by Fled @ TTT / Tune ouT Tokyo

Japan inspired to start writing his 1st solo record

after years of collaborations and a surge of prolific ideas





Thank you very much for having me.

As far as I’m aware I’m leaving next week. As, yeah, my life is all a little bit last minute, always, which I love. So yeah.

Yeah. I would say some of the most prevalent artists in my life include Bob Dylan, Jimmy Hendrix…those two I kind of see as one in the same right, I think Jimmy Hendrix was a massive lover of Bob Dylan, J Dilla, Jeff Buckley.

Also, the Oscar Peterson Trio, probably my favorite band of all time. When I first heard them, I was like “Oh my God, yeah, Canada’s finest”. Yeah, yeah, those are probably my biggest influences in general. Yeah, things I could listen to forever, forever. 

But you know what’s crazy about that whole story, which I only remembered like recently, I predicted that was going to happen and I’ve talked about this on a few interviews before about how it happened, but I always forget to mention this fact. 

Yeah, they do their thing.

That’s funny technically yes, but even before that I remember I don’t remember their name, but these two guys had a YouTube channel where they like react to music and they were like up at midnight and they posted, they like listened to that album and posted themselves listening to it in full length like almost just as the album dropped. So when I woke up that the morning it was June 30th, 2017 maybe around then, June 30th…July 1st, I forget, but it was one of those, the mornings of one of those days and this YouTube channel had gone live.

So the first time I heard the song was through someone else’s YouTube channel, watching them react to it because that was the easiest way to get to it. And then afterwards, yeah, I download Tidal and me and all the band, we listened together.

I thought it was sick, really cool. やばいね because I was like, I knew that it was going to be a large sample because our label boss had said it’s a huge sample, it’s because usually your sample they’ll 10-12 seconds or whatever the same thing over and over. But our thing they basically like took our song the same structure and then essentially just like underlaid some extra 808 and kicks on top of my drum so that they kind of fused together. And then Jay-z just did his rap on top and then they looped Hannah, the singer, doing the main hook a bunch of times.

But it basically has almost the exact same like ebb and flow as our track. So it was kind of a weird listening experience as a music fan too, knowing both songs because it’s not a cover, but it feels so close to a cover. You know what I mean, so I was like “whoa”, I was proud.

Huge hit. It was like the song of the summer. Yeah. I think it was nominated for a Grammy and I think did we? I forget if it was that year or I think we lost to like Despacito or something like that, but I was like “Well we were nominated, so yeah”.


Yeah, sure, well again, so when I first started, one of the first albums I got really into was The Shining by J Dilla. And if when you get into J Dilla, it doesn’t take long to get into Nujabes because they’re so similar and they’re often referred to as the pioneers of a certain style of hip hop and from Nujabes, kind of backwards, I kind of started looking into a lot more of like Japanese hip hop and the fusion of.

And when I got here with Afrika (Baby Bam), of course, he’s quite well known because of the Jungle Brothers, so I met a bunch of people from the album we made and just we did some shows together. You know you just network and you meet people. And then because I’m a producer and beat maker myself, of course, it’s very natural for me and rappers and stuff to be like “Oh, yeah, let’s collaborate”. So I’ve just, yeah, just met a bunch of different people from around the the Japanese hip hop scene.

I know I’ve met some of the guys from BAD HOP. I met some of the guys from Gagle, some of these crews, a couple more crews around Tokyo and stuff. And yeah, it’s just like there’s just so many people doing really good things here in Tokyo right now. It feels like a really good time to be collaborating on stuff.

And because I travel a lot. I have sometimes people who want to work with me because they want something that sounds a bit British or something that sounds a bit like New York. Or if I’m in New York or England, they want something that sounds a bit Japanese because I’ve traveled extensively through in all these places. So I find it myself well suited to like collaborate with people and fuse different parts together myself.

I’ve met way more people here in Tokyo that have hung out in New York than I have in like London, say…certainly not Bristol. Bristol’s not a particularly well-known place. It’s quite a chill place. So I haven’t met many people that have kind of hung out there. But a lot of Tokyo people who have kind of been to New York and either found inspiration there or lived there for a while, DJing and collaborating with people.

But I don’t know too many people who are kind of doing the New York-Tokyo thing. You recently interviewed someone who was doing the New York Tokyo thing right!

People are, I don’t know, everyone seems to be kind of quite like, maybe like Nas influenced or a Tribe Called Quest influenced, you know. And so too is kind of bringing its own really nice version of that. Now here in hip hop. Again, I think in terms of beats, right, so what I’m talking, you know, I’m talking about how the beats sound.

So that was with Africa Baby Bam. We actually, yeah, we premiered last April, I think we did..we just received the master for one of our tracks that we made. So we premiered it at that show. We premiered the instrumental and (Africa Baby) Bam got up on the table and performed it. And then we kind of went into, because he’s eclectic like me, a set that was hip hop. It was little bit dance music, there was some Cumbia in there, I was playing bongos, you know he was rapping, it was great. It’s on Instagram, there’s some videos of it. So yeah WREP was good. Yeah, I’ve done a bunch of DJ sets all over Tokyo.

Ooohhhh, they’ve all been so good. Meeting you guys at Koara was so fun. I really enjoyed that. And then Counter Club also so many nice people.

They’re very similar in style to like the garage rock sounds…do you know the’s? They’re featured in Kill Bill, that they’re kind of…I think that even the Minnesota Voodoo Men maybe even released on the same label or something, but they do garage rock, but it’s American, it’s kind of American and a little bit British in its delivery, but it’s also very Japanese in it’s style. They have these really beautifully tailored Japanese suits and some of the lyrics are in Japanese too and they just they just perform with so much like vigor, yeah, I love them. All I could say is you have to go check them out live.

So Fabian Yusuke yeah, Fabian Yusuke is the leader of that band. He’s not the lead singer, but it’s kind of his project and well I was introduced to him because he also played guitar with me and Africa Baby Bam when we did some live shows around Japan last year and so Fabian and I, I call him Yusuke, Yusuke and I worked closely to make the grooves as tight as possible because it’s kind of very different to the garage rock kind of style. It’s more like you know, like following the metronome and making it sure (Afrika Baby) Bam’s got exactly what he needs to perform.

So Fabian Yusuke and I developed a very nice musical connection through that and then just a great friendship and now we’re just best friends collaborating on a bunch of different things.


Well, I mean, you know, if I could do it, I’d love to, I’m going to butcher the pronunciation, but Shing02 is the rapper that did some stuff with Nujabes and he’s a Japanese rapper, and he did the soundtrack to ‘Samurai Champloo’ I think it’s called. It’s an anime, I think it’s Japanese American anime from back-in-the-day.

Yes. I have a closed recording session in Osaka, which we leave for tomorrow. And then it’s kind of just, I think the rest of it just kind of enjoying my last week and a bit in Tokyo, yeah, between now and Tuesday.

Yeah, that was so funny, it actually happened by accident. I was in New York and I was working on some stuff, and I wrapped up what I was doing in kind of yet mid-November time in New York and I was like, I’m kind of like, well, what shall I do next? I kind of want to stay on the road a little bit. So then I booked a flight to Tokyo, and when I got here I had a couple of things with some…I want to say clients, but I mean friends of mine around the world, and I kind of had to wrap them up, but things that I could do remotely, my finishing mixes or whatever.

So I finished them and then I just kind of, that was within my first week of being in Japan, and then I kind of let the dust settle in Asagaya and felt so calm. And then I was like again, because I don’t speak Japanese, I kind of…my head was kind of a bit clear, I couldn’t really communicate too much with everyone around me and I was like feeling really positive.

So then I just started picked up a guitar, started writing and then these songs just started coming to me and I was like great. So then I began the slow process of making my first record for me because I’m always making for other people and with other people, and I love that, but of course I have to be quite prolific in order to do that.

So, yes, I have no idea when it’ll be finished or released, but I have three songs written for me to sing and my voice is terrible, but auto-tune exists so we’re good.

Yes, see it feels good, I feel really good about it, I can’t wait to eventually share it with people, but I’m also not putting myself under any kind of time pressure because one thing I learned in Japan is like high quality stuff takes time and energy you know. And so I’m trying to take that with me into my own project.

Thank you very much.



JAI WIDDOWSON-JONES << 8pm-12am >> Sayonara Japan @ Or Miyashita Park 1/31

EVENT: Sayonara Japan – Final Show @ Or Tokyo, Wednesday, January 31st, 2024 open 20:00~


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INTERVIEWER: Fled Tokyo / TTT / Tune ouT Tokyo

Tune ouT Tokyo thanks JAI, ABI & OR TOKYO XOXOXO