The Beast From The East
For many, 2016 was a year to forget. The passing of legends and the potential earth shattering consequences of major events led us into the new year with a slightly bitter aftertaste. However, it wasn’t all doom and gloom and the unexpected rise of the likes of Soichi Terada tell us that 2017 may have plenty more to offer than its predecessor. Soichi’s story is by no means ordinary, with it taking a mere 51 years for music to reach the mainstream. Touring throughout Europe, he is one of the best live shows on the deep house scene today as well as composing some of the most infectious, feel good music on the marker. His road to success is somewhat odd as prior to his own musical rebirth, Soichi was best known as the composer of the music for a Japanese video game, Ape Escape, earning him a cult following from the few who came across it. He formed his own record label, Far East Recordings, but despite the quality of the music it produced, the label never made it out of Japan. His success was substantial, but all relative in comparison to the renaissance he is having as an artist today.
My favourite collage of the year; the roots of Terada's genius; a rare pensive moment
It was genius producer, Hunee, that propelled Soichi towards his new western audience. Hunee’s compilation, Sounds From the Far East, focused on the work of Far East Recording and gave us our first taste of the brilliant Terada. Sounds From the Far East combined the best elements from American and European house music and gave them their own distinct, oriental twist, displaying Soichi’s wide musical talent; it combined old-school Japanese strings with stylish electric keys and an infectious, rhythmic deep house beat to create a totally unique sound, capturing the imagination of clubbers all around the globe. In March last year he published his own Sounds From the Far East mixtape for Resident Advisor which further displayed his wide discography: it opens with deep house groovers such as ‘Midnight Sun’ and ‘Omatsuri’ that draw you in with pounding piano riffs and diva vocals before moving into a different sound entirely, and it is this inherant diversity that sets Terada apart. Tracks such as Shinichiro Yokota’s ‘Game Man’ change the tempo and the sound to keep the listener guessing, harking back to Terada’s past life creating video game soundscapes.
Whilst the mixtape is divine, it is his live show that's causing the most hype. His disco grooves and electric stage presence is a mesmerising combination. He is restless, running between his record collection and the turntables, all the while looping his own vocals over tracks to make each show entirely unique. Unlike most DJ’s today, he plays to the crowd and responds to their praise with style and flair, always with an enigmatic smile and 70’s disco shirt – a look that seems to epitomise his music. At a Rush Hour Records night in Manchester last November, he stole the show from the likes of Hunee and Antal, men who are firmly established and already much loved on the UK house scene. The crowd was eating out the palm of his hand within minutes, and he kept them guessing until his last note. If you get the chance to see his him, go. He plays with clarity and positivity, injecting a burst of vitality into a scene that so often takes itself too seriously. Soichi-san, we salute you!
Words by: Toby