JAKŌ and his experimental soundscapes at Suoni

Interview by Stephan Boissonneault

Additional Information

JAKŌ is the new moniker for the musical project of Shota Nakamura, a Montréal-based artist, originally from Tokyo. His decade in Canada, after moving from Japan, has seen him actively involved in local music scenes, as part of various bands (such as bassist for Sundays and Cybele’s 2017 Europe tour) & solo performances with different instruments & live set-ups; displaying diverse range of musical sensibilities & inspirations, from ambient & noise to more reggae & pop-influenced songwriting, & psychedelic-rock styling & improvisation.

He released Yopo, as Molio Holi back in 2021, and has plans to follow it up with another soundscapes record this year. He will be playing with Chris Brokaw (Codeine) and slowcore whiz, Picastro, at this year’s Suoni Per Il Popolo.

PAN M 360: First, can you tell us how you got into making psychedelic experimental guitar soundscapes?

Shota Nakamura: I used to hang around the Japanese psych-rock community. Back in the day, I was always into the sound of the guitars. I particularly loved the expressive power of them, with sounds that made you feel like you were inside a cave, underwater, in the darkness of night, or under a clear sky, etc. Then, out of nowhere, there would be fierce, noisy guitar solos that almost seemed to push the limits. It was a natural progression for me to want to express that in my own way.

PAN M 360: You went by Molio Holi and now you are JAKŌ. Why the change in names, and what is the significance of JAKŌ?

Shota Nakamura: That previous name was originally just a temporary one, but before I knew it, it had become my main project. “Jakō” in Japanese “麝香”, means musk. Simply, I like the sound of the word, and I thought its oriental, chill, yet almost too fragrant meaning was akin to my music.

PAN M 360: You also have the name ShoSho? is there a distinct difference in these projects for you?

Shota Nakamura: ShoSho is my DJ name. Jakō is my music project. 

PAN M 360: There are moments of very laid-back jazzy lush guitar scapes and moments of frenetic lead lines in your music, how do you craft your songs?

Shota Nakamura: I basically compose intuitively. I create a rough chord progression with a guitar or by humming, but some songs start with a bassline, while others are inspired by a sampled drum pattern. The lead lines are played exactly as they come to mind during the composition process. I like designing songs that enhance catharsis by illustrating the contrast between calm and intense moments.

PAN M 360: What do you know about Suoni and its link to the Montreal music scene?

Shota Nakamura: I have played at Suoni several times with a few bands I was in before. It’s a festival that most local musicians, especially those doing edgy/unique/avant-garde music, pass through at least once. They hold a very important position in the local community. Gratitude and respect.

PAN M 360: How does Japan’s music scene differ from Montreal? When did you move here and why?

Shota Nakamura: Rather than Japan, I’m from Tokyo, and there are countless bands. there wasn’t much interaction between different scenes and genres. In Montreal, regardless of fame, genre, or age, you meet all cool people through the “local scene.” I moved to Toronto in 2012 and came to Montreal in 2014. Too long to tell why, multiple reasons. Pros and cons both here and there. But I like it here better so far.

PAN M 360: The last release, yopo, came out in 2021. Are there plans for a follow-up?

Shota Nakamura: Hopefully this year.

PAN M 360: What do you know about the acts you will be playing the show with?

Shota Nakamura: I’ve seen Chris Brokaw as a drummer of Codeine. My friends recommended Picastro to me and I like their music. It’s an honor to open for such great musicians.

PAN M 360: What can you tell us about the live show JAKŌ experience? 

Shota Nakamura: Listening to recorded material at home and feeling the vibrations in the air firsthand are truly distinct experiences. In my live performances, this difference becomes evident.


PAN M 360: Anything to add?

Shota Nakamura: I’d like to say thanks to friends and families here and there. In particular, my band members Daniel and Ryan. I am lucky enough to have such talented friends. Joni Void, another friend of mine offered me to release my music on his label. And my mentor Doronco from Les Rallizes Dénudés. I am where I am today because he kindly mastered my album Yopo.

CHRIS BROKAW + PICASTRO + JAKŌ – June 16 – TICKETS

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