Along with his authentic vision, independent music producer Kuma Pop carries about him the air of continuous renewal. Not to mention, his experiences and memories are translated into electronic melodies always worth listening to.
In this interview, the Spanish artist divulges secrets and untold details of “Shinjuku,” a new single that’s still warm from the oven…
1 — Do you feel your new single “Shinjuku” is a step forward in your search for artistic fulfillment?
“Shinjuku” represents a big part of my musical language and my present position and views as a producer. A song is never really “finished”, there is always something that we could try differently, but I feel fairly satisfied with the track as it is. I think it captures what I wanted to express: that melodic, retro-techno feeling of the Tokyo night. With that said I make music believing that “the best” song is always the next one and there is always room for innovation while being loyal to our music soul.
2 — Is it inspired by Asian culture? Please tell us more.
Yes. More specifically it is inspired by the amazing mix of feelings that people experience when visiting Shinjuku, in Tokyo. Going there is like opening a door to all kinds of unexpected adventures, excitement, creativity, energy, and encounters. In the song, you go through a moving road of electronic technology with bits of traditional Japanese instruments.
The song “Shinjuku” is my way to say thank you to a place where I was tremendously happy. I was about to move there again in 2020 to finish writing a book called “Shinjuku Memories” where different short stories end up connecting with that part of the city but we all know what happened in March 2020… I´ll rescue that project in the future.
3 — How much creativity did Thais inject into this project?
Thais and I produced a full album together like more than 15 years ago. We did everything in a house I had in Sevilla (Spain) back then and we had a lot of fun writing and recording the songs together. She is incredibly talented at creating harmonies and she has a beautiful voice. Now she is mostly focused on her family and other work, but I thought her voice was perfect for “Shinjuku.” I contacted her and she accepted to participate. A few years ago she really was into music and did many great things, I hope this is not her last collaboration.
It is usually a mix of layering techniques. I am a fan of the Logic Pro Quick Sampler. It gives me a lot of flexibility to manipulate the sounds until I get what I want. Today we have access to many tools to shape our own unique sound if we are keen to work patiently and don´t be just loop-lazy. Automation is a major key in the organic life and sonic interest of the track (and any track).
5 — How would you describe its sound in three words?
Melodic, emotional, disco.
6 – What do you like the most about your previous releases “Ishq” and “La Conexión”?
“Ishq” kind of mixes a house body with old-school breakbeat technology plus a touch of exotic voices. It became the song that really triggered my audience on digital platforms like Spotify. After releasing that single (along with my first gig in Ibiza) I went from just a few people a week listening to my music to a few thousand listeners per month now.
“La Conexión” is the song I somehow used to reconnect with my mid-tempo melodic techno spirit in a moment I was really re-starting producing music, after a long time pause I spent focused on my academic career. It is really melodic too and I like the healing-spiritual message in its lyrics. The “Burning Man Mix” of the track is a step ahead to that wonderful sunrise feeling of the techno-trance music.
Both songs (and all my dance tracks, just in general) embody part of that 1998-2004 Ministry of Sound nostalgia sound that a number of people still enjoy today.
7 — Were there any difficulties that you faced at the recording studio?
Thais lives in Barcelona, and I live between Andalucía (in southern Spain) and the USA so is not always easy to collaborate remotely, but it worked out well. In “Shinjuku” there is only a little touch of vocals. Composing and producing music takes a lot of time and hard work both mentally and physically, even when you are familiar with your own system and music creative routines. You must be passionate about it and willing to work hard through (and beside) the many difficulties and mistakes or you should do something else.
8 — What are your thoughts on today’s electronic music?
Creativity is out of control in good ways. There are teenagers (and seniors) producing songs full of imagination that keep surprising us every day. The sound quality of many current producers has no precedents. With that said the indie, garage, or home-made sound is still able to produce great music. In fact, many listeners keep choosing the indie scene over the big (unbeatable sounding) productions.
There is an overwhelming ocean of music moving and growing. The bad in that is that we miss many fantastic things that we never find in the vast market and the competitive distribution channels.
A great voice is a wonderful musical tool. Although electronic “robotic” voices can also be effectively moving and extremely satisfying for experimentation. I personally love it. That’s part of the music magic: it’s completely subjective. There are people that simply refuse to hear certain music styles based on pre-established prejudices. I believe we all can find incredible works in basically any music style from techno to flamenco, bachata, opera, etc.
9 — How do you see Kuma Pop in 10 years?
Wow… I believe I will still be making music. Maybe back to teaching too and spending more time with my loved ones.
Right now I am looking forward to presenting my new VJ event in June, in Ibiza, where I will be sharing 5-6 new songs.
By the end of 2022, I plan to print a limited promotional-only physical vinyl with my most special singles from 2021-2022. And 2023 will be the year when I will try to expand my VJ concept to some other music festivals. There is really wonderful music stuff going on out there just in the mountains.
In 10 years… I might transform “Kuma Pop” into a “hermit with internet”. Society is getting kind of disturbing in many ways. Selfies are the new Bible and fake “beauty and happiness” impersonate the new Gods. It’s just ridiculous. I turned to find more real, inspiring, and attractive people who openly admit their limitations in such an odd world.
10 — Anything you would like to say to your fans from all around the world?
Thank you for being supportive of independent electronic music. Passion and love reflected in our songs are more important than budget and big studios’ “sound perfection.”
To music lovers in general: do you like melodic, danceable, adventurous, 90s/2000s spirited electronic music? Then take a look at my Spotify and Instagram accounts and let me know what you think. Thank you again.