Interview | Fetus
Unchained’s favourite music journalist PlusGood, once again digs deep with one of our forthcoming artists. This time with some deep insight into the mind and ways of emerging Japanese producer Ryo Odagawa, aka Fetus, in contemplation of his upcoming Dark Monkey EP on Unchained.
[Plus Good]: How were you first exposed to 160/170bpm music, and how did you connect with Unchained?
[Fetus]: I was first exposed to 160/170bpm music at several parties, including NewForms when Dbridge and Kabuki came to Japan, and other parties (Jungle, Juke Footwork, etc…). Many coincidences made me involve and it was a natural thing for me to be fond of it.
After I started DJing, I started listening to more music, and that’s when I found Unchained, a label that I really liked because of the releases of Subp Yao and Sinistarr.
Last year there was a remix contest for Unchained (Subp Yao – Backwitda) and I was motivated to enter because I like both Subp Yao and Unchained. The result was 3rd place and I met the Unchained crew.
[Plus Good]: Your attention to detail is really apparent in your work. Even big tunes like “Depth” have subtle changes, micro-sounds, and hidden rhythms inside the main drum. Even big tunes like “Depth” have subtle changes, micro-sounds and hidden rhythms inside the main drum tracks. How did you discover this technique?
[Fetus]: Thank you for listening carefully. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
When it comes to club music, I’ve always preferred songs with minimalistic structures more than songs with complex structures, and I want my songs to be like that too. Songs that don’t have complexity in structures tend to contain a lot of sounds that only the producer knows, that is also the reason why I like these types of music. As if no one knows the secret ingredient in a dish. Those are the core thoughts and concepts when I produce music but also when I listen to music.
As for the technique, I mainly used classical samples and hi-fi sounds and tried to make them fit in well. I think there are a lot of accidental grooves because I often make songs using samples. It’s a discovery of accidental techniques.
[Plus Good]: What are 5 tunes that never leave your crate?
[Fetus]: The first one is “Tool – right in two”.
I met this song when I was 15 years old and I still listen to it today. There is a music video on Youtube (the song is attached to an animation called “The Gloaming”) that shows a mother giving birth to many babies. It’s an important song for me. It’s a very important song for me.
The second one is “Boston – panoramic”.
If it wasn’t for this song, I wouldn’t have continued to make drum and bass music. Note that they recently changed their name to Jack Boston.
The third is “Ivy Lab – Magikess”
Everyone loves Ivy Lab, and without them, I might never have had the chance to make Halftime, or even know Halftime’s music.
Fourth, Alix Perez – Synergy
I love listening to AlixPerez because it makes me feel cool, and Alixperez inspired me to make deep liqud funk, so if I ever release something like that in the future, you should check it out.
Fifth, War – snow Blind
I think this track is extremely elaborate in its simplicity, so cool. This is one of the tracks that made me a big fan of War. The reason why it attracted me so much is because the occasional FX makes the song stand out even more because of its overall simplicity.
[Plus Good]: I noticed samples of nature sounds throughout your production, how does the natural world influence your production?
[Fetus]: I love nature so much that I often want to include nature sounds. The name “Fetus” has a fundamental meaning, so I see it as natural world = fundamentals.
[Plus Good]: Given the amount of detail, how do you decide a track is finally finished?
[Fetus]: I decide it by asking myself, whether I would buy as a listener or the moment when I feel enjoyment listening to the track.
[Plus Good]: How difficult was it to stay focused without clubs to test your tracks in?
[Fetus]: Unfortunately, I don’t DJ enough to test my tracks, so I’m hoping that by releasing this EP I’ll get booked. But before the pandemic, I used to go to clubs a lot, so it was very sad not to feel the club vibes.
The effect of the pandemic was good for production. Of course, COVID made life very difficult, but it gave me more time to think about my musical skills and vibes, so it was a period of growth.
[Plus Good]: I know English is not your first language, so how do you go about naming your tracks?
[Fetus]: It can be anything from what I was working on, nearby objects, what happened, the mood of the song, or the name of the sample.
[Plus Good]: What would you like people outside of Japan to know about the DnB scene there?
[Fetus]: I wish more people would know producers here in Japan more.
My friend Mountain, who also lives in Osaka, has been releasing on Hospital Records, RAM Records, and Soulvent. He produces a lot of catchy songs and I think he will be famous in the future.
As for liquid funk producers, Velocity and KMTR are my favorites. Velocity has released high-quality music on HumanElements, Fokuz, Liquid V, and various other labels. KMTR has released tracks on Intrigue Music, which I like a lot for deep liquid funk. Itti makes experimental/170 music. Itti collaborated with dBridge and Kabuki’s New Forms project. The song is really cool. He also released on Diffrent Music, which is also pretty cool.
Stone Taro, from Kyoto, makes a variety of genres. Among them, his jungle music is very sexy. I hope people in the drum ‘n’ bass scene will get to know him.