I've known Black Tokyo for quite a while now maybe even 4 years which is like a decade in internet time. He alway has solid projects knocking out and is a great photographer. I got a chance to chat with him about old and new gear as well as other randomness in this new Shop Talk.
A.I. - "Ok let's do the basics. Who are you, where are you from and how long have you been doing music?"
BT - "I'm Black-Tokyo, I'm from Fairfax Va. Which is a suburb of DC. and I been sitting doing music since I was about 7. I started as a emcee and around 2001-2002 I got in to making beats. It wasn't until 2006 I started finding my niche beat wise and started emceeing less."
A.I. - "What was it that got you into making beats over just rapping?"
BT - "I never could get good beats from producers. So I thought to myself if I could make beats for emcees who loved the craft and myself then it would do justice. Also my biggest goal was to make music for artists (painters, graphic designers of the like). I was irritated at rap and wanted to make soundtracks for artist instead."
A.I. - "What gear did you start out using?"
BT - "Tape deck looping then a 4 track and then an ASR then a MPC1000 twice. My second one got stolen and so did my records so I gave up on equipment and got introduced to FL. I've been back and forth over the years from MPC1000 to FL vice versa. Mainly FL, over the years though."
A.I. - "I personally love FL Studio and it might be my favorite to use out of all that I've worked with. Although sometimes would like to go back to the first recording program I used. I notice the limitations or functions of each give you a different creative vibe. Which set up, over the years, did you vibe with like that or like using the best?"
BT - "I can say the MPC1000 has the best set up because it makes you listen to the record and you find gems. Because of the MPC is how I'm able to use FL in the same way. Only difference is FL is easy for everyone to learn and make stuff sound really good but the bad part is the life and vibe that come along with it is missing. Unless you've learned old school. Love FL to death but I would not be able to use it if I had never (.a looped beats on tape decks and (b. Learned how to use a MPC.
A.I. - "One more gear question. If money wasn't an object which two pieces of gear would you most like to own?"
BT - "Good question and there so many good pieces of equipment so I'd say A full sized Moog moded the hell out and a MPC2500 with a interface mod so I can run sounds back and forth from the comp and not have to use disk or memory cards."
A.I. - "Last time I was talking to Lazlo about an artist only really needing to put out an album every 2-3 years but that not being much of a reality today. You put out an album worth almost every 2 months. How much of the time do you feel pressured to put music out? How much is just that you make so much and want to get it out? And how often do you think an artist today needs to release a full album?"
BT - "I never feel pressured to put out music. I make music according to my mood and put it out like a comic book. Each EP or album is an episode. Artists need to release and full length album every six months if there touring or not. I think it will keep the listener in tune to the artist."
A.I. - "What new projects are in your future?
BT - "Pistol Opera Agency 2 and maybe a new EP coming soon plus an album I produced for Plznigga, J Quest, Cosemp and hopefully my rap album plus a few upcoming Uncommon Records projects. I can as one of the most underrated beatsmiths, I stay busy working thanks to good fam such as you and many others."
A.I. - "How come we don't see a full album out of you rapping over your beats?"
BT - 'Well truth be told I only rap here and there plus been to lazy to get a mic, but after enough request its coming prolly summertime. Aqua Boogie the self titled album."
A.I. - "What's better, making beats at 3PM or 3AM?"
BT - "It all depends on my mood. I can make em whenever. It's whenever I hear that sample or my mojo says "its time to chop and cook" really."
A.I. - I really appreciate your time in sitting down to do this. Looking forward to any new stuff on your horizion.
BT - "Thank you g and hope this sheds a little light on me and my process."