Sawako is featured on the experimental electronic release, bRiCoLAge #1, put out by Illegal Art, with Seeland, in 2000. The album is composed largely of artists working with samples, but it's not clear whether or not Sawako works exclusively with media samples. She may not use them at all, in fact. This is one of those projects I've played on the good possibility that it fits the format of the show, and since we have played her work on Some Assembly Required, I invited her to be our featured artist this week.
Sawako has been a practicing digital artist since 1999 and has three albums of such material. She also has experience playing the piano and Nohgaku, and has played in a band. She has appeared on more than 20 compilations, remixes and CDs as a guest musician and currently lives and works in New York City. Without further ado, here's the SAR Q&A with Sawako...
*Members: Me. Only 1 girl.
*Tape manipulations, digital deconstructions or turntable creations: The current official bio says "Sawako is a sound sculptor, a timeline-based artist and a signal alchemist." My old BIO says "broken processor + bug or hub or hug + or just a little girl" and "Tokyo Digital Mutation Girl."
*Another genre descriptor: I don't want to put myself in any "official" genre, since it is possible for my music to be categorized under many different genres. And from my experience living in Japan and the USA and traveling the world, I can say that the genre categories are different between different cities and countries. I enjoy living in between categories, rather than settling down under one specific community.
*Location: I am born in Nagoya, Japan, then grew up as an artist in the online community and in Tokyo. In 2004, I had moved to NYC where I am still living.
*Original Location: Nagoya, Japan
*What is your creative/artistic background: My digital music activities had start with accidents - around 1999, I had started to take the computer music classes in the university because many of my friends were taking the class. I was in the interdisciplinary departments, so I was also taking biology class, computer science class, ethnography class, the pop culture critic class and so on. It was the era of mp3.com, and soon I got more and more friends through online music community - mailing lists, net labels and CDR labels. At that time, I wanted to be an art curator and was working at the art space in Tokyo. Although checking record shops in Tokyo at least 3 times per week at that time, I was not a big music fan and never be longing to be a musician. Just I was so fascinated the fact that my G3 iBook and free software (= which I could prepared within the collage student's tiny budget) can make the pass to the world. I kept making the handmade CDR for my friends all over the world, and my friend list became bigger and bigger. Until when I had released the already sold out 1st album, "Yours Gray,” in 2004 from Oregon based field recording label and/OAR, the label which was releasing the Phonography Mailing List Compilations for years, I never expected that so many people (for me) are interested in what I am doing, nor music became the center of my life. Then, I had released my 2nd album "hum" from 12k in 2005 and my 3rd album "madoromi" from Anticipate Recordings in 2007. In 2007, I had played in some big festivals such as Mutek (Canada) and Glade (UK). I have some (classical) music experiences such as 12+ years of piano lesson, 6+ years of Nohgaku lesson, 4+ years in the conventional band etc etc. But I feel the experiences as the programmer, the interaction designer and the art curator are closer and deeper to connect with what I am doing with audible media than the so-called musical experiences.
*Philosophy / How would you like to be remembered: Originally, I skipped these questions, because the questions don't fit with my philosophy. I feel that I am closer to the Japanese "Mingei" designers than to the idea of the individualistic Western artist who is "creative," "doing something unique," "artistic," etc. For me, making things – from music, visual, and networked programming works to everyday food and accessories – is just like breathing in everyday life. Some of these works may disappear in the long term for one reason or another, but everything happens in the natural flow of subtle daily things. So I don't care whether what I do will remain in history or not, or how it is contextualized. I am a tiny existence floating in a big river. The only difference for me between cooking a meal for friends and making music is that, with music, I have a wider audience, influence and responsibility.