I mean, I guess because of Corona virus we couldn’t go anywhere but to be honest I don’t mind Finchley because that’s where I live and you know, I don’t need to choose somewhere dramatic, it’s still personal to me, it’s away from all the noises so I can fully focus on my thing.
I get up at like 12, from 1 until 4 I just chill, from 6pm I have dinner with my wife and then after dinner I probably start working from about 8pm until 5am.
I am working on a feature film script about a taxi driver in Tokyo.
It’s kind of similar hahaha.
I am a night owl, I don’t know why but I can’t really focus on my thing unless its evening really. If I have a deadline then everything changes but generally it’s like that.
I think like, just watching Jurassic park interested me, so that’s about age 5 or 6, primary school or something like that, but I think The Matrix was the one that made me want to become a director like full on.
I came to the UK when I was about 12 and I couldn’t speak English at all. I had a video camera and I was always holding it, one of the weekends on a Sunday or something, Benji (school friend) came down and said let’s just shoot something. Back in the days we couldn’t even edit, so when we filmed something it had to go in order, you’d have to rewind 2 seconds before your next take and film over the top of the last one, hahaha, no editing software. We used to just film random shit, like a stupid narrative about Tetris. I guess because my language wasn’t perfect back then it was difficult for me to communicate, so my video camera was one of my methods to communicate with people, know what I mean? As long as I have this video camera in my hand I can make films and make friends.
Then I went to Uni, which was pretty cool, im not sure what happened to you but you went straight into the industry
It was the first time I realised how many other people wanted to be in film. I thought it was a small kind of world and that there was only a small amount of people like us who wanted to make film. Suddenly there wasn’t just UK guys but guys from Brazil, Hong Kong and Germany all sorts of different backgrounds and it was cool. But Uni is kind of dangerous you know, like I think it was a different experience for you, but if you go to Uni you are kind of just spending your parents money making film and you become quite arrogant about it, like ‘we’re the best’ and when you graduate your like ‘Im a director now’. Then when you leave Uni you have no work hahaha and have fuck all to do.
For two years I did nothing, plus I had visa issues as well, so I couldn’t do anything and was just partying really. My girlfriend at that time broke up with me and a lot of shit happened and I thought “I got to do something” and started filming all the DJ’s and bands that I used to hang out with.
Yeah we both started shooting DJ nights and then I kind of expanded, got more involved and tried to be more creative. The first ever job I had after this was Bugged Out Weekender; I think it was like a 16 hour shoot and I got £50. I was filming loads of live shit because I thought that was a good way to get into Music Videos. I made friends with a guy who used to shoot Skrillex and eventually became his personal videographer, he called me and said “Do you want to film something for Sub Focus?” So I was like “yeah!” I toured with Sub Focus and realised that Chase and Status had the same management so I was like “I want to film Chase and Status”, and Management were like “Yeah, yeah, maybe one day.” Then when I was at Glastonbury with Sub Focus I got a phone call and the manager was like “where are you? Chase and Status are on main stage do you want to film it?” and I was like “fucking hell yeah!”
Yeah, after this management called me into their offices, I remember that they were managed by this guy who was the head honcho and used to manage a lot of big D&B names. I went into his office and he made me sit down on his sofa and started giving me like an 8 mile speech, like “this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change your life and this is the moment for you” hahaha, and then he said "I am letting you do a music video for Chase and Status" and I was like “fucking hell that’s crazy.”
Yeah, A couple months later they called me and said “What are you doing? Can you go to Nottingham today?” I was like “fuck!”. They were starting an Arena tour of like 60 venues over 2 months and they wanted me to be on it. So, I literally packed my bag and went to Nottingham.
I remember them saying, “there is no time for you to sleep” hahaha “you have to film everything we do, If we sleep you film us sleeping.”. So for the whole tour, like 2 months, I didn’t sleep much. It was my first tour bus experience, you got kitchen, bunk beds, a living room full of PS4’s, you know all that kind of stuff, crazy shit. Every night after the shows the featuring artists were there and they would be making music all night ‘till like 3 or 4 am. I would go to bed at about 4am and get up at 10am and I would start shooting again. It was like that every day. The tour really bonded us and I think they also liked the fact that I was a Japanese guy, they liked multinational things going on. After that is when they fully trusted me and my vision and let me direct one of their lead singles which was ‘international’. Up until today I think I have directed about 6 or 7 of their music videos.
I haven’t seen them for a while, but you know Pat came down to my wedding so we are pretty close. Kind of like family now.
So I did a couple of music videos after that on my own as a freelancer and thought, yeah I need a production company. I didn’t want to just do music videos for ever and wanted to establish myself as a director, that’s when I started my short film ‘Lost Youth’.
I had to save a bunch of money to be able to apply for a Visa and to bring my wife to this country, so when she arrived I had quite a bit of money and decided to risk it and spend it on my short and I think this was a turning point for me.
When I came to release it I wanted make sure it went to a good production company that had a good distribution format, so I took it to several production companies and the first one to reply was actually Caviar. They were like “Where are you now? We should meet up tomorrow”. So I took them Lost Youth and they signed me.
After this I made another music video for Chase and Status called ‘Retreat’ and I think that was then people realised ‘Ok this guy can make shit’
After Lost Youth I knew I just had to make feature films, so I did another short film called ‘Me’. Actually, we only spent about a grand and filmed it with a shitty camera, but it unexpectedly got good reviews, the one that woke me up was that the director Hiro Murai got in touch and basically said ‘I love your shit’. I screenshotted it and put on instagram hahaha, it was very arrogant but it is a hero of mine so it was a special moment.
The Short film made me realise that I had discovered this type of filming that can look quite cool and be shot on an extremely cheap budget, so maybe this is the way I should do my first feature film; basically its guaranteed to look good so we just need a subject matter that will fit into this black and white kind of noir kind of look and that’s when I decided to make this Taxi driver feature film.
Yeah, we are shooting in November in Tokyo. It is a story about a Taxi Driver who’s wife used to be a pianist but she committed suicide for a mysterious reason and through his life as a taxi driver he tries to discover the reason.
I’m gonna be the biggest boss in the world hahahaha, probably own a fucking castle. Nah, in 10 years I’ll be in America, I’ll be going between America and London. I’ll be bossing it in the States.