We can’t get enough of Tokyo Prose right now…
Two uploads in as many weeks; his balance of naked arrangements and robust soul has captured our favourite summer spirit perfectly. And if you like what we’ve shared on UKF, you’ll love his debut album.
Entitled Presence, the LP sampler is out now on the super-trustworthy Samurai Red Seal. The title is as deep as the beats themselves: connotations of unavoidable physical existence while suggesting deeper ideas of time, everything about the package exudes class.
“I had a few titles in mind but this really resonated with me the most in the end,” the New Zealander-now-in-London explains. “It’s nice and concise. For me it’s all about time; living now, being in the moment or present.”
Here’s his take on both Ventura and Waiting On…
“This is the second track I wrote for the album. I was just playing with a string sample and some drums and it came together really nicely and naturally. I was initially in two minds about this tune when I wrote it. But it has grown to be one of my favourites on the album. It’s simple but effective and I always love playing this at gigs.”
“The album was more or less complete at this stage. I was playing around writing a couple of things and Waiting On kinda developed. I initially kept it in my back pocket, but while we were waiting on vocals for a few other tracks, and things were getting quite tight time-wise, I sent this to Presha to see what he thought. He loved it but said it needed a female vocal. Riya was the first choice. Luckily she loved it and we loved what she did with the track.”
Need any more reasons to file Tokyo Prose under ‘serious dude’? Here are more things we learnt about him…
He’s grounded in music theory… But barely applies it
“My parents both played the pianos at quite a high level. They marched me along to piano lessons from a very young age until I was about 10. Then I switched to the guitar and learnt that for five or six years. I can’t play the piano that well any more… I wish I kept up the lessons!
I guess this background has given me a good grounding in music theory. But I don’t think it has influenced my productions too much. What I do with my productions feels more organic; it’s all about knowing and learning what I like in tracks. I don’t think about chords or progressions, I just go for what sounds right.”
He can’t avoid Calibre comparisons
“Any comparisons to Calibre will always be a compliment. But I don’t think it’s possible to write the type of deep drum & bass I do without Calibre being mentioned because he basically wrote the blueprint. He is the benchmark. He’s so prolific you can’t compete with him. I’ve actually been lucky to play with him twice in the last few weeks. He’s always exciting to see. He plays predominantly his own stuff so if you manage to get a tune featured in his sets then you’re very lucky.”
His dream collaboration would be with D’Angelo
“I’ve always been a big D’Angelo fan. His Voodoo album is in my top five for sure. The old Rhodes sounds and funk instrumentation is amazing. I’ve read a lot about the studio sessions this album came about from… It seems they had days and weeks in the studio just jamming songs by their favourite artists. Occasionally they’d come across something that really worked and from that they’d write a song. I love the idea of just fully committing yourself to the process.
You may end up with a few pieces of music at the end, but the main focus is just employing your favourite pieces of music and influences with a few like-minds, letting any ideas develop naturally and grow into full works. Everyone who writes music is influenced and informed by other musicians and, to me, this seems like a really honest way of creating music. Being a student of the music and the building on from what you love.”