Interview - TSUTCHIE
Translated from Japanese into English
TSUTCHIE (Shinji Tsuchida) crafted this original Samurai Champloo mix for Magical Mystery Mix. Back in 2004, the producer from Kanagawa recorded two soundtracks for the anime series, including one in association with Force of Nature.
The two others were produced by Nujabes and Fat Jon. The music undeniably contributed to the success of the anime, which blends feudal Japan and Hip-hop culture in a remarkably unique and stylised way. A perfect combination of modernity and olden days, Hip-hop beats and ronins.
MMM - How did you come to make two soundtracks for Samurai Champloo?
TSUTCHIE - One day, I received an unexpected call from anime director Shinichiro Watanabe. He told me he was working on the production of a crossover historical anime series set in Edo period, which combined Samurai and Hip-hop. Then he added “I need someone to take care of the soundtrack."
Did you meet the other producers who worked on the two other soundtracks for Samurai Champloo?
I already knew the two members of FORCE OF NATURE, then I had the opportunity to meet Nujabes and Fat Jon during a Samurai Champloo event that we performed together.
Can you tell us more about that Samurai Champloo event?
“Samurai Champloo's club event” took place on August 13, 2004 in Tokyo. Artists who participated to the creation of the anime's soundtracks performed on stage, we deejayed and played live music. That was really lively!
Where did you get the inspiration to create the soundtracks you made?
I started with the concept of the project itself. Basically from the keywords "Samurai" and "Hip-hop".
Are you into Japanese animation?
Absolutely. I still watch lots of anime!
Do you have any recommendations?
I like SF related animes, such as “Cowboy Bebop” and “Ghost in the Shell”.
What was your process to create each track? Did you watch the anime first? Did you meet with the directors?
First we had a meeting. They showed me some things about the project, which was still in its planning phase at that time. Shinichiro Watanabe is someone who has a very good knowledge of music. He just told me "please do it as you like.", and had only two or three minor requests.
What kind of requests?
I also had to take inspiration from the keywords “to battle” and “sorrow”.
How creating music for a soundtrack is different from making a solo album?
I am aware that elements that define my sound can vary (rap, songs, pictures), but to be honest, I don't grant much importance to the circumstances of production when I make music.
Are you currently working on new projects?
Now I produce and arrange music. I also do sound recording, mixing, and mastering engineering as well.
Interview by MMM, March 2019, Japan