We are sharing our recent interview with Isaku, who got special talent and expertise in playing taiku drums.
Twist Online : First of all please introduce yourself to our readers.
Isaku : My name is Isaku and I’ve been playing Japanese taiko drums for close to 30 years now. I perform both live and in the studio, and teach at a school called Los Angeles Taiko Institute.
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to become a drummer?
Isaku : I was 6 years old when I started playing, so it really wasn’t a choice. My parents wanted me to learn about Japanese culture, and cultivate a relationship with Japanese society.
Twist Online : Natural talent or Bachelor of Music what’s the secret behind your drumming skills?
Isaku : I’ve been doing this long enough to know I’m not naturally talented or special in any way. I show up prepared and ready to contribute to the project in any way I can. I also make sure I’m constantly learning and acquiring new skills as well as updating the skills that I have.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recent performances?
Isaku : Last year my ensemble performed in Ecuador and Panama. It was the 100th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Ecuador and it was truly a privilege to share our music with the wonderful audiences there.
Twist Online : You are performing solo as well as with band, you enjoy performing solo or with band ?
Isaku : I enjoy both. It’s a different type of creative process, and you feel a different type of accomplishment when things go well. I’ve also noticed my solo work helps me make better decisions when working in a group, and vice versa. I feel very fortunate to be in a position that allows me to maintain a balance of both types of work.
Twist Online : What’s your biggest achievement so far?
Isaku : Being able to make a living playing music is quite an achievement, wouldn’t you say? Not everyone can say they wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work. I’m most proud of having worked with some of the top taiko players today. It’s an honor to call these people my contemporaries and it’s inspiring to work with them.
Twist Online : What’s the best part of being a drummer?
Isaku : This isn’t something that is necessarily unique to drums, but I appreciate being able to play many music genres and work in a wide range of environments. One day I’ll be performing at a university, and the next day I’ll be recording taiko for a video game soundtrack. There’s never a dull moment being a drummer.
Twist Online : Have you set some goals to achieve?
Isaku : I haven’t released an album of my own for 8 years now. It would be great to distill what I’ve been doing these past several years into a new album.
For further information you can visit isakukageyama.com