Carhartt WIP radio travels east and features a deep funky Origami Productions mix by DJ BAKU. We shade a light on Origami Productions, a Japanese based label born from the 'Tokyo Jam Scene' - an underground movement started in the Shibuya district in 2006 involving musicians, singers, and rappers. The scene encouraged improvisation within the diverse fields of Jazz, hip hop, soul, funk, reggae and rock. The results were unique to those having grown up in Japanese music culture. In 2007, intent on bringing the 'Tokyo Jam Scene' to the world stage, Yoshi Tsushima pulled together a creative team and called it Origami Productions, which now distributes releases to Asia and Europe. The label's four original artists: Yukihiro Atsumi, Swing-O, Shingo Suzuki, and Mabanua, have since been joined by three others, composing, recording, mixing and generating their own artwork, as well as collaborations with painters, photographers, graphic designers, and such musical luminaries as Ryan Shaw, Arrested Development or Hocus Pocus, sharing the music and art of Shibuya with the world. We spoke to Origami Productions founder Yoshi Tsushima about their foundation and their future plans.
Hello Yoshi, can you introduce yourself to us a bit? Where are you coming from, what did you do in the past as a producer and label runner?
Yoshi Tsushima: I’m Yoshi Tsushima and I am a founder of Origami Productions. We are a record label that is based in Tokyo and also a team or creators. We support the artists of Tokyo and spreading the word all over the world. We produce albums, do collaborations with many artists from around the world and help newcomers to produce their tracks.
Any role models, inspirations, or benchmarks for Origami Productions started in 2007?
Yoshi Tsushima: No one notice that so many Japanese artists are very creative and that have a world class. We want the world to listen to real street music from Japan. We are musicians and producers. We don’t care what genre we play with. We are just professionals that play music. Origami is a label that spreads sound without business targets. It’s very hard to play out our style in the current music scene of Japan. Luckily, we are still pure and play music to fans that feel sympathy with attitude of Origami. We feel that we have an effect to music scene even just little.
What person can you imagine listening to Origami releases?
Yoshi Tsushima: A fan of Origami people has to be a free mind. Not a stereotype.
What qualities do you look for as a "curator" of music and what process do you follow for getting new artists??
Yoshi Tsushima: We constantly meet with many artists that are free minded and not a typical type. As musician, it is very important to train an instrument, and singing absolutely. That is what we are looking for.
What was the biggest hit so far for Origami Productions so far?
Yoshi Tsushima: We will found a music school. But the main persons are not artists. We aim the listener. It’s a school for listen to music.
How does living in Tokyo shape the work at Origami Productions?
Yoshi Tsushima: Tokyo is a good place to gather information from around the world, to learn and to evolve to create a new culture. Origami is the same as Tokyo. We respect each originator, who is making new things in the world and just expresses his emotions.
What is your opinion on the digitalization of music and new listening behaviours like streaming?
Yoshi Tsushima: We got a new way to listening. CD and vinyl are just choices. We are just trying to make a good sounds and it’s the choice of the listener if he likes to hear it via CD, vinyl or digital.
Can you describe to us the Tokyo Jam scene from 2006 and how it inspired you to launch Origami Productions?
Yoshi Tsushima: There was a time when many people where just making thrilling music but needed more skills. We saw that so many artists came up and then disappeared. We thought that the artists who survived the scene are able to activate a new music scene in Japan. As no one supported them, I though I am going to catch up and support them.
How did you select the tracks for your Carhartt WIP Origami Productions Radio show?
Yoshi Tsushima: We trusted DJ BAKU to choose songs by his sensibility. He is one of the few who are vey skilled in the DJ scene of Japan. He is a genius who can connect many tastes like noisy, rock, mellow, and soul.
Yoshi Tsushima: I was part of the western music department of JVC and did the sales promotion to promote artists from all over the world. That’s is how the connections came up. And I reached out to artists through Myspace or Facebook. They gave us features and guest vocals on our albums, and with some we also played some live shows.