Interview with Mineo Kawasaki (Sled Island 2024)

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Mineo Kawasaki is a drummer and electronic music composer from Japan. This solo artist plays the drums while manipulating effects with his MIDI controller on tracks composed with influences from post rock, indie-emo and techno. This will be his second time performing at Sled Island, however he has been a fan long before he was one of the acts.

Mineo Kawasaki was set to perform at the #1 Legion on Friday June 21 at 10:30 p.m. and at the Palomino Sunday June 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Special thank you to Take Aim Media for organizing the Sled Island 2024 Interviews, and I Love You Coffee Shop for hosting us.


Emil Duguay: Okay, awesome. So if we could just get a brief bit started with just telling me a bit about yourself and your music? 

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes, used to do I play in the band, but nowadays I’m doing kind of solo project. I really like to compose music by myself. And I like to copy my favourite beat from my favorite musician, almost electronic musician. And I will write, I will arrange beat and add the electronic sound in my DTM. So that is a way to how to make my music composite. And I also like to sampling from vinyl to straight SP hole, hole sampler. So yes, that’s the way to how to make my music. And I’ll play the drums with my music, and I will control some MIDI and at the sample. This is my style to play library music. Yes, that’s it.

Emil Duguay: So yeah, you do a lot of sampling and a lot of inspiration from other artists. Do you have any notable people that inspire you? What do you look for when you’re sampling?

Mineo Kawasaki: Just listening vinyl and I really like to voice sampling. So, some yes, featured about the voice record and someone singing the traditional music, kind of Asian traditional music? Yes, I really like to sampling such kind of base sampling, yes. 

Emil Duguay: Cool, so also you’re from Japan.

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes.

Emil Duguay: Crazy and you’re here in Canada. What is your experience been like in Canada so far?

Mineo Kawasaki: Ah, actually, I have a living in Calgary for one year, almost 11 years ago, because my aunt and uncle is living in Calgary so I would like to stay in Calgary. I was thinking, I would like to stay in Calgary for a long time. So 11 years ago, I did it. Then I could make some musician friends in here. And every night I went to music venues in that time, Broken City and The Palomino, Commonwealth, yes. So I really like Calgary music scene and I joined the (indecipherable) and in that year, I mean . . . that year Calgary had a flood. 

Emil Duguay: You’ve been living here a year?

Mineo Kawasaki: A year. 

Emil Duguay: A year?

Mineo Kawasaki: 11 years ago, yeah. That Sled Island is also holding the water too, 11 years ago. I participated as audience in that year so it was only impressed for me, that Sled Island is a really great festival. And last year I applied Sled Island 2023. Yes, that’s why I came here industry as a player.

Emil Duguay: And which number . . . this is your second year performing at Sled?

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes, this is second time performing in Sled.

Emil Duguay: And how has your first experience been and how has it been here for your second time so far? How is your Sled Island experience been, in general? Because you said that you started as an audience member, and then . . . 

Mineo Kawasaki: Ah yes, it’s so awesome. Sled Island’s supporting musician system is really great. I’m so appreciated, and I’m so enjoying it too.

Emil Duguay: Yeah. Going on that note with supporting musicians, how do you like to . . . what’s your process with that and how do you like to get involved and collaborate and . . . so you work with other artists?

Mineo Kawasaki: Not for the show, not for the show, but some my musician friends is helping me to practice in here and to record some drums samples in his house. Yeah, everybody is saying to me, ‘hey, let’s stay in my house.’ Yeah. So I’m so appreciative about musician support.

Emil Duguay: So you’ve been recording and working on some stuff at your house or at your friend’s house?

Mineo Kawasaki: My friends house, yes. Yes. So this time I have a . . . I have a lot of time in Calgary. I’m staying here little bit long time so I’m trying like that.

Emil Duguay: And how did you get into doing what you do and . . .  how did you find your passion for music and sampling?

Mineo Kawasaki: Just listening new music and watching The Great Show, and to go to (indecipherable) is also good for me. Yeah.

Emil Duguay: What age did that start? What age did your love of music start at?

Mineo Kawasaki: I started to play drum on 15. I’m getting looking into music around 18 or 20s, maybe, yeah. I don’t remember.

Emil Duguay: No worries and yeah, it must be quite like a cultural difference coming from Japan and being in —

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes.

Emil Duguay: — like, coming 11 years ago. Is there any more you can speak on that experience, and the difference of cultures, and music?

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes. 

Emil Duguay: And the friends . . . I’m sure you’ve made friends here. 

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes, that’s hard to explain but in Japan, we have a live venue. It’s really concentrated to live, live show, only live show. But in here, every venue has food or very great drink, alcohol. It’s so awesome. In Japan, we have also drink, we have also alcohol to serve, but it’s not so good, you know what I mean? It more concentrate to on the live show but when you’re also . . . that venue concentrate for live show, but in Canada, the venue provides their great food and great drinking drinks, it’s so great. And maybe live music here is much cheaper than Japan. It’s also good for people familiar to music. Yeah, I thought it then I came in Calgary.

Emil Duguay: Yeah and I’m kind of wondering now, what is your . . . how do you construct your shows? What’s your process of putting them together? Like, your show for Sled Island, how was that put together? What was the process of that? 

Mineo Kawasaki: Actually only so there and I just applied it to the application form. Yeah, but as a show, I contacted to some venues. I made some friends, some musician friends, in last year and two years ago, so I could contact to them to organize live show for me. Yeah, it’s a way to make it so.

Emil Duguay: So do you sample and create your music on the fly, on the spot, or like you have . . . 

Mineo Kawasaki: I make music in my house on DTM project. Then I add drum sound in stereo. Is it ok?

Emil Duguay: Yeah and so for Sled Island are you going to play like what you make in your house? 

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes, yes, yes.  In Japan, I made whole song in Japan, my house. I I made whole tracks in my tiny house, and I will add some drums in studio. Yeah. 

Emil Duguay: Isn’t that crazy to think about that you’re creating this music in Japan, and then you’re coming to . . . ?

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes. It’s so interesting for me too. Yeah. I’m so glad. To play my music in Sled Island in Canada.

Emil Duguay: Is there any interesting experiences you’ve had since being here? 

Mineo Kawasaki: No, maybe the reaction from Canadian people to my live show is so big. Japanese people is maybe little bit shy, so yes, that’s a great experience for me. Everybody say . . . great reaction for me. Yeah, it’s a good experience for me.

Emil Duguay: So people are a little less shy here to gather at your show, you would say?

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes. Little bit.

Emil Duguay: When researching you, it was a little difficult to find information about you. Is there anything that you’d like your fan base to know about you, or anything that people generally don’t really know about you when they meet you? 

Mineo Kawasaki: I really liked . . .  I’m also drummer, and I really like drummer who make tracks, you know, not just drummer. So I really like Shigeto. Shigeto is from Detroit. He’s also drummer and making tracks. And I really like Nitemoves. Nitemoves is also drummer and making tracks. He’s a drummer of Tycho. Tiko, T – Y – C – H – O. Tycho’s drummer, yes, and I really like Dorian Concept. Dorian Concept is from Australia, maybe, yeah. He’s not drummer, but he’s making tracks is really influenced to me.

Emil Duguay: Yeah, right, cool. Is there anything else that you’d like people to know about you, or that I should have asked you? Is there anything else? 

Mineo Kawasaki: Yes. 

Emil Duguay: All good, okay?

Mineo Kawasaki: Thank you. 

Emil Duguay: Yeah, thanks for letting me interview you today.

Mineo Kawasaki: No, thank you very much.