Interview: Bad Taste’s Itoa is one of a kind

Itoa has been on my radar for an incredibly long time. The talented UK-based producer and DJ messaged me some two or three years ago while I was still an editor over at EARMILK, and his music struck me as uniquely different than the hundreds of other submissions I was receiving at the time. Playing with fast BPMs, aggressive bass-lines, and an eclectic sense of humor, his recent works at Bad Taste Records have proven that he may have found the glass slipper to his Cinderella tracks and found his home.

Now feeling quite comfortable with the fascinating label, Itoa has recently released Persuasive Percussion EP, and we sat down to chat with the brilliant artist about his familial background, London, and his music industry advice!

Hi Itoa! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today. Briefly, for people that don’t necessarily know you, how would you describe yourself and your music? How did you first get in to music?

Hey! Thanks for having me! I make sort of a failed attempt at bashment via some jungle and juke kind of vibes. That’s how it feels to me when i make it anyway, but I guess it’s music that also sits within a spectrum of kind of interesting sort of half time DnB at times.

We’ve known each other for quite some time now I would say, from your first track that you submitted to me way back when to now, what would you say the biggest lessons you’ve learned about music (production, industry, etc)?

Yeah its been a good while right! I guess probably that the best way of getting any results is by putting the time in. Which is clearly very obvious. But I think a lot of people do all manner of creative things, like writing music, but being the person that’s putting in the time when you could be going out and going to parties makes all the difference. That said I’m early in the game yet, but in terms of what I’ve learned that’s allowed me to achieve the little things I’ve wanted to it’s definitely that.

You’re probably most likely known for your work with Bad Taste. What first drew you to the record label? What made you stay?

Funnily enough I knew Abdullah, who runs Bad Taste, before he ever put any of my music out. I knew of Bad Taste and loved their varied output – I think there’s a few different strands in what Bad Taste does but within the club music that they put out, for instance, it’s not a single genre label. That for me has always been a big draw – it’s not how I listen to music, or pretty much anyone I know for that matter. In fact actually, to that end I think Bad Taste ends up being a very good fit despite the fact there’s not necessarily a lot of other music they put out that’s at a similar tempo or has similar stylistic references.

We’re both Japanese, and we’ve talked about this in the past. But you’re also Chilean, which adds a whole other dimension, and you live in the UK, which adds a third layer to everything. Do you listen to the music from your familial background? I know we talked about how much we both hated saturday school, but with gentrification of music happening throughout the world, do you go back to any of the music from those countries?

Oh my god, Saturday school was a nightmare. I have inevitably ended up being exposed to some music from Chile and Japan, but on the whole I’d say that has contributed to a general openminded-ness rather than particularly making up the basis of my musical ear or whatever you want to call it. If anything actually I’d say something like anime and computer games has probably done that more than anything re: my exposure to Japanese culture and music! I’d really like to spend more time in Chile and Japan in order to get a better sense of their culture and music though, in and of themselves and in relation to myself. Recently I’ve been diving back into this Akira OTS one again tho (also v effective for spooking people still at your house at 7am)!

So I’m from LA, but you’re based in London, and our site is based in the UK as well. Where are your favorite spots to party at? If/when I come visit you, what are the spots to go to in general?

That’s a tricky one. If anything London is increasingly having it’s venues closed, but you’ll always find great lineups to see every weekend. Corsica Studios and Autumn Street Studios are probably my favourites. Great soundsystems, understanding security, not too big, great programming and sometimes very late running times. Also if it’s summer, then a party on Hackney marshes near my house is always a good one!

Itoa – Peng from U-DOX on Vimeo.

Finally, what can we expect from you for the rest of the year?

More than usual! Persuasive Percussion is out and about and then I’ve got my first track on vinyl about 2 weeks after which is a remix for DJ Madd. After that I’ve got another forthcoming release which I need to remain secretive about for a little while longer 😛 Other than that I’ve been working on some music with Crypticz, a brilliant producer from the UK. Hopefully you’ll start to see the results of some of some of that work in the not overly distant future. Mostly though my production computer is broken right now, so please buy my EP so I can fix it and get on with writing more music haha!

Help Itoa fix his computer via Bandcamp.


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