Japanese drum n’ bass DJ and producer Makoto Shimizu, aka DJ Makoto, chats with BK before making his way back to Bangkok, as a guest of the monthly drum n’ bass session Phatfunk at Glow (Mar 8).
Your music takes in a wide range of influences, from soul and funk to dn’b; how would you describe your sound?
I’m heavily influenced by soul and funk, and also jazz. I’m not sure how to describe my own sound, but you can hear these influences mixed in a lot. I make music of all sorts of beats per minute, from dn’b to house music. One day I would be happy if people could recognize something as mine straight away.
What’s your biggest inspiration in producing a song?
It could be anything: sometimes it’s the tracks I’m listening to, or simply walking down the street, cooking or eating
From your own experience, how has the drum n’ bass scene changed these past couple of years?
I think it’s changed a lot. To be honest, I’m not sure that I like the current mainstream drum n’ bass sound. The drum n’ bass I love has soul, funk and deepness. It can be very experimental, like jazz even, if it’s a really fast bpm. But I found these qualities missing in most drum n’ bass nowadays. I’ll just continue to do what I love and believe in, to stamp it as the Makoto sound.
What’s your rule of life?
Be faithful to everything: music, people and life.
You’ve toured a lot; which city has the most exciting electronic scene?
I would say the most exciting is London as that’s where the music I make comes from, and so many people there are very supportive of underground music. I always love playing in Bangkok as I get such a good vibe. There are so many foreigners in the city and in the clubs. It’s a unique mix of Asia and the West. It’s so different from Tokyo.
What’s the best gig you’ve even been to?
There are a few: one was in Brazil for the Skool Beats Festival. It has huge, with more than 2,000 people in front of me. It was just an amazing vibe. Even though it’s a really big festival, people just love drum n’ bass. Another was in the UK at The End club. I love that place so much. The DJ booth was in the middle of the dance floor and I remember that when I played my song “Golden Girl” for the first time ever, people just went crazy.
What’s your music guilty pleasure?
The moment I hear amazing music and I get goose bumps. I don’t really get that feeling from other things.
What’s next for you?
I’m releasing a remix album of my previous full-length record called Souled Out in May-June of this year on my label Human Elements. It features remixes from myself, Lenzman, Random Movement, Jabberloop and more. Also, I have two new tracks with [collaborator] Marky which is coming out on his Innerground compilation in April. I’m also working on a few collaborations, like with A Sides, and a new EP of 130bpm stuff for R&S sub-label Apollo Records.