Ken Watanabe BA(Hons) Sonic Arts / Music (theory, history, composition, vocal studies) / Vocals /
Keybord / Trumpet / Programming
I have provided my music for feature films, theatre projects, fashion shows, adult entertainments, art events, live shows, bars, restaurants, night clubs, clothing stores, flower shops, beauty salons, websites.
I was born and raised in Japan but have been living in Europe (Paris and London) since the age of 19.
My three favourite musicians are
Nina Simone for her ability to express,
Erik Satie for his timeless coolness, and
JS Bach for the beauty of his music and its logical construction.
Alternatively I love the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo (COMME des GARÇONS).
I am lucky to have been a part of Dover Street Market (COMME des GARÇONS's retail project) since 2004. I've learned "what defines cool" and my understanding of "cool" is hugely influenced by her designs.
Being humble is a necessary element of beauty.
[My Early Years]
After graduating from high school in Japan, I moved to Paris. I went to a language school and I was working for a Japanese company that imported and exported fashion goods. One of the owners of the company was the late, great Japanese musician Tetsuya Kataoka (RIP).
He gave me access to his music studio and encouraged me. This gave me the chance to see how he made music and made me want to create music too. I learned basic music theories / keyboard playing / music programming from him and we created several music tracks together.
I then wanted to move to an English speaking country. Only English songs really find worldwide distribution although now in 2021, I am also attracted to Japanese and French songs. Also I was interested in the underground music scenes of big cities. 90's house music is one of my favourite genres. I love the sound of the TR-909 (a drum machine produced by Roland Japan in the early 80's) and it is still my favourite musical instrument.
Around this time I was fascinated by the works of contemporary - experimental composers particularly Gyorgy Ligeti and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
I moved to London and studied sound design and sonic arts for my degree.
During the time I was in college I started a part time sales job at Vivienne Westwood and then moved to COMME des GARÇONS when Dover Street Market opened. I'm happy that I've been working for both the British and Japanese queens of punk design.
After I graduated from university the early 2000's were the time when the British porn industry was kind of lively as the law had been changed and I scored six TV series for a well known adult brand that were shown on cable platforms in the UK and won awards on DVD around the world.
This helped me when I went on to score an LGBT feature film in 2009 and a horror feature in 2016. Both have been sold around the world, playing in cinemas and on TV.
Around the same time I had a regular weekly DJ slot at a bar in London. It was themed event of ”chill-mellow” 7pm to 12am Wednesday evenings. I was doing it for about 2 years.
I now do the occasional DJ set, combining singing my own songs and playing danceable tracks.
After stopping my regular DJ work I went to college again for more conventional music studies. I learned music theory, composition, the history of western music and vocal studies. From time to time I provided original music for friends. such as for theatre, films, fashions shows, exhibitions as well as DJing at events etc...
This is still my pattern and style of work, but I now have more desire to publish my music widely. In 2019 I was aiming to release new music every two weeks through the year and largely I've achieved that goal.
I'm recently very interested in traditional-ancient Japanese music with its harmony and construction. I created an EP evoking a feeling of Japanese mythology in 2018 and I would like to study further and develop this area of music.
My latest on going project is to provide a 2.5 hour sound journey for Michelin star sushi chef Mr Kazutoshi Endo's restaurant in west London. The chef commissioned me to create sound enhancing the best dinning experience.