Well-known Chicago music supremo Taihei kindly invited us into his world recently and we found out so much to learn from. Born John Paul Reyes, we are treated to an experienced soul who opens the door for us to nod our heads with a Cyberoom EDM vibe to blast loud on the speakers.
Llewelyn: We appreciate you having a quick chat with us today. Where in the world are you based as we speak and what did you start your day with?
Taihei: I’m currently in Chicago right now, starting the day off with some coffee and watching some documentaries. It’s always good to take things easy in the beginning, learn different things about the world. It brings me some inspiration for the day, allowing me to reflect upon different concepts and ideas.
Llewelyn: Please tell us all about your new release and the vision behind it.
Taihei: I released ‘Fallen Angel’ as my first track for 2023, paying homage to all the styles and influences that have inspired me. I grew up listening to various genres of EDM probably since 2007-2008, with Big Room and Trance music being the primary genres that got me into music production. For me, those styles and genres bring nostalgia, along with video games and anime. This track in a way is an homage to that era and is kind of a reflection of the many years I’ve been producing music and the journey as well.
Llewelyn: Do you remember the precise moment you knew you wanted to be a music producer?
Taihei: I remember when a good friend of mine had me listen to Hardwell’s Spaceman while we were going from one class to another. He pulled his iPod out and he gave me an earbud to listen to the track, and it was around then that I became interested in producing music. Skrillex was another artist that came up as well, with Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Movies and films were another inspiration that led me into the world of sound design; composers using synths and manipulating sound to create other-worldly sounds.
Llewelyn: Chicago. Where would you suggest we go out to watch excellent live music when in the city?
Taihei: There are a lot of different clubs within Chicago that cater to different genres. You’ve got places like Radius, Concord Music Hall, Prysm, Electric Hotel, Primary, and Sound Bar that bring a variety of styles and genres. Whether you want to vibe out or rage, there’s always a place for it in the city.
Llewelyn: How has the scene evolved since you started over 10 years ago?
Taihei: The scene has evolved exponentially in my opinion. In my neck of the woods, there was a small group of people who were producing mainstage EDM genres, along with a couple of people diving into festival genres like Trap, Dubstep, and all the like. There were small communities, splintered out into different sectors.
Nowadays, there are many different groups that are dedicated to different styles, and even microgenres. On top of that, there are various groups who are cross-pollinating in styles, not really adhering to any boundaries or any strict genre. In my view, I think that is going to open a lot of things to come for music in terms of new styles and ways we do music.
Llewelyn: How do video games and anime inspire you each day?
Taihei: For me, it is solving problems or obstacles that really inspires me to become more persistent, to never quit and to always strive to go forward. Like in video games, there are always going to be obstacles and difficulties, but it is through those experiences that there are learning opportunities and overcoming these obstacles, to never give up and never give in.
Llewelyn: Last, what does it really take to be successful in this game?
Taihei: There are many moving parts and things to consider to be successful in this game. I think one thing to focus on, and this is mainly targeting towards people who are starting off, is to establish your own sound and brand. Make what you want to make, what brings you drive, and what inspires you.
If you work in a style that inspires you and you enjoy the overall process, you will be able to come up with different ideas and ways of creating your own sonic signature. Also, don’t be afraid to dive into different genres. The more you explore different styles, the more ideas you will come up with. A lot of my techniques, styles, and different ideas for tracks usually come from being exposed to different styles of music and media.
Another thing to focus on, surround yourself with people who share common goals or aspirations. Surrounding yourself with people who have common interests will push you to do more and inspire you both in music and personally. It’s hard to find those people who have the same goals and drive as you do – those people are hard to find and are always not going to be obvious. When you surround yourself with people who have the same goals and aspirations as you, it will allow yourself to grow, challenge yourself, and open yourself up to different possibilities and opportunities.
Listen up to this epic track on Spotify.
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Interview by Llewelyn Screen