Taka Anai in his Brooklyn studio
Tell us about your favorite childhood object...
Growing up in Japan, I used to watch this 1960's Japanese sci-fi / super hero television show called Ultraman. Ultraman has an extensive family and each family member is a super hero. Toys were made of these characters so I would collect them along with its Kaiju / Monster figures. Whenever Ultraman came on, I would record the show's theme song using my father's boombox. I would put it right in front of TV to record the music all the while telling my family to be quiet. This was a common practice because I would do the same for all my favorite shows. I was recording 70's Japanese Anime songs, sci-fi / super hero theme songs, and detective TV drama songs. I guess you can say that was my first mix tape. Collecting these figures eventually evolved into collecting vinyl records.
How long did you spend in Atlanta? How did you end up there?
I lived in Atlanta from 1993 to 1999. I moved there to attend Georgia State University
At what point did you realize music was something you wanted to pursue?
Although I was always interested in music, high school was when it all started. I was living by myself at the age of 15 as I attended a high school that was located in another city away from my home. Obtaining freedom from my parents' supervision, I started going out to clubs with my friends. I became friends with DJs, and that's when I realized that's something I wanted to do. It was like 1989.
Describe your sound. How did you get into playing that type of music?
Anything soulful, eclectic beats influenced by Jazz, Bossa Nova, Funk, Soul, to Hip Hop, Nu Jazz, House, Broken Beats and beyond.
Which music medium do you prefer to use and why? Vinyl? CD? MP3?
I prefer vinyl because that's what I have been using. However, living in NYC without a car, I'd like to keep it light when I go to DJ. So, I've been using Serato lately. But I am open to all options to be flexible.
How do you discover new music? any secret resources you want to turn us onto?
Internet radios, music blogs or my friends who run an online music store. I also get email newsletters from record labels that I keep an eye on.
Take us through your creative process.
It is very unexpected and accidental. I usually start with the rhythm portion. I loop it and experiment with it until I create beats I like. Then, looping the beats, I add other elements. I keep playing around with it until I get the melody or phrase I like.
How would you say Southern culture/living in Atlanta has influenced your work??
While living in Atlanta, I met a lot of music enthusiasts. Since the city is relatively smaller compared to NYC, it was easier to stay connected with DJs and musicians and to create a scene that crossed over different music genres. I think the friendliness of the south gave me an appreciation and openness to the diversity of music.
Who/What are some of your inspirations?
Early mornings sipping on a cup of coffee in a neighborhood cafe.
Where is your favorite atlanta hang out?
I haven't been back to Atlanta in a while. But while I lived there, my favorites were Homage Cafe, Old/New MJQ, Ying Yang Cafe, Cafe Diem, Dotties, Tortillas, Eats.
What music/album are you currently listening to?
Yusef Lateef's Detroit, Flora Purim/Butterfly Dreams
What is one thing you love about your life?
The fact that I am enjoying it.