By: Jess Goulart

Photo courtesy of Asano Ryuhei.

Japanese artist Asano Ryuhei weaves nostalgic samples and electronic beats in surprisingly shifting ways to both transcend his influences and transport the listener to a completely new headspace. The catalogue released under his music moniker Lee, makes it obvious that Ryuhei is not afraid to mix and match, affording his style with an ingenuity rarely seen in the mainstream. His most recent LP, shine, offers mellow sounds that drip like morphine, laced with voices sampled from films or classic melodies. You become an active, if not sedated, participant in Lee’s world through his music. The idiosyncrasies of his personality manifest themselves in a gentle kaleidoscope of piano and electronica. Check out his artwork here, and his interview with BTR below for a glimpse into his soulful world.

[All answers unchanged from the original written interview]

What is your background as a musician?

i started making a music as a rapper in 2004.
since 2009 i’ve been making beats.

Have you always been listening to this kind of music? What are some of your major influences?

yes.mainly i love listening beats jazz and soul.
i think i got influence mostly from the artists on soundcloud in these days..

How is your new album (released in January) different from your past work?

i took a time to create like 3D sounds.
used new effects and tried new things.
my feeling was like when i made first album ‘a lady chilled on the sofa’.
i just sampled whatever i like and want. jazz soul funk dub CM of film folk pop anything.
i really enjoyed making this album.

That album has 22 tracks on it, why 22?

no meaning.
just i could make 22 before i released it.
firstly my plan was like 15beats.

shine album artwork.

Any particular vibe you’re going for?

the hidden theme of the album is love.
some beats are homage for my legends who died already.

i want people to feel anything in their own way.
but i just hope they feel something good.

Any songs especially important to you?

Marva Whitney – I’ll Work it Out.
i started to make beats because i wanted to sample this song.

What’s the music scene like where you are?

i’m living bangkok thailand.
i think EDM music is the most popular here right now.
great thing is lots [of] musicians from the world come to perform.

What is the writing process like for your music? Does it just happen organically?

especially when i get drunk or high i make.
sometimes i draw then i get some inspiration from my drawing.

Where do you draw inspiration for your drawings from?

ideas of my drawing mainly comes from my imagination.
when i get drunk and when i see or listen something great.
like going to exhibitions, seeing, performing.

What was the recording process like for your latest album? Who recorded/produced it?

i’ve just done by myself.
for the beat ‘ibk. (+ Arμ-2 +ILL da T)’ i make with Arμ-2 from tokyo.
he recorded snoring by while ILL da T slept.and sampled it.
then we put drums noises. it was so fun.

Any favorite live shows you’ve done?

before leaving japan in 2012 i’ve done at my favorite party ‘STREET INDIGO’ in home town kokura.
not big party but there were lots my friends.
i’ve done MC live for 15min felt like 3min something like that. haha
anyway it was really great night.
everyone drunk so much some friends were dead on the sofa.

Anything you’d like to say to fans as an ending note?

now i’m making new EP with Arμ-2. would be my favorite album.
hope you guys like it.


To hear more from Lee, head to his Bandcamp, Facebook, or hear a break down of the album on BTR’s own Music Digest.