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Marc Romboy Versus Ken Ishii



When we heard Marc Romboy was hooking up with prolific Japanese techno producer we took more than a casual interest here at DT to see what the pair could come up with together whilst on different sides of the globe with such differing styles. The results of the ‘Taiyo’ project are impressive and we’re sure they’ll be making  quite a splash in the coming months as they play a series of dates together. So from Detroit techno and Film scores to tech house, Tokyo to Berlin the pair have it covered. From Japanese synth shops to obscure German cuisine; we find out it all about electronica’s newest double act…

Marc Romboy for Ken Ishii 

Ken, I just talked to Technasia the other day and he spoke about an amazing album of yours he really loves but which was releases under a different project name. When I checked your discography again I was impressed how productive you aparently are. Can you tell me more about your secret projects?

Thanks for your nice words, Marc. The project is called Ken Ishii Presents Metropolitan Harmonic Formulas and the debut album ‘Music for Daydreams’ was released last year. This project was born originally because Tokyo Midtown, a fashion/restaurant/bar complex in Roppongi Tokyo, asked me for doing bi-monthly in-house music programs. Since it’s something for all kinds of people from the young to the old, as well as from morning to evening, I tried to have the programs contain various elements not only techno or dance music but jazz and abstract stuff. I also included new tracks of mine based on this concept everytime. Then I decided to make a whole album in this direction. By the way, I will send you the album shortly.

You briefly mentioned to me that there is an amazing shop for used synthesizers in Tokyo. Can you tell me more.

Uh, it’s Five G! www.fiveg.net  This shop is like a museum of vintage and analog synthesizers. It’s supposed to be world famous and lots of professional musicians from all over visit there and get surprised! I know you love that stuff. It’s a must visit next time you are here!

We always talk about places in the world which we’d love to visit one day. Is there maybe a place in Japan which you want to explore one fine day?

There is a weird island called Gunkan-jima, meaning “battleship island” in the south of Japan. It’s a small uninhabited island now but it used to have the most modern city architectures with the highest population density in the world until 50 years ago. Within one day all the residents left the island without taking anything with them. What you can see now from outside is a battleship looking island with the ruins of the prosperity. Check this if interested -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashima_Island .

About our album. We have asked many remixers to contribute their interpretation of an album track. Do you have a favorite one?

The choice of remixers is superb. Well done Marc! Max Cooper Remix is my most favourite! Also love Heiko Laux & Diego Hostettler Remix.

We will play together b2b in Paris at Noveau Casino in March. Excited?

Yes of course, we have never been booked for the same events so far, so that will be the very first time for us play together! Can’t wait for it! See you then!


Ken Ishii’s Qs for Marc Romboy 

We collaborated virtually with such a distance, but actually didn’t exchange so many words to explain our intensions etc when we were doing it. Marc, how did you feel about it then? We hadn’t met each other face to face and not known each other’s character at all!

Well, first of all I think that it’s possible to collaborate on an album despite not being together in a studio room. People always say that social networks and emails are not able to substitute meeting each other physically. But our project proves that it’s not 100% true. Due to our virtual conversation I could feel that we are on the same frequency, and when we met in Amsterdam last summer I finally knew I was totally right.

Going technical for a bit. On this collaboration, you put your trademark fat synth lines and analog-ish sequencing to most of the  tracks. What did you use for those?

Oh, yes, your right. I’m really addicted to analogue synthesizers! However with your impulses I re-explored my interest for digital keyboards. I just restarted to use the Roland JD 800, which was one of my very first studio items. With regards to our album I only used a few machines only because I didn’t want to have a wide selection of options! The album tracks only contain sounds of the Roland TR 808 and 909 plus several analogue synths of the Berlin based company MFB. They build very compact sized and affordable machines which gave the productions this certain touch of groove.

 You told me there was a big Japanese community in Dusseldorf. However they say that Japanese people mostly don’t get out of their own circle in general. Did you have any contacts with Japanese people before? How did you find working with a Japanese guy (me) this time?

I’m a big fan of Japan and its people. I always live to come over to Tokyo and enjoy life there a lot. Germany is a country with a lot of immigrants and this is what I like about my country for instance. Japanese people are very popular in Düsseldorf and all owners of Sushi Bars there know me already as I can’t get enough of this delicious food.

I think we Japanese and German people have lots of similarities, especially on an attitude for work. So, what about differences? Did you see something in your past stays in Japan?

Japanese people are more disciplined than Germans. This might surprise you because Germans are known for this in the world. But when you say let’s meet at 8:00 pm the German guy arrives at 8:05 which is still alright, however the Japanese fellow arrives at precisely 8:00 which I personally appreciate (smiles).

I always try local beers when I visit new country/city. What is your favorite one from Germany? I know the country is one of the to ones for it and there are so many brands though.

 Oh my god, yes, the amount of beer brands in Germany is infinite. I like a lot the lager beers like Becks from Bremen. In Düsseldorf we have a tradional beer named Schumacher Alt which is a dark one. And there is also something which tastes like Jägermeister, it’s called Killepitsch! It’s even better I think and I just found out that you can purchase it at the Duty Free Shop at Frankfurt Airport

I also love to eat local food. What would you recommend me for some traditional German food other than sausages, Eisbein, German potatoes and sauerkraut?

Next time you visit me in Düsseldorf I’ll invite you to eat a so called Reibekuchen. I want to be stupid now and won’t say what it exactly is. Let’s get surprised…

Marc Romboy & Ken Ishii’s ‘Taiyo’ is out now on Systematic Recordings. Catch Marc Romboy live at the Basing House London, March 30 2013 or Neon Noise Project with Booka Shade on 9 March at Fire London


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