A “Ochi-san” Who Is Massive Passionate on Audio-Visual - An Interview with Atsushi Tadokoro
If you are an OpenFrameworks user, you probably know Atsushi Tadokoro, one of of audio-visual pioneer, computer music researcher and code contributor in Japan. Born in Chiba in 1972 , Atsushi Tadokoro is a new media artist who is active in audio-visual community. He gives not only OpenFrameworks lectures and workshops in several universities such as Keio University, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tama Art University and Tokyo University of Technology, but also Processing, Arduino, Pure Data and so on. He mainly focus on algorithmic music and visual improvisations. Recently, he also started to present his work with live-coding.
Atsushi: I was doing research for computer music in Keio university in 1990. I also made my first digital song during that time. After graduation of master’s degree, I worked in a web studio so I quited composing for a while. However, I happened to know OpenFrameworks from a friend once and kept learning it. It is quite effective to make visual. I thought it might be a good idea to combine what I learned in university. Then, that was my beginning to do audio-visual performances. Until now, I have already done it for a decade.
How do you work on music performance with computer?
Atsushi: In the early age, I only used mouse and keyboard to control my programs. I wrote and arraged programs before conecrt. In the performance, I turned them on step by step or mixed them, but I was not satisfied with it. I always want to make music lives and improvisations no matter audio or visual in my conert. That is the reason why I made my decision to go to the direction of live-coding, I suppose. In my performances, sometimes I do live-coding audio and sometimes I do live-coding visual. However, I only did them individually and have never tried to do both simultaneously yet. In the future, I want to combine, integrate both of them in my performance. This is my goal.
Personally, I think your music is calmer and more inorganic before, however, started from 2016, it turned to varied, complicated and very intensive. Could you maybe talk about this change? Where are these inspirations coming from?
Atsushi: Well, it’s a difficult question for me (inspiration). I made many different music styles. My music style was mellower and more romantic before, but now I also make super wild music. I think both are my favorite music taste. Because I like to attempt and experience new type of music, then I can figure out which sound I want to keep and which sound I don’t appreciate. Through my coding process, my idea is always changing. Sometimes, I accidentally find out some great sounds which I couldn’t explain how they comes! But it’s really nice, I will keep and collect them to become my new source of music.
Atsushi: I try to make visuals which are generated from my brain when I hear sounds. But I think the most interesting part is a moment that the sounds and visuals are beyond my imagination.
(Embed a video) https://vimeo.com/155370706
You have a lot of test audio and video files on internet. How long do you spend on programming a day? Do you regularly coding everyday?
Atsushi: I do coding for 2 - 3 hours a day. In average, I have four days for programming a week. Sometimes, I spend over 10 hours a day. For sure, I also have few days without programmng.
As a teacher, what is the most important thing to you in teaching of audio-visual programming?
Atsushi: I think it’s really important to learn basic programming skill. That’s the point for me. Because if student couldn’t understand the theory and principle of coding, it’s quite difficult to develop their own idea in the future. When they really understand basic techniques, they will be able to realize their ideas freely.
Recording and sharing experiences is vital for Atsushi. He wrote abundant infomation and tutorials for beginners and advancers in computer music progamming on his website. Although he has worked so many years in audio-visual, he is still passionate on it as if wandering in a programming universe which is always interesting, new and infinite.