Pony Canyon, one of the biggest Japanese names in music, movie and anime, has signed electronica artist she to debut in 2009. With this exclusive interview, we unmask the man/woman/people behind the mysterious she…
Spoiler: Proceed only if you want to see the real face of she!
she is multi-instrumentalist and producer Lain (or Piotr) Trzaska. Born in Krakow, Poland, Lain moved to Sweden at the age of 5. He studied piano and violin, but it wasn’t anything he was interested in at the time.
“Back then, I never understood how learning to play the piano had anything to do with copying other composers work, I wanted to do my own songs”
In 1997, he left his Casio keyboards and cassette decks to make music on the computer when he discovered the program FastTracker.
“My first songs on the computer were made for my own 2D games and applications”.
In 2003, Lain started the project she with the goal that it would merge his illustration works and music to one entity. In 2008, all his hard work paid off with a record deal offer from Pony Canyon, one of Japan’s biggest entertainment companies.
You’ve been producing for many years on Apex Records. This year you got signed to Pony Canyon. Congratulations! What’s coming up next for she in 2009?
Thank you, I got contacted by Pony Canyon early after I released the “coloris” album in June 2008. So far it has been a wonderful experience, lets just say I haven’t experienced the “evil label” stereotype yet but I guess that comes later. I have never made music to get signed, I just feel the need to create something and share it with others or i’ll go crazy, haha!
As for she music in 2009, I’m working on two albums at the moment. The first one is kind of a sequel to the “days” album. Not suprisingly, the albums name is “nights”. It will continue the whole “soundtrack feel” but I wanted to take its concept in another direction, something you never heard from ’she’ before. The other is a major release from Pony Canyon and it will sport the “coloris” sound (electronica/house).
Do you plan do to any live performances to promote your new album?
I’m hoping to do some live performances for the new major label release from Pony Canyon. It will mostly consist of DJ events in Japan.
Your tracks have so many production techniques - overdrive, 8-bit, guitar distortion, vocal sampling. How would you describe your sound? Is “chiptune” the name for the musical genre in Japan?
The most popular label for she is electronica/chiptune. I guess that fits my music somewhat. I dont know if you can call my ambient/industrial works that though. Industrial ChipElectronica maybe?
Many like to label my music chiptune but it cannot be called pure chiptune as chiptune suggests you use only sounds coming from lo-fi hardware like a Gameboy, or SID chips and the like.
The kind of sound I have for the Coloris and Chiptek albums is called Electro Disco, Shibuya-kei and/or Techno-pop in Japan.
Can you name a few of your songs that people MUST listen to?
Coloris, Exude, Niji no kawa, Autumn In Space, and Day3.
What artists do you listen to when you’re not in the studio?
A lot of them. Oasis, Chara, Joe Hisaishi, Jamiroquai, Cornelius and Bjork to name a few. I have found myself listening to old R.E.M and Simon & Garfunkel records recently.
What was the inspiration behind your “days” album? It’s like the soundtrack of a science fiction movie.
The sounds of big crowds has always fascinated me, it’s like this white noise and you cant really distinguish anything. But when you listen really carefully you always hear something new. It’s like music.
I wanted to do something similar but with instruments instead. I also wanted a filmlike experience where the listener could imagine scenery from the short story I wrote down for this album.
Each track would introduce a new chapter in the story. Day 2; the girl wakes up. Day 3; she watches the military etc.. and each track would be “infected” with digital radiation so they would break up.
All the cuts and errors in the songs are handcut by mouse clicking, selecting region and editing. I actually found out just recently there is a plugin that does that for you automatically. That would have saved me ALOT of time, haha!
But I will stick to the handcutting because I can make it just the way I want, and not just click a button to get it over with.
Is the she symbol a tribute to Robert Moog?
I get that alot. It’s not. I actually had never seen the moog O letter when I drew the symbol back in 2002. It’s similar indeed.
What many don’t know about the she symbol is that the circle is only there to make it finite. It could as well have been a square or a triangle (I had the square design first), but a circle looked better.
If you remove the circle, the two bars in the middle would grow infinitely long and that would be the real symbol. Thats why you see a “broken” circle sometimes.
Are you really a she? Are you Japanese?
No, I’m not a she. It’s just my artist name. Thats like suggesting Korn being a band consisting of Korns, haha. Oh, and I’m not Japanese. (Ningin staff: “Hontoo?!”)
The original idea behind ’she’ was to create a soundscape/collection of songs to color a world and explain events in which the character (she) was in. Different albums would be different characters in different situations/locations and the sounds and music would communicate the characters feelings and create a story for her. Returning sounds and melodies would hint at interaction between characters from other albums and somewhere in there, the listener would find himself/herself creating images and events in his head, completing the story.
We were very excited to hear of the Pony Canyon record deal! Did you know that you’re one of the favorite musical artists here in the Ningin office?
I had no idea! Guess someone out there enjoys earbleeds, haha.
How can people find out more about she?
I have three main websites people should visit.
My myspace page:(myspace.com/sheofficial) my website:(shemusic.org) and the Last.Fm page:(last.fm/music/she)
The myspace page is most often updated with bulletins and such.
Thank you, she! You can hear she now at shemusic.org where you can download the mini-album “chiptek” which was composed using mostly the 4 basic sounds coming out of a Nintendo Gameboy. (It’s also a free download, but for how long? Don’t wait…) she’s new album comes out January 21, 2009 on Pony Canyon Records. Sample it on Pony Canyon’s official she page right here.