In Conversation With: Mr. YT
I actually fully leapt out of my chair when news broke that Brand New Day – Mr. YT‘s timeless debut on R&S imprint Apollo – would finally be getting a reissue. I’m sure you all did too, if not physically then metaphorically – and if not, why not? Something of an overlooked classic, Brand New Day hasn’t aged a day in 21 years: it’s rare to hear a tone of such unwavering optimism within a piece of electromusic that touches on not only deep house and techno, but ambient, dub and acid jazz too. A timely reissue then, given that original copies go for a princely premium these days. Now that Southern Paradise and Parfum – 2 EPs released around the same time on the aforementioned Apollo and Global Cuts respectively – have been added to the compilation, crate diggers around the world can now revel in this gloriously comprehensive catalogue of work.
So what better time to get in touch with the erstwhile producer than on the 21st anniversary of Brand New Day? Translated from his native Japanese, Yuji took the time to chat about his extensive video game soundtrack portfolio, new music under his alias missing soul and much more.
Firstly, it is with great joy to learn that you developed the sound design for the Souls games, so I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts in creating one of my favourite videogames series of all time. It must have been challenging and rewarding to work on the series (much like the games themselves)?
I learnt so much working independently on the sound design for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. I’m so grateful to FromSoftware for giving me such a great opportunity.
You’ve had a close relationship with R&S, and indeed all of your major physical releases have appeared on their various sub labels such as Apollo and Generations. It’s rare to see an artist attach their career to one institution in this way: how did your relationship with Renaat et al develop?
R&S were at the centre of the techno scene in the 90s. It was because I fell in love with an R&S track that I began my own work, so frankly I didn’t have any interest in anything apart from R&S. Even though I didn’t get the R&S original blue and silver cover for my first release (lol).
Your music hasn’t aged a day since the release of Parfum nearly 20 years ago. Has the retrospective compilation been a while in the making?
I can’t believe it’s already been 21 years since my debut. The compilation was all R&S’s idea and so I left it in their capable hands.
How does it feel to revisit your older work?
Music is the key to waking up sleeping emotions. I remembered everything I felt when I first made those tracks.
What would you say are the main differences between sound design and personal production? Do you have as much creative freedom in your current work as you do when you’re Mr. YT?
Creative work as an artist is both similar and different to creative work produced by a game creator. I won’t get into it too deeply here but there are many differences.
Although an artist’s creative work is all about freedom, I’m not used to creating freely.
This is why I decided to develop single concepts for each of my works produced as Mr. YT. For the first track, the concept was “A new day, starting a new life in a new city” so it made sense for me to split this into morning, lunchtime, afternoon and night. The second track is based on expressions of “An island of the south / a playground” and for the third track I had in mind “An imaginary perfume” throughout production.
Also, I imagine the equipment you use for your sound design differs to that which you’d use for your personal work. Are there certain sounds that you can only achieve with one or the other?
I use the same equipment for both. To be honest, I don’t focus too much on equipment. I think it’s more important to focus on how to express all the ideas floating around in your head, and the power of thought itself. Good equipment does not equate to good music.
Can you share with us your experiences working in the gaming industry and the music industry? Are there many differences between the two?
For my work in the gaming industry, please check out my website. Outside of the gaming industry I guess my main work is my club music. Recently I’ve been making house music with Ron Trent on his label Future Vision under the name missingsoul.
And finally, what’s next for you? Can we expect new material soon?
Mr. YT is already a movement of the past, so I don’t think I would make music under the same name in the same style.Â In the last few years I’ve been creating material under “missingsoul”, but once I’ve covered what I want to do, I want to create a new name that comes with a new challenge.
Pick up the Brand New Day double LP via the official Apollo Records Bandcamp store.