starRo interview and mix
I spoke to starRo on the eve of his Touching The Void release on Loodma and asked where he was from.
sR: I am originally from Tokyo Japan and now based in Los Angeles.
It’s the area called Redondo Beach, really the hidden part of Los Angeles where there are no tourist.
DB: It’s Rollins’ old area too.
sR: Really laid-back and quiet beach city which is totally opposite from Tokyo. I love it.
DB: Who’s that woman?
sR: ‘Onna No Hito’ is about Japanese woman and my wife who is Japanese herself is definitely the biggest inspiration.
In general, Japanese women are known as modest and low key but they have a very strong mind. I think it’s really beautiful contrast.
I tried to depict that contrast in this track.
DB: What stuff do you listen to?
sR: I listen to all kind of music, Soul, Hip Hop, R&B, Rock, Ambient, Acoustic music, Brazilian, African etc. I usually listen to KCRW which is one of the best radio station I know where they play music from all kind of genre.
It really helps me expose myself to the music without any bias.
DB: Is it hard to get ideas down quick?
sR: My biggest pain is that I have very limited time I can spend for production that I can’t catch up with ideas popping up in my mind.
The idea arrives overtime and usually I am driving or sitting in the toilet at that moment. So I have to voice record to my phone, hoping it still makes sense when I get back to my studio later in the night. Then realization process is usually going on in the night.
DB: Do you like visual arts? Can you name some artists and possible inspiration?
sR: The Black Arrow who did the artwork for my latest single is definitely one of the biggest inspiration. I love photographers such as Harper Smith, Joey Gallagher if I name a few. Then I’ve gotten inspiration from lot of independent movies, contemporary dance as well.
DB: How would your stuff generally manifest live?
sR: My set is usually the combination of Ableton live and music instruments such as Keyboard, Synthsizer, Guitar, percussion, Maschine… and vocoder occasionally. Playing a music instrument is one of the key factors in my music. You see, I play most of the sounds in my tracks by myself, so I would like to incorporate music instruments in my live set as much as possible.
I have played in many bands in the past, so ideally I’d play a live set with a band, but unfortunately due to the time constraint, I need to perform by myself for now.
DB: You DJ as well?
sR: My live sets have been strictly dance-floor oriented (house, drum’n’bass) so far, representing an other stage name than starRo. I never actually played as starRo which is a more downtempo centric project. I’m not sure if people would appreciate that kind of music in a live situation, but recently many people are asking if I ever play as starRo and I think that is very encouraging, so I am keen on the starRo live debut soon. Anyone interested?”
DB: What spots would you like to play?
sR: I would love to play for Low End Theory at Airliner. It’s just classic LA. Zanzibar is also great place.
In Tokyo, SECO, UNIT, Club Asia just to name a few.
DB: You kindly created a mix for us, could you talk about it?
sR: It’s a 30 min journey of bedtime music consists of my own music (including brand new tracks) and new stuff / old stuff that I was inspired by. Enjoy.
1. Birth – starRo
2. 40 Winks – spazzkid
3. Coco – Yumo
4. Touching the void feat. Mikezilla – starRo
5. Almost doesn’t count (Skit remix) – Brandy
6. Stray feat. JaJa Kisses & FlowzArt – Joppe
7. Longing (Unmastered) – starRo
8. Going In Hard feat. Dominique Young Unique (French Fries remix) – Branko
9. Somepling – ThirdCriminal
10. Anytime, anyplace (starRo edit/Unmastered) – Janet Jackson
11. Barumba (Daniel Maunick remix) – Incognito
12. Retrograde (feat. Emmavie) – Alfa Mist
13. Turn the lights off – Hazel
14. Montara (The Roots remix) – Bobby Hutcherson
15. Tidal Wave – Ronnie Laws