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Artist Feature: Yuta Endo – Sound Artist

Can you tell us a little bit about your musical background? What led you into sound design?
I come from a physics background, but music has always been an important hobby. After college I had an unfulfilling and somewhat disheartening stint at a Japanese tech company, before quitting to pursue music. I didn’t have connections or the clearest sense of direction, but was fortunate enough to find a studio willing to take a chance on me. My first three months at Antfood as a composer/sound designer were the closest thing I had to a formal music education. Working with sound was the perfect fit. It’s all about your
Walk us through your process of composing something like a gif or animated short.
Making inspired work means constantly reminding myself to challenge my own process and expectations. The music brief is cheesy? Push the cheese until it’s cool again. The commercial spot is bland? Throw in an audio easter egg. Mostly, I think it’s important to keep on making, moving, doing. There’s no point in staring at a blank session. Pick up instruments, chop up samples, go for walks. Instead of following strict harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic guidelines, I lay down layers and instinctually respond to each subsequent layer, in a type of conversation. Finally, I craft through subtraction by deleting unessential layers and carve out space for the strongest elements.
Your current Instagram gif series is wonderful. Can you share with us what prompted you to start it?
Thank you! Part of my Instagram is dedicated to seeking out visuals, creating sounds for them, and posting them with permission and credit to the visual artists. The project is part creation, part curation, and allows me to discover and connect with passionate, creative people. As a platform associated with visuals, Instagram is an unexpected space for sound. Crafting seamless audiovisual loops, where every visual detail is accentuated by sound, is so satisfying 🙂
Do you have a set criteria for the gifs you choose to score?
I choose gifs that push me into unexplored musical territory and force me to make things that are diverse, out of my range, but also a reflection of my tastes. For example, for this one I wanted to transform my voice into a convincingly female one. Really channeled my inner Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.
You note on “Nihon002 Asobi” that the score was created using only sounds from Japan. Can you tell us more about that? Did you have that choice already in mind before choosing the visual or was it the other way around?
I collaborated with Ash Thorp, a great artist and all-around cool guy. Leading up to the release of his Nihon Film, for which I did the sound design, I pitched the idea of social teaser content. This involved creating an audiovisual series using only sounds from Japan, e.g. cicadas, train crossing signals, and airport announcements. It was a fun challenge to isolate effective visual loops and create their sonic counterparts.
Do you have a favorite piece from the series so far?
I mentioned one already, but here are some more.
Tell us more about how you’re using the TimeLine in your work. Do you have a set pedalboard setup, if so can you talk us through it? And your modular synth set up?
I play the guitar, but find myself running synths or strange sounds through my pedals more often. The TimeLine is incredible for washing out textures and creating drones. Unlike many other guitar pedals, it really excels at accepting non-guitar signals and warping them into musical texture.
Some other gear highlights:
Synths/Other: DIY ARP 2600 clone, Roland Space Echo, 808 clone, PolySix, Juno-106,
Modules: DIY Mutable Instruments Modules, TH x-4046 VCO, MT Turing Machine, Befaco Rampage, ES Disting, Haible Dual Wasp Filter, Ornament & Crime, Temps Utile, Sloths
Pedals: Hologram Infinite Jets, various DIY pedals
Any other projects in the works for 2018?
I’m working on several short films and audiovisual loops with talented people, but my new project is finding more pockets of time to read books, play video games, build eurorack modules, and play with my cats.

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