Q&A with Oorutaichi

Text: Periscope / Performance Photo: Yoshikazu Inoue / Portrait: JIMA

I discovered Oorutaichi when he released MISEN Gymnastics from Bearfunk in 2007. It was this crazy sound that was different from anything else and on another level entirely. His sound is so unique that I have this image of him holed up somewhere, creating his own world. His music is not influenced by what people are playing in other scenes or what is big now. His music makes me wonder: how did he come up with it? How did he get to that point? What is he thinking? By Tim Sweeney

What kind of a kid were you?
I was a quiet, docile type.
You still seem that type, but when you perform, you are a different person.
When I used to do improvisation, because it is something you could only do once, I tried to shoot my wad. Then gradually I developed into my current style.
What were you influences?
What led me to my current style using electronics was dancehall reggae. I was really impressed by their style of laying super emotional rap on top of programmed tracks. I like that over the top hotness.
How was your own language developed?
My language sounds like singing now, but when I was doing improv, I was using my voice as an instrument. I think that is how.
So it is more like an instrument?
Yes. When I got into dancehall reggae in my college years, I discovered Patois, the English based Jamaican dialect, and I was influenced by its interesting vibrancy.
Was there any other influences outside of music? In performance art?
There is one traveling street performer named Gilyak Amagasaki who now must be 80 years old. When I saw him perform, he was around 70 years old and danced like a clown, did air tsugaru jamisen (a traditional three stringed instrument) and ran around wearing only fundoshi, (a traditional undergarment) out of a state of elation. He made a strong impact.
What are your inspirations or interests outside of music?
I like to meditate. Vipassana Meditation is something that I am interested in as much as I am interested in music. After the Great Tohoku Earthquake, just like everybody, I really got into a phase of thinking. With that, I went to India and practiced the meditation that I had been interested in.
What did you take away from the earthquake?
I thought we had been living in this virtual world. It felt like I needed to take time at looking at myself for once. For example, take the rice, you don't see who makes it. We had been living in this world where you don't see connections between things. I felt that unless you build your life in a place where you can be aware of connections with things around you, when a disaster happens, everything just spills over and goes upside down.
How is Vipassana Meditation different from other meditation methods?
It is a really simple method where you observe your breathing. I stayed at this facility for ten days where you are not supposed to talk, and you just meditate. It doesn't throw you into some spiritual place, but you work on observing yourself step by step.


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