La Urban Folk
Alan Nakagawa interview Q. Why LA? A. Have you ever been to K-Town in LA? Ever been to LA? It's my home town. Sandwhiched between the Westside/ beaches and East LA and between Hollywood and South Central, it's an environment of a lot of rythyms, melodies, stories, and dreams. A place at the starting gate of major growth. A little naive, very inventive, and somewhat unpredictable. Q. When did you start playing music? A. I bought my first guitar at a garage sale for $4.00 and my folks bought me my first drum set for $40.00 all at the same time when I turned 13. Back then, my friends and I were into KISS, the Beatles and later bands like the Cars and TP and the Heartbreakers but everything changed when I saw two movies: Straight No Chaser with Thelonius Monk and The Last Waltz with the Band. Making music became more than just a fun thing, it became a promise I made to myself. We all like music, don't you? But, to be a musician, you have to play everyday. At least, I do. Q. Why a solo album after all these years of working with other artists? A. In the 1990's I got to make a lot of music for and with local LA artists and groups, animators, performance artists, etc. LA's got continual opportunities to create. There's always a hundred things going on. Like many, I started to accumalate equipment and recording gear and joined that silent army of home recording studios. In between recording other people's projects, I started to work on my own stuff which turned into 'LA Urban Folk'. Q. What are some of your influences A. I listen to many different styles of music and since I play various instruments, I listen to or key into specific instruments all the time, so the influences are many. Q. Name some A. Although there's nothing on my CD of his genre, I really love Edgar Varese's work. This is the composer who foresaw electronic music, wrote the first Western all percussion symphony and his 'Poeme Electronique' is the worlds first fully electronic work. I love to listen to Elvin Jones, his drumming and colorful phrasing is inspirational. One of my favorite all time bands is a Japanese band called 'Judy and Mary'. They are fantastic although they broke up. I like the way they combine punk with jazz phrasing and pop. Q. What do you hope to accomplish with your first solo CD, 'LA Urban Folk'? A. I wish I could give you a clever soundbyte but I don't have one. Let see? I always want to grow...get better. This CD documents the past three years of my life. I'm better than I was three years ago. I'm very proud of the recordings, the lyrics, the electic character. The OG3 Crew has been very supportive. I would like to perform live more but keep it simple, maybe me and one more instrumentalist. Touring would be cool if I can get the time off from work. Being away from the family would be rough so nothing too long. Mostly, I hope people enjoy the recordings. It's a chunky grouping of music, all about one urban space and the wonder of the place.