Interview with Boston and New York Based Japanese Multi-Keyboard player/Composer Ken Aihara
How did you come by your stage name?
I’m Boston and New York-based Japanese Multi-Keyboard player/Composer/ producer and sound designer. I started keyboard at age 3. From childhood, concerning my father’s work, he has spent summer in Europe and have a global perspective.
My music career began while at attended Osaka University of Art(OUA), Electronic keyboard major in Japan. While I studied keyboard techniques and he was inspired by progressive rock and Jazz-fusion. During his time at OUA, I won the first prize in the various band competitions and I play with famous Japanese bands whose names are ’THE NOVEMBERS, The telephones, The chef cooks me, ORESUKABAND, Tomovsky, Mariko Goto, The Czech No Republic” etc..
After getting a degree(B.E), I attended Berklee College of Music and started my US music career. I studied Piano under Steve Hunt(Allan Holdsworth), Mark Rossi(George Russell), Dave Limina(B.B. King), to name a few. They teach me jazz fusion technique lots and Steve Hunt teach me and show me how to play Allan Holdsworth songs and improvise. Steve Hunt joined Allan Holdsworth band and recorded With Allan’s albums. I lot of inspiring of Allan Holdsworth and Steve Hunt.
I also studied electronic production design major for sound design, mix engineering, audio programming, and post-production works. It was my most of strong point of my music work now. During Berklee, I play with Progressive metal band “Altiom” and “Queens Boudicca Metal Opera Project”. Altom released First Album and credits include Sean Slade who the producer of Radiohead first Album.
I graduated Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music and he moved to New York. I got opportunities to play with top New York musicians. And I did produce and track making work by some singers and making remix tracks work too. Also, Ken played synth & sound design for drummer Tomo Hasebe ‘s on the album with Oz Noy, Isamu McGregor(Richard Bona)and Mike Marciano(Two times Grammy winner).
Recently, I released progressive Jazz- Fusion Album “Multiverse”. This Album ‘s credits include a Bob Lanzetti (Snarky Pappy, 3-times Grammy winner), Evan Marien(Allan Holdsworth, Virgil Donati), Marko Djordjevic(Matt Garrison, Wayne Krantz), Aaron Nevezie(Nerve-Jojo Mayer, Emmy Award-nominated) and Alex Deturk(Brad Mehldau, Kamasi Washington).
I did organize, all compositions, arranging and play keyboard for this Album. My achievement on keyboard skills and compositions were highly evaluated by all of them!
When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
My most important point is creat new music and new sounds. I always thinking about how is creat new music, new keyboard techniques, phrase. Off course I love the 60s to 80s music sounds and I play jazz music a lot. But when I play the traditional style of music, I lot of thinking about how to combine new sounds.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
My most important point is creat new music and new sounds. I always thinking about how My music style is especially favored by people who want to incorporate new sounds into their music and those who want to incorporate music of various genres. For example, a jazz player who wants both electro music and jazz to his music, a pops singer who wants programming and piano/keyboard chops.
Great New York Bassist Evan Marien (Bassist, Allan Holdsworth, Virgil Donati)said about “Ken Aihara is one of the finest synth soloists I’ve played with, and his compositions have incredible depth.” Incredible Drummer Marko Djordjevic (Drummer, Matt Garrison, Wayne Krantz) said about, “Participating in the making of Ken Aihara’s debut album Multiverse was a great pleasure, as well as a musical challenge.
Mr. Aihara’s music is eclectic, complex, energetic yet supremely listenable! The compositions on Multiverse make a great deal of musical sense, while Mr. AIhara’s skill as a bandleader ensured a good balance between imposing necessary musical requirements and leaving room for his bandmates’ creative input. I am sure this album will get Ken Aihara the attention he deserves as a virtuoso keyboardist, composer, and a bandleader. I look forward to playing this music live!” And Guitarist from Snarky puppy and 3times Grammy Winner Bob Lanzetti said about,
“What composer and pianist/keyboardist Ken Aihara has accomplished on his debut record Multiverse, is a perfect marriage of chops and rhythmic and harmonic complexity with tuneful, singable, often pretty songs.
In addition, his use of keyboards and synths is thoughtful and always done to serve the music first.” is creat new music, new keyboard techniques, phrase. Off course I love the 60s to 80s music sounds and I play jazz music a lot. But when I play the traditional style of music, I lot of thinking about how to combine new sounds.
On your upcoming project, how did you come up with the concept?
The recent project that I released progressive Fusion Album “Multiverse”. This is my First debut Album and concept was Odd meter fusion music combine to New York contemporary jazz sounds. This Album recording in one day and every song was a live recording.
Multiverse, a work inspired by role-playing games. Throughout this world of various dimensions, infinite energy, and improvisation that can be said to be cosmic are unfolding.
Credits include Bob Lanzetti from Snarky Puppy ( 3 times Grammy winner), Bassist Evan Marien(Allan Holthworh), Drummer Marko Djordjevic(Matt Garrison) and Aaron Nevezie(Nerve-Jojo Mayer, Emmy Award-nominated) and Alex Deturk(Brad Mehldau, Kamasi Washington).
All songs composed by My self And every song have different image these are different verse or dimensions. The first song Ice Mountain come from It depicts a scene that climbs while feeling the weirdness of freezing snow and snowstorm in the snowy mountains.
2nd song Whale is a whale that floats in the ocean of space. Spatio-Temporal wanderer floats between spacetime, Theia impact represents the birth of a planet, and Ridge Black represents an encounter with an unknown organism.
And I’m starting new project name of Electronic solo performance project. It is used Ableton live loop electronic performance and combines jazz fusion improvisation. I’m going to plan to record this Album soon.
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
Creat new music and New idea. Also, I have a different style of music backgrounds like Jazz fusion, Electronic, Progressive rock, and Classic music. I could combine or fusion these kinds of music.
Are you the best at what you do in your opinion?
I always a keyboard player. When I work to produce or track making, I have a producer mind and eyes. But I never forget that I’m a keyboard player.
What are your plans for the near future?
I’m going to live shows of my album and I will release my Electronic solo performance project Albums. Off course will be recording and release 2nd Album too.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout outs?
My parents and friends and recording members of my first album.
How can fans find you?
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
I would like to collaboration, play or jamming with you! Please contact me!
If you are looking to get showcased on Muzique Magazine you can submit directly HERE.
For more news and articles, Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Show your support SHARE and leave a COMMENT below.