Waveform Mix Series 008: A.Mochi

Japanese techno legend, A.Mochi, drops in with his contribution to the mix series, and speaks to The Waveform Transmitter’s Ste Knight about the Japanese dance ban, his production techniques, and his plans for the future.

Any techno-head worth their salt will know the name A.Mochi. The Japanese artist’s productions have been making some serious waves since he dropped his first EP, Re:Sound, on Luke Slater‘s Mote-Evolver imprint.

Since then, Mochi has been busying himself releasing tracks and touring, alongside holding down a busy day job, to bring us some classic techno tracks such as Poni, and the wonderfully abrasive Squeal (which guarantees a huge reaction from any techno club crowd).

Mochi also released his first solo album back in 2010. Primordial Soup is techno through and through, and is highly sought after by collectors outside of this home country of Japan. The album brings together all three parts of the Primordial Soup EP series, and features nine tracks of full on party-techno at its prime.

A.Mochi is no stranger to playing live sets either, and he has kindly contributed a very special live set for our Waveform mix series. You can listen to that below, believe us it is an absolute hum-dinger of a set, which is nott only live, but also features several unknown and unreleased Mochi tracks.

But first, why not see what the Japanese techno don has to say for himself.

Waveform: Hi Akihiro. Thank you for taking the time out to talk to us and for recording a FANTASTIC live mix. Let’s start at the beginning, what made you want to start producing and DJing?

A.Mochi: I got a hold of Fruity Loops (FL Studio) in late 90s and started making techno loops just for fun, and never even considered releasing them or play them out in clubs at the time.

After a while, a friend of mine who was organizing a techno event that featured only live acts asked me if I want to play, and that lead me to play out my stuff in other events too.

I didn’t own a laptop at the time, so I remember I brought my desktop PC to the venue or borrowed a laptop from friends. I was mostly playing off samplers I programmed or Fruity Loops.

While I played more live sets in various events, one friend commented “I think your music deserves record release.” So, I sent out demos to some labels, and my 12inch got released from Luke Slater’s Mote-Evolver. Then Len Faki kindly put out my music on his Figure label too. I feel very privileged to work with so many great labels. 

Waveform: Talk us through your studio set up. Have you got any favourite pieces of hardware in your collection? What gives you that unique ‘Mochi’ sound?

A.Mochi: Unfortunately, I don’t really have a physical space you could call a studio. The setup hasn’t changed much from the beginning. I have a Windows laptop with Fruity Loops (FL Studio) and Sony headphones.

My unique sound is produced with samples that I made with self-made plugins and FL Studio plugins. Someday, I would like to develop my own plugin that generates only the sounds I like and want.

Waveform: How do you feel about the techno scene in Japan? The authorities seem to take quite a hard line with clubs, don’t they? Do you think this has an impact on creativity within the scene?

A.Mochi: The dance-ban law has been amended and there are clubs that can officially operate throughout the night now, but this resulted in stricter regulations towards smaller clubs, so it created new problems in a way that require further improvements.

I’m personally more concerned about low birth rate. The number of babies born in Japan last year was 50% less than the year I was born, and I don’t even want to imagine how this will impact the underground music scene here.

Waveform: You’ve been around the world with your DJ and live sets. Do you think there is a noticeable difference between the Japanese club scene and that of other countries?

A.Mochi: I play at techno parties in clubs either way, so I don’t see major differences, but I generally find the overseas crowd more responsive than the crowd in Japan. I also get more direct feedback after the set people coming up to me to give me compliments or ask questions.

In Japan, the crowd varies depending on what kind of night it is – if it’s strictly techno, more house inclined or trance. Trance crowd in Japan goes really wild.

Waveform: You’ve worked alongside some pretty big names. Who stands out as your favourite artist to collaborate with?

A.Mochi: When I did the remix of a Len Faki track for Cocoon, I remember Len gave me lots of advice on how I could progress the track, and he also played me lots of samples. We did lots of back and forth, refined the track to finish it. I made many versions of it too, so that’s quite memorable.

Waveform: Have you got any plans to return to Europe any time soon? Or more specifically, to play in the UK?

A.Mochi: I’m currently very busy with my day job, so it’s difficult to schedule an extensive tour or opportunities to play in Europe. I would love to go back though – and to play in the UK too!

Waveform: Who have you taken inspiration from in terms of other artists? Are there any that you particularly look up to?

A.Mochi: I do get inspirations from other artists but nobody in particular. My music is the result of constant trial and error, and some random chances.

Waveform: Are there any up and coming Japanese techno artists you think we should be paying close attention to?

A.Mochi: You might know some of them already but encourage you to look out for Ryuji Takeuchi, Tomo Hachiga, Rawfila, and Reqterdrumer.

Waveform: What does the future hold for A.Mochi? Any exciting projects coming up?

A.Mochi: In April I’m playing at EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival Japan), in May at Re:birth Festival which are both big events in Japan.

On the production side of things, I’m working together with Tomo Hachiga and Go Hiyama on some remixes. I’m also expecting some 12inch and digital releases of my own work sometime soon too.

Waveform: Thanks for chatting with us, Akihiro!

A.Mochi: Thanks!

Without further ado, get this ear gear on high volume, and let’s kick off the Easter Weekend with a live set of awesome techno from the man himself, A.Mochi. Stream below the tracklist.

1. A.MochiSpectrum / Prophet
2. KnobsFeed Your Need (A. Mochi & Kaoru Inoue Remix) / Nachtstrom Schallplatten
3. BeroshimaHexaline (A.Mochi Remix) / Blue Arts
4. A.MochiSunset / Figure
5. A.MochiUnknown
6. RawfilaGravity (A.Mochi Remix) / Grasswaxx
7. A.MochiUnknown
8. Mari MatthamKronicle (A.Mochi & Tomo Hachiga Remix) / Android Muziq
9. A.MochiUnknown
10. A.MochiUnknown
11. Dave ClarkeWisdom to the Wise(Red2) (A.Mochi remix)

Author: Ste Knight

Editor at The Waveform Transmitter. Lover of acid basslines, cavernous kick drums, and dark rooms. Cut his teeth to Surgeon's blistering techno assault at T-Funkshun in Liverpool and hasn't stopped for breath since.

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