Interview with Moisty Atsushi
Redstar73 Blog: Please can you introduce yourself and all your musical projects. How did you get into ska?
Moisty: My name is Moisty Atsushi. I’m a Japanese origin and New Zealand resident. I have been playing ska in New Zealand for a long time. I’m the one leading Atsushi and the Moisties for 10 years.
I started playing with some local bands in Auckland back in 1999. Cool thing was that we supported Less Than Jake on our first or second show. So till 2006, I played with some local bands. Then I knew that time was right, so I formed Atsushi and the Moisties. Idea was that I wanted to produce traditional ska band in New Zealand. At the time, no one was playing instrumental songs or ska (to be fair some 2 tone bands and ska/punk ish bands were there, but not like the Skatalites feel).
So I have been doing this for 10 years now, we have changed a bit, but we keep it as authentic as possible. Meanwhile, I think it was about 5 years ago, I started a project, Atsushi and the Mini Moisties. I invited some kids to play my songs on a stage. They were between 9 to 13 year olds at that time. We even made an EP, Speedo together.
Mini Moisties live:
This project did not last too long. Because I got so many projects to deal with. I was involved in Chris Murray’s New Zealand tour in 2010. And the Moisties backed him up too. That was a good fun. Chris and I have known each other for sometime and talking about NZ tour too. Finally we made it happen.
Also the film, Rocksteady: the Roots of Reggae came to NZ. So DJ Mossman who was a music directer of the film, asked me to help to promote the film. We did some gigs around Auckland. I think a year later, Stranger Cole (was on the film) came to Auckland to play with us in 2011.
I started recording for the Moisties around the same time too. And that was a long and big project. It took over my life for a few years. So as you can imagine, I did not have much time for Mini Moisties.
Redstar73 Blog: Last year you have been traveling trough Europe and Asia and playing some shows. Please could you tell us about.
Moisty: I was just really lucky to have so many people who helped me out to organise for me to play gigs! I loved to play all those different places.
I played in the UK, Spain including local restaurant to Rototom Sunsplash reggae Fest, or busking in Europe, gig in Moscow with the Wheeler Dealers, gig in Hong Kong with the Red Stripes and at a Hong Kong school, some cool local venues in South East Asia. It was a lot of fun, when Offbeaters backed me up in Valencia. And last show in Singapore was very responsive. It was a great party.
I would like to go back and play again!
For me most interesting thing was meeting people. Most of those guys like same music. And they have done similar things as mine. For example, some of them I met, were promoters. I have done some promote other people in the past. We could relate in so many ways. We enjoyed, but we also took a lot of shit at the same time, you know.
And I saw you in Barcelona too! Yeah I like stuff like that, meeting like minded people.
You can check my blog for traveling and playing ska from here:
Redstar73 Blog: What’s up next for you? any new releases on the horizon?
Moisty: I’m finalising the project I started ages ago. So we have released the album last year or a year ago. If you notice, there is always version on B side of 7″, when you buy Jamaican made 7″s. So I had an idea, what if I create all different versions of the songs from the album. We won’t be able to release all songs on the album. At this point, not too sure there are enough songs to be an album. You will see in a few months. My favourite songs are Victim Of Authority ft: Lester Sterling of the Skatalites, and Rasta Cow ft: Asprila from Staya Staya in Argentina. There are few cool dub songs and versions that re-record too. Looking forward to releasing to the world soon.
Redstar73 Blog: Some of your recordings have a real authentic jamaican ska sound. How did you get the sound?
Moisty: Thanks, that was I was trying to create.
I was very fortunate that I met and talked to some legends about recording in the 60s. And I met Victor Rice in 2009. He gave me a lot of idea and tips for analog recording.
I used my old 4 tarck cassette machine instead of reel to reel. I was told that it creates milder sound. But end of the day, you preference. We tried 8 tracks on the album. I did not like much that sound.
Also we kept tempo slow, or not too fast to get better tape compression.
We tried few different ways to use mics. But we created better sound with one mic in my kitchen. I think Dedicate To Don is the best analog sound. Yup, we recorded in the kitchen and one mic, except Lester Sterling part. That had to be in his house, Florida and digital unfortunately.
Lastly my good friend, Jochi from Kingston Factory, he is alos from Gigantes Magneticos, mastered our album. I knew masting was the key issue. I knew a few people who could master in New Zealand. However no one cares Jamaican vintage music as much as Jochi. We were very happy with his work too.
Redstar73 Blog: Last words
Moisty: Last words…
Just big up to people who helped me with recordings and my travel. I’m so grad to meet those guys in my life. And most importantly people who supporting our music and ska music. We could not carry on for 10 years without any of you guys! Honestly!
If you want to hear more vintage sound, please buy our music, I can assure that I can create MORE!