Interview - Shin-Ski

Hyogo, Japan

Shin-Ski, could you introduce yourself to our readers and listeners ?

My name is Shin-Ski and I'm from Japan. I am a member of a group called ShinSight Trio, and I also go by the name of ALMA DE STELLA which I  use to make more electronic music.

Where does your alias "Shin-Ski" come from ?

It comes from my first name Shinsuke. 

When and how did you come into hip hop ?

I've always liked Hip hop music, but never thought of making some until I met my good friend and mentor DJ Real in US. We went to the same university in Massachusetts, and got to know each other through mutual friends. At this time my production style was more breakbeat-ish. Then he introduced me all sorts of battle dj tricks which really got to me. That is how i started making Hip Hop beats.

How would you describe your project Shinsight Trio? How did it start ? And finally, do you plan to make a new album in the future ?

ShinSight Trio is a group in which each member has a clear role, me on the beats, Insight on the rhymes, and Ryow on the turntables. We all make beats and DJ on our own, but in this group we stick to our part to bring out the best. We have daily jobs now, so it is very hard to find time to make an album as a group. But when we get a chance we will come with a new album. I just can't say when, but we will come back.


You released your first solo album "Shattered Soul On A Pastel Sky" in 2007, which was critically acclaimed. How did you feel about the success it got ?  


I was very happy that my first album was doing very good. At the same time I felt like I had to do something new and different from the first album to prove myself that I am always trying to evolve. 


What does 'Martiangang' stand for ? 


Martiangang is a production team formed by me and DJ Real. It is not active right now.

Nowadays DJ Real is a member of a group called Real Dag Duo which is him and Dagha, they released an album called "rap fantastic" couple of years ago. It's a classic album, so if you haven't heard it you definitely should! 

Your productions are easy to recognise, your sound is always luminous, lively and filled with good vibes. How did you get to find your own « sound » ? 

I came to this style through lots of tries and errors. I am very glad that my sound is recognisable, but I am still looking for  a way to make it sound better. I guess this is some kind of quest that never ends.  


What’s your first step to create a new track ? 

I usually start listening to bunch of records, sample whatever sounds good to me. 

Stock them in a folder, pick the ones that sound good together, and play some instruments (usually bass, keys, and sometime guitar) over it. Once the main samples and chord progressions are set, I start tapping the drums on MPC, or find breaks that fit well. 


How do you differentiate the approach to produce for a solo album and for a group album ?

When I make beats for group I always leave space for vocals, so that vocals and beat have equal strength. This is not something I do when I craft an instrumental tune.  


What equipment setup do you use to produce ?


I use ProTools for main sequencing and mixing. An MPC2000XL for my drums. Korg and Nordlead for keys, melodies and bass. Sometimes I use plugin synths, but I prefer analog keys, which I consider easier to create the sound that I want.


Can you tell us about your influences and what's currently inspiring you?


Recently I am into minimal music. one of my favorite artist at the moment is Hans Joachim Roedelius. His music is very unique and chill. I also discovered a pianist/guitarist called Egberto Gismonti recently, I listen to his music a lot. My influences come from various genres, Jazz and soul music for sure, but also techno, electronic, progressive rock, folk and classical music.


You've just released your new album « Memories », which is available on Bandcamp. When will a CD or Vinyl edition be available? How would you describe this album ?


On this album I tried to transform pieces of my memories into sounds. I think I did a very good job on expressing what I had in mind. also I am very happy that i was able to show my music is always progressing.

There are no vocals on your two last albums, why this choice ?

I like my beats with vocals on, but for the last two albums, it was not necessary. I felt like It was the best way to express the scenery I see in my head.



What’s your point of view on current international beatmaking scene ?


It is going to a whole new era, to a next stage, and I really like it. But personally I don't need to follow what is going on. I wanna stick to what I have been doing so far, and take it to a new level.


Which Japanese hip hop artists would you recommend ?


I would recommend my good friends Siffee and Noah. they both have their own styles which are very different from mine. Siffee has his soundcloud page. I want y'all to check it out. His music is very raw, strange, and unique. Something that I could never come up with. Noah does lots of productions for Japanese rappers. His music is a bit dark, and has something that I can't resist.

Shin-Ski on Social Media :

Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

Interview by MMM, 2016