Masayoshi Fujita is a Japanese vibraphonist and composer based in Berlin. Masayoshi first learned how to play the drums, followed by extensive vibraphone training to craft and play his own compositions. Determined not to stick to traditional vibraphone styles or techniques and theory of composition, he seeks his own sound of vibraphone and new possibility of it. Masayoshi also prepares his instrument with strings of bead, strips of foil and similar objects. The resulting new sounds, akin to distortions, help to expand the vibraphone spectrum without eroding the instrument’s intrinsic character or even abandoning it altogether. Inspired by the silence and deepness of the fog, the mountains and the gravity within, His music evokes images, atmospheres, sceneries and stories in the listener, the images that have accumulated in himself. At the same time he explores the unexplored beauty of the vibraphone, and pursues the charm of the instrumentation and the music itself. His recent collaboration with German electronic musician Jan Jelinek received a lot of attention from experimental music fans around the world.
1: I like cooking pasta.
2: I studied film making.
3: Köpenick is the new cool.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
The sound of vibraphone. When I compose it always starts from the vibraphone. While I practice or just play around on vibraphone I hear sometimes nice harmony or phrase and I repeat it again and again to make it into a song. While doing it it gives me some kind of image, atmosphere or scenery in my mind and I try to deepen that image and widen the song. I am trying to listen to the vibraphone and hear what it has to say.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I played drums before and after played in several bands since teenage I started to want to make my own music. I think it was around the age of 24 or 25. I was into electronic music like electronica and dub. First I was making my own music with sampling old jazz records and guitar. I always liked the sound of vibraphone and was always looking for a vibraphone player to play with, but couldn’t find any. One day I met a jazz vibraphone player and he told me that he gave private lessons and I decided to take it. The first time I played vibraphone by myself at his lesson I loved its sound and decided to change the instrument. First I couldn’t play it at all because I was a drummer and didn’t know anything about music theory, chords and scales. So I used the vibraphone as a sample source. After a while I got more and more into the vibraphone and train myself more seriously and later I started to compose on the vibraphone as well.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
The Hilliard Ensemble & Jan Garbarek / Officium
A Tribe Called Quest / Beats, Rhymes and Life
Sean McCann / Music for Public Ensemble
Mötley Crüe / Motley Crue
Bill Evans / Portrait In Jazz
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Flat land, alternative for different kind of art, loose in good and bad way, construction work, gentrification (yes, we are all part of it)
I live here since 12 years with my family and have lots of friends. I feel Berlin like a second home but always find myself as a foreigner and outsider too.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Forest and my studio.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Farmer or researcher.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
After Dinner / Paradise of Replica
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
It’s difficult to pick one from my shows but the show in Florence was impressive. People were so nice and into my music. I had two encores for the first time.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
I don’t use that much of technology for my music right now but computer makes my composing process a lot easier. When I find a nice sound on the vibraphone I recorded it right away and listen back, and play it again and record it again and repeat this process. Without a computer or recorder it would have been different and slower, I guess.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have an older brother. I hope he is proud of me.
Pre-order Masayoshi Fujita’s upcoming full-length album “Book Of Life” here.
Fujita’s next live performance is scheduled for Tuesday, 25th September 2018 at Silent Green.
Photo © Karl Blossfeldt