in Japan, guitarist Ken Sasaki released his 2010 CD entitled Island
Slumber. Credited to his group name, Kenny Sasaki & The Tiki
Boys, the ten track Island Slumber CD is a bit more laid back
then usual for the guitarist but, all told its a good overview
of Sasakis unique musical approach to instrumental guitar based
music with a slight Eastern / Asian / Exotica angle. Plus it is called
Island Slumber, so press to play and prepare your mind to be
relaxed! Combining Hawaiian Island flavored music (in places) with
a penchant for the giant exotica music legends like Martin Denny and
Les Baxter, the sound of Island Slumber is exotic lounge instrumental
music at its best, all played to perfection by a younger generation
musician focused on carrying the retro legacy forward with a new and
exciting vision. In fact, music and guitar fans interested in Sasakis
uniquely appealing Asian / Hawaiian instrumental sound on Island
Slumber are well advised to pick up on his earlier releases with
Kenny Sasaki & The Tiki Boys including their '02 CD debut Tiki
Moon, the '05 Tiki Pop CD as well as his first Ken Sasaki
solo album from 2004 entitled Dream. Outstanding relaxing music
guaranteed to produce a stellar chill out effect, Island
Slumber is a splendid way to take a quick vacation from the unrelenting
stress of the modern world. www.KenSasaki.com
WEB EXPRESS 3000 presents
an interview with KEN SASAKI
Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world,
their new recordings and gear!
The new Island Slumber CD is one of your best yet. Is there
a story behind the title and also behind the making of the Island
Slumber album and how do you compare it to your other album releases?
KS: This album is a mix of tunes, slow/quiet/retro stuff and some
percussive stuff, I recorded it during this 2-3 years. Like other
albums of mine, I played all guitars and basses on it. I recorded
and mixed it by myself also, but I moved and changed some studio equipment
before mixing, so it took much time to finish the mixes. I titled
it Island Slumber, because I wanted to make a dreamy/relaxing
album that is good to listen when you're going to slumber, dreaming
of tropical islands. I think the first album with the "Tiki Boys"
was exotica sounding, the second was surf guitar album, and this new
album became a lounge/ambient type album.
MWE3: Your music often reflects your big influences of island music
such as instrumental exotica music legends like Martin Denny and Les
Baxter. How influenced were you by Martin and Les and who else would
you consider among your biggest musical influences and guitar influences
and how influenced are you by Japanese music?
KS: I got interested in exotica music through tiki culture, like paintings
of the artist Shag. Before that, I didn't know much about exotica
music. I'm not sure I was musically influenced by those great exotica
artists, but I like their music because it's sometimes much more exotic
than actual tropical islands. Probably people in 60s were more
imaginative than we are in this internet era... Ive been trying
to make music for an imaginary paradise in my tiki albums, so maybe
I could say Im influenced in that way. Actually, my music and
guitar influences are mostly from 60-70s British and American
rock and pop. I had been a composer/bassist for 20 years, so I don't
know I can say I'm a guitarist even now, but I play guitars in my
album, because I need a characteristic taste in this type of music,
not like sophisticated studio players. I like guitarists whose playing
could be instantly recognizable. I think Japanese traditional music
is beautiful, but I dont think Im influenced by Japanese
What albums from the past 50 years would you say were the biggest
influences on you and your musical inspirations / directions?
KS: Too many to say, but the album I've heard the most would be Abbey
Road by The Beatles.
MWE3: What guitar is featured inside the booklet for the Island
Slumber CD. What other guitars do you play on the new CD and are
there other guitars in your collection that you can mention here?
KS: The guitar is Teisco K-2L. It sounds amazing, but I bought it
at the end of the recording so I played it only a bit in the new album.
I played a Gretsch 6120 mainly on the new album. Also I used Danelectro
56-U2, Longhorn 6 string bass, Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Japan
Jazzmaster. My electric basses are Fender Precision ('62/'72), Fender
Jazz ('65/'78), Rickenbacker 4001, Hofner 500/1 and the original fretless
bass. Also, I used Gibson SG reissue bass with flats in the new album
to get deep round tone. My only one upright bass is Rubner/German.
MWE3: Your solo album Dream was released under your name, Ken
Sasaki while your other albums including the new Island Slumber
are released under the name Kenny Sasaki & The Tiki Boys. How
would you compare the sound and vision of your solo albums with the
releases by Kenny Sasaki & The Tiki Boys?
KS: Kenny Sasaki & The Tiki Boys is an imaginary band that plays
tiki/exotic/retro music. I enjoy possibilities in the limitation.
As Ken Sasaki, I think I would keep making music freely, with no genre
MWE3: What are your future plans for recording and/or playing live?
KS: Maybe the next album would be a Ken Sasaki album. I don't know
what kind of music it will be. I'm now looking for a good idea. About
playing live, I've been focused on recording projects, so I don't
have any plan now, but I think I want to do something in the future.
MWE3: Thank you Ken. Best to you moving forward!
KS: Thank you!