Omodaka 『Gujoh Bushi』 A new form of Japanese music that fuses tradition and innovation, “Chimera folk songs”


[Japanese Translation]

Since 2001 Omodaka "An experimental project combining techno folk songs and motion graphics" has been a project launched by Soichi Terada,who is the creator of  early Japanese House Music scene. In addition to the unique musical characteristics of folk songs, electro beats and chip tune, the live performance in which Akiko Kanazawa, a folk song singer who is also known for "Yellow Submarine Ondo" appears on LCD monitors, while Omodaka with white mask in a shrine maiden costume uses portable game consoles and Kaosillator . It has had great responses not only in Japan but also in Europe, North America and Asia since its start in 2009. Omodaka will release the 3rd album in 5 years "Gujoh Bushi" on Monday October 28. From the secret story of Omodaka's birth to his present and future activities. I spoke with Soichi Terada himself.

Omodaka Gujoh Bushi Far East Recording(2019)


Omodaka started from boat racing​

-Though you have been active since the 80's, Omodaka started its activities in 2001. At that time, you made a lot of songs with the theme of "Kyotei" the Japanese boat racing, right?

At that time, I happened to make songs for Mah-jong and Pachinko, so I thought, "next must be a boat racing", so I created that without knowing much about boat racing. There was a big competition at the boat race course where I went for the first time, and many people was wandering around, and there were bloody fights, and its wild nature was shocking and interesting for me. From there I'm totally hooked on it. After losing much at the boat race course, I used to return to make a song. Then the music is combined with a video created by a filmmakers. That was Omodaka's early activity. In the same time I was working on the current style of putting folk songs into completely different tracks, but the main work was the songs of the boat racing.

"Monkey Turn" on the subject of boat racing in 2001

-Which is the first thing you thought of “Let's start a project called Omodaka” or “Let's make a song about boat race”?

When I decided to start a project called Omodaka in 2000, the first song was a boat race song, so I think it was about the same time and Omodaka was a little bit ahead. The sort of vision of "What to do with Omodaka" was very dim back then.

-So, did the theme "An experimental project combining techno folk songs and motion graphics" in your current Omodaka profile become established later?

It was also an occasion to make a techno folk song, but I was more interested in a boat race at that time. But over the years, Omodaka's music started to be called "techno folk song" by third parties, which led to this profile.

-Theme of Kyotei the boat race would be completed with 'Favorite Games' in 2008,right?

I thought "Let's make six songs about boat racing" because 6 boats run in the boat race, and I made CD jackets to match those 6 colors. In 2008, 6 works were completed, so I finished the series.

-Did Omodaka shift to techno folk songs from there?

I've been performing live since 2009, but that doesn't mean I had a sense of "Create another theme that will follow the boat race." or "I'm going to play a folk song.". Eventually Omodaka would play Minyo the Japanese folk song.


Dehumanizing human​

-In the live performance, you are dressed as a shrine maiden wearing a mask, have a portable game consoles or a Kaosillator in your hand, and play the genre of techno folk songs. Each element is too strong. First, please tell me about the appearance. Has that appearance been like that since 2009?

That look and the fact that Omodaka has had the singing LCD on the stage since 2009.

-It's exactly 10 years old. Why were you wearing as a shrine maiden?

I don't know why... I think that live shows are to show the audience the songs or the performances, but I prefer to show the videos I made with the filmmakers. That's why I didn't want people on the stage, and I wanted dehumanized human, or make them objects or ghosts. Also, I think it's because I wanted to do Omodaka with a Japanese horror image. I'm just wearing a mask because I want to block the personality from the performers. DJs can play songs without a singer, but when I started playing, I had a lot of occasions to play with the band, so I thought it was a fatal flaw that there was no one singing on the stage.

That's why Omodaka shows Akiko Kanazawa's singing on LCDs. Even though people are necessary for the stage, I thought I would be better not to be human in order to make the person singing on LCDs standing out. However, as I performed live, I came to realize that it would be more fun for audiences to show its personality even if they are such a creepy person.

-Does anyone know that a creepy man indise is Soichi Terada?

I don't hide it, so I think that people who know it have a sense of affinity. Recently, Omodaka has been associated with me a lot.

-Soichi Terada has been a member of the Japanese house music scene since the very beginning, but it is difficult to decide whether it is better to see it in relation to "Actually, that's the guy in Omodaka." or to think separately.

It doesn't matter, of course, but as for Omodaka's performance, I want it to be enjoyable whether you know it or not. For example, there are some spin-off movies, and people who don't know the main story can enjoy the world view, and people who know the relation with the main story can enjoy more by connecting the lines.

-You have been doing a lot of live activities in house sets recently, and have you drawn the boundary between them?

The live performance of Soichi Terada house set started in 2015, and there are some new songs that are played in both the house set and Omodaka. So I don't mean to use them separated clearly, but they may be approaching. There is a song that was remade after Kanazawa sang it again for Omodaka, even it was originally made with a house set. And there is also a track that Shinichiro Yokota made in the 90's that was remade for the recent Omodaka. Whether you're aware of it or not, the two may be getting closer.

-What about performance? Omodaka is jumping and dancing, but is it becoming the same with Soichi Terada house set?

Even if I think it's different, the body movement seems to be the almost same for those who watch both. They look different though.