A Cup of Coffee With Takashi Ogata
by Ilaria Mangiardi
A bassist and composer with over 10 years of experience as an artist on stage, Takashi works as Music Producer at MassiveMusic Tokyo. He’s currently in the band tozambu and has performed at major festivals such as Summer Sonic, Rock in Japan Festival, and Sweet Love Shower. Let’s find out how he answered our million dollar questions. But first, coffee.
This series is called ‘A Cup of Coffee with’. It sounds like rituals and deep conversations. What’s a good habit you’ve let go of this year?
I recently sold almost all the CDs and comics that I had collected since I was a kid. Despite the fact that I was the type of person who wanted to collect what I loved, I’m trying to take advantage of digitalisation to make the best use of the space around me. However, there is a possibility that my interest in vinyl records and cassette tapes will grow and I will soon have less space in my house – again.
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you before?
I am friendly, eat a lot, and have big reactions. But also, I get nervous easily and prefer listening over talking. Also, I like to use my head rather than follow the herd.
What was your first experience with music?
I started playing the piano when I was 5 or 6 years old. When I was in high school, my baseball club asked me to join a band, but the other members had already decided what instrument they wanted to play. There was no bass guitar, so I started playing it.
Classic. Do you remember the moment you realised you wanted to become an artist?
Originally, I thought I would become a composer or a producer, but at some point a friend of mine invited me to join a band that was going to make its major debut which was a pleasant surprise. When I signed the contract with the label, that was the moment I realised that I was going to be an artist.
What was the biggest achievement you’ve made as an artist?
I got quite excited when we performed at festivals that I had always dreamed of, such as Summer Sonic and ROCK IN JAPAN FESTIVAL. It was a wonderful experience.
And your most memorable experience?
When the band I used to be in performed at Japan Expo in France. We performed ‘20th Century Boy’ by T.Rex on stage with the manga artist Naoki Urasawa who wrote the Japanese manga series ‘20th Century Boys’, and the audience did the iconic Tomodachi pose from the manga. It was a surreal experience where the world of manga and reality overlapped.
What track of yours would you recommend to someone you’ve just met?
‘Better Stop’. It’s a song that expresses the desire to do something when you are told to stop.
Why did you decide to join MassiveMusic?
I found working with artists and creators from all over the world very appealing. I also had a feeling that my creativity would be stimulated by working with directors and other creative team members, and I wanted to take advantage of this very fortunate opportunity in my life.
What is your vision? Where do you see it going?
I would like to work with people as if we were a band, just as I did with my past musical activities. I want to improve myself so that I can make the most of Massive’s potential, but I also want to become a respected producer who people go to when it comes to creating interesting advertisements.
Let’s talk about the power of music when it comes to film craft. Where do you stand?
I believe that music is a very special partner for video. This is because the mood of the music has the power to dramatically change the message conveyed by the video. For example, a video of children playing happily can have a completely different meaning depending on whether you put ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams or ‘Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique’ underneath. Needless to say, it’s not that simple if there is also a dialogue or some copy in the video, but I believe that music has the power to lead and elevate the message even more.
How do you know when a song fits the picture?
There are so many ways to describe the characteristics of a song, such as genre, tone, volume, tempo, groove, theme, lyrical message, age, but I think the most important thing to consider when matching the music to the video is the timing. No matter how well the music fits the mood, it can be ruined if the timing is off.
What major changes have you witnessed within the music industry?
Convenience, speed, and quality of music production have improved tremendously thanks to technological innovation. Especially with the spread of DAWs (music production softwares), I think it’s great that more and more people are sharing their own compositions online. However, despite the fact that people from all over the world are connecting and mixing digitally, I still appreciate that the nature of the music produced in each country and culture has not changed that drastically.
Why do brands need to include music in their strategy nowadays?
In this day and age, where we are bombarded with a variety of information every time we use our phones, music is a powerful weapon that can help people recognise a brand’s sound in the one or two seconds it takes to tap or swipe to the next input. I believe that brands that are now reluctant will eventually adapt. I will do my best to be a part of the change in this sense.
What are the proven benefits of sonic branding?
Sound is capable of containing a great deal of information. The ear is an extremely sophisticated organ that can instantly distinguish the sound of a bell, a bird, or a musical instrument, as well as the difference between new, nostalgic, happy or sad music. If the human ear can discern between countless patterns of sound, it is possible to use sound strategy and design to explain the originality of a brand in an instant. Which could be another good reason for sonic branding to be called sonic.
What does the sonic identity of Takashi sound like?
All I know is that it has a simple yet distinctive bassline.