January 28, 2022 | Tokyo, Japan | ATTANGO
WATT, a.k.a Yotterubutteru, is a talented artist from the Japanese hip-hop scene who made a strong impression on listeners with his early music projects. After a several-year absence, he’s back with his new album, MeguruUta, released last December. WATT a.k.a Yotterubutteru, is also known for his collaborations with major players in the Japanese rap scene. Today, we welcome him for his first interview, where he will talk to us about his journey in the hip-hop world and his latest album.
ATTANGO : Hello WATT a.k.a. Yotterubutteru. Before we start, I wish you a happy 2022 and thank you for this interview with Real Japanese Hip Hop media. Can you start by introducing yourself to those who don’t know you?
WATT: Nice to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview. My name is WATT a.k.a. Yotterubutteru; I am an MC/Beatmaker in Kanagawa. I was born in Tokyo and grew up in Nagano prefecture. My alias Yotterubutteru means “pretending to be drunk.” In reality, I’m often drunk because I’m a small drinker.
ATTANGO: How did you discover hip-hop culture, and why did you become a beatmaker, producer, or rapper?
WATT: Around 2000, I met my friend Kamuri at a high school in Nagano who was into rap. I was introduced to hip-hop by listening to his demo tapes and works of rappers such as Nas, ATCQ, Rhymester, KING GIDDRA, and others that he listened to. I think I had already heard of hip-hop before then, but at that time, I was fascinated by the music. Kamuri immediately influenced me, and I started writing lyrics and rapping as an imitator. He and I formed a group called INBU and started self-producing and producing other rappers. In the process, I began to admire original beats.
In 2003, on a friend’s recommendation, I bought an AKAI MPC2000XL and started making beats. Since then, I’ve been using the same MPC. The hidden track of my first album Shikou Hin is a song with Kamuri that I made remembering that time.
ATTANGO: I often see a vast collection of vinyl and CDs behind you in the videos shared on your Instagram account. Is this collection yours?
WATT: Yes. The room is small, so that it might look like a lot, but it serves multiple purposes, such as DJing/sampling or just listening to sounds, so it’s hard to let it go.
ATTANGO: How long does it take you to create a beat? I always get the feeling that you’re searching for the perfect sound.
WATT: Sometimes, it takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to make a track, but when I start to elaborate, it takes a lot of time. I pay attention to the slightest sound deviations and texture in that case. And it’s true, I’m always searching for the perfect sound, as it can make or break a good track. I ensure every detail is in place so that the outcome meets my expectations. It can take hours or even days, giving every production a unique signature and optimal sound quality.
ATTANGO: I saw that your first albums were released on Norikiyo’s label, YUKICHI RECORDS. You even did a complete remix of his album MELANCHOLIC GENDAI. Are you still in contact? If so, do you have plans for a collaboration project?
WATT: Norikiyo-san is the person who allowed me to introduce my work to a vast number of people. His words have no flattery or condescension, and I am always motivated by his opinions and actions. I stay in contact with Norikiyo, and we chat from time to time. He sent me a congratulations gift for the birth of my child, and he has always cared for me in one way or another. He still listens to my rhythms and works, so I think there are several possibilities that we’ll do something together.
ATTANGO: The song Atorakushon (アトラクション) featured Cypress Ueno (サイプレス上野) and was a remix of the original version with A-grill. It was created as part of my first album Shikou Hin. The song was composed with A-grill, and when Norikiyo heard it, he suggested doing a remix and inviting Cypress Ueno, another talented artist I admire. The beat for the song is estimated to have been created around 2005.
WATT: Regarding Muchin Josya (無賃乗者), this song was also included in my first album Shikou Hin and featured Yunde. The song is about taking a train ride without paying the fare, which is reflected in the title Muchin Josya. The music video for this song was filmed in Tokyo and was an enjoyable experience. We wanted to capture the song’s essence in the video and show the carefree spirit of taking a train ride without paying the fare.
WATT: Muchin Josya (無賃乗者) feat. Yunde is a song about “paying for drinks in a club.” The rhythm and lyrics were made in one day. While filming the music video, I drank a lot of tequila drinks (but not cold), so I don’t remember the rest. The filming crew took me home, and I woke up at home. LOL! HI-KING TAKASE and METEOR are on the Muchin Josya (REMIX) song which is also very good, so don’t hesitate to listen. In Muchin Josya (無賃乗者) with Yunde, the rhythm and rap are moderately relaxed, and I was able to achieve a perfect balance. The song seems to say something good at first listen, but it says stupid things. When I sing this song at a concert, I often receive alcohol on stage.
ATTANGO: What do you think of the current hip-hop scene in Japan?
WATT: Compared to when I started listening to hip-hop, there is much more variety in styles. With so many channels to choose from, I think it’s essential to be aware of what one likes and be able to pinpoint it.
ATTANGO: Do you think rappers who organize themselves into groups will replace the original hip-hop pattern of 1 MC 1 DJ?
WATT: I have worked in a group and listened to many hip-hop groups, so I have never been particularly aware of the 1MC/1DJ format.
ATTANGO: MeguruUta was released on December 8th, 2021. Why did you wait so long to release this project?
WATT: The song Meguru Uta is dedicated to my family. After the release of my second album Shiori, my grandparents passed away, someone did something foolish, and suddenly I couldn’t see them anymore, and I also got married and had a baby. These are significant events in my life. I wanted to sublimate all of them in this album. So I spent a lot of time thinking about how to express myself, especially for the lyrics.
The word “Megurucan” also means “cycle.” For example, in the first song, ‘Meguru Uta Intro,’ I used the sound of circulating water (sea, clouds, rain, river, ocean) to express the theme of this album. In the last song, ‘Born Again,’ I adjusted the song’s length to 3’14, like my son’s birthday. It was a sort of wishful thinking because I thought that by doing this, I could convey the song’s message to my future son, that is, ‘you can always be reborn in your lifetime.’
ATTANGO: We enjoyed your interpretation of your productions for the new MeguraUta project. We felt we witnessed a particular trend in experimental hip-hop between HI-KING TAKASE, GAPPER, or HUNGER (TSUMAMI, Dare, Itsukano Futari).
WATT: Thank you! I’m unaware that the song is experimental, as it was born from my daily work, but I was conscious of not making the melody too sophisticated. I tried to keep a good balance throughout the album songs.
ATTANGO: How did you live through the Covid-19 period?
WATT: I stayed inside as much as possible, didn’t meet many people, and wrote songs at home.
ATTANGO: What are your plans for 2022? Are any shows planned?
WATT: I don’t know yet what will happen with Corona, but I’m planning a live tour from February to April and my first solo life in May. I also plan to release the vinyl of my three albums so far.”
ATTANGO: Thank you very much for this interview. Do you have a message for French and foreign listeners who follow you?
WATT: I’d like to thank Real Japanese Hip Hop media for allowing me to share my words with the world. I can only speak Japanese, but I would be happy if my music could make people more optimistic.