For British music producer Amber Bain, 2019 is a year of firsts. Her solo project The Japanese House will be coming to Tokyo as part of its first Asia tour in September, and earlier in March she released Good at Falling, her first full-length album, from the independent label Dirty Hit. Metropolis caught up with Bain to chat more about her music career so far and her upcoming plans.
Metropolis: In your debut album you’ve included some of the songs from your previous EPs. How did you choose the song order for the album?
The Japanese House: It actually only contains one song from the EPs, which is an alternative stripped back version of “Saw You in a Dream.” I deliberately wanted to make sure all of the songs were new so it felt like a complete body of work and a true reflection of where I was in my life whilst making the record. Using old songs from the EPs would not have really worked with my vision for the album and wouldn’t have felt fresh.
M: What’s your favorite song from Good at Falling and why?
TJH: This changes a lot, but at the moment I would say “Maybe You’re the Reason.” I’ve been playing a lot of festivals recently and that’s one of the most upbeat songs that’s fun to play live.
M: How would you describe your music to someone who’s never seen you play before?
TJH: Harmonies are a big part of my sound — I’m kind of obsessed with them. But I feel like my sound has definitely matured over time and I’ve learnt a lot about experimenting with different sounds and music production. I guess I’d call it harmony-inspired, electronic-based music.
M: The album was recorded at Justin Vernon’s studio in America. Are you a fan? Are there any other artists you admire?
TJH: Yeah, I’m such a huge fan of Bon Iver, so being given the opportunity to record at Justin’s cabin was amazing. The National, Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush are all artists that have inspired me massively.
M: You posed as a boy named Danny during your childhood stay in Cornwall and your project name is The Japanese House. It seems like anonymity is important to you. Social media is a place where everyone can be whoever they want to be. Are you an active user of social media?
TJH: I started out on social media with zero press shots, and it kind of just became this thing that I was this “mysterious” person who nobody knew anything about. It wasn’t intentional, it’s just how it panned out! But I am so not a mysterious person — I’m very open and honest about everything.
M: Are you looking forward to performing in Japan?
TJH: Yes I have been really looking forward to these Japan shows. I have no idea what to expect as I’ve never been to the country, but I have heard lots of good things about Japanese fans and I’m excited to go. I don’t have any exact plans at the moment but hopefully I’ll have some time to explore between the shows.