Interview w/ Risa Taniguchi

Risa Taniguchi is definitely the girl to look at in the future, emerging from Japan techno scene where she started playing Club Wire in Shinjuku, the central area of Tokyo city. Coming from a classical background, playing trombone, then violin and piano, then getting hooked on Chemical Brothers and Prodigy music led to her first club experiences. Her sound now is in Risa’s words: “Flexible, representing songs that she wants to play”.  Knowing that Risa’s debut EP ‘How We Dance Again’ on Second State will be released on the 10th of July, we’re sure that the future is bright for this girl from Tokyo. 

       Hello Risa, we hope you’re doing well in this post Covid-19 times. Coming from a classical music education, can you give us one composition that would be perfect to listen to while reading this interview? 

Hi, thank you for having me! I’m lucky enough to be staying healthy during this hard time.

Sure, I’d suggest Frederic Chopin’s Fantasie in F Minor that I’ve been practicing in this quarantine situation.

       The name of your new EP looks like it has something to do with fresh circumstances clubbing was thrown in by the virus. Was that the case, were you in some way a bit psychic? What does it mean?

Yes, I named the EP totally because of the current situation, with the hope we can come back to the dancefloor asap and people would let loose and crazy dancing to music with their friends. Actually, all those 4 songs were made after the pandemic happened when I had to stay home. I made so many songs during the lockdown as I felt I could concentrate more on production than ever before. I know it’s been different for everyone, but it helped me with my output. 

       There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are distractions? Are there strategies to enter into this state more easily?  

To be creative, I like to take a break quite often during production. Getting into a zone where I can focus on my production is great, but it also tends to get make me ‘blind’ about elements in a song, so I think you need to walk away and come back feeling fresh. You’ll see and hear things you didn’t before. Therefore, I usually work on multiple songs at the same time, so I don’t focus too much on just one. Good ideas always hit my mind when I’m away from the desk.

       Can you tell us about your studio setup in terms of digital vs. analog, which do you prefer and use?

These days, I use digital almost only. When I started producing I was desperate to use hardware like analog synthesizers because it looks cool, but with the limitation of my space and as I want to keep it simple to work on new songs quickly, I use Ableton Live on my laptop and Push 2, and some plugins for effects. Instrument-wise, Live’s built-in synths are easy-to-use and sounding great, so it gets the job done. I usually spend time more on applying effects to tweak the original sound than choosing the sound first.

       Can you name 3 classic electronic music tracks that made an impact on you as a producer/DJ? And tell us why particularly those 3? 

Chemical Brothers – ‘Believe’

When I first heard this song at a cafe where I was working as a part-time as a uni-student, that baseline gave me goosebumps and I thought, ‘I didn’t know there was this much cool music in the world..’ 

Armand Van Helden – ‘Witch Doctor’

This one got me into NY house music, especially with the way of sampling vocals. My music is always inspired by NY house and Chicago house a lot. 

Kerri Chandler – ‘Return 2 Acid’

I didn’t know much about Acid around that time, or what it even was, but this one was my first favorite acid tracks in hindsight!

       What are the favorite countries and clubs you played so far, and which clubs would you like to play in the future?

Tough question! I enjoyed every single venue but especially in Berlin (Watergate) and Melbourne (Sub club). At this stage, I’d hope as many of the venues that exist now to remain as possible. 

       We’re big fans of Japanese cinema, directors like Kaneto Shinodo, Hiroshi Teshigahara , Akira Kurosawa, Takeshi Kitano, etc. made a big mark in the history of film. Do you enjoy movies, which one is your favorite and do you have a favorite director, are there any interesting new Japanese movies we should pay attention to? 

I’m happy to hear you like Japanese directors! Yes, I do like watching movies and I have too many favorite films – so if we’re only talking about Japanese movies here, I’d recommend you ‘100 Yen Love’ (2014) and ‘Rage (2016)’. I often hear from many people overseas that they like old Japanese films, but we have so many good ones from the 21st century too

       Is there something you wish you knew more about?

You mean, what I wanna learn about more in general? If yes, then I Yes. I actually started to learn about wine very recently and been drinking lots of it. Even though I’ve liked wine for a long time, I have never had any real understanding of it, how its made, and what I am actually drinking. So, if someone has any recommendations now, it would be much appreciated.

       What’s for you the closest thing to magic, in terms of music?

For me, Claude Debussy’s music is always giving me an inspiration of new ways to produce music. 

       We started this interview with classical composition and we’re ending it with the set you recorded for our REACT series, how would you describe the selection you curated? 

I really enjoyed making this mix from my studio in Tokyo. I added some summer-like refreshing vibes to the mix, so I hope you could feel it. All the songs from my upcoming EP on Second State are also included in there too, as well as a few new songs by my producer friends from all over the world. 

Thank you for having me! I hope to see you somewhere in the world for the near future 🙂

       Risa, thank you for your time and for the music, we wish you a lot of success with upcoming releases and your DJ career.

Music Reactions · React Podcast 064 – Risa Taniguchi


  1. Beyond Of Frame – Uearth
  2. Boddika, Ribé – Fusion
  3. NøBAK – Antime
  4. Ronald Van Norden – Just Walking
  5. Risa Taniguchi – Unchained
  6. Robert S (PT) – Acid Was My School
  7. Bas Mooy – Pyro
  8. Risa Taniguchi – Slipped My Mind
  9. MATRiXXMAN – See You In Hell
  10. Alberto Ruiz – Halcon
  11. Risa Taniguchi – Sodium
  12. M.I.T.A. – Someone Told Me To Jungle And I Did
  13. Risa Taniguchi – How We Dance Again
  14. Fjaak – OHM
  15. Robert Hood x Bok Bok – The Ha Clash (Mike Q ReEdit)