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Leveling Up Your Music Brand

The CAB Portal blog provides articles on tricks of the trade and best practices, as well as news, interviews, artist showcases and recommended products/services, that emerging artists can utilize to take their music brand to the next level of success.

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Interview: Bake Kitsune

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We connected with Atsuhiro Nakayama, an American-born Japanese multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer based in England, for an exclusive interview to discuss his music project Bake Kitsune.  He recently released a very dope song entitled "Hurricane's Eye", which we have featured on this site and DCWS, so it's only right that we pick Atsuhiro's brain about the origins of his music project's name, creative process for developing new songs, and much more.

After reading our Q&A with Atsuhiro Nakayama, be sure to check out more Bake Kitsune music on his Soundcloud page. 

Congratulations on your song "Hurricane's Eye". What motivated you to create it? 

Thank you Carlton. "Hurricane's Eye" was a song I wrote when I was on the brink of leaving the UK due to discomfort, and lack of money. I knew a girl who was in a similar situation as me, as if I was looking at a reflection of myself, I related to her. The big difference between her and I was the fact that she seemed to have found no glimpse of hope or love being in the UK while I found beauty within the grim chaos that was. She left and I stayed. There I came up with the line "So long baby blue, I have learnt to catch the hurricane's eye" and there followed the music. 

Tell us about your creative process when it comes to developing new songs.  

I only have one rule when it comes to songwriting and that is to write "good" music. I'm not sure what that is either… all I know is that there is. The Beatles wrote good music for a different reason as 2pac, if you get my drift. From there, acknowledging that good music is not an equation but human intuition, I put my senses in full motion and attempt to grasp the essence of beauty in life. From the lowest point where one might give up, to the epitome of human happiness. I feel as if life is the richest form of art. All I do (or attempt to do) is plagiarize God or science or whatever it is that made it this.

How did you initially learn about the folklore behind Bake Kitsune and why did you adapt it as your music project's name?

I'm not sure actually… I think I just heard it so often from tales and cartoons that it was in my subconscious mind somewhere. Although I remember I was at a Japanese Shinto shrine known as the Inari Jinja near my grandparents house in Japan and there was a line of stone-statues in the shape of foxes. From the locals story, the foxes are like angels acting as the servant for Inari God. That intrigued me as not only the fox can shape shift but they can symbolize different things within a somewhat confined culture. In a way I am like a Bake Kitsune where I can be a rapper, songwriter, producer or a session musician, playing all sorts of genres while I shape shift, but once I'm myself I'm like any other person who enjoys a cold bottle of beer in my hand while watching baseball. 

You were born in America and are now based in the UK; did music lead you there?

Most certainly. I actually lived in Japan most of my childhood. When I was in my fourth and fifth grade, I learnt how to play the Koto, which is a traditional Japanese instrument. Something must have clicked and I started listening to more music than ever. I went to my parents stash of CDs and listened to all kinds of music. Strangely, a lot of old American and British artists resonated with me more than modern Japanese artists. Some of my favorites were Carole King and The Beatles. There has always been a special place for the Beatles in my heart and now that I think about it, I must have left home to follow their footsteps. In fact, I am currently based in Liverpool and I have played in venues where the Beatles played such as the Cavern Club and Jacaranda. 

Can we expect a visual for "Hurricane's Eye"? And will the song be featured on an upcoming EP or album?

Maybe... I will let you know if I do. The artwork for the single however was painted by a Russian painter called Arkhip Kuindhzi who is one of my favorites. 

What advice would you have for a new artist who wants to follow in your footsteps and be involved in every step of the creative process of their music, as a songwriter and producer?

I'm still learning as well but I always remember to be critical of my own work. I would say: get feedback from other musicians and producers. Even people who don't do music professionally can sometimes give you brutal but honest opinions that will help improve your composition. It's also important to pin out who to get advice from. The right people tend to respect your work, and has a strong passion for your work. They will never discourage it. Finally never forget to be creative, take risks, and experiment. If one thing doesn't work, try something else. Take time and keep trying until it sounds just right. Learn from listening to great music too. Ultimately, never pamper your own work. If it misbehaves, don't be afraid to be strict with it or else you will have a spoilt song that has no care for others. 

Connect with Bake Kitsune: Soundcloud