Otographic Music, Japan’s leader in the progressive trance sound, has a new face in town. Clearly a “musician’s musician,” KaNa delves deep into her artistry, providing us with a unique look at the mind of an inspired creator.
KaNa - Flower Of Snow (Shingo Nakamura Remix) [Otographic Music]
LessThan3: Who do you consider to be your greatest inspirations? How did they influence your sound as a trance artist?
KaNa: I was first influenced by Probspot and Benz & MD. I was very moved by their world view of music, and they impacted me significantly as a progressive trance artist. Catchy and beautiful melodic phrasings, sizzling breakdowns, streaming rhythmic work, fantastic musical structure, and so on; their influence is immeasurable to me. What’s important to me is that their music was original, yet nostalgic at the same time. I was convinced that my musical direction had to be new and original, yet maintain an element of nostalgia.
LessThan3: What software and/or hardware are you using to produce your unique sound? Have you been trained in any instruments?
KaNa: I use a Mac and Logic Pro software. For synthesizers I use an ES2, Sylenth1, and and a EXS24 sampler. For my productions, I use many plug-ins attached to Logic that are high-quality and have excellent CPU loading factors. Since I learned how to play the piano as a child, the keyboard is like my powerful partner which enables to me bring my ideas to the sound world.
LessThan3: We’ve noticed that in many non-English speaking countries, producers don’t shy away from English vocals, nor do their crowds. What is your take on featuring songs with English vocals, and how do your crowds typically react?
KaNa: I’m willing to feature whatever sounds good. I love English vocals. Vocals consist of words and the important components of sounds that humans can create. My fans often show very favorable responses to English vocals; when I continue to include them, they seem to give me more positive feedback. Some producers avoid vocals because they’re not easy to develop. But for me, the challenge makes me want to try harder. I noticed however, that even producers who don’t feature vocals tend to feature a vocal dub version of their tracks.
LessThan3: Have you done any collaborations with any of your Asian counterparts outside of Otographic Arts (OA), such as Shogun and Fei Fei? If not, would you ever consider it?
KaNa: Both Shogun and Fei Fei are wonderful artists and I respect them. I haven’t collaborated with them yet, but it will be exciting to have an opportunity to work with them. Working with other producers not only enhances your own originality, but provides you with opportunities to create better music. Remixing music seems interesting; I’d love to try it.
LessThan3: For our readers and fans outside of Japan, can you describe the Japanese dance music scene to us? Where does OA stand in the middle of everything?
KaNa: There is a dance music scene, but it is small compared to the world scene. The dance music scene and the club scene here are niche markets in Japan. Some distinguished leaders have initiated the scene and passionate fans support them. Otographic Music is relatively new, but it is the core group who leads the scene among trance and progressive house.
LessThan3: We fell in love with your beautifully chilled-out track Flower of Snow and its unique jazz-like qualities. What was your inspiration for this song?
KaNa: The inspiration for Flower of Snow came on a snowy morning. In Yokohama, where I live, it hardly ever snows. One cold morning when I woke up and opened the window curtain, the magical white world jumped into my eyes. It was a shockingly beautiful world.
LessThan3: What would we expect to hear in a live KaNa set?
KaNa: I hope you’d like it! I’m a DJ of all genres in the Japanese club scene. Although progressive house is my main music, I try to create a unique style that takes people on a musical journey. I also plan to add my unreleased music, which will hopefully make some moves in the scene.
LessThan3: How did you get to be involved with OA? Has it affected your development as an artist?
KaNa: Kenji, the owner of the label, has a radio show called Sevensenses Broadcast, and he played Flower of Snow on it. Otographic Music is a high-quality label. They respect the artist’s originality. Their understanding and compassion to the artists are unparalleled. I’m thrilled to imagine that Otographic Music could make a big impact on the EDM scene in the future. This exciting thought amplifies my motivation to create better music.
LessThan3: What are the challenges of being a newcomer to the production scene? Do you have any tips for other aspiring producers?
KaNa: It’s a challenge to become a producer like one of the great producers whom I respect so much. First, you should pursue your favorite music. It’ll give you tools to improve your skill. Second, you should listen to many varieties of music that are widely respected and loved. For me, it’s important to have a good balance between producing and listening. Third, when you make good music, you should share it with other people. By sharing, you can elevate your music and contribute to the scene. Above all, enjoying yourself is the most important thing.