Hailing from Aichi (Japan) Shouji Sakurai set up Gutenberg a few years ago now. As he likes the sound of German language he decided to call his project Gutenberg. The name inspired from the inventor of the letterpress has a hard and strong image fitting to the sound created by Shouji Sakurai. After having released a few productions on his own label, Gutenberg recently joined hands together with Ant-zen to unleash the “Unnecessary Bronze”-album. This album sounds rather eclectic, mixing different influences together; from industrial to techno to IDM to noise, this work is a fascinating listening.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell us how you got involved with underground music?
Shouji: My name is Shouji Sakurai, I’m 38 years old. I got in touch with underground-techno when I was 18 years old. I next started to produce my first techno-track and got active as DJ. Throughout the years I did some research about the roots of techno music. So I discovered industrial music, which I thought was the best style for my own music. It was a mix of techno and industrial (and noise plus material). My music style was shaped like that.
I have been involved in the local techno scene since my twenties. But my music style was not well understood in the local scene. Luckily things are evolving right now. So I had to organize my own parties and run my own label called Faktoria. I’m running Faktoria with two other members.
Q: You’ve been introduced as a so-called ‘grandchild of the musique concrete style’. Tell us a bit more about this fascination for ‘musique concrete’ and its real impact on your own music?
Shouji: What I like in ‘musique concrete’ is the feeling of freedom. It’is the opposite of fixing a music genre or style. ‘Musique concrete’ may now be just a style of music, but I am still inspired by this sensation of freedom, which tickles my imagination. My music maintains a set style. ‘Musique concrete’ is added there. Doing it that way, I feel that my music has a fresh feeling. These will have a great influence on my music.
Q: You recently released your new work “Unnecessary Bronze” on Ant-zen, which I think is an opportunity to reach a wider- and especially European scene. What does it mean to you and do you already get a view upon the European scene and the differences with your homeland?
Shouji: I’m really happy and honored to have my album released on Ant-Zen. I’m proud that Stefan Alt liked my music, but at the other side I’m still surprised. Of course, I’m really happy that my album released on Ant-Zen gave me a wider recognition at the European scene. But the Japanese- and the European scene are too different. Sadly, my music has received less attention from the Japanese scene. But it’s not just my music you know. Here in Japan, there are less opportunities to discover artists from great labels such as Ant-zen, HANDS ao. The Japanese scene is not really established because of the small population interested in the European industrial scene. It was already true 20 years ago now.
Q: Tell us a bit more about the composition of “Unnecessary Bronze” and the aspect of sound creation, which I think is very particular in the way of creating sounds and the use of field recordings?
Shouji: I wanted to compose “Unnecessary Bronze” in various forms.
So this album contains slow tracks, fast tracks, quiet tracks, noisy tracks, tracks with techno elements, tracks that are faithful to classic industrial and various songs.
There are many ways to create a sound. Field recording is used for most of the songs on this album, but not all songs. However, field recording techniques are important for some of the songs on this album.
Q: I noticed you recently made a cover of Laibach. What does this industrial pioneer mean to you and how was it working on “Tanz Mit Laibach”? Did Laibach heard your work?
Shouji: I feel a kind of strong passion for “Tanz Mit Laibach”. This song was very important in the process of establishing my own music. I asked one of my friends to take care for the vocals of the cover version I made. His name is Xu and he is also member of Faktoria. It feels a bit like he was born for EBM. As “Tanz Mit Laibach” also had a strong impact on him, we wanted to cover this song. We think the song “Tanz Mit Laibach” is the best industrial anthem.
I don’t know if Laibach listened to our cover, but of course we would like them to hear it.
Q: You already mentioned you’re running Faktoria. What does the label stand for and what are the further releases/activities?
Shouji: As I already said, I started Faktoria with two other members to create a platform to release our own material. This is because there are very few possibilities in the Japanese scene. During the past few years, musicians with the same aspiration set up in Tokyo the ‘Tokyo Industrial Collective’ CORROSION. https://corrosion.industrialmusic.jp/ I feel a real sympathy for them.
There are several Faktoria releases in the pipeline such as a Gutenberg archives album, an album of Mionokage, which is Xu’s project and also an EP of Ziguezoy who is a synth-punk girl plus a few more other releases. These releases will be released quite progressively.
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