Nujabes “Metaphorical Music” Interview (2003)

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.

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mouse on the keys “machinic phylum” interview (2012)

Here is an interview with mouse on the keys about their 2012 EP machinic phylum.

I should mention that Kiyota Atsushi left the band in May 2021, and he was subsequently replaced by Shiroeda Takumi. Furthermore, it appears that mouse have fully resumed their activities since late 2022—they just played a show in December. It’s good to have them back.

Interview & text: Kato Shota (Japanese text)
Photography: Nagamine Takuya
English translation: Henkka
mouse on the keys: Linktree

Note: You can buy machinic phylum on CDJapan.

Following the release of their first full-length album, an anxious object, mouse on the keys have been dedicating themselves to building up the band through performances both in and outside the country. The band’s transformation towards an increased sense of energy and more improvisation could also be seen on their recent video production, irreversible, which captured their European tour.

Breaking their long silence, mouse on the keys have just released machinic phylum, their first solo release in three years. On its four songs the band offer not only the condensation of the elements described above, but they also demonstrate the new direction of where it is they are headed next.

Now, 10 months since the release of irreversible, where have mouse on the keys set their sights going forward? On one early afternoon in Nishiogikubo, we sat down with members of the band to exchange some words.

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Uyama Hiroto “freeform jazz” Interview (2016)

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.

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Matsushita Makoto Interview (2019)

Here is a rare interview with Mr. Matsushita Makoto in which he talks about his career, focusing especially on his first two solo albums. Highly recommended reading for fans of this man’s work.

On a personal note, I might mention that in my mind First Light is one of the very best, genre-defining city pop albums of all time. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, dammit.

Interview & text: Kawamura Yusuke & Takaki Rita (Japanese text)
English translation: Henkka

Note: You can buy Matsushita Makoto’s music from CDJapan.


At the age of 18, he was admitted to the Nem Conservatory where he majored in guitar, studying music theory, composition, and arrangement. At 19, he began working professionally as a live musician, playing more than 500 shows over the span of four years. At 22, he did his first studio work when he was in charge of sound production and arrangement on Yamane Mai’s Tasogare, after which he would go on to work with countless of artists as an arranger, producer, and guitarist at the heart of the Japanese pop music scene.

As a recording artist, he released three solo albums in the 80’s. Furthermore, he has done pop rock in AB’S, progressive rock in Paradigm Shift and Future Days, contemporary jazz fusion in Groove Weather, a cappella chorus music in Breath by Breath, funk rock in Rainey’s Band, as well ambient music and total improvisation in Nebula and other bands in his search of completely new types of sounds.

Guitarist and arranger Matsushita Makoto, known especially for his chorus vocal arrangements for artists like SMAP and KinKi Kids, his supporting work for a great number of artists, and for being a member of AB’S alongside Yoshino Fujimaru.

Now, two of the albums he released in the 1980’s under his own name are being reissued along with bonus tracks and the latest high-resolution remastering. Those two releases are First Light, featuring first-rate pop notable for its meticulous arrangements and musical performances, and The Pressures And The Pleasures, more closely reflecting its creator’s personal tastes with its strong prog rock influence. Even amidst growing appreciation for Japanese music from the 1980’s, these releases stand out as highly acclaimed masterpieces both in an outside of Japan. Both of these amazing albums shine with an evergreen glow.

In commemoration of the reissuing of these two albums, we conducted an email interview with the artist himself. In this rare interview, we asked him about the beginnings of his career, the time period of his solo releases, and what he has been up to since then.

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Mid-Air Thief “Crumbling” Interview (2018)

An interview with Mid-Air Thief (aka Gongjoong Doduk, Public Morality, Bird’s Eye Batang) about his sophomore album, Crumbling. I have a feeling that any further introduction of the album is unnecessary. Enjoy!

Interview & text: Someya Taiyo (Japanese text)
English translation: Henkka
Mid-Air Thief on the web: Bandcamp

When Botanical House released Mid-Air Thief’s first album Public Morality last year it created a buzz and sold quite well almost entirely through word of mouth, completely due to the high quality of its content.

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