Name: Lycoriscoris / Yunosuke Senoo
Current release: Lycoriscoris's new album Chiyu is out now on Anjunadeep.
Recommendations: Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World / Haruki Murakami (Novel); Neon Genesis EVANGELION / Hideaki Anno (Animation)
If you enjoyed this interview with Lycoriscoris, his website contains music, infos and links into his world.
When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
When I was young, the band I was most passionate about was Radiohead. Their music is not flashy, but the phrases are perfectly timed and have been elaborated on many times. They were a band, but not just any band, and their music was very appealing.
For most artists, originality is preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you: How would you describe your own development as an artist and the transition towards your own voice?
Yes, I've been influenced by and have imitated many artists to get to this point. But when I tried to imitate their sound, I couldn't reach their sound and I had to make compromises. However, I think that these compromises have led to my music. My music is the product of compromise.
How do you feel your sense of identity influences your creativity?
I've always had a troubled life, which may have made me want to express myself more than most people. But I don't know if that's connected to my sound.
What were your main creative challenges in the beginning and how have they changed over time?
The originality I used to think about was to express the world inside my shell, but now it's a bit different. Now I just make music because I like to make music, and if I can let the world inside my shell express itself from time to time, that's fine.
As creative goals and technical abilities change, so does the need for different tools of expression, be it instruments, software tools or recording equipment. Can you describe this path for you, starting from your first studio/first instrument? What motivated some of the choices you made in terms of instruments/tools/equipment over the years?
Ever since I first started making music, the one thing that has remained consistent is the desire to create a warm sound. That's why I try to include acoustic instruments in some of my songs.
When I first started making music, I was very poor, so I made music with what I could afford - a computer and some software. I always wanted to incorporate acoustic instruments into my music, but it was not easy at all. It's not easy at all because you need good equipment to record acoustic instruments. In the beginning, I was poor, but I was trying to achieve a simple but convincing sound quality, so if the sound wasn't convincing, I had to increase the number of tracks to make it more convincing.
The more equipment I had, the simpler my music became, but in In the beginning I used to cheat and increase the number of notes, or use EQ and distortion to greatly modify the sound. In this way, my deception technique has improved.
Have there been technologies or instruments which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
I was most shocked when I first heard of samplers. I started with a Native Instruments' Battery 3, not with hardware, but it was the most shocking encounter for me since I was composing with MIDI notes and scales.
Collaborations can take on many forms. What role do they play in your approach and what are your preferred ways of engaging with other creatives through, for example, file sharing, jamming or just talking about ideas?
To be honest, I don't do much collaboration like file sharing or jam sessions, but the small conversations I have with friends influence me the most. It's the little conversations I have with my friends that influence me the most, whether it's how to use my equipment or what music they recommend. I don't know if I would call it collaboration, but it has a big influence on me.
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please. Do you have a fixed schedule? How do music and other aspects of your life feed back into each other - do you separate them or instead try to make them blend seamlessly?
To be honest, I don't have a set schedule at all. I concentrate on making things when I feel like it, but to be honest, this approach destroys my autonomic nervous system and I'd like to change it.
Can you talk about a breakthrough work, event or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you? When, why and how did you start working on it, what were some of the motivations and ideas behind it?
I have fond memories of my first album, Flight, which I released to the world. Dom, the label manager of Anjunadeep, who heard my EP released on KX, gave me the opportunity to release an album after releasing the Drop EP.
In the beginning I only made music for Japan, I had no intention to make music for the world. There is a huge gap between Japanese music and world music and I wasn't sure if I would be able to share my music with the world. But this challenge has given me the confidence that many people will accept my music.
There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?
This is a really difficult question to answer, but for my style at the moment, I would say that it is better to have a stable mind in order to make music. When I'm depressed, I don't have the motivation to write music, let alone come up with ideas. The other thing is that you have to be careful not to go on too many distracting social networking sites. That's why I've decided to stop using Twitter and focus on Instagram.
I don't like to look at social networking sites because they're useful for getting information but sometimes they make me feel anxious.
Music and sounds can heal, but they can also hurt. Do you personally have experiences with either or both of these? Where do you personally see the biggest need and potential for music as a tool for healing?
Yes, I think that music can betray people. Music can portray ideals and fantasies, and if you believe in them blindly, the result will always be different from the intention of the creator, and the listener may feel betrayed. But since the creator also has no control over the listener, it is also impossible for the listener to understand all the intentions and be in the world.
That's why I'm afraid of being a perpetrator, I want people to listen to my music as much as possible, but at the same time I don't want them to step into my world. Still, I think it's great if music can help someone to heal, even if it's only my ideal.
There is a fine line between cultural exchange and appropriation. What are your thoughts on the limits of copying, using cultural signs and symbols and the cultural/social/gender specificity of art?
In my opinion, as long as there is respect, there is no problem. I think that the most important thing is to have respect for the culture, and the appropriation depends on how well you treat the culture. If there was respect, there would be no cases of easy commercial use. And even if there is no respect, I don't think at all it's wrong to experiment with the culture as a hobby. I think the biggest problem is the appropriation of cultures you don't know about without respecting them for your own benefit, just because it's convenient for getting people's interest.
Our sense of hearing shares intriguing connections to other senses. From your experience, what are some of the most inspiring overlaps between different senses - and what do they tell us about the way our senses work?
Memory. The sense of smell is famous for evoking memories, but I believe that sound is also one of the most important factors that sometimes bring back memories. For me, at least, there are times when the music reminds me of a scene.
Art can be a purpose in its own right, but it can also directly feed back into everyday life, take on a social and political role and lead to more engagement. Can you describe your approach to art and being an artist?
I think there are many different types of artists. Some artists are the type to lead someone and some are not. I don't think I'm the type of person who can change people. I'm just happy if I can give people a chance with what I express.
What can music express about life and death which words alone may not?
I don't think it can. The music itself changes with the listener. I think what I thought I could express with music is actually just a feeling that people have already known from the beginning.
If there is anything that music can do, I think it is to create a deeper piece of work, to help someone to feel, to help someone to make the inexpressible clearer in their mind. I think it's the same for any type of music.