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Sunao Inami

date: 2006-07
interview by Damage

Kobe brought us one of the greatest electro-ambient that soothed our HQ in the past few years. Wavetable and streaming technology veteran mastermind Sunao Inami talked to us about how we works and what he works with and hinted at his latest plans. Do check his track modifiers control on MySpace, that's a genuine trip to cyberspace.

THE DOSE: When and why did you start making electronic music?

Sunao InamiSUNAO INAMI: I started making sound and music with synthesizers when I was 13 years old. It was in '80s, I was very excited from the UK and Germany-based new wave movements. Then I tried to create the new electronic sound myself.

THE DOSE: What music would you do if you had to discard every piece of electronic equipment?

SUNAO INAMI: Good question.. If I was born in the Stone age, I would try to play minimal and shamanic music with some stones and pieces of wood.

THE DOSE: When it comes to equipment for making sounds, do you have favorite instruments? Are you always trying new things or expanding your instrument inventory to try new sounds?

SUNAO INAMI: Yes, I make new sounds every time, I don't use factory presets, of course. My favorites are wavetable-based synths,like a PPG Wave, Waldorf Microwave etc. Analog-based synths, like the Prophet-5 and OSCar proved themselves very useful to me. Softwares like Reaktor are easier to make new sounds than with MAX/MSP. Reaktor's sample editing and granular synthesis is very interesting.

THE DOSE: What is the best piece of musical software you came across and why?

Sunao InamiSUNAO INAMI: Opcode Studio Vision with TDM systems is the best. Step recording and audio editing is very smooth.

THE DOSE: Could you talk about your upcoming release? You mentioned in your blog that it's going to be a live album of sorts..

SUNAO INAMI: Yes, my next release is going to be a live album. I recorded some gigs in Europe in March 2006. I am picking out songs and editing them now. The album will be released on July 2006. The style is dark electroish, rhythmic noisish, breakbeatish stuff. There is one other release, a compilation from Danish label Vital - that CD focuses on dark ambient and dark electro.

THE DOSE: What music are you influenced and inspired by?

SUNAO INAMI: Big influences are David Bowie, Brian Eno and King Crimson. (Middle of '70s to early '80s) Another important influence is Cabaret Voltaire. Important things are thinking theory, methodology, posture for activities, etc.

THE DOSE: How do you deal with accidents, are they also parts of your composition process?

SUNAO INAMI: Accidents are one good source for making new sounds!

THE DOSE: As an electronic musician, what do you do, when you're definitely far away from your studio and a musical idea forms in your head?

Sunao InamiSUNAO INAMI: I'll remember it. If I happen to forget it, then it wasn't a good musical idea, anyways. If that idea is very very good, I'll write a memo about it, but that's pretty scarce.

THE DOSE: What new technologies - softwares, interfaces or the like - are you experimenting with nowadays?

SUNAO INAMI: Mainly NI Reaktor and Ableton LIVE, for recording I use Logic 7 and Protools. Plug-ins are very important. My favourites are GRM tools and UAD-1. Software synths? I use Access Virus Powercore and impOSCar. I really like NI Reaktor and I sometimes use Nuron VS. I have a lot of hardware/vintage synths but I also am interested in new technologies.

THE DOSE: Your albums include repetitive rhythmic structures - did you have ever have dancefloors in mind for any release?

SUNAO INAMI: As for the dancfloor, my live set is more about heavy beats. If I have a chance to release it on vinyl, I'll definitely try that. But, I'm not into rave or techno music, I'm much more about underground experimental dance music, if anything.

THE DOSE: Please consider producing instrumental tracks for a vocalist talent. Who would that artist be?

SUNAO INAMI: Dawid Bowie or Iggy Pop.

THE DOSE: Please tell us about C.U.E., your project together with ballet/contemporary dancer Emi Makino and NEUS-318 label guru Kazuya Ishigami.

Sunao InamiSUNAO INAMI: C.U.E. has some projects, a CD label and shop, a recording studio, live performances with webcast, etc. The CD label/shop is called C.U.E. Records, we focused on the experimental, noise, electroacoustic genres. We have an event series at C.U.E. which is called Live from Far East. That's a streaming webcast and we've already done it more than 65 times. We often play with foreign artists, like Momus, Jazzkammer, Eric Cordier, Roberto Zorzi, Ian Masters, etc. We also play with contemporary dancers, painters, we do readings with poets, etc. We have no borders to stop us. Check details at

THE DOSE: You have extensively used streaming technologies, doing streamed concerts, doing a streamed Moog modular synth called MOOG ENDLESS.. what were your experiences?

SUNAO INAMI: I have a working knowledge of Real Servers (Helix ones), Quicktime Streaming Servers (Darwin-based ones) and I know how to use these for expression activities for artists and make interesting content for audiences.

THE DOSE: New technology is one of the most important themes for artists from now on. How do you think new technology like MP3s will change the attitude of creative artists over the next 10 years or so?

Sunao InamiSUNAO INAMI: I'm not interested in this. For a long time, everybody's been saying the same old things. When I started making music in the early 80's, there was no computers, no Internet, no digital recordsers, no polyphonic synthesizers and so on - just a monophonic synth and a tape deck.As for now, Apple Computer and my Internet connection are very important for me but the spirit has never changed. I don't care what happens in 10 years, if I'm still alive, I'll be keeping making music.

THE DOSE: How do you see yourself in 10 years?

SUNAO INAMI: Making sounds, composing, editing, recording, doing live gigs.

THE DOSE: You have recently been to the EU for a tour and you'll also be back in Europe this year, precisely to Croatia in August. Do you plan to take a trip in the country or sightseeing if you have the time?

SUNAO INAMI: I don't have the time for sightseeing. I always play gigs, meet key persons. etc. That's bad to point out, but Japan is a bad country for experimental and artistic activities. Europe has been very exciting for me since the '80s.

THE DOSE: Thank you so much for honoring us with this interview. Do you have any final message to the DOSE readers?

SUNAO INAMI: Thank you for reading this issue and I hope THE DOSE meets big success in the future.