“As a Japanese expatriate in Norway and a musical artist who has performed across Europe, Sienna might be considered a woman of the world. Yet her nu-jazz music speaks of other worlds, other states of mind, of distant memories and faraway places. Using studio, synthesizer and software as tools, she draws upon a musical upbringing and diverse influences to create music unlike any other.
As a child growing up in ancient Kyoto, Japan, Sienná dreamt of a musician’s life, yet these dreams were discouraged at first. “Ever since I was little, I’ve spent most of my time listening to music and performing it in many ways.” Sienna recalls. “However, I was quite tired of reading musical scores all the time, and being constantly told how often I ignore the scores. I was more interested in playing freely and having fun with it.”
A handful of hobby bands along with experimental synthesizer tinkering nurtured these dreams, but didn’t go anywhere. “To cut a long story short, I was not blessed to do anything with music at all in Japan. In my environment at that time, it was nearly criminal to focus seriously on music.” It wasn’t until Sienna migrated to Norway as a student that her musical dreams began to flourish. It was there that her childhood piano lessons and experiences playing trombone in a brass band and singing in a Catholic choir came to fruition.
After completing a master’s degree in Cultural Science at the University of Oslo, Sienna met producer Abòn through a mutual friend; Abòn saw her potential and got her started working with the Mac-based Emagic Logic Pro software. Since that time she’s recorded one EP and three albums in Abòn’s studio, where she found the perfect creative environment..
As cultural artifacts, musical compositions preserve moments so they can be shared with the rest of the world. “Music is my method to remember the past experiences, memories, impressions, views, feelings and so on,” Sienna explains. Translating the complexity of her recordings to live performance was a challenge at first, but ultimately one that paid off, as Sienna has enchanted audiences audiences in Norway, UK, Germany, Poland, Italy and Japan. Much to the delight of club crowds, Sienna brings improvisation into the mix. “Q.o.S” is Sienná´s 6th release/4th full length album.”
“Text by Keith Walsh/Synthbeat.com”
Exposed Vocals: So tell us your story. Where did you grow up? What made you decide to become an artist?
I´m based in Oslo (Norway) today, but I was born and grew up in Kyoto (Japan). My parents bought me the piano when I was around 4, and I remember I improvised and started to make simple music on it when I was around 8. I suppose I always knew that I would want to be invloved in music in one way or another all through my life. It took some time, but I´m happy to be “there” – do what I´m doing now. Emagic´s logic program (the PC version at that time) that I got in 2000 was my direct gateway into music.
Exposed Vocals: Since everyone was a start-up once, can you give any smaller or local bands or artists looking to get gigs and airplay some tips?
I cannot say that I have done things correctly. So let´s see if this helps at all… Try to shoot as many bullets as you can. If you didn´t hit the target, change your way to shoot it until you hit. You´re so going to hear so many “no”-s, but sometimes you get a valuable “yes” answer. Try to do your best out of this opportunity, and build on it little by little. Maybe you could skip some steps if you were lucky, but I believe it´s always best to have both feet on the ground. Dream on, but do keep making realistic efforts everyday.
Exposed Vocals: Do you ever make mistakes during performances? How do you handle that?
Keep smiling, keep performing and confidently work on body language and expression saying “oh yeah, it was meant to be played that way, because you know I do a lot of psychedelic things impulsively!”. But… I can tell you that I once made too obvious mistake that basically ruined the whole song on the stage. My DJ sampler just stopped completely in the middle of the song. It really was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life. But I´m actually a humane part of the machinary electronic music, and on the bottom line – I do make mistakes.
Exposed Vocals: Do you tour? Anything interesting happen on tour that you think our readers would enjoy hearing about?
Yes I tour. I did some warming-ups for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown earlier. Genre-wise I was slightly skeptical to see how my music would go together with his music and theatrical performance.. But what happened there was that the classic rockers and bangers dressed in black leather jackets with a pine of beer in their hands – both young and mature – started dancing to my electro-house beats with Japanese traditional music with buddhistic chants. It really turned out to be my thunderstruck moment. It was quite bizzare!
Exposed Vocals: Any planned studio upgrades? What are you working with now?
I have a tiny but well-functioned home studio setup that I think is working perfectly. So currently I have no plan to make any changes to it. The newest album “Q.o.S” that I released on 11th April 2017 was actually my official debut as a producer. I´m glad to have received many positive comments about my sound production, but I feel I have a lot more to learn (in an exciting way). Right now, I keep trying to be better friends with some particular plugins on Logic Pro X. I´ll absolutely continue to deepen my understandings in audio production.
Exposed Vocals: How do you find ways to promote your music? What works best for you?
I´m one of the artists who is focusing more on songwriting and publishing music. So I consider the internet as the best method to potentially reach thousands of people in a short time. I believe I should be “liquid” as the market is constantly changing. A lot of consistent works, a lot of successful and unsuccessful attempts, and a creative and flexible mind to make myself visible – I also need a little lucky star above me at times.
Exposed Vocals: If you could perform anywhere and with any artists (Dead or Alive) where and who would it be with? Why?
I should be a composer and a DJ for my dream band. In the band I would choose Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on vocal, Steve Vai on guitar, Haruomi Hosono on bass, Ray Manzarek on Hammond, Ryuichi Sakamoto on piano, Marilyn Mazur on percussions, Yehudi Menuhin on violin, Michael Winslow on human beatbox and effects, the Japanese Gagaku musicians and dancers from the Japanese Imperial Court.
Exposed Vocals: So, what’s next? Any new upcoming projects that you want to talk about?
I´m a lifelong “eager” The Beatles fan. So I´m childishly happy that I will be traveling to Liverpool for the first time in my life, and performing at The Cavern Club on 31st May 2017. I´ve also started to remix and remaster my existing EDM songs for future re-release. I´m occasionally perorming as a live DJ now, so I would like to include more suitable versions of my music for use on the dancefloor, and also to let my music get reborn in a different light.
Exposed Vocals: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
Hmm, maybe I was not in Norway then. I guess I would continue further education as a cultural historian, went on to doctoral programs. Also possible that I would dedicate my life to hunt new planets outside our solar system. Or, I could develop my whole new quantum theory!
Exposed Vocals: What should fans look forward to in the next year or so?
If I´m still alive then, I know that you can find me here – as weird and happy artist as I am like today. Writing music is like writing a diary for me. So more music and more albums, hopefully much better ones though! Maybe I´m a better producer as well. Who knows?
Exposed Vocals: Any Shout-outs?
If you like something groovy or chilly electronic, a bit jazzy or avantgarde, and if you simply like something different and unique, I hope you could give my music a shot. Also, please stop by and say hi, or stay connected with me on www.facebook.com/siennamusic , www.twitter.com/siennaweb or www.instagram.com/sienna_web