In Japanese, "Shikimo" means "four seasons". I believe this alludes to the fact that his work is suitable for any season. If you want summer enthusiasm - this guy has it. Autumn blues and reverie? “Off-World EP” at your service! Ryan has traveled a thorny path in many genres and has finally arrived at synthwave. Read about this and much more in our new interview:
Greetings, Ryan! We`re glad to have you as a guest in our Retroview rubric! Is this your first interview under the name “Shikimo”?
Hello! Honored to be here, I appreciate you having me. This isn’t, no – I did an interview for an old label I was signed to back in 2015/2016, one for the site Headphones for Robots, and one with Karl Magi (very awesome guy).
This year has been full of new releases for you. You’ve got three beautiful new tracks, the “Virtual Visions” EP, and a magical remix to The Midnight’s “River of Darkness”. Are you planning any more releases before the end of 2020?
Thanks! “Virtual Visions” was one of my favorite projects to date, I had a lot of fun crafting the tracks on that one, and I think it really helped me push my sound forward. That remix contest was a blast too. Shoutout to The Midnight for allowing us producers the opportunity to work with such a legendary track.
I do actually, yes – I have one release planned for October 23rd, and am hoping to have at least one more released after that before the end of 2020. Then after that, who knows? It’s been a while since I put out a big album…but I also really enjoy releasing single after single, as I don’t like to go too long between releases.
About the remix-- have The Midnight guys listened to it? What did they have to say about it?
Haha, I’m not sure if they listened to it to be honest. I would guess that they did – they noted that they did listen to all of the submissions. Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure what they thought of the track. It wasn’t one of the winners, and they didn’t give any feedback outside of the tracks that won. Still a lot of fun to work on the track though!
You began writing music in 2011 when you were introduced to Basshunter. In 2017, you released “Dystopia,” your debut synthwave single. What were you doing during those six years in between?
It was really all over the place – I started off producing trance back in 2011, then transitioned to a wide variety of genres. I did some progressive house back in 2013/2014, transitioned to chillout/ambient from around 2014 – 2016, then started listening to synthwave and the rest is history! But I bounced around genres quite a bit, and never really had a deep passion for making any genre until I discovered synthwave.
Which Blade Runner scene was the inspiration for your album “Off-World”: The original 1982 movie, or the 2049 rendition?
I would say more the 2049 rendition. I absolutely loved everything about that movie – I’d say I drew the most inspiration from any scene where Gosling was on his own, either driving through cities, or walking through the orange wasteland where he found Deckard. I drew a lot of inspiration from the pacing of the movie, and how it really took its time developing each scene and moment.
Almost all of your tracks include “SHIKIMO” spoken in a whisper. Is this your autograph in a way?
Haha, sort of I’d say! I kind of fell out of practice with doing that this year, but it’s fun to throw it in there every now and then. It actually started back when I first started doing synthwave – I had quite a few friends online who produced wave music, and adding artist tags to your tracks is something they do a lot in that scene. The initial reasoning behind it was to prevent other artists from stealing my music, however now it’s just kind of a fun little element that I throw in if I think it fits the track.
You mentioned “Into the Oblivion” is your favorite project that you've done to date. Why?
Hmm, that’s a good question! I think it’s really where I want my music to be – a unique blend of both fierce and relaxing at the same time – somewhere riding on the line between the harder/more intense tracks of the genre, but not quite slowed down/chill enough to where it doesn’t have any energy. I think it’s a good culmination/showing of my different synths I like to use as well, kind of a showcase of my work in general.
You are constantly collaborating with different synthwave artists. Are there any “synthwave stars” you would like to collaborate with in the future?
I just really enjoy making music with people that I like, especially when I think the artist is underrated/underappreciated. I’m not sure, that’s a tough question! I think PYLOT would be fun to write a track with, or Kalax maybe. Dynatron would be another great one, I take a lot of inspiration from him. Honestly though, I’d love to do a collab with some bigger artists in the wave genre, like Skeler or Juche. I think synthwave and wave would be such a cool blend of styles, it would be really neat to see!
Would you ever want to move from releasing relaxing synthwave and write a shocking darksynth release?
Hmmm, I’m not sure, it’s tough to say! I would guess not, as the relaxing synthwave is kind of a reflection of my personality. I’ve tried my hand at making more intense music in the past back when I did trance and such, and it never really worked out. That being said, though, I’d never say never! It would be really fun/a good opportunity to work with someone like Misanthropix on a darksynth release.
Are you looking forward to the release of Cyberpunk 2077? If you could live in-game, what would you do in Night City?
Oh yeah, I am!! I need to update my PC, though. I don’t think my graphics card will be able to handle it right now. I’d probably go for long drives through the neon-drenched city, just taking in the atmosphere and listening to some great music.
You’re on a desert island. What three albums, three films, and three books would you take with you?
Albums: Noah B - South Hills; Tame Impala - The Slow Rush; Jeremy Soule - The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: Original Game Soundtrack
Films: Pulp Fiction; Star Wars IV: A New Hope; The Shawshank Redemption
Books (I’ll be honest, I don’t read very often at all): Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Star Wars: Darth Plagueis; Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron
Thank you for speaking with me today, Ryan! Any final words for our readers?
No problem at all. Thanks so much for having me! Let’s definitely connect again sometime soon. I’d just like to say thank you so much for all of your support, it really truly is what keeps me going and inspires me to make more music. Be on the lookout for many more releases in the future!