Ryogo Yamamori is both a label head and an artist based in Tokyo who has big plans for 951beat, his label. “Displacement (Ryogo Yamamori Remix)” is the second track off of the label’s debut EP Pendulum from Athens-based artist Pathwaves. Ryogo Yamamori shares his take on juggling roles between artist and business while also creating opportunity for emerging artists.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with 6AM, and this year has definitely taken everyone for surprise. What’s one thing this year has taught you on a personal level and professionally?
That’s right. These are very difficult days for all. I’ve taken time off to make music, and I’m working hard on my tracks every day. Also, I’m getting more release offers and podcast requests, which is fulfilling.
How’s the nightlife scene out in Tokyo right now? There have been club closures then they reopened. Areas in Spain and Italy have once again shut down. What’s your take on it?
Tokyo is a big city, so we are not able to operate a club. Bar business is available for DJs, so there are a few places, but they are active.
Tell us the inspiration behind Pendulum–even the tracks’ names carry a certain theme of “movement.”
The titles were found during the creation of the tracks. It was a part of the whole idea and the elements I focused on. They all led to a sound effect framed in techno. The name comes from the general atmosphere and the sound spectrum that exudes the entire EP, which takes you to a state of hypnosis, through the movement of the “pendulum.” My main acoustic influences were created by electronic music composers such as La Monte Young, Eliane Radigue, Phill Niblock & Coil.
They say there’s opportunity in adversity, and this year has been one full of challenges. As a newcomer on the scene, do you feel this is the playing field is evened out or what do you make of it all?
I don’t think it’s evenly distributed. As label management, we’re trying to support artists more strongly and increase their exposure.
On top of being a label owner, you’re an artist too. Is it hard to balance between being an artist and a label head? What comes first?
There’s nothing difficult about it. I’m fortunate enough to have a long career, so it’s not a priority for me. I have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, so I just decide what I’m going to do. I’m proud to say that I’m as fast as a machine when it comes to making music and running a label and 951 means a machine. We manufacture the beats of the machine and go. Speed is important to me.
What sounds are you looking to house under 951Beat?
I’ve been deeply involved in the history of dance music.I’ve experienced everything from house music, Detroit techno, New York house, garage, drum-bass, progressive house, trance, etc.The most important thing is to have a good beat.I’m looking for a straightforward aim for the track and an ongoing, proper sound from these genres.
What motivates your work as an artist? And as a label owner?
All of my artists use melodies to express their emotions. Sometimes they are completed without feeling anything. The greatest joy is when those emotions are linked to the music. The purpose of running a label is to continue releasing music in the Japanese techno scene. No label has released music consistently, and we’re in the ninth year now. I’m looking forward to seeing more good music and getting recognized overseas as well.
Anything else you’d like to share with our audience?
Pathwaves is a great producer. Make sure to check all his music [in the] future!