While I was touring in Asia and Australia, I had the pleasure to meet Budamunk, one of the biggest indie beatmaker/DJ in Tokyo.
From Djiing for Boiler Room, releasing vinyl records with legendary Jazzy Sport music label and recently producing for Bishop Nehru, I wanted to share with you his talents and life story. So I sat down with ‘Budamunky’ to interview him about his music and Hip Hop in Japan (which still a kind of mysterious for US and Europe). Stay Frsh and enjoy the interview below !
J Hart : Who is Budamunk ?
Budamunk : im a Hip Hop producer from Tokyo Japan
JH :Let’s start with 3 quick questions,
JH : If you were a musical instrument ?
Budamunk : I like the sound of a rhodes piano but It”s hard to imagine myself as an instrument.
JH : A Drum break ?
Budamunk : Some dusty swingin groovy hard shit…
JH : A beatmaker equipment ?
Budamunk : AKAI MPC2000xl
JH : How could you define the vibe in Japan for traditional Hip Hop ?
Budamunk : The scene in Japan has really been influenced in large part by traditional 90’s Hip Hop. There used to be many producers who tried to carry on that tradition but that tradition has come upon hard times either because the audience and the producers themselves only care for the exterior image without the substance or has fused too much with pop culture. However I am sure there are many other producers like DJ Krush who have a specific vibe and air about them that is innately Japanese and continue to create awesome music and expression in Hip Hop.
JH :Let’s talk about your music, you recently released Soul Quest EP which is a collaborative project with US rapper Joe Style. Can you introduce this EP ?
Budamunk : Soul Quest was released through Delicious vinyl in the US and Jazzysport put it out here in Japan. We been doing Hip Hop in our version of the traditional way, however this project has more soul, r&b and neo-soul influences when compared to our other works. It’s still boom bap and is hip hop but with singing and more conscious and soulful sounds as opposed to overly aggressive. Some chill music.
JH :My favorite songs on this EP is ‘Your Love’ , what’s yours?
Budamunk : I like all the tracks but if i gotta pick one, “Music Is Me”
JH: You and Joe are from 2 different parts of the world, what was the process to make this album ?
Budamunk : We started working on it when i visited LA in 2013. I make beats so I played him beats I brought from Japan, he chose beats and he came up with the concept, lyrics and everthing else.
JH : I know you and Joe Style since 12″ records Budastyles Classics vol. 1 released in 2009. After 7 years, what is the achievement you are the most proud of regarding your collaborations ?
Budamunk : Me and Joe Styles been working together since 2003 when I was living in LA so we’ve basically just kept doing the same thing. We got the same kind of influences, from Hip Hop’s Golden Era in the 90’s as well as some R&B and neo-soul. We keep doing what we do and just continue to improve.
JH : And what is the dream of your life ? And what is your music producer dream ?
Budamunk : It’s not like I want too much but a little more recognition for the music I create would be cool. I’m good as long as I can continue what I been doing.
JH : When I was in Tokyo, I noticed that people enjoy a lot listening to very underground songs and instrumentals, which is to me very unique compare to US or Europe. How do you explain that because It seems you guys are even deeper in HipHop than USA itself…
Budamunk : yeah i think Hip Hop started getting big in 90’s out here and it got really big in 2000’s and Underground Hip Hop was pretty big too. However over time the Japanese rap became more and more popular and since then the scene is more focused on the music made in Japanese.
Less people dig for and listen to the good underground music from the states or elsewhere so I think the Japanese hip hop head is less understanding of what hip hop used to mean really.
JH :For beatmaker who want to visit Tokyo for the first time, what is the best spot to get records?
Budamunk : I recommend ‘Diskunion’, they have alot of selection and records there are pretty cheap, also ‘Reco-fan’ in Shibuya. They got the cheap junk section and I like finding and rescuing the gems there, and also the ‘Jazzy Sport’ music shop.
JH : I have to ask you this question, Japanese are very quiet and about protocols and rules, kind of contrary of americans style lol… Have you been chocked when you went to USA for the first time ?
Budamunk : Not so shocked. I was in a foreign country speak a different language where I was able to constantly interact with people who also liked the music that I love and was always just really excited. When I went to the states I learned that self expression is an important part of being an artist and if you are a good artist people will recognize who you are and gravitate toward your art.
JH : Definition of HipHop?
Budamunk : Art and a way of life that is either slowly being forgotten or improperly redefined. I still believe in it though and keep creating music in order to express the parts of the culture which I never would like to be forgotten.
JH :What is a #Frsh Budamonk outfit? (Tell your favorite clothe+hat+pair of sneaker u wear the most)
Budamunk : i like 90’s style clothing, so i wear alot of Polo and Nautica, Decades hat from philly, my boy dibiase told me about that one. I like Puma sneakers, and Asics Onitsuka Tiger from Japan.
JH :Last words ? Say whatever you want to say :
Budamunk : Please check out my bandcamp page and also Joe Styles bandcamp page for some of the projects we put out. Me and Fitz Ambro$e new tape “Budabro$e” just dropped by Paxico record in New York. I’m dropping a free beat tape called “Monkey Tape 2016” soon since next year is the year of monkey. I got a couple other projects already ready to drop with labels and artists from many places in the world, Joe Styles will drop his self produced album called “The End Of What Was” and we will keep coming with other new projects. You can check my twitter or facebook page for the info as things come out. Check out my sound on soundcloud as well. Please keep an eye out for what we do and support hip hop and culture in your area keep doing what you do.
- FOLLOW BUBAMUNK ON BANCAMP – SOUNDCLOUD – TWITTER
- BUY JOE STYLE x BUDAMUNK – SOUL QUEST EP ON VINYL EP – iTUNES
- BUY BUDAMUNK x FITZ AMBRO$E > CASSETTE ON PAXICO RECORDS
– DJ J HART
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