Following the release of his debut album Gone Again, we spoke with Akito about the full length format, habitual self care, and Wiley instrumentals…

Recently, besides listening to a lot of “old cheesy vocals” courtesy of a love for 70s and 80s Japanese pop, Akito has put out his first album. Gone Again was released by London label Tight Knit Records – also home to the likes of M.E.S.H and Scratcha DVA – on November 16th. The LP marks a new found commitment to full length releases for the English/Japanese artist. Akito is a longstanding NTS resident, “the chief of minimal club music”, and co-founder of experimental south London party Acid Fantasy.

Inspired by the pressures to keep up with a party lifestyle as an artist always playing out and always on the move, Gone Again spans everything from experimental grime to broken 2step and ambient soundscapes, showcasing Akito’s penchant for percussive rhythms and extraterrestrial synths. Check the video for single ‘Search Engine Translate’, directed and shot by Meshach Falconer Roberts, below:

Following the release of his debut album Gone Again, we spoke with Akito about the full length format, habitual self care, and Wiley instrumentals…

How does it feel to have your debut album out in the world?

A relief! It took just under a year of continuous work, so I’m glad we got the project complete and out with Morcee’s guidance. I really enjoyed working on loads of music at the same time, and on a scale I wasn’t used to at all. I felt I could experiment more and try new things, this process has inspired me to write longer pieces of music in the future so I’m keen to start the second album very soon.

The concept of Gone Again centres around the lifestyle of a touring DJ, do you want to talk a bit about that and how it translates in the music?

It was an attempt at encapsulating the ups and downs of party life – the dynamic between reckless, hedonistic escapes alongside the subsequent lows. I tried to express this through the synth and melodies the most, and the drums then drive the tunes into functional club tools, which was the aim.

For you, what’s the most challenging aspect of the DJ/producer lifestyle?

Looking after yourself, trying to save money, keeping it together. Being constantly surrounded by the temptations that club life has to offer make all of the above quite difficult at best.

To that end, it’s positive and much needed that the conversation around mental health in musicians is increasing. How do you ensure you maintain a work/life balance and take care of yourself?

I tend to be quite isolated during the week. I really enjoy being by myself which people may find surprising as I can come off as a very social person. For me there’s a time and place for everything and I enjoy both equally. I give myself a lot of time away from the club and don’t go out as much as I used to. I also do my best to consume less and try to exercise more self-discipline and mindfulness.

Which artists do you think have influenced you the most and why?

Wiley, I was obsessed with his instrumentals and radio sets from when I was a kid, his work rate and persistence are very inspiring too. Night Slugs as a label have definitely influenced me, they really pushed the boat out with club music, direction wise, and showed how versatile and exciting it could be. More recently artists such as NKC, DJ JM and Noire for their quality output and their take on the more percussive side of club music.

What’s a record you can always rely on to save a flagging dance floor, and why?

DJ JM – Honest Drums, this one always gets it going at any point, the percussion and groove are bang on, that clap is very naughty too.

What advice would you give to an aspiring producer?

Keep at it, write everyday if you can, listen to feedback but ultimately do what feels right, make music that excites and pushes you, follow your highest energy – as my Dad would say. I think there’s a real danger in being too entangled in validation, look inwards and do you, fam.

How would you describe Akito to someone that hasn’t heard of you?

Welcoming, approachable, likes a drink, can’t dance very well, will do the best to help you when he can, really loves percussion – “square waves and pitched down claps” as his good friend Milo would say, stays out for far too long, wants to live in Asia but misses his mum.

What have you got coming up?

I have a single coming out on my label Sans Absence, besides that I’m planning to work on a few mixtapes and LPs, I just want to experiment in that format further, make some weird club music, I’ve played it very safe so far so I’d like to go a little strange. Besides that I have a bunch of new dates to announce in the U.K., Europe and there’s an Asia tour in the pipeline too.

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