MATRIXSYNTH: Isao Tomita & Hideki Matsutake of YMO Interview on RA

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Isao Tomita & Hideki Matsutake of YMO Interview on RA

via Resident Advisor where you will find the full interview. A couple of excerpts:

Isao Tomita on picking up the Moog synthesizer:

"How did you come to buy one?

Isao Tomita: At first, I had no idea where to buy it. Back in 1970, when we didn't even have a fax machine, I used a telex machine to contact people in Hong Kong. I found out that the Moog company was located in Buffalo, New York. I flew over there, and was shocked to see that the main office of a cutting-edge company like Moog was located in a simple, storage-shed-type building, in the middle of nowhere. I said to myself, "They make intricate machinery in a place like this!?"

So you went there and asked to buy the Moog III P directly. How much did it cost?

Isao Tomita: Back then, one dollar was 360 yen, and the Moog synthesizer was considered a luxury item, such as a foreign car, so the tariff rate was over 200%. It cost somewhere around 10 million yen (roughly $125,000) in today's value. Also, in those days we didn't have customs brokers like we do now, and if goods had problems clearing customs, the person importing the goods had to actually be there. So at customs, they asked me what this machine was. I told them that it was an instrument, and they didn't believe me. They said, "Then, play it." [laughs]..."

On Isao Tomita meeting Hideki Matsutake:

"And around that time you met Hideki Matsutake?

Isao Tomita: Yes. I was becoming increasingly busy around then, so I had Matsutake manage me at a music production company he was working for back then. When I started to understand which cords to connect to create the right sounds I decided I'd let some younger guys try it, so I invited Matsutake. With Moog, you have to keep the power on all day for it to work properly, so when I wasn't using it, I'd let others use it. I would use it from 8 PM to 4 AM, and then there would be a group using it from 4 AM to noon, and then another group would come in and play around with it until 8 PM.

Hideki Matsutake: I worked during the day, so I would come in and play the Moog at night, and I remember falling asleep under it. Tomita never taught us how to use the thing, so I had to learn it on my own. I've always liked playing with machines since I was a kid, so I understood the functions of the device fairly quickly, but knowing where to connect the cords to render sounds that are listenable was a completely different story..."

Full interview on RA here. via I Dream of Wires on Facebook

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