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Get to know: Last Japan

From: BOW, EAST LONDON

For Fans Of: SILK ROAD ASSASSINS, DARKO, MSSINGNO

Three Tunes: 'Ascend, 'Wrong One Feat. Prynce Mini', 'Harca'

‘Icy cold’, ‘glacial’, ‘crystalline’; these are the sorts of descriptors used for Last Japan’s sound, which takes its cues from the grit of grime, jungle and even Detroit techno, but expands it into something more widescreen. The Sutton-born, Bow-based producer (real name: Marco Giuliani) began knocking out bootlegs in his bedroom from 2009, quickly establishing a name for himself
as a go-to beatmaker thanks to scoring an early collaboration with cult MC Trim and a string of coveted releases.

The industry has morphed into quite a different beast since the late noughties, and Last Japan notes how artists are becoming more self- sufficient: “When I started out, it was all about having a manager and agent as soon as possible, and all that really did was slow people down. It was more focused around, ‘What’s my manager going to get me?’ instead of, ‘What original ideas can I execute to get me to where I want to be?’ Successful people are a jack of all trades now.”

Not in the ‘master of none’ sense, though. Marco’s own fingers are stuck in multiple pies: DJing, producing, working for PPL, which collects royalties for musicians, and co-running his Circadian Rhythms label with Blackwax. The imprint has been responsible for some of the most forward-thinking club constructs going, from artists like Spanish producer Plata to ex-dubstep producer Toasty, and he finds this part of his 9-5 most rewarding. “There’s nothing like seeing the response to your newly-released music or playing to a crowd in a hyped club,” he says, “but the response we’ve had from what we’ve achieved with the label so far is second to none.”

Marco recently achieved his masterwork with the AJ Tracey-featuring ‘Ascend’, a cut thoroughly rinsed by DJs for its rising, atmospheric arrangement. His latest offering ‘LUNA’, yet another outing on consistently strong label Coyote, was inspired by the atmosphere and architecture of his surroundings, Bow. “The weather was either really misty or just had that cold air to it, and the lights from these buildings were looming in the distance. It reminded me of the feeling Blade Runner gives you,” he says.

Gearing up to nab Last Japan’s production crown is his three-year-old son, who’s “already a genius on the buttons,” he explains. “He knows how to open the Sausage Fattener plugin in Logic and the more you crank the ‘fattener’ knob, the angrier the sausage on the screen looks and the better the music you’re running through it sounds! Those that know, know.” 

Read our Lucky Seven feature with Roisin Murphy here

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