Asta Hiroki is an electronic music producer and visual artist based in Brighton, UK. His work has been supported across the world, including radio play on BBC 6Music, wide support on official Spotify editorial playlists, and he has topped both the Mixcloud and US college radio charts.
His music draws mainly from electronica, jazz, and downtempo styles whilst his visual art typically explores glitch aesthetics, nature and duality.
What was your latest book discovery? What are your favorite books of all time?
My latest book discovery was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. It's set in pre-colonial Nigeria and is a really engaging story. I was also very happy to learn recently it has a sequel so I'll be getting in to that soon no doubt.
Favourite books of all time for me would have to include:
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, a gloriously witty cautionary tale featuring one of the finest metaphors for inner beauty over appearances.
Charles Mingus' autobiography - Beneath The Underdog. This is a sublimely interesting read and showcases Mingus completetly with all his flaws and genius on display. For anyone even vageuly familiar with him its a great read, for jazz fans it's a must have.
Lastly The Complete Stories fo Franz Kafka is a collection of most of his works (though notably not The Trial or The Castle. I find his works are very well designed in terms of illustrating the frustration and beurocracy of modern life. You get stressed and irritated on behalf of the characters which might not sound enjoyable but is a testament to how well written these stories are.
Most visited blogs, websites? :
I mainly visit art and music blogs - for music there are too many to mention. It depends on the day and the genre I want to discover or hear but for art I'd tend to frequent sites like It's Nice That and Juxtapoz as I like their style and variety.
What apps do you use the most and why?
Spotify and Spotify for Artists I check a lot to discover new music, see how my releases are doing and keep my profiles up to date.
Facebook, Insta and Twitter I use mainly for work - I do enjoy scrolling through Insta for art. I am not naturally the type to announce and shout about what I'm doing personally but I understand if you are creating art and want it to reach people these days then it's important to open up more on these platforms. It's something I'm working on improving!
Whatsapp is the default app for chatting to friends and family and of course Netflix for movie downtime and just before bed to get me off to sleep!
Whats currently on your playlist?
My playlists are big but heres a sample...
Linked by Bonobo
Friday Morning by Khruangbin
Marbles by K. Raydio
Tried (feat. Little Dragon) by Badbadnotgood
Oats by Alphabets Heaven
The Lizard (Skalpel Remix) by Hidden Orchestra
Spring by Trevor Ransom
Bully by Shrimpnose & K. Raydio
An Ending, A Beginning by Dustin O’Halloran
Keshiki by Tristan de Liege
All One by The Motion Orchestra
What records would you recommend to hear?
All of mine haha!
Seriously again there are too many good records but a couple of suggestions off the top of my head...
Con Todo El Mundo Super by Khruangbin. Chilled and psychedelic musicianship on this. It's just gorgeous.
...And The World Weeps by Shrimpnose & K. Raydio. One of my favourite electronic albums form the last year out on the very cool Dome of Doom record label + awesome artwork from Phibdoesthis.
Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. One of my favourite albums and surely one of the best jazz albums ever. From contemplative compositions to all-guns-blazing swing its got it all.
Fresh movie finds? What films do you think everybody should watch?
Porco Rosso is one of my favourite movies of all time. Its a Studio Ghibli production and involves a sea plane pilot who also happens to be a pig. It's set in The Adriatic Sea and features a beautiful jazz piano soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi (the regular composer for Ghibli). His stuff is all great and he really brings the fantastic imagery to life.
In general I thoroughly recommend all Ghibli movies as there is something magical about them.
Which artists working today do you admire most?
There are loads of artists I admire at the moment. Close to home (Brighton) there is Hidden Orchestra and one of their component parts Poppy Ackroyd. Their stuff is mostly a really beautiful blend of organic orchestral instruments with more electronic elements and the results are stunning. Badbadnotgood and Khruangbin are also two bands who are currently both very high on my 'admiration' list as I love their musicianship and soulful compositions. They are both really versatile acts and always produce high quality material.
Visually I love Tyler Evin who is an artist I discovered recently from the US, he paints exclusively with oils but uses a variety of surfaces and often depicts glitched imagery. I really like how he is producing glitch art but rather than opting for digital methods through traditional mediums and tools instead. His work is really great and I'm lucky enough to have managed to use a piece of his called 'Delete' as the cover to my last single Hiding Place (feat. Lylli). Hopefully I'll be able to do so again in the future!
What are some of your tv top tips right now?
I've always liked detective novels and stories and I'm fascinated by true crime documentaries and dramatisations of true crime. Recently I've been delving into Netflix and a show called The Confession Tapes about false confessions relating to crimes and investigating why the accused may have made these admissions where in some cases the evidence to back it up is thin. Also I've just finished Narcos Mexico which was very enjoyable.
Who are you following?
Not really a secret but the Ricky Gervais twitter account is usually on point. Code Art on Insta has some very cool pattern and glitch art bits (@random_noir, @artxcode.io, @shedrawswithcode). I dont spend a lot of time on social media unless its for work to be honest.
What tools do you use in your work?
I use anything I can! I trained in Britannia Row recording studios in Islington, London which used to be owned by Pink Floyd and was used to record 'Animals' and some of 'The Wall'. I'm equally happy behind a large mixing console or making lofi recordings from a hand held recorder and loading them into a sampler.
Tools are important but they're just a means to an end, and dependent on what that end is I'll use different gear and techniques.
What magazines / newspapers do you read regularly?
What are your favorite gadgets?
My Nikon D3500 DSLR camera is a big source of joy for me these days, as is my Tachyons+ analogue video glitching gear I got not too long back. Playing around with both is super fun can really get my creative juices flowing. I like to travel around and the camera is pretty lightweight and very decent for the price so it comes with me most places on the off chance I'll see something interesting.
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Portrait image by © Edward Gould