Interview with Seimei from TREKKIE TRAX

If you haven’t heard of TREKKIE TRAX, perhaps the internet has abandoned you. If you are reading this, then there may still be hope. Alongside his brother Taimei (aka Carpainter), Seimei is the co-founder and A&R man of the Japan/internet-based label specializing in a wide range of forward-thinking, often club-oriented sounds.

I want to take the time to thank Seimei once again for giving this interview, and wish TREKKIE TRAX continued success in changing the game!

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NOTE: If you (the reader) would like to see more interviews and similar content, please like, recommend and share this blog. Also feel free to leave comments below and/or contact me: nick@thoughtandsound.com

Introductions

(Note: This interview was conducted shortly before the New Year in 2015)

Nick:

Your label-mate Andrew’s article on Block.81 and your interview for TopBillin serve as a good introductions to the label. That said, perhaps you could offer our readers a short intro and then we can jump to what is happening right now for you and the TREKKIE TRAX crew?

Seimei:

I’m Seimei Kawai from Yokohama Japan, currently live in San Francisco, California, since Jan. 2014. I manage my label TREKKIE TRAX’s all releases and DJ in our radio program called “REWIND!!!” on Block.fm Tokyo, with other co-founders of TREKKIE TRAX, Carpainter and Andrew. Also I play in clubs in the States, Japan, and other countries, and I usually DJ with my San Fran homie Grimecraft on his twitch program, “Grimecraft and Friends” on every Sunday.

Other Questions

Nick:

We spoke the other day about musical influences and you happened to mention one of my favorite Japanese bands, Supercar. You have also cited Takkyu Ishino (Denki Groove), Armin van Buuren and Skream as influences. Is there an experience — of a song, a show, artist/DJ, etc.— that inspired you to pursue music the way you are today? If so, could you talk about it?

Seimei:

Once I started to listen to electronic music when I was a teenager, I was really into 90s Techno and House music because of Takkyu Ishino (1/2 of Denki Groove) who is a legendary Techno DJ in Japan’s scene. He has introduced so many types of electronic music such as Detroit Techno, German Trance or Rotterdam Techno (now we call Hardstyle or Gabber? lol) to Japan in early 90s. So, as an electronic music beginner, it was a natural thing that listening to the music Takkyu has recommended like Underground Resistance, 808 State, Underworld and so on.

I learned the most part of the club or rave culture from Takkyu. Also, Armin van Buuren and Skream are my all-time favorite DJs too. I and my brother Carpainter were raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for over 12 years, so we love Dutch Trance and used to listen to the sounds like Armin, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, a lot. We still love the melodic and energetic vibes in the music by those Dutch artists.

Then, once we were in high school, we tried to focus on our music style into BASS Music. At that time, we were obsessed with Techno, Trance, Electo House, and any types of club music. And those music were hard to mix all together. However, DJ Skream showed me that Dubstep enables to combine every genre. He put those different elements of dance music that we love into Dubstep as one music.

Nick:

What made you come out to San Francisco and how do you like it here?

Seimei:

Actually I’m now attending to the University in San Francsico, so taking class for my graduation is the biggest reason I came to America. Also, the size of the city is the key that why I chose San Francisco. I don’t drive and I don’t have a car. Taking bus or cabs are required to live for me. And cause of this small size of San Fran, I am able to see and talk to the people that I wanted to do so. I wished to make connections between me and American DJs, because if you live in Japan, it is really difficult. I know that LA has more people and opportunities for a music person, but I’m actually satisfied with being as a San Franciscan. I have so many cool friends here already.

Nick:

What are your hopes and dreams for TREKKIE TRAX in San Francisco?

Seimei:

My hope for TREKKIE TRAX in San Francisco is to get more opportunities to DJ, but I kinda feel this hope is almost fulfilled. So, for the next step, I’d like to do TREKKIE TRAX tour in the States including San Francisco.

Nick:

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only one piece of music-related equipment, what would it be?

Seimei:

That’s the difficult question, because I don’t play any acoustic instruments, my mother is a piano teacher and she taught me how to play it though. Well, I would say my laptop.

Nick:

Lastly, would you mind playing a game? I’ll call it “Past, Present & Future”. Pick two songs/records (could be an individual song or a release with more than one): one old (past) and one new (present), and discuss their personal meaning. Then I invite you say something about the future of music — for example: where is music headed?; what would you like to see happening for the future of music?

Seimei:

I chose Denki Groove—“Niji” as an old and our latest song on Sushi Records in Japan Seimei & Taimei—“Lemon” as a new. [Niji] is definitely one of the best songs of my entire life and I have so many memories of good old days in this song. To me, those dreamy vibes of the songs that come from their synth sounds can be defined as a sound of Tokyo or even a sound of Japan. I think Japan’s people are so sensitive for listening synth sounds from long ago. For example, before the 80’s, a Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra showed up to the world with a huge impact because of their huge synths and drum machines that were invented by Japanese company like YAMAHA or ROLAND.

Even for Japanese people in those days, their sounds were really weird, but finally they were recognized the band doing computer music. Since from that, the synth sound has become a key term to define Japanese music that current world club scene respects, like Old School game music or Net Label music from Japan. This makes sense that the current scene like future bass really fits Japanese sub culture.

Nick:

Where can people find you and the TREKKIE TRAX crew online?

Seimei:

Please follow me on Twitter. Also, TREKKIE TRAX has SNS too. Also [TREKKIE TRAX on] Twitter and Soundcloud.

Nick:

Thank you for your time, Seimei!

Seimei:

Thanks too!