Nujabes Sound & Recording Magazine Interview (2003)



By utilizing Max/MSP (and including an array of other software) the possibility of widening the sample music library becomes a bigger possibility.


Interviewing Nujabes from Hyde Out Productions label, a man taking the lead in sampling underground hip hop beats and turning them into a fresh new style. New master in taking advantage and using the most of his time in the studio by extracting the best samples from a varied assortment of albums. Bringing a special dankness that is soon to be copied by others, but never fully mastered. He allows us to watch and interview the master work on his current new solo album “Metaphorical Music” right here in his private studio. Lets see what he has to say about his track making process.



His main workspace: Fostex NF-1A monitor, Steinberg Cubase CST is holding up the monitors (one being used by an APPLE powerMac G4/500mHz). A ROLAND A-80 Master keyboard next to a WALDORF 4pole.


In the main workspace, to his left there is an Outboard and Master track (music system) . Starting from on top: ROSEND AHL Nonosyncs, WAVES L2 Ultramaximizer. Starting from the top rack and working around way down:  ROLAND JP-8080, T.C ELECTRONIC Finalizer Express, STUDIO ELECTRONICS SE-1, FURMAN SRM-80, E-MU Vintage Pro, E5000 Ultra is mounted. JP-8080 and SE-1 are the starting base for most his projects so he uses them a lot in his projects.


From the top rack: SPL Transient Designer Model 9946, PANASONIC SV-4100, TASCAM DA-20MK IIX2 DBX 120XP.


Using as his main mixer is a YAMAHA 03D (on top) and starting from top to bottom is: 
MIDI Timepiece, ROLAND P-330, D-110, YAMAHA TG77 used as the setting.


Straight out from his own label Hyde Out Productions, from 1999 he has been featured on 12 inch analog singles from Funky DL, Rock (5 D’s), Shing02, and Apani B-fly. A confident producer of pumping out popular underground singles, who ironically being more popular and acclaimed outside rather than inside Japan. Our boy Nujabes started doing his sampling bases around 1998.

 “During my high school years I played around with making music but it never really became anything. When I really started making music I would take out and and listen to my favorite soul/jazz records, select tracks from them I really liked and then would listen to the sampling part I liked listening in a loop over and over.”
Then I thought one day “What if I took a loop from a separate track and mixed it together with the other one at the same time?
” Kinda like that is what started my first base level samples and when I really started having fun with making material like this.Sometimes I would just spend all day in my room just listening trying to find music to sample”

He first started creating with a MARK OF THE UNICORN Performer where he sampled AKAI PROFESSIONAL S3000 together with a ROLAND VS880 combine with a mixer ROLAND M-12E.
This is how he started building up his base library.
The sampler is soon moved to the AKAI PROFESSIONAL S950 where the volume can be placed with the E-MU E5000 Ultra.
Once I moved the sample to from there we take the more edited sample to the AKAI PROFESSIONAL MPC2000XL.
Here I can check for any tiny nuances in the same, but if it’s fine I continue using the E5000 Ultra.
Once I start making a song it takes me at least a year to finally publicize it. Before doing it I send it through my sequencer STEINBERG Cubase VST.
This system is all set up just to help me make a track. My sampler being used for recording master is Cubase VST then moving to DAT.
The Cubase VST is used for mixing the rap and MIDI sequence. 
Playing the music out in my sampler directly gives a very different sound than if I was mixing it in my computer. But, if I am using something for drum sampling I use the plugin MPC 2000XL inside with SPL Transient Designer Model 9946. Then after I use Yamaha 03D’s EQ within the computer to make some noise. I’m very particular with the duration leveling when it comes to my drum sound,so I often edit it with my Transient Designer.

I take very special care in where my sample music source comes from and take a lot of time deciding what I will or will not use. I wish I had known about this super convenient software PROPELLERHEAD ReCycle! 
Usually I have some problems cutting up my samples, but using this software cuts down on my editing time, but also lets me get a better taste for what sample I want to be using or cutting up.
But unfortunately I just learned about this software (ReCycle).



Right opposite of his main work space is a very solidly placed desk. Lying on top of it are an 
EVOLUTION U-Control, UC-16, AKAI PROFESSIONAL MPC2000XL, APPLE Power Book G4/800MHz, iPod and others. Below the desk include a ROLAND GP-16 and AKAI PROFESSIONAL S950  (and others).


Right next to the window is the DJ set up. From the left: PIONEER CDJ-1000MK2, TECHNICS SL-1200MK3, Cartridge is used for ORTOFON Night Club. VESTAX PMC-07Pro and lying on top of itis TECHNICS RP-DJ1200, SL-1200 MK3, APPLE PowerBook G3/400MHz.
EMAGIC EMI2  (totally the whole set to six pieces). 
The Powerbook is being utilized for being in sync with for listening and music production with the CYCLING’74 Max/MSP.
By using the tabs the user can control the amount of sound being released and also displayed that information as well. 


Bringing forth the flavor that helps spark his futuristic tracks, Nujabes likes to use “fresh” instruments (not just computer generated sounds. In his studio include: SELMER SOPRANO SAXand a MORRIS area Congas for all music and percussion needs. All these instrument are usually just left lying around to be used on the fly.


 In the Shibuya ward of Tokyo, on the 3rd floor of the Takano building lies the used record shop “Tribe” where customers can enjoy quietly browsing in this dimly lit chill atmosphere wide openwindowed room. This is were Nujabes does a lot of his shopping. Near the tables by the windowlies a SL-1200MK3 near a listening table. (ADDRESS: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Utagawacho 10-2 Takano Building, 3rd floor – TRIBES.


too late, but anyways, what is really important is taking care when you are making/taking/adjusting these sample tracks.

It’s no wonder that with passion and love for the music making process Nujabes had a very successful and artistically appreciated first solo album:
“Metaphorical Music” where he featured such MCs as Pase Rock, Cise (Cyne), Shing02,and Substantial to collab on 6 songs and 9 instances giving it a chill and imaginative vibe that leaves the listener with an experience they won’t soon forget.I feel recently that more than ever I have a clear goal and/or idea of what I want regarding my sound and style.
My initiative feels stronger than ever and I’m able to bring forth the feelings I want to convey in my sound

Just like the the album title states “Comparable Music” is the vibe I wanna put out.  There is a lot when it comes to making music, but for the people that make tracks will appreciate and understand this feeling. Just like when it comes to business standards of breaking big broad processes down into smaller groups of process, music and business processes go hand. 
But when it comes to myself, I work mostly independently so in order to bring a successful venture and sound to my music I like to collab with other MCs that get what I’m doing. It’s an important part of the creative process.

“Get what I’m doing” Nujabes exclaims while he goes back to recording. Up until now Nujabes has released everything he has made through his Hyde Out Productions label, where he has invited fellow MCs to come and record with him in his private studio.
My finished tracks get sent abroad in hope they are used in rap songs and collabs that understand the direction I want my music to take. I don’t want my music being used by randoms that don’t understand my music.
I understand using the proper equipment might be difficult for some artists, usually during rap recordings everything is AKG Solid Tube and 03D mic combination to get that sweet “sound” mix that I’m looking for.  It might not be exactly what I’m looking for, I honestly don’t know yet, but if I can make mixes/music that give people the creativity or inspiration to make their music, well that is very important to my process.
One place that helps bring forth this image is the listening unit URBAN FOREST.
There are no big changes or a feeling of incompleteness when it comes to Hyde Out Productions sampling base creations.
That’s why thinking of CYCLING’74 Max/MSP I wanna bring an introduction to them in the naturally fresh URBAN FOREST where we can research this sound together. By using Max/MSP software we get a a higher possibility of granule style of sampling base music, as well as giving the creator other options when it comes to adding more effects and vocalization allowing the music a more raw live recording feel. By starting the record shop “TRIBE” it will help contribute to the continuation of Hyde Out Productions.
The shop is filled with not just old records, but also my music that was sent and also mixed abroad. Here I want to create an atmosphere that you can kick back, listen and be inspired by music and chill atmosphere a good listening track can conjure up. Creating that kind of environment is very important to me.

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