Japanese graphic designer based in Bangkok and Osaka, behind the flyer and vinyl cover of interesting experimental electronic music artist
Photo by Suphakorn Buayangtoom
1 June 2019
Text by Thanart Rasanon
Edited by Tommy Hanson
QOTAROO, is a Graphic Designer who lives in Bangkok and Osaka. He began his activities as a HOUSE MUSIC DJ when he was a teenager. After being influenced by the style and spirit of the legendary party "FLOWER OF LIFE" (at MACAO, Misono Building) in Osaka in 2002. He started organizing parties and flyer designs in 2003 triggered by his participation in "Burning Man". Also, he was the booking manager for CLUB ZING (Osaka) organizing a number of parties and introduce important talents (DJs, musicians) locally and abroad. His new party "POWWOW" was launched in 2008 with DJ CMT, DJ DNT, YAMACHANG (Lighting), and KABAMIX (Sound Engineer), and has been held in various parts of Japan.
As a designer, he produced artwork and designs of various styles and techniques, such as providing PARTY FLYER / CD & VINYL jackets / advertising / WEB / apparel brands, all over Japan. In addition to graphic work, he also produced "Moon TV", a streaming music program that air only on new moons and full moons, co-launched the cultural content/magazine "MAZIRU" from Bangkok, creates graphic designs for music events, and joined members of the mixed media production "COSMIC LAB" in Osaka from 2016-2018.
His works included flyer for notable Parties, artists & DJ such as Visible Cloaks with Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano (RVNG INTL), Idjut Boys, Laraaji, Gigi Masin, Paradise Bangkok, Maft Sai, DUBWAY, Giant Swing, Low-end Theory, DJ Harvey, Oneohtrix Point Never, Dublab (Japan), etc.
Laraaji - Osaka, Japan Tour (16/09/2018)
What is your in progress work right now?
The current focus is on expression using a pen plotter machine. The pen plotter is very interesting in that it has some out-of-control areas where you cannot control the drawing, such as the thickness of the lines and how the ink comes out.
In ArtGround 04 at Jam Factory, which I participated in February of 2019,
I exhibited a geometric continuous pattern drawn by my first pen plotter machine. At that time, the exhibit was not a pattern in which the same tiles lined up continuously, but an artwork in which the pattern changed along the spatial axis.
The pen plotter is quite interesting because it has the taste of a pen that cannot be produced with inkjet or offset printing.
Before, I provided artworks of continuous patterns changing along the space axis in the album cover of an Osaka artist called ENITOKWA, but at that time I used Adobe illustrator to draw and it was quite difficult.
Enitokwa - 2069
After changing the graphic production environment to a Java-based programming
language called "Processing" and a node-based graphic drawing application called "Patternodes" from this year, it has become easier to develop complex changing patterns.
In the future, I would like to try making works with laser cutters and cutting machines.
You said you began as House Music DJ which tracks had influence on you, when did you start?
I started DJing around 17 years old and then stopped DJing around 30 years old to concentrate on organizing Powwow and making graphics in Powwow the era.
These tracks that influence me at first are almost underground house music from New York and Chicago such as
Can you tell me some favorite gigs that you did when you were the booking manager for Club Zing?
So many gigs at Club Zing that I’m impressed such as
Alexander Robotnick, Italo disco legend, during that time Chee Shimizu invite him to perform in Japan. I’m really impressed by this one gig in Club Zing, The show had reached the peak point and suddenly everything turn off or shutdown, light was gone also the sound was gone but the audience and DJ still had fun and audience still danced and cheering even without music and lighting, I like that, the show must go on.
Thomas Fehlman, the off member of 'The Orb', I was impressed with his gig because at his show he just plug the output from laptop directly without audio interface but the sound was really good like magic. I was like 25 years old during that time.
Prins Thomas, Disco Dub legend, came to Japan first time perform Djing in Tokyo first and then Osaka. He did his gig on a weekday in Osaka and so many disco dub genre fans came together to enjoy disco dub music from him. A huge audience came even on a weekday and my friend did VJ as well, made that party so fun.
Photo by Suphakorn Buayangtoom
Which POWWOW Party interested you the most when you were doing POWWOW?
I did POWWOW every months. One or two time each month. POWWOW had in Osaka, Iwate, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Fukui and Tokyo.
I will choose the first time. That’s time we had guest DJ as 'DJ Nobu' who is already famous in Japan but still not known in world wide.
The team were friends of mine, who are Lighting Designer, Sound Engineer, DJ and everyone like became one person that had different functions in same mind and body, when we work together.
WOLS feat. POWWOW at ALZAR (23/03/2019)
Your friend writer wrote text about you “I see the sound. I hear the light” made me thinking about people who have disease called “Synesthesia” did you know about this?
I know the existence of Synesthesia. I am very interested. I'm not sure if it's syntactical, but I'm particularly interested in artists who have both visual and auditory output. I really love the auditory / visual expressions of Boredoms EYE. After that, Mr. Kiyoshi Izumi, an artist living in Osaka, I'm also really respected for his DIY expression activities across hearing, sight and taste.
I do not hear the sound and I can not see the color directly, but when I work with music, I look for the texture of the sound, the tone, and the image that can be seen from the sound and the gap with the sound I am producing with a feeling. Especially if you are from the dance music field, I feel that the texture of the bass has a considerable effect on the visual output.
Photo by Suphakorn Buayangtoom
How you start to know Bangkok, Giant Swing?
I went to stay in Bangkok first time in 2010, I went to Bangkok with my senior who was a tour manager for "Based on Kyoto" and finally knew Hiroo and Masa who DJ the Giant Swing Party. At that time, both of us lived in Bangkok and I lived in Japan, but since I joined with Giant Swing, I was contacted to make a logo and got involved. After that, I also participated as VJ and I have the party during my first solo exhibition in Bangkok and my solo exhibition at GOJA.
Giant Swing Logo
Favorite Visual Art/Designer Works
It is difficult to list five specific works by favorite artists.
I'll lists graphic designers / artists who have influenced or surprised me since the very beginning of my journey with graphic design.
NAOHIRO UKAWA ( Dommune )
EYE ( Boredomes )
Abdul Mati Klarwein
Favorite Music Album
In the past few years, I have often listened to not just songs but through full albums. I am usually listening to techno, ambient and drone during production.
I have listed the albums that I often listen to during production.
(I have listened this album for 8 years, since it released in 2011. I don't know how many times I played…)
I'm not interested in movies and I don't see so many, Once I find what I like,
I will see the same piece over and over again.
Stanley Kubrick - 2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick - The Shining
(I love the film directed by Stanley Kubrick)
Carlos Saura - Flamenco, Flamenco
(Flamenco and Flamenco were wonderfully directed and gave me an opportunity to learn about the flamenco ugliness.)
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Interpreter Assistant by Sarun Yoklong
Shooting Location : The Lantern, Bangkok