Salty is Tokyo-based producer / videographer Naoya Ninomiya and an exciting new talent on the global instrumental hip hop scene. His early years with a breakdancing crew led him into an appreciation of b-boy music, crate-digging, turntablism, and eventually music production. His new album, Camera, was sent as a demo to L.A.'s The Content Label and it was immediately snatched up and released without much embellishment – just a top notch mastering job by legendary Japanese hip-hop studio engineer ‘The Anticipation Illicit’ Tsuboi was added.
Here's a video displaying Salty's uncanny acumen … with two turntables, a sampler, and some effects he performs the album track "We'd Like To Do A Poem" live:
8DPromo caught up with Salty to ask a few things that we were curious about. Here's the interview:
What is it like crate-digging for vinyl in Japan? Is it difficult to find records and beats that have not been discovered by other hip hop producers? Have you had a chance to crate-dig in other countries?
Salty: I think Japan is a great country for hip hop producers because there are many talented buyers in each record store. A lot of the store managers also have a profound knowledge about hip hop and sampling. My favorite stores in Tokyo are Weekend Records (SHIMOKITAZAWA), Rubbergard Record (JIMBOCHO), and Ballroom Record (KICHIJOJI). Also, yes, I have had a chance to crate-dig in other countries. My favorite spots have been New York, London, and Bangkok.
What past music from your life influenced the sound of Camera?
Salty: This is difficult question to answer because there are so many influences, but, If I had to choose I would say that during my teen days I was inspired by mixtapes, especially the ones produced by B-Boy Soji. Also I love music that expresses feelings of traveling, calmness and passion and I think Camera has the same feelings.
Tell us a little bit about EN TOKYO and what it does, and what your involvement is.
Salty: EN TOKYO is event in which participants go to record stores to dig in the day and create beats from the outing that night. My role is as a designer for the sessions. In my country there are not a lot of media outlets that showcase beat-making, so EN TOKYO functions to connect producers and acts as guide to educate people about beat-making and crate-digging.
Camera started as a demo tape sent to The Content Label. How did you discover The Content Label and why did you choose them to release your album?
Salty: In 2006 or 2007, I learned about The Content Label for the first time via Dday One’s Loop Extensions album and I have loved the label's output since then. I choose to send a demo to them because I feel they completely fit my style.
Are there any other great new hip hop producers from Japan we should be looking out for?
Salty: As far as the new generation of producers I would say that Yagi is one of my favorite beat makers in Japan. Actually, he is featured on my song “The Thing” from Camera. Also there is Bugseed, Tajima Hal, and STUTS which are also great modern producers. We are the same age and close friends.
What is next on the agenda for Salty?
Salty: Currently, I am thinking about expanding my live set and creating a new exciting live performance style. Other artists like DJ Krush have taken performance in Japan to a higher level and I would like to build on that.