In the hot seat this week: Hailing from Sheffield, with a plethora of vinyl releases under his belt on well-respected labels such as White Peach, Subaltern and plenty more. It’s Taiko

SSC: In your own words, who are you and what do you do?

T: My name is Louis, better known as Taiko and I make music!

SSC: So, how was the journey? What started it all off and how did that lead you to where you are today?

T: It’s been awesome, as with most things it was a variety of factors, to be honest. I have to thank my brother, mainly. Our family has always been fairly musical but he was the one that truly introduced me to electronic music. We used to mix drum and bass together all the time and eventually when I was about 15/16 he took me to my first rave/free party. In all honesty it just blew me away. I’d never experienced that kind of bass before and just had to learn more to be honest haha. I remember speaking to my music tech teacher about it the following week and he showed me the basics on Reason 3, believe it or not, so big up Mr Woodward! I stuck with that for a bit but soon switched to Ableton and I’ve been using it ever since! I think the rest is just down to all the listeners, which I’m hugely grateful for. Anyone who’s listened, bought my music, booked me, supported me in any way… I wouldn’t be doing this without you so huge respect and a big big thank you!

SSC: Who are the main influences for you, musically?

T: To be honest, I like going back to live bands and acoustic music. I usually find the best inspirations from anything that isn’t dubstep or 140. Obviously it’s hard not to be derivative in any way these days because of the huge amount of producers in the scene but I don’t think it has to be a bad thing, as long as you’re not completely ripping someone off. I would say it’s hard to put a finger on individual influences though just because of the way I sample. I way prefer seeing what I can find, digging through vinyl, archives, movies etc, rather than having a preconceived idea, so it’s usually completely different for every tune. The search and discovery makes the whole process way more enjoyable for me too.

SSC: What do you consider the highlight of your music career so far, and why?

T: Ooooooh, that’s tough, it’s a toss-up between Outlook and Fabric, but I’d say Outlook would have to take it. Just the location alone is beautiful. Wicked company, wicked festival and the whole experience comes together beautifully. Playing on a moving boat is still probably the coolest/weirdest DJing experience I’ve had.

SSC: Any moments you’d rather forget?

T: Hahahaha, there might be a few. All I’ll say is RIP Demitri’s backpack… sorry mate!

Taiko

SSC: The last couple of years have seen you play shows in various countries all around the world. Could you tell us how the scene elsewhere compares to us in the UK? Any noticeable differences or thoughts?

T: It’s a funny one because the music is the same. Sometimes the sound-systems are even better but I think it’s just the atmosphere that changes. And not in a bad way at all, it’s quite interesting. America is very similar to the UK but you get very different crowd reactions, definitely keeps you on your toes. Europe is very different again just because it feels like you can play music a bit more ‘openly’ for lack of a better word. Kind of like most gigs in the UK, you always end up drawing for the bangers. You might only have an hour or even be sharing a b2b, but in Germany, for example, they will give you a 2-hour set and let you do whatever you feel like, it’s really nice.

SSC: Anyone we should be keeping an eye on right now? Any particular artists/ DJs standing out to you?

T: It’s always so hard to choose as there’s so much wicked music out there right now, but the people I’m really feeling at the moment… DubApe, Duckem, Glume & Phossa, Repulsion, Zha, Subtle Mind & Reso.

SSC: Other than bass-focused music, are there any other genres or artists you are particularly fond of currently?

T: Definitely. I’ve always been a big jazz and hip hop fan to be fair, but I listen to a lot of different stuff. To narrow it down a bit though, recently I’ve been listening to: Clutch, Snarky Puppy, Lizzo and Norma Tanega.

SSC: What’s on the horizon for Taiko? Anything exciting coming up? 

T: For sure! Over the next month or so you can catch me playing in London, Sheffield, Berlin and Bristol. I’ve got a 4 track EP which will be out very soon. The vinyl is being pressed as we speak! There are a few other releases planned for next year and I’ll be joining a new label so keep an eye out for that. I’m also returning to America so you can catch me there around May/June 2020.

SSC: And finally, if you could give one piece of advice for those wishing to follow in your path, what would it be? 

T: I’d say it’s definitely not an overnight thing, but don’t be discouraged. Stay patient because it can be disheartening at times. I’ve been there! Don’t think too much about what everyone else is doing, and just keep at it.

Massive thanks to Louis for taking the time to speak with us! Keep up with all things Taiko at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/taikouk/

Taiko