Taigen by Adjorka

Where did you grow up? How has that shaped you as a human and as an artist?
I'm originally from Tokyo, Japan, I moved to London when I was 18. I can divide my youth into these two parts.

I grew up in Shibuya, spending an hour to go to primary school by train. Playing with friends on the weekend were a special treat for me. I don’t feel local to anywhere. I didn’t have school friends that lived near me, and I never had a localized accent, compared to other Japanese people I meet in London who come from a specific region. Growing up in the city made me learn how to play by myself.

I started playing music in high school, becoming more active and meeting many different people. Tokyo was a great environment to learn music. There’s access to so many venues and record shops, everything is so convenient. At the same time, Tokyo almost has too much convenience, too much information and noise. This has shaped my style in music and art for sure.

London was a completely different environment when I first decided to move. I have learned so much about ‘indie music,” especially what I didn't like about it. I was inspired more by bass music/sound system and the diversity of the London metropolis. The variety of cultures, thoughts and religions made me re-think how I grew up in Japan. I'm still Japanese and proud but I would also call myself an alien now.

What’s the most important thing in life?
Even though I often ask myself "do I still love music?" My answer would be music. If I hadn’t started playing, I probably would not be living in London right now. Music definitely gave me hope and a reason to live. It brought me to many different countries and I have met so many people through it. I am always thankful for the people and places I have been, and I owe it to music.

Where do you find inspiration?
Pro-wrestling is my main inspiration, it was my biggest obsession before I got into music. I’ve always been captivated by how wrestlers use their bodies, how they posture, move and most importantly express through their faces. Wrestling entrance music was also my favorite music when I was younger. It is a mix between 80's metal, rap, disco, techno, and many other kinds of music.

When do you feel your most vulnerable?
When I'm onstage. I feel simultaneously strong and extra sensitive in front of all those people.

What do you feel should be the relationship between masculinity and vulnerability?
Growing up in Tokyo and London, I feel as though I’ve avoided the stereotypical sense of masculinity in myself. If I grew up in different city, I might have felt pressure to be more masculine. I do feel like nowadays, we are gradually changing globally where you no longer need to prove your masculinity in order to protect yourself or belong. I respect people who go against societal pressures, especially in relation to gender norms. We all have to be ourself, there’s no need to put ourselves in one category.

Who were your idols growing up?
So many wrestlers, and Les Claypool (from Primus) is my forever bass hero.

What do you want to see changed in your society?
I want people to be able to express themselves freely, whether through thought, music or personality.

Featuring Taigen Kawabe
Photography Adjorka