May 18, 2024

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Interview with Takayuki Murata: Any music is just one of contents nowadays: Videos, New CD cover

Jazz interview with jazz contrabassist Takayuki Murata. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Takayuki Murata: – Fisrt of all, thank you very much for giving me a great opportunity for this interview. I am very happy you know my bass play and memorial first solo album “The Smiling Music”

Well…. I grew up in Fukuoka, Western Japan where is far away, more than 1,000km away from capital city, Tokyo.

My father worked a musical instrument maker and he gave me an electric guitar when I was a junior high school student. I remember I was very excited at that time.

JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

TM: – But (very sorry, dad !) I was interested in bass play when I watched Marcus Miller and Larry Graham performance at the same time as got the guitar from dad ! When I was 22 years old, I started (converted) bass from guitar. After that, I used to play local jazz band and after age of 30, I decided to move to the biggest city, Tokyo to catch the music dream. I knew 30 was too late, but I really wanted to challenge whether my play was good and recognized by people.

I pushed myself to ask courage respected players and great musicians to play as a session, it must be a good experience and grow my play. Needless to say, to play with better players is very important for my skill growing.

JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

TM: – Lets see  For example, fix one play theme, start BPM 100 then slow tempo as half, 50, further play accent on backbeat and so on.  I do those practice very often that I arranged from Victor Wootens exercise.

Change the accent of click brings some pressure to me, but keep playing correctly under the setting BPM.  This is very good practice for rhythm keeping.     

JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what youre doing?

TM: – I concentrate my performance day to not input unexpected information.  But as you know, sometimes I have to calculate and pay the money to live venue as a band master.. Selling CD, Sticker, Key chain, accessories.  Big headache …

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

TM: – All my respected players say that most important is relaxing while playing.  To play with relax, I usually set the out-put volume is little bit higher and save the power for picking (around 60% from full power).

But this play style needs power sustaining…… 

That is why to keep the good health condition, I usually exercise the push-ups squad and other training that I can do every day.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2021: The Smiling Music, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

TM: – I have experienced to supply my music to artists and group collaboration. But this album concept represents Takayuki Murata, for myself.

So main theme is around 1990s music when I started to play music with my current play style. 

Since I started to play the instruments, I studied overseas music mainly as American music.  Of course, I still chase American roots music, but my mind were free to produce the music.

I represent my melody amenably as a Japanese guy, anyhow, album concept is to bring all of my experience and music until now.    

Another point is covid spreading situation since last year, all recording were remoted. I think 2020 was to interpret myself for musicians not only me. So the energetic sound of all joined players were excellent and I am very happy to leave their sounds on this album.

Now my activity, I performe the live stage under the corona situation and planning for new artist produce.  Also prepare to launch my bass brand TAURAM as a supervisor. I hope you will like it !!        

Album The Smiling Music, Takayuki Murata | Qobuz: download and streaming in  high quality       

JBN: – And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

TM: – To join selected top 18 players as predecessors and friends in Japanese Jazz and Fusion field is the most important point for this album concept.

Since Mr. Yoshihiro Naruse(CASIOPEA), Mr. Satoshi Bandoh(T-SQUARE), Ms. Senri Kawaguchi, Mr. Masa Kohama and all players must be very busy musicians, it is very hard to make an appointment for recording.

But fortunately, this remote recoding has achieved great success in this corona situation.  

JBN: – Whats the balance in music between intellect and soul?

TM: – Very difficult question..  Lets see..  If music is commercial, not culture. Any music is just one of contents nowadays, so the fee has been getting decrease I think. Also we con not pay enough expenses to produce the music as before (and time too !)

I think we could see personal performance movies on SNS channels. We have to try new representation style flexibly. I think what is the best representation with enjoy playing ?  Needless to say, all genre music is very good and needed for human and music can make an appeal to their mind and spirit. So players have to be happy. This is important I think  

JBN: – Theres a two-way relationship between audience and artist; youre okay with giving the people what they want?

TM: – I think any listening style is okay because every listeners feeling of the listening music is different.  We hope they do not say negative talk to down our motivation for music !

JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which youd like to share with us?

TM: – Marcus Miller and Larry Graham are like my father not only for teacher of bass play. I joined to jump in their stages and had a recording with Henrik Linder (Dirty Loops).

To keep good relationship with great bass players is very happy for me, I love bass players !!        

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

TM: – Grow the great players as charismatic players with instrument makers and other companies as fashion, media except music field.

If the players are popular among young people, young people will have interest Jazz music more.

JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

TM: – Music has been already being irreplaceable thing for my life !

JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

TM: – Players can get salary CD sell, stage performance fee and artist support about 30 years ago.. :-C..

JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

TM: – PRINCE/John Patitucci/DirtyLoops/AlexHan/Sharkey/etc…

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

TM: – I am very happy if you feel positively when you listen my music and see the play performance !

JBN: – Lets take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

TM: – If time machine was here, I really want to go to 1950s when electric bass was born in this world and perform with modern play as slap and technical play to be a hero !!!

JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself

TM: – Do you think music scene of Japanese Jazz and Fusion? I really want to hear answers and comments from foreigners.

JBN: – Fine!!! Please see in the our website Japanese jazz tags …

JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

TM: – Believe my roots as Japanese people, I keep doing my best to produce my music and play the bass!

Anyway, thank you very much again and I really enjoyed to answer unique questions. Great opportunity!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan


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