Multi-talented Japanese-born hip-hop artist Shing02, who has called the Bay Area home for the past 18 years, has relocated to Los Angeles. "It's for a fresh start," the MC/DJ/producer/musician & musical instrument creator (the Faderboard, which Japanese DJ equipment company Vestax manufacture, is his invention) recently announced to surprised Bay Area friends. The artist was raised in Japan and England before moving to California at age 15.
But Shing02 had been away from the Bay for much of 2008 already, spending six months this year touring in Japan. Up until his move away he was living in North Oakland. This weekend Shing02 returns to his beloved Bay Area to do two special Halloween shows later today (10/31/08). At 6:30PM he will perform at the Halloween Hip Hop Showcase at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park along with his ensemble Kosmic Renaissance. The show is free and all ages. Then after that show Shing02 will head over to the Ahoy! Ninjas! party at G3 Lounge (in SF's Richmond District at 3910 Geary @ 3rd Ave.) to do an emcee set for this second show which opens at 9PM and goes til 2AM ($15 or $10 in costume). Yesterday, as Shing02 was prepping for his trip to the Bay, I caught up with him at his new LA home to ask a few quick questions about music, LA vs the Bay, his tour of Japan this year, and what to expect at his two shows today.
Amoeblog: You said you left the Bay Area for "a fresh start." Is LA providing that for you?
Shing02: Most definitely. I've discovered living in LA is a LOT different from visiting LA. I used to be very intimidated by the traffic, plus the whole rivalry with North and South. I actually live away from downtown (like I did in the Bay) and there are so many pockets that feel just like Oakland or Hayward. Life in the Bay Area will always be the most comfortable, for sure. Musically, I am linking back up with fellow producers like Cave. I'm also making music with a fantastic singer, Emi Meyer, who I toured Japan with over the summer. So, still very much on the independent level and I plan to get into making more music for scores, etc.
Amoeblog: What were you doing in Japan for those six months this year?
Shing02: I was there to finish and release a Japanese album called Y-Kyoku (means distortion), and toured 33 venues with a live band, including three rock festivals. I really did miss the Bay Area during that time, but I started thinking a lot being on the road that I need to get out more and not just repeat back and forth between the Bay and Japan. Hence the move to LA. Who knows how long I'll stay here, I might go to New York or Europe some day soon. I really want to travel more too-- there's too many interesting music scenes right now.
Amoeblog: When you play your two San Francisco shows tonight will you be playing the Faderboard and what else can people expect?
Shing02: I will be playing the faderboard as a member of Kosmic Renaissance, featuring David Boyce on sax and Sameer Gupta on drums and tabla. That'll be the free show at de Young. I'll MC a little bit there at de Young, then at G3 Lounge I'll do an MC set with a live setup. I'm working on the setlist right now; peace and love to all my partners in the Bay and across the globe.
More info on Shing02 here and also here, including info on tonight's two shows. Then immediately below are two video clips; the music video for "Nagusame" directed and edited by Robert Wakamatsu and originating from Shing02's latest Japanese album Y-Kyoku on Mary Joy Records and a demo by Shing02 of his invention the Faderboard.