We caught up with  Ken Sumitani, aka STEREOCiTI, to discuss his latest release, the launch of his imprint and how he got into electronic music production. 

STEREOCiTI was first discovered by Mike Huckaby in 2007. The Detroit legend introduced the Japanese producer to the world on his radio show. Immediately after the broadcast of the program, STEREOCiTI released his debut EP "Citifunk EP" and joined a compilation "Up to the Surface" with producers such as Baaz and Scott Ferguson. Both records were released on Deep Explorer Music, a Spanish label owned by Dubbyman. These works led STEREOCiTI to sign to the Berlin based label Mojuba. "Early Light", his first release on Mojuba, came out in 2009. Mojuba has kept on supporting him and his work from this day and in 2011 STEREOCiTI released his first full-length album "Kawasaki" on Mojuba, recognized as a powerful deep-house and ambient album.

Despite STEREOCiTI's obvious talent as a producer, he had long been a DJ before becoming one. After starting his career at Maniac Love, a legendary club in Tokyo, he has rocked countless numbers of audiences around the world in such clubs as Panorama Bar, Tresor and Batofar. Groove, deepness and a very personal touch and sensitivity are the essences of STEREOCiTI's DJing and his tight, stoical style gives him a strong one-and-only presence in the world of dance music. 

STEREOCiTI just lunched his brand new label Waveguide, with his new EP 'Parabolic Motions'. 

Parabolic Motions has a strong Detroit vibe to it. Do you draw a lot of influence from Detroit?

Yes, but not only - if you look in Europe you can also find some labels like Tresor or R&S in 90’s that were closely tied to the Detroit sound as well. Some of those artists had a particular influence on me when I started to DJ with the records they were putting out at that time. But it was not only the music aesthetic that influenced me - I get a lot of ideas inspired by the way they were mixing and processing their sound through their hardware.

Tell me about your other influences?

I’d say mainly Dub. I’ve been often taken the dub approach when composing music. Actually, I have adopted more often the live dub mix recently. When I’m recording, I use not only delay or reverb but also add LFO, Modulation or filter in the effect chain to develop the dub mix technique.

What originally got you into electronic music production?

I started out as a DJ and the production followed on from that in a natural way. I saw massive potential in electronic music and I got my first sampler to try my ideas. Since then electronic music became my life work and still gets me.

I really enjoyed the Parabolic Motions release – tell me about how it was made?

Thanks. These tracks have been ready for almost two years actually. At that time, I started to compose with a completely different process and structure, as well as philosophy, than my previous releases. These tracks were finished in a short period as the results of many experiments and these would be the main motive to start Waveguide. 

What does your studio setup look like at the moment?

Actually, I don’t have my studio at the moment, but I’m sharing Jorge Caiado's, Lisbon-based so thank you to him. Jorge is head of the Groovement label. Therefore my set up is quite simple recently. However, since I selected carefully what to bring with me to Lisbon, I can make my sounds the way I imagine them.  The original effects chain is the most important part in my setup. It’s based on hardware but I’m also using some software like Ableton since it has some nice sequencers and arpeggiators.

What’s your favourite production tool (either hardware of software)?

Waldorf MicroWave1 has been my best partner for years. Also SDE-2000 Delay has its own sound and characteristics that I like and Vestax DDG-1 is intense and powerful.

Is there anything that you particularly want to add to your setup?

I want the Octatrack MK II that would allow me to make polyrhythms because my MPC doesn’t. I definitely want the specific Midi controller for the MicroWave as well.

So 2017 seemed to be a big year for you in terms of releases – what have you got lined up in 2018?

The first release of 2018 would be on Mojuba's sub-label, A.r.t.less, and the tracks are going into the mastering process soon. Also Waveguide 02 should be ready in the spring. But I want to focus more on DJing in 2018, of course never leaving the continuous studio work.

I really enjoyed your release on Groovement earlier in the year, tell me about your connection with the label in Lisbon? Will you be working more with them?

They are my family in Portugal. We’ve already been working together for some forthcoming Groovement showcases, such as the one we have scheduled already for March in Japan and then in April at Lisboa Electronica festival. Also my next release on Groovement has already been planned, possibly to come out this year too.