Focus: SHIPS


We are focusing today on Dublin’s synth-pop duo, SHIPS. A musical project of Simon and Sorca as SHIPS started in 2012. Continously releasing a strong suite of singles since 2012, the duo has finally released their debut album last May, titled Precession. We have spoken to Simon and Sorca about the making of this album and how the concept of the album, which was inspired by what was learnt throughout their life, the past and future.

Interview: SHIPS
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, June 2, 2017

Hello! Very nice to meet you. How’s everything?
Hi, lovely to meet you, everything is well here for us in Dublin.  Thanks for inviting us to chat.

We always ask artists this question. Please describe Ships in three words.
Sorca: Hmmm three? I’m not sure I have one that would do, Simon?
Simon: I’ll stick to empirical descriptions, Duo, suffix, journey

What’s the creative role between the two?
We write songs together and sometimes separately, and we record them here at our home, in Dublin.We both like to sing and play different instruments and we like to sit together and share production ideas, then try to make them happen, and we take turns making dinner.

We read that most recording is done in house. What’s your set up?
We have a small studio set up in the attic. It’s cosy, with a big sky light. There are some synthsisers, bass guitars, regular guitars and a few other odds and ends.
The music is recorded and mixed onto a computer and the rest is history.

You have been making music since 2012. How did it all start?
When we met we had an instant connection around our musical loves and we just took it from there.  We’ve been writing and preforming together ever since. We’ve put out a few of singles over the years, each quite different, mostly just trying ideas out.

And in May, you have released your debut album. What took you so long?
We just followed the natural course of things, we didn’t rush in, and it happened when it was ready.

‘Precession’ is the name of the album and you said that this album draws inspiration from what you’ve learned in the past and what there is still to learn. Can you tell us why and how you reached to this concept?
Much of our experience of life is rooted in cycles.  We are all part of our own set of cycles, from experiences, to emotional cycles and of course, intrinsically tied to the cycles of our planet, our galaxy and our universe. One of the beautiful aspects of experiencing something again and again, is that you get a chance to take with you what you learned from before, and add it to the experience, each time it comes around. Making each personal precession uniquely different, with something new to learn at every moment.

And how is it reflected in the songs featured in the album?
Each song speaks of parts of ourselves that have learned something along the way. They are as much a selection of songs about the self as they are about the experience of being human in general. They kind of speak directly from experience, none are abstract or have storylines, you might say they are upfront and transparant in this way.

I believe that by learning something new, you continue to discover more to learn. Do you agree?
Absolutely! Although at times it might seem daunting that behind every door is another door, it’s also very exciting!

What do you believe in music?
Music is a powerful evoker of emotion that cuts across barriers of language or understanding. Music is for everyone.

What’s next for Ships? Touring Japan anytime soon?
We would love to tour Japan, we’re drawn to your culture’s strong connection with the planet and respect for nature. We’d love to visit and play music there along the way!

Follow SHIPS


Focus: Joel Porter

When I first listened to “St Anthony” by Joel Porter, a singer songwriter and a North Dakota native, I was by myself in the office brainstorming some creative ideas for my client. I had to stop. The song was, though quietly charged, so captivating and filled with emotions – both hopeful and sad, I knew I needed to commit myself fully to this song. After a dozen of listens, I couldn’t help but wonder, who is this guy? So when I heard a news that he would release an EP in a week, I messaged him right away for an interview.

Porter explains that Mountain Twin EP is about growth. Over the course of four folk-based, painstakingly carefully crafted songs, which include a song he co-wrote with his musician parents, he illustrates the nature, feelings, memories and what it means to seek for the truth. You can easily feel yourself being in the desolate plains, where the snow is falling, the river is flowing and the mountains howling. In order to get to know the world he paints further, we asked him how he came to discover his own style, how the nature influences his art, and what he believes in life. Make sure to check out the streaming link at the end of the interview.

Interview: Joel Porter
By Satoru Teshima, March 12 2017

How would you describe your music in three words?

Ambient, Honest, Beauty-seeking

Where are you right now?

In my bedroom in Nashville, Tennessee

Growing up, were you a musical kid? What made you want to express yourself through music?

I was. My mother is an incredible vocalist, and my father is a talented and intelligent musician and composer. We actually wrote “Winter Coat” together. That is so cool to say…”I wrote this song with my father.” Makes that song really special.

I started playing violin at the age of four, french horn in the 5th grade, guitar/bass guitar in the 6th grade. It wasn’t until high school that I fell in love with writing music. I’ve always associated songs to certain time periods and linked them to the little truths we find as we grow. I’ve found that I can explain these memories and little truths to someone through music better than I can through conversation.

How did you develop your way of singing that you do now?

I’ve been singing since I was six or seven in my dad’s children’s choir.. but this is the first time I fell like I’ve found where my voice fits. This project plays to the strengths of my voice rather than me trying to force it to be something it’s not. This music is where my voice needs to live. Soft, honest, aching at times, uplifting in others. Intimate the whole way. Eric (my good friend, producer, and 1/2 of the band Foreign Fields) took this idea and capitalized on it.

Are there any singers you look up to?

Not so much vocalists, but artists/groups. I love atmospheric sounding artists like Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Asgier, Foreign Fields, Connor Youngblood, Death Cab, Coldplay etc. I’m also very inspired by orchestral and choral music.

I recently watched a TedTalk presentation by David Byrne, in which he talks about how the environment can affect the way you write. Seeing from your pictures, it seems like you are surrounding yourself with nature. How is that affecting the way you make your music? Is nature playing a big part?

Absolutely. I grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. Its a city of 70k people, by a river in the heart of the midwest. Its full of rolling golden hills during the summer and desolate snowy plains during the winter. You feel like you can see forever. That open space fuels my writing, and I try to get back home as much as possible to let my mind roam.

I also spend a lot of time in the mountains. I love mountain landscape as well as mountain culture. The communities and people I’ve spent time with in those areas are content being isolated, but are constantly pushing themselves to be the best version of themselves for the sake of growth rather than status. That constant search for beauty is a beautiful way of life, and it definitely influences the thoughts and opinions in my music.


Your emotional songwriting and meticulous attention to details what made me a fan. How do you approach songwriting? What’s the process?

It’s different with every song, but for the most part it usually starts with a melody. Then I’ll find one idea to write around and try to describe it in as many personal ways as possible. If its honest and beautiful, its usually right. The rest of the process is molding, adding, and taking away the unnecessary until there is a complete, beautiful idea. Then I take it to Eric and we finish it up in the studio. The two of us covered everything on this record (except live drums). E turned my idea for this project into something. His production and guidance are just as much a part of the identities of these songs as my writing and melodies are. He takes what I’m trying to do, and elevates it. He is incredible to work with.

“I’m sick of writing songs that my father cry”, is a line that left a bittersweet sentiment in me somehow. Are your songs autographical? Or are you more of a storyteller?

That line came from a conversation I had with my father… but overall I would say it’s a combination of both. Everything that I write about comes from some form of personal experience. I build and create layers and layers of material from that experience. At its core, the end product is very autobiographical… but its covered by interesting, beautiful pieces of imagery and metaphor.

Tell us more about Mountain Twin EP. Is there a certain theme underlying to this EP?

From the beginning of the writing process, to the end of the mastering process, it took about a year. The Mountain Twin EP is about discovery.. sifting through our low points, our adventures, the quite, desolate open spaces where our minds are able to roam and rest, our memories… taking all of those moments and trying to piece them into an identity…. trying to weave them into something that matters. Its about growth, and becoming the best version of myself that I can.

Finally, what do you believe in as an artist to achieve your goal in life?

To never stop seeking the truth, and continuing to grow. I just don’t want to waste this life. As long as I’m working toward a beautiful life, I’ll have no regrets.. Love as much as you can. Thats my ultimate goal.

Stream Mountain Twin EP.

Connect with Joel Porter



Focus: Semi Precious

Semi Precious is a musical solo project by a South East London producer Guy Baron. Following the acclaimed self-titled debut EP by such publications as The Guardian, DIY and The Line Of Best Fit, his new Herbert-produced When We Talk EP was released from NX Records in association with Squareglass, in which he is a founding member. His minimalist approach in songwriting succeeds to emphasise beautiful melodies and gorgeous soundscape, helping him to directly address messages that deal with “false honesty and ambiguity in intimacy” to listeners. Through an email interview we asked Baron about minimalism, working with Matthe Herbert and about his own forward-thinking music label, Squareglass.

Focus: Semi Precious
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, August 30, 2015

Please describe yourself in three words.

Experimental bedroom pop.

How did you get about starting to write music?

I’ve been singing for quite a while but only started writing my own tunes a few years ago. I can play basic keyboard and try to do some “traditional” songwriting once every while, but I get bored of it quite easily. In a way I feel that I’ve only started making music once I’ve started experimenting with sampling. When I first started working with samples there was something very intuitive and exciting about the process, which very much triggered my creative flow.

Minimalism is committed to limitations. Your songwriting is evolved around limitations but what attracts you to minimalism?

I struggle when I have too many options to choose from. I think about my compositions as being rather concise and condensed and like it when things evolve in a somewhat “organic” way. It’s kind of like every piece has its own distinct and intrinsic identity. My music also often deals with notions of solitude and alienation and I feel that these sensations are somewhat linked to sparseness and reflectiveness. There’s also something about the fact that I’m composing and recording in my own small bedroom with a very minimal setup – I feel that the music should reflect that in a way, rather than being “big” and in-your-face.

“When We Talk EP” deals with “false honesty”. Can you elaborate on that, and why were you interested in exploring this kind of intimacy?

I feel that passion and intimacy can be quite ambiguous and elusive sensations and I wanted to convey some of the complexities they hold. The EP deals with several kinds of “unfulfilled intimacies” that cannot be realised for all kinds of reasons, such as lack of communication. I personally find inspiration within the unfulfilled, remote and somewhat broken.

What was it like working with Matthew Herbert for the production of this EP?

I’ve been listening to Matthew’s stuff since I was 14 or so. He is a true inspiration for me and I find myself going back to his works over and over again, discovering new layers with every listen. So I felt incredibly privileged and excited to work with him on this release and to see how he approaches mixing and production.

You are also a founder of Squareglass. With so many forward-thinking artists in the roster, what do you think makes Squareglass different from other labels?

To begin with, we’re all very close friends so I feel that this isn’t just a commercial label in the traditional sense of the word. There’s a strong element of mutual trust and we perceive the collective kind of like a “safety-net” – a place that allows us to experiment, stay bold and empower one another (creatively and practically). I think that collectives are particularly relevant for nowadays bedroom producers who work in relatively isolated environments.

Who would you like to collaborate with the most, and why?

I’m really inspired by Burial’s music and would be thrilled to collaborate with him. I think that his latest release Rival Dealer is a true and inspiring masterpiece that in many ways redefines the boundaries of electronic music production.

Finally, what is next for Semi Precious?

Doing more gigs with my band in the next couple months and putting out another, slightly more conceptual and extensive release sometime next year.

Connect with Semi Precious


When We Talk EP is out now and available to purchase from Bandcamp and iTunes.


Focus: Ash Koosha


It was last April when Tehran born, London based musical producer Ash Koosha mailed us his first mix tape GUUD. Once you hit the play button, it takes you to the dazzing and mezmerlizing unknown world not only to your ears but deep inside your mind. Often drawn comparison to Flying Lotus, his music is genre-bending, playful and unpredictable. Right after the release YouTube’s favourite music critic The Needle Drop gave it a very positive review, as well as America’s experimental music label Olde Spelling English Bee spotted his talent, resulting in the re-release of the mixtape with Name Your Price value. Furthermore Ash Koosha was honourably given a Best New Track by Pitchfork, proving he is most definitely one of the most interesting, exciting new talents to emerge. We have re-approached Ash Koosha again to ask him about his original composition style, Nano-Composition, as well as his working environment and dream collaboration. Feel free to stream the entire GUUD at the end of this interview.

Focus: Ash Koosha
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, July 28, 2015

Please describe your music in your own three words.
immersive, supramolecular, blobitecture

You had a classical music training before, but how did you get into making a music with computer?
I was fascinated by the form and structure in classical composition as well as its versatile narrative my entire life, but as i grew up listening to more electronic music i felt a need to discover more of the noise and sound design world, so i began playing around with frequencies, trying to compose classically structured pieces using my rather unknown sound discoveries.

What’s your inspiration?
The Future. I really like to experience living my ten-years-from-now self in the present.

You are currently based in London. How is the life different from living in Tehran?
Environment has a big impact on choices of sound and taste in general, however in my opinion we shape the cities they don’t shape us. So i would say London is another big city with less limits and it’s own characteristics.

It feels like “GUUD” is an album that should be listened as a whole. Also with playful song titles on the album, like Bo Bo Bones and JamJamJam, SlamSlamSlam, is there a certain concept behind this album?
Most of the titles are very accidental or just instant images in my head. JamJamJam and SlamSlamSlam are both three-act compositions, the first i was picturing a band from the future jamming in my head and the other i recorded while watching a 3d modelled slam dunk video on loop hence the name SlamSlamSlam.

One thing that I realised going through the album is that there’s a lot of deformation with genres, styles and song structures happening on this record, and you introduced the idea of “Nano-composition” on this album. Can you explain this further?
This idea came to me from my obsession with scales of waveforms. I read a lot about nanotechnology and the quantum realm, one day i thought it would be interesting to treat music as matter, creating a space where you can put sounds together as objects. i rigged deep into the grains of samples i recorded and found a lot of random sonic behaviour within the fractal patterns of each waveform taken from the samples. I tried to control the random chaos in the sonic events i created and the result was a long 42 minutes journey i experienced in an unknown world of random sound. As for the genre, i didn’t know what i’m about to experience so i couldn’t think of any forms or structure that existed as a genre of music.

1169072I think there’s a lot of ‘goodness’ in randomness, chance and error, so music shouldn’t be about being good or bad but letting imperfections have an emotional impact.

How did this idea come about?
I always listen to classical music, from Chopin to Wagner, but sometimes i think the frequencies are limited to the instruments that we have known for years. I tried to change that for myself while i was studying in Tehran Conservatory of Music, by sampling sound, putting them on classical form and composition. As i grew older i realised i’m visualising music in my head and i thought it would be fun to discover sound objects that can fit into classical music and have theatrical motion as well as sonic and compositional value. recently learning about Nano technology opened another pathway for me to seek solutions for my futurist problems.

The title of the album “GUUD” means ‘good’, but for you, what is good music?
Guud is the imperfect good. I think there’s a lot of ‘goodness’ in randomness, chance and error, so music shouldn’t be about being good or bad but letting imperfections have an emotional impact. If in a moment in time, a sound intensifies an emotion and have an impact then that’s pretty ‘good’.

Who is your dream collaboration?
Lars Von Trier

What’s next for Ash Koosha?
I’ll be finishing new material through which I want to further develop the idea of nano-composition and phenomenology of musical experience.

Connect with Ash Koosha
Olde English Spelling Bee


Focus: Honne

For those who don’t know the meaning behind Honne and Tatemae (本音と建前), they are “Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires and the behavior and opinions one displays in public” (as explained by Wikipedia).

Honne is a musical duo hailing from East London. Combining moody electronic beats with beautiful, soulful baritone and glittering cutting guitar, they create their own urban and bitter-sweet soundscape. What lifts Honne’s aesthetic higher than most Post-James Blake R&B peers are in their great songwriting skills. Both being music teachers, their sound juxtaposition is extremely well thought out, and chord progressions and song developments are at its most effective. We spoke to this up-and-coming duo through email to discuss the meaning behind their band name and association with Japanese culture, how the duo came together, and what is in line for their future activities.

Focus: Honne
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, April 10, 2015

First of all, I would like to ask you about the name of the unit, HONNE, and the name of the label, Tatemae. These two set of words are very familiar to Japanese people. Also on the cover artwork for “Coastal Love”, Japanese tranlastion of the title is used. What is your associasion with Japan? And what is the concept behind it?

James: We first came across the word Honne and loved it on an aesthetic level. But when we looked further into the meaning we felt it really encapsulated what the whole band and our songs were about. So we like the idea of keeping the connection with it. Andy (the singer) also has spent a bit of time in Japan over the last couple of years, and loves the place and people he met whilst visiting. Hopefully we’ll get to go over to play some shows in the not too distant future.

How did HONNE come together as a musical duo?

J: Andy and I met at university about 6 years ago. He was the first person I met actually. We started working on a few different projects together and realised that we worked well together, so have carried on ever since.

When did you realize you wanted to make music?

J: When I was about 12 I was given a guitar by a family member and became completely obsessed with learning how to play it and, since I became capable and able enough to play it, my focus has always been on playing and writing music.

How did you develop your sound as it is now?

J: We spent a long time working on electronic music and developing our production. Eventually we wrote a track that we felt had it’s own sound, so we went about writing more songs in that style, and that became HONNE.

Tell us the creative process of the new EP, “Coastal Love”. The title track sounds nothing like the previously released tracks. Are there anything that you tried to do differently?

J: To be honest, not particularly. The first part of Coastal Love that was written was the slightly house music-like drum beat, and I think that shaped the upbeat feel of the song, along with the summery concept of Coastal Love, which is maybe a slight departure from the more night time feel of our previous tracks.

After the release of the new EP, what can we expect from HONNE in 2015?

We’ve got quite a few gigs lined up in the UK and Europe. Hopefully we’ll get over to the States for a couple of shows. We’ll be releasing more music too of course. Whilst all that is going on, we’ll be working on our album behind the scenes, which is already beginning to take shape. We’re really excited to keep getting music out there, and hopefully play some fun shows.

Connect with Honne
Official Website


Their new Coastal Love EP is available to preorder from iTunes.

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Focus: TEEZ’FM

Photo by Nicolas Robin

TEEZ.FM is an online radio station in Paris. It was founded about 6 years ago by former radio presenter Thierry Jaussaud. From Kylie Minogue to Roisin Murphy, Arcade Fire to Cut Copy, the music that they play hits the fine line between Indie and Pop. They also pour passion into introducing up-and-coming artists through their features and programmes. However eclectic their style, they always stay true to their heart, as their slogan strongly claims: ‘We Are Pop!’ We have talked to the founder Thierry Jaussaud about how everything started, what pop means to them, and what their future holds. TEEZ are also kind enough to share their favourite tracks of 2015 so far. Check out the playlist at the bottom of the interview.

Focus: TEEZ’FM
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, March. 19, 2015

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Focus: Dems

UK’s musical trio Dems makes music that invites you to take a deep breath and to have a close listen to their sounds, words and feelings. Yes, their music can be easily put into a Post-James Blake electronic R&B, and their soulful melodies and candid lyrics can be compared to the likes of How To Dress Well and Sohn. But turn the light off and focus on the music. It is so much more. Last year they released an excellent album Muscle Memory. Dropping most of their past singles from the tracklist, they created a coherent world of their own. There’s this beautiful harmonies, sudden but effective thumps and bangs, and especially the flow the album makes is beyond description.

We have talked to Dems through email about how the trio started, their songwriting process and the background behind Muscle Memory.

Focus: Dems
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, March. 11, 2015

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Focus: Oscar Key Sung

A Melbourne based songwriter/producer Oscar Key Sung is appearing at a Australian Music Showcase held on May 31 at Ebisu Liquidroom in Tokyo. His latest EP Hologram shows him beautifully experiencing with his vocals and bending genres such as indie R&B and house with a Ancient-Futuristic stories/lyrics, creating a Soul music for new generation. We have talked to Oscar through emails about the inspiration of his music creation, how his aesthetic for “All I Could Do” were made, and his ideas of providing music for Name Your Price

Interview: Oscar Key Sung
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, May. 11, 2014

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Focus: Acquaintance

After releasing Parapsychology EP from Brighton’s collective, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, an electronic producer Acquaintance recently put out his debut full-length album, Satellite Stream. Producing the infectious beats that combined elements of House, Balearic Disco and Techno, he makes a wide-eyed electro-pop that is colourful, thoughtful and infectious.

We have caught up with Acquaintance to talk about the reason behind his unit name, Anti-Ghost Ray and the concepts running behind the album.

Interview: Acquaintance
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, Mar. 25, 2014

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Focus: Ry X

For Aborigines, to dream is to create.  LA-based Australian songwriter, Ry X calls his genre of music “Dream” and expresses what he cannot explain in his words through music. Dreaming is happening right here.

Getting rid of all the excess, his first release from the stockholm’s imprint Dumont Dumont, Berlin EP feels extremely raw and captivating. The title track and the opener “Berlin” progresses patiently. Then with a plucked acoustic and sliding electric guitars, Ry sings and howls wistfully, “Tell me I’m not going home and I’ll stop waiting by the phone.”

We have talked with Ry X through emails to discuss how he started making music, if the love is overrated and the meaning behind his unit name.

Focus: Ry X
By Satoru ‘Teshi’ Teshima, Oct 3, 2013

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