Fear of Tigers released his fourth studio album Tapeworxs on Playmaker Media to coincide with Cassette Store Day, which happens to be today. We caught up with the Japanese-born, London-based producer ahead of the release.


How did the idea of Tapeworxs came about and what's the background story?

I was approached by a record label called Playmaker who have been releasing cassette editions of artists like Timecop1983 and Waveshaper for a few years now and it was a great opportunity to release something to tie in with Cassette Store Day. Cassettes were a big part of my childhood and my earliest memories of technology were loading computer up games to the family’s ZX Spectrum. These were well-meaning but often underwhelming versions of arcade classics like Outrun, Afterburner and California Games plus a few quirky British classics like Pyjamarama. The covers were always so glossy and enticing but the reality couldn’t be more different - slow, jerky, two-tone graphics and a soundtrack so primitive that is made music from the SNES sound like it was from the future. So the album is a subtle call back to the era.

Fear of Tigers is largely a studio project, how do you work?

I have stacks of audio material - outtakes from sessions, obscure samples, field recordings and I play a few instruments badly. I stick it in the pot and see what happens, very little is planned. It’s a bit like making a weird soup with odds and ends.

I read you are not keen on the DJ culture what’s the deal here?

I think DJ culture is a bit old-fashioned. I cringe when I see guys creased over a mixing desk twisting a pan pot. Playing an instrument, performing or singing is inherently physical but DJing isn’t - it’s pushing buttons and turning knobs. True, people are doing some interesting things with controllers but the live experience still seems to be dominated by sweaty men playing big tunes, putting their hands in the air and getting over excited. There is very little (if any) intellectual discourse and it’s a mainstream as McDonald's now, which is a huge turn off for me. There is a lot of opportunity though and I expect someone will turn all this on its head at some point in the next few years.

What artists would you like to remix, and which were your favourites to work with?

Remixes are a good way to get started but unless you’re working with trustworthy people then it’s easy to get ripped off. Short of naming people - I’ve been ripped off by at least three fairly well-known artists. One band used a remix I’d done in a car commercial, never asked permission or paid me and ended up denying the whole thing (even after I’d see the ad for myself). Others seem happy to rack up plays and downloads without sharing any of the money. It’s a shame as I put my heart and soul into some of these projects. On the flip side, I enjoyed working with LeAnn Rimes and Max Richter, that was a lot of fun.

What’s next for Fear of Tigers?

Honestly I think I’m probably very near the end of FOT. I’m torn between just doing occasional releases and calling time on the whole project. Dance music moved on massively and as much as I’m impressed by a lot of the new wave of EDM, it’s not something I particularly enjoy listening to. As a listener, I’m increasingly attracted to the use of space and silence in music which is the polar opposite of FOT so it seems like a better idea to start something new. Taking the plunge and starting a new artist project is a daunting prospect though and I have no idea where to begin but it’s something I need to try, regardless of the outcome. However, I have a huge backlog of FOT tracks, maybe 50 or more so I am tempted to finish them and release them at some point.

You can order Tapeworxs by Fear of Tigers here.