interview. I only wish it was ten times longer! (Interestingly, while the article was first published in 2003 and reprinted online in 2020, both versions had a couple of sentences missing between them. I carefully compared the two to make this translation as complete as possible.)
Happy birthday, Nujabes.
Interview & text: Sound & Recording Magazine (October 2003 Issue) (Japanese text)
Photography: 八島崇 (except ※)
English translation: Henkka
Nujabes links: Website, Twitter
Nujabes is a talented underground hip hop track maker who has been gaining prominence for his work published through the Hydeout Productions label in which he takes his sampling sources and puts them to their best use. On his first solo album, Metaphorical Music, he makes the listener rediscover the appeal of said sampled music by interweaving it with spirited MC’s and jam sessions with live instrumentalists.
We visited Nujabes at his private studio where he made the album to ask him about his track making process.
This is an interview about Uyama Hiroto‘s third full-length album, freeform jazz. Joining Uyama here is close friend Hashimoto Toru. This interview is particularly recommended reading for fans of Nujabes, who comes up quite a bit during the discussion.
Interview & text: Sawada Daisuke (Japanese text)
English translation: Henkka
Uyama Hiroto on the web: Website, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp
Note: You can buy freeform jazz from CDJapan.
Hashimoto Toru & Uyama Hiroto
Nujabes’ right-hand man Uyama Hiroto & Hashimoto Toru talk “freeform”—
Uyama’s unconventional, “emotionally Japanese” new release
A longtime supporting member of the late Nujabes, in his own works the multi-instrumentalist Uyama Hiroto continues to weave worlds of beautiful lyricism. While his sound had already become quite varied on his previous release freedom of the son (2014), there was still a tendency for it to be summarily labeled as merely “jazzy hip hop.”
However, his new album freeform jazz—released two years later—is a work which clearly defies the aforementioned categorization. It is, as implied by the title, a work that is free in form. Alongside the beautiful ensembles characteristic of Uyama, the release is filled with freaky beats, experimental ideas, and dope song progressions, lulling the listener into a false sense of security.
In addition to Uyama himself we also welcomed a close acquaintance of his, editor and music compiler Hashimoto Toru (SUBURBIA), to discuss at length the tremendously adventurous freeform jazz.
I’ve been meaning to write a post, any post, anything at all about Nujabes for the past three years. It’s never amounted to more than a couple of words here, a couple of words there, a nod in his direction by naming this site after a song of his… but ultimately my thinking has been, “what on earth could I say about Jun Seba that hasn’t been said before and better than I ever could?“
The answer is “probably nothing.” But hey.