SXSW 2010: Omodaka

Posted on Mar 9th 2010 for AOL Spinner by Annamarya Scaccia

OmodakaJapan-based Omodaka is a collaborative project between core members Soichi Terada and Kanazawa Akko, and a revolving door of visual artists that fuses computerized monoliths, traditional Japanese folk and dissident stills and art pieces to create offbeat electronic paradigms. Since starting in 2001, the avant-garde collective has released seven EPs and a batch of singles on Terada’s Far East Recordings label, which he created solely for that purpose. Terada and his crew will make their way Stateside for their first-ever stop at this year’s SXSW. The 44-year-old Terada recently spoke with Spinner from his home in Tokyo about the meaning behind the project’s name and the influence of computer science.

When and why did you form Omodaka?
It might be in 2001, when the first song was made and [we] began to try to make [the] music video.

What’s the meaning behind the name Omodaka?
Omodaka is a name of a Japanese emblem, and also a name of a plant that stands near water. I [wanted] to collaborate [with] some movie directors, and I needed a name of this project, so I made up my mind to put the name of this project as Omodaka, which is [also] my family emblem.

How did you come to work with Kanazawa Akiko for this project?
In 1990, I took a participation to remix [a] project of her. I was so interested in [the way she] sings and her tone at that time. After 10 years, I [asked] her to sing in my project.

Visually, you work with various artists. How do you choose which artists to work with?
One day, I went [to] an exhibition of motion graphics in 2000. I was knocked over to see that and tried to contact to them. They were Nendo graphix and Power graphix [and] that introduced [me to] other visual artists.

The sound of Omodaka is somewhat obscure, a mixture of traditional Japanese folk [Minyo] and electronica. How would you describe your sound?
I could not describe the sound myself. Sometimes I [feel] that I just made a musical sushi — recorded vocals are grasped on 8-bit flavored rice ball as backing tracks.

Did your study of computer science at the University of Electro-Communications have any influence on what Omodaka’s music would ultimately sound like?
In school, I was a lazy student so there might be no influences on Omodaka or I couldn’t recognize some influences from my experiences.

What else influences Omodaka’s music?
All kinds of electronic music [and] music videos that do not [show] the performer’s and personal computer’s ability.

Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
I used to play Beatles songs with an electric organ in my childhood, [so] I suppose I am a kind of Beatles person.

What are your absolute survival must-haves when performing or attending a festival?
Batteries for my small game consoles. I am going to use my game consoles as instruments. They are PSP, DS Life and Game Boy Color.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on tour?
When we were waiting in an airport, I saw some staff throwing the baggage into the belt carrier. That makes me frightened so much.

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