Makoto is a testament to how far the genre has travelled in the world since its inception in the UK. Born, raised and now based in Tokyo, Makoto Shimizu professionally known as Makoto is the flagbearer of Drum & Bass in Japan.
A master of soulful melodies, Makoto’s sounds are heavily influenced by 1970s-era soul, Funk and Jazz. The Drum & Bass maestro was pulled into music production when he heard legendary Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto’s soundtrack on the 1987-epic ‘The Last Emperor’.
After majoring in Acoustic Engineering, Makoto began experimenting with Jungle and Drum & Bass sounds after listening to radio shows of Giles Peterson on Kiss FM and BBC Radio 1. The genre that he had fallen in love with was something that he described as ‘very futuristic and cool’. Makoto’s Jazz fuelled Jungle and Drum & Bass caught the attention of Good Looking Records supremo, LTJ Bukem.
He was quickly snapped up by Bukem on his label where Makoto delivered his debut album ‘Human Elements’. Four years later, he followed up with his second long release named ‘Believe In My Soul’ which was Makoto’s final release for Good Looking Records before setting up his label, Human Elements.
Human Elements saw the producer releasing a wide majority of his catalogue which included two studio albums. In 2017, the Japanese signed an exclusive deal with Hospital Records where he has delivered some thrilling releases like his ‘Salvation’ LP in 2017 and ‘Tomodachi Sessions’ in 2019.
After spending 2020 and the first half of this year on labels like Soulvent Records, V Recordings, Makoto has returned to Hospital Records for his first EP on the label. The 4-track EP named ‘What You Need’ comes with a bonus DJ Marky Remix and is a culmination of the producer’s jazz and soul influences that have been at the heart of his creations throughout his musical career.
The EP begins with the title track ‘What You Need’ featuring the resounding vocals of Vonné who recently worked with Fred V on ‘Away’, and Mitekiss on ‘Matter’. The track also features a vocal sample of legendary American blues singer Z. Z. Hill’s ‘Sweet Woman By Your Side’. ‘Osiris’ takes us back to the classic Jungle era of the ’90s with its funk elements. The combination of Makoto and [K S R] cannot go wrong, and it can be heard on ‘Run It Back To Me’ with Makoto’s cinematics and [K S R]’s warm vocals. ‘Freedom Reality’ takes the sonically rich route with its deep and weighty bassline to close a phenomenal EP.
Buy/Stream Makoto’s ‘What You Need’ EP – here.