[Exclusive] Daito Manabe Interview


Daito Manabe is one of the world’s most renowned digital artists. Programmer, creator and interactive designer, his creative endeavours span a stunning range of media and projects as diverse as: concerts for Japanese popstars Perfume, figure skating exhibitions, Tokyo’s Olympic video and many others, continuously pushing creative boundaries forwards.

We had a chat with Daito ahead of his Sónar+D keynote talk and collaborative performance with nosaj thing:

Sónar: What excites and inspires you as an artist.

Daito: Music.

Sónar: You’ve made a career out of immensely creative projects and consistently thinking out of the box. Can you recall ideas or projects which have ultimately been dropped because they’re too “crazy” (is there such a thing as too crazy in the first place?)

Daito: I remember an idea to create music using anesthetic to control the frequency of cells. Another one was using an electromagnet to stimulate the brain with electricity to affect the voice, like Ableton Live’s BeatRepeat.  

Sónar: We heard the process of working with Perfume took over four years. Tell us about your experience of working with Japanese popstars.

Daito: I have been sending presentations to Perfume’s art director but it’s been difficult to be accepted. I finally won the long-cherished job to support the staging of the big concert in 2010, as the stage director MIKIKO invited me for the job.

Sónar: You famously collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, what can you tell us about the experience?

Daito: I first worked with Ryuichi Sakamoto & Shiro Takatani on a project called “LIFE - fluid, invisible, inaudible …" in 2007 as a graphic engineer and designer. Following that he said, “Let’s work together again sometime” and that opportunity next arose in 2014. Both Mr. Sakamoto and I are interested in creating new types of music and videos by making what was previously invisible into something visible and audible. With this shared common interest as our starting point, we applied it to a ‘City’ theme for a project at the Sapporo International Art Festival.

Sónar: You will be delivering a keynote talk and also performing with nosaj thing at Sónar Hong Kong 2017. What will you share during your keynote and what can Sonar fans expect from your performance?

Daito: I’m planning to talk about just how important a role music plays in creation, and how to decipher music and correlate it with other media.

Sónar: From your perspective what is the relationship between being a creative mastermind behind the scenes to being a performer in the spotlight?

Daito: The experiences both as a performer and as a creator necessarily influence each other. Both experiences are wholly necessary for me.

Don’t miss this incredible showcase of creativity and technology united in perfect synergy. Get your tickets here!