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Five Minutes With: Makoto

Five Minutes With: Makoto

Interview: Damian B

Makoto will need no introduction to those traditionally down with that full-blooded late night liquid soul sound soaked through with similar (Human) elements such as Marky’s Innerground, the Soul:r flair and that certain slick flex to which Good Looking would seek to make claim.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Bukem’s label has recently dropped a beautiful retro-snapshot of Makoto in the form of ‘Producer 08’ series. A more spine-tingling snap-shot of Makoto and D&B history you will not find. Check it out…

But is the producer in question resting on his quite well-earned laurels, treating this release as a complacent slab of past glories? And is he perhaps mellow and quietly spoken about such a prospect?

No chance. Makoto is D&B to the core: fast, focussed and forward-thinking.

Firstly I’d like to make things clear, this album is a collection of my early works between 1999 and 2002 on Good Looking Records. So it’s not really an album but kind of a “best-of” collection from that
era.

Sir I totally know. But what struck me was the echoes from that time to what you do now… the 70s vibe is there for example. Was it done by you solo? I know you’ve worked with others as we discussed previously. I wondered if any live sessions went down?

During the time I made those tunes, I was into 70s music very much. And, aside from the vocals and a few of the guitar samples, I did all of it on my own, actually. At that time I had been saving up to buy a Fender Rhodes! I must add: none of this was done ‘live’, as such.

Do you think the sound is typical of the gear you used then?

Let’s say that since then my production quality has improved, but my creativity doesn’t depend on my computer.

What would you say is your favourite piece of studio equipment?

Before it was the Fender Rhodes, but recently I am really loving my analog synths, especially the Moog and old Roland stuff.

I’ve sort of delineated between the non-D&B and the D&B material here. In regard to the D&B tunes back then, did they come from a similar time of creativity?

Yes, they were produced around the same time. I really wanted a 70s vibe in there.

It leads to something which I can understand Good Looking really being into, especially back then, so how did the initial linkup happen?

Back around ’98 or ’99, I sent them a cassette demo and Bukem replied with a letter saying “change the beat.” I fixed it, sent it back, and then they sent me a contract.

Effective! Do you feel you have changed since the original inception of this music or is your outlook as an artist the same?

No, it hasn’t changed – I just wanna make what I like: I’ve always been like that. But the music I want to make doesn’t all have to be the same tempo.

Back to the 70s, it’s such a broad topic of discussion of style: it could be soul, disco, it could be punk/new wave, it could be pop music, so what’s something you’d cite that destroys?

The 70’s influence for my tunes came from artists such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and Leroy Hutson, but you know… my musical texture was definitely influenced by Goldie’s Inner City Life!

The title is ‘Producer’ so would you say you’re happier behind the decks or in the studio? Both are overt and implicit forms of production.

I feel split half-and-half on that one. Right now I’m really enjoying both. Live, I’m happy anywhere in front of a crowd that is really interested in hearing my kind of music.

What sort of spots? I mean it could be the great sound system, it could also be the great decor! What places loom large in your mind as being nice to play?

Womb in Tokyo has a cool design and the crowd just goes nuts! I also loved The End in London.

And bang up to now, what are you listening to and feeling?

I’m really into early 80’s boogie and disco right now. But for newer music I’m listening to a lot of the deep house and techno that is coming out; I feel like those tracks are really creative.

What’s something you’d leave with us on the forward-thinking tip?

My next release will be the ‘Primitive EP’ on R&S sister label Apollo Records in early October, I’m really excited about this release as it’s getting a great response. The EP includes three tracks in the 125-130BPM range as well as two non-beat tracks like a kind of the soundtrack. I’m also thinking of doing boogie/disco album with alias name and working on a full album for Apollo Records.

Drum&BassArena Editor: Dave Jenkins has documented beats for over 15 years working with the likes of UKF, Mixmag, DJ Mag, iDJ, Bandcamp, Resident Advisor, Radio 1 Xtra and many more.

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