The Japanese pairing of Jun Akimoto and Ittetsu have made quite a stir on the East London club scene since their arrival in the capital. Hailing from Yokohama on the east coast of the island, they wasted little time getting acquainted with the finer aspects of the circuit, quickly becoming regulars at Fabric and celebrated Sunday party Fuse. From there things have snowballed into weekly residencies and high-profile releases – about time then that MEOKO caught up with them both to gauge what exactly 2013 holds in store.
Hi guys, thanks a lot for talking to us. Now that it’s already February 2013, you’ve had ample time to reflect back on 2012. What kind of a year was it for you?
Ittetsu: For me the biggest thing in 2012 was Fuse006 which I collaborated with Luke Miskelly. I spent a lot time and made a big effort to make the tracks so I’m really happy to see it out and to have had it receive great feedback. I also went to Japan to see Jun in April 2012 where we did a couple of tracks together. These tracks are also signed to Fuse London. That was good fun!
Jun: It was a brilliant year. Making an EP with Yaya Desolat was definitely one of the best things about 2012. It got a great reaction and connected with a lot of different people – what an achievement!
How are you feeling about the year ahead? What would you like to build upon from 2012?
Ittetsu: I’ve been spending a lot time on production recently and now I’m looking to play gigs outside London.
Jun: Me too. I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio this year so I’d like to get more gigs in Japan and further afield should the opportunity arise…
Tell us a bit about your upbringings in Japan. What were the music scenes available to you growing up and how did your passion for electronic music first develop?
Ittetsu: I grew up in Yokohama, Japan. Before I moved to the UK in 2004 I’d never been involved in the dance music scene in Japan. After moving to London I went clubbing now and then but I wasn’t really into dance music until I saw Steve Bug at Fabric in 2007. That was a Poker Flat night and was incredible. I was so impressed and thought I’d like to make the kind of music he was playing.
Jun: I was raised in Yokohama too. I was going clubbing a lot before I moved to London. I used to listen to Orbital, Underworld, Danny Tenaglia and a lot of the Bedrock stuff many years ago.
One day my friend lent me ‘Richie Hawtin DE9’ and after that I decided to buy my first pair of turntables...
How did you two first meet? What was it that made you decide to make music together?
Ittetsu: I met Jun through a friend of ours. I went to see him playing at his party in East London. I liked what he played so I thought his input could help expand and strengthen my own ideas. We made a few loops together first and after it went well we became good friends. I think that was 2008 and since then we’ve been rocking!
How does it work in the studio, do you have similar approaches to making music and the way you work? The distance must make things more difficult?
Ittetsu: Usually Jun makes a 16 or 32 bar loop and sends it over via Dropbox. If I like it then I’ll add a few more elements and do the arrangement and mixdown. Of course it’s better to sit down together but as there are now a lot of useful internet tools such as Dropbox and Skype so we can still make music together.
The first track I really remember of yours was ‘Down On The Corner’ on Welt Recordings. Since then you’ve forged an amazing sound that is pretty unique to you guys. How do you describe it to others?
Ittetsu: Mmm I think we definitely have ninja spirits! This might sound like a joke but we are from the Far East and I believe our background helps us bring something new to the scene in Europe.
Of your own tracks, which are you most proud of so far?
Ittetsu: Our latest remix on Metroline Ltd I would say. Of my own stuff I’d choose Gutterlove (Fuse006)!
Jun: Yeah the latest remix on Metroline is great. I love Just You with Yaya as well.
You guys are both integrated into East London’s underground scene. What were the parties and DJs that really inspired you when you first arrived? How did you graduate from partygoers to active members of the scene?
Ittetsu: Fuse is definitely the biggest influence for me. Great music and a crowd I’m very proud to be a part of! I used to go regularly to 93 Feet East.
Jun: Yes, Fuse was very important for me too...
Ittetsu: It was a very important experience for me to understand what it is to take people on a musical journey! Now that Fuse is recognised worldwide having released on the label and playing for the party has proven a big step in my career.
Jun, you just collaborated with Yaya Desolat, how did that come about? Will we see more from that in the future?
Jun: He was playing my remix of Dave Brody on Imotion Music a lot and I just emailed him so that we could connect with each other on Facebook. Yaya reached out to me and the rest is history.
We’ve got this new EP coming soon on Knock Knock Series with a special remix. I can’t say too much now but it’s gonna cause quite a splash!
Have you got any exciting releases or gigs lined up?
Ittetsu: I’m playing for Picnic London in March. I’ll confirm a couple more soon. Release wise I’m doing remix for Pins and Needles, Flumo, Tiptap and Lowroom. Our original track will be on Fuse VA this year! Also, I’m doing Fasten Music Concrete 003 around spring.
Jun: There’s a new EP with Yaya in the pipeline and my track will be on Fuse VA too. I’m also doing some remixes for Karton, Leone and Medeew’s new label.
And finally, as a food lover I need to ask…where are the best places to enjoy Japanese food in London?
Ittetsu: Wabi in Holborn!
Jun: Has to be Zuma! I used to work there – it’s a touch expensive but fully worth it.