Interview: Shigeto

Zach was brought up on a steady diet of Michigan-bred music, as his father spoon-fed him old Motown and jazz records by the crateload. Zach picked up the drums at an early age, spending much of his childhood playing in the Detroit/Ann Arbor music scene. After nearly flunking out of high school—save for his music studies—Zach spent three years studying jazz at the New School in NYC and three more in London, where he began woodshedding, obsessed with learning electronic production. Soon enough, beats materialized, Zach moved to Brooklyn and took up the name

How did you get started making music and why?

My parents bought me a junior drum kit when i was three years old. they said i was always banging on stuff so it seemed fitting. throughout the years music is where i've felt most comfortable and most expressive.

How did your signing to Ghostly come about?

I guess it was another "moodgadget to ghostly" transition. Jakub Alexander (one founder of Moodgadget) would play my music for them and over the past couple of years it just kinda manifested into that. it felt like i was in a Ghostly incubator. ha ha.

You've described being signed to Ghostly as being 'part of a family' - how does this manifest itself, do you meet with your label-mates, are you friends?

Being from ann arbor (where ghostly started) i've been a fan. I grew up hanging out with a lot of the early artists. We were spoiled to be able to see people like Dabrye, Todd Osborn, Dykehouse and Matthew Dear on the regular at local shows or just hanging in the record shop. It was a great way to get introduced to electronic music. I grew up as a huge jazz nerd and ghostly flipped my world. I guess you could say I'm part of the new generation of producers that grew up with Ghostly.

How do you go about putting together a track, what sort of setup do you use - and has your approach changed over time?

Every time i start writing I pick my "sounds" first. The sounds are very important to me. It "is" your sound in my opinion. After that it's alway a crap shoot- bass line? beats? who knows. I just let the music take the track where ever it's going. I work with reason 4.0 and record mainly. I use a little tascam digital recorder to create all my own samples and get a lot of great stuff from all the jazz homies i've had growing up. when i get a chance i'll sample up some friends synths but i don't own any of my own. I use ableton a bit as well but only for performing live, not for production.

What are you listening to at the moment?

The new "Actress" release is awesome and i've been bumping Sepalcure's "Love Pressure" on the constant. Lately of found myself listening to a lot more of my old jazz stuff as well. a lot of Bill Evans and later Coltrane.

You've done remixes for a number of other artists, who's music have you enjoyed remixing the most, and is there anyone elses you'd like to remix?

Wow. Can't really say who my favorite was. i had a lot of fun with the Tycho one cause all his stems were coming from the most buttery synths imaginable. I really like doing remixes of artists on a different kinda tip than myself. Maybe something with vocal like School of Seven Bells or Phantogram.

What's next for you?

I will be touring as the drummer of School of Seven Bells this fall. shortly after that my LP "full circle" drops on ghostly. Maybe looking at a shigeto tour of some sort early 2011? so much is happening, I still gotta get a grasp on it all.

Listen to Shigeto's latest EP - What We Hold On To

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