1. Kokuhaku

Kuroisoul – Kokuhaku

This track is titled Kokuhaku because that is what I wanted to do. I wanted to confess but instead of being straight forward to the girl I liked, I was going to make Autumn Colors and present it to her as my confession, hoping she’d say something to me like “That’s so romantic!” Ha [x_x ] what the hell was I thinking? I was watching too many J-Dramas!

I did end up showing her this track and she liked it so much that she spent a night drawing a leaf on a CD, writing “Autumn Colors” and burning it so she could listen to it in the car. She sent me the image and I used that as my wallpaper almost the entire time I was working on the album. She said that Kokuhaku was her favorite track out of all of them. When she described what she thought of Kokuhaku I was thinking to myself “Wow, it means that to you?” Looking back, I can say I’ve done better tracks but at the time this was probably one of the best I had made. It was completely different than the beats based on soul samples that I would show a few of my friends, so I think that is partly responsible for her response as well.

I was personally proud of this track at that time because if you heard the sample, it sounds absolutely nothing like this. I don’t even remember where I got it from (write the names of songs you sample!) but I do know it was only 2 bars or so and I said to myself “Let’s see what I can do with only this to work with for the entire beat.” Later on, I remember trying for days to add a little more variation to the drums but nothing would ever work. I left it as is and just focused on the sampling.

2. If Only

When I made this track I was feeling like, “If only my life was like that.” I was watching too many J-dramas about people falling in love and I always wanted that kind of story to be real, like meeting a girl at the train station or falling for the girl you grew up with as a neighbor – that kind of thing. The day I made If Only I watched a movie that made me so sad that I stayed up all night trying to make beats. It was motivation and depression. I ended up mixing three different tracks together to make this beat and when I was done, I was incredibly tired. I think I stayed up past 5AM because I was trying so hard. I made this the same week that I made S.I.G.H. The way I mixed the samples, I don’t really know if I could do it again so easily.

3. Be Genuine

I feel like this track has a real genuine feeling to it. I was reading books like Hagakure during those days. It is my favorite beat out of any of the beats on Autumn Colors. The first thing that I did after making Be Genuine was drive to my friend’s house to hang out (we were probably watching a J-Drama that day) and I was listening to it in the car the entire way thinking to myself, “I flipped this.” I showed it to him and he liked it, but I remember getting that response like “Yea, this is good..! heh.” Not as much of a response as I was hoping for.

Anyways, it was the first beat I ever made that I considered Japanese style hip hop. I used a sample that to this day, if I showed people, would probably flip them out. This track really is flipped and if I had access to studios and musicians and everything, I could probably do a lot more with it. It’s from a genre that to my knowledge has never really been sampled in hip hop. I wish I knew more about the genre so I could do more tracks like this.

4. Observe

I used to always talk to one of my friends about Observing. There are people who can observe and there are people who can’t. If you’re good at observing, you can tell what people are thinking and feeling even without asking (body language, tone, phrasing, etc.). We used to always talk about our observations. A good example of this is in the movie ただ君を愛してる (Tada, Kimi Wo Aishiteru). There is a scene where the main character is sitting in the cafeteria with the new friends he’s made and you hear his thoughts through the voice-over. He talks about his observations in that moment and how he can easily tell who likes who by the smallest signs. I made Observe around the same time that I did Impressions and possibly on the same day.

5. Impressions

I have no good reason for this title. I just think impressions are important. I sampled this off of a record that I probably sold a long time ago when I was trying to get rid of the amount of stuff I own. At the time, Impressions was just another beat I made during those days and it doesn’t stand out in my mind. The only detail I can remember is that I probably made it during the daytime and I sent it to my friend who was in Japan. He liked it and then I showed a few other people. I always received good feedback on this track, but it is not one that I personally liked myself which is probably why I don’t remember exactly how this beat came to be. I do remember that I just pressed record and played for a while until I found the melody. Sometimes I hear a sample and it has the feeling I want, but I don’t know what to do with it so I’ll experiment like that.

6. The Colors (Interlude)

This track was originally titled Autumn Colors. I thought of Autumn Colors randomly and I went with that title because I liked the sound. When I re-released the album I didn’t want a track on the album with the same name as the title because it doesn’t look right to me, so I changed it.

The Colors was the basis of the entire album because it was the first beat I made for Autumn Colors. It was a 1 bar loop that I flipped and after doing so, I learned that I can be creative with only a limited sample clip. So, after making this beat I told myself that I wanted to make an entire album with an amateur feel using only a few drum sounds and trying to be creative with small samples. I then went through all my drums and picked maybe 5 or 6 snares, a few kicks, hi-hats and a few other sounds and that is what I used for the entire album.

Autumn Colors sounds consistent because I limited myself to one style and it all started with this track. Another thing I would like to add is that the only reason I was confident in this sound and style in the first place was because a friend from college in Japan told me that he had it in his iPod and listened to it all the time. He would show people and told me some of their comments. I was always thinking “Wow, this track is so basic but people really like it.”

7. When Your Own Heart Asks

My favorite book is Hagakure and this is my favorite line from that book. It basically means, can you really lie to yourself?

I still know the album that I used for this beat and right when I heard the sample I already knew how it would sound. For me, that is rare. I’m not one of those hear-it-ahead-of-time producers. When Your Own Heart Asks was made about halfway through my production for Autumn Colors so I had a good idea of the direction I wanted to take a sample by then, so that is the only reason why it was easy for me to hear the finished product ahead of time. It is also not a very complex track so I can’t say that I flipped this one the way I usually flip samples, but it was just another sample that I converted to hip hop format by using a few small techniques.

8. Kamisama

I don’t have much to say about this one. The sample sounded like what you would hear if you were in heaven, so I called this track “God,” in Japanese. I also did quite a bit of chopping on this one but I made it fairly quickly. I do remember that I had a few ideas of what to do with Kamisama but I left the sample in tact so anyone who knows it will know where I sampled from. I wanted to see who could guess it one day. This is the track that I made right before I made To Shizuka. How do you know I am not lying? I used exactly the same drums!

9. S.I.G.H.

This title stands for Someday I will Get to Heaven. I honestly don’t know why I named it like that because I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but it seemed like this track had the feeling of somebody who would say this. I thought of it at night while talking to a friend, but that is all I can remember. The sample I used for this is not incredibly flipped, but it was more like I converted it into a hip hop format. The original track has so much feeling that can never be replaced, especially in its proper context. The beat didn’t take me very long to make but I did use a few techniques to bring the sample out a little bit so that it wasn’t completely just looping. When I first started making beats, I had something against simply looping and putting drums over a sample, so I always had to add some kind of technique! One day if somebody recognizes the sample they will say “Oh, that’s what he did.”

10. Sabishii (Interlude)

I have always felt さびしい(lonely) about making beats. I have made hundreds and I’ve only shown a few, plus I’ve had a hard time meeting talented artists. It’s usually just me listening on my own, wondering what could be. During that year, I also felt like I wasn’t good enough as a producer to show my work. I was always hesitant to put them online but the girl I liked at the time convinced me one day to just do it. That is why I dedicated Autumn Colors to her – not just because I wanted to confess. I was also really motivated by the things she told me that caused me to take action. Either way, it’s a lonely feeling to make music and feel like you have nobody to show.

I can’t remember the sample for this, but I know it was a very small one (1 bar or so). I remember making this and thinking to myself that I wish I had a DJ to do scratches to make it a little more interesting. This is a very simple beat. All I did was chop a sample and put echo on it, then play it. It could definitely use another element, but it’s decent enough for an interlude.

11. Nippon

I originally named this track To Japan because I wanted to go to Japan… so creative! That is exactly how Nippon made me feel as a beat. At the time, everything I was making was trying to get me towards my goal of working on hip hop with artists in Japan because I was so influenced by Buddha Brand. Before I heard them I loved hip hop, but I never thought about making it. It was the beat from Ningen Hatsudensho that made me want to actually make hip hop. I feel like Nippon has a very Japanese feeling to it.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much about actually making Nippon. I can’t even remember where I was or what I was thinking. I just remember I was going through a lot of samples and making beat after beat, then somehow I stumbled upon this sample. I wanted to do something a little more interesting than just looping, so I mixed the samples and tried to find some harmonies.

12. To Shizuka

Shizuka was a nickname that I gave my friend (the girl I liked at the time). She wasn’t even Japanese but she had a few Japanese nicknames. This is also the last track I worked on for Autumn Colors. It is vague but I think directly after I made To Shizuka I actually compiled all of the tracks together and decided on the tracklisting.

When I made To Shizuka I was working on Kamisama and I was taking a break, listening to other samples because I felt Kamisama was good, but I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the creativity of the track. So, as I was listening I heard something I liked and I put the sample in the Kamisama project to see what it would sound like – instead of starting everything all over (settings, eq, etc). I ended up making a small clip of this beat, but I made an MP3 for the hell of it. When I showed it to friends, they actually liked it a lot even though it literally took me maybe 3 minutes to make.

By my own standards, I would have normally done more work, but sometimes you don’t have to work forever on a track for it to turn out well. I said to myself “Oh well,” because I thought the feeling made up for the fact that I didn’t put a lot of effort into it. I can tell by the response that people like it so I have accepted that fact.


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