3 Questions with Hiroko Yamamura & M. Sylvia

in advance of their appearance for daphne at smartbar (3/1) we asked hiroko yamamura & m. sylvia a few questions...

hiroko yamamura has been a force for good in midwestern dance music for decades. she has pushed the bounds of drum 'n' bass production as bio booster, contributed to the legacy of trax records, and rocked rooms the world over. 

m. sylvia is a rising star of the chicago house & techno scene. she has shaped the community as a resident at primary and prominent member of the NORdjs collective.

theirs will be the first set of daphne 2018 and we are honored to host them. 


one. is there a moment in time (art project, a certain teacher, etc.) when you knew that creating was going to be your life’s work? if so, can you describe that (memory, feeling, thought) for us?

hiroko yamamura: since early in life i’ve been a pretty solitary person. i bonded early with japanese and american comics and the escapism they provided, and of course had dreams of drawing manga for a living. also i was part of the asian stereotype where we learn violin from birth. so music has been engrained from the get go. art curriculum has always been at the center of what I focused on throughout high school and higher education. in my other life i’m a college art teacher, so you can kind of say that I really don’t know any other life.

m. sylvia: i knew creativity would be my life companion for many years, but the conclusion that it's my life's work came to me just a year ago. i realized then that i could never invoke a way of life that would cramp my creativity; it's been my truest life companion and career.

two. how does where you are (personally, geographically, historically, etc.) impact the work you create? how does chicago factor into that equation, if at all?

hiroko yamaura: chicago is dope, pizza sucks. if you eat cheese you are a freak.

m. sylvia: i don't see myself as someone who creates something truly new, but rather as a medium, who metabolizes experiences and surroundings and shapes them into something, in my case, audible.

so, everything i see, feel, understand gets put in a set or a track, per how i experience it. my city, background, personality, what i do every day, everything around me is in my music. how, exactly? i'm not sure. i'm just an interpreter. chicago certainly facilitated the dance music medium.

three. what is the role of the artist in today’s world, for you?

hiroko yamamura: an artist is someone who can contextualize things others can not - feelings, sounds, words or visuals. the reason we love art so much is it can connect and interpret those moments - giving us perspective, and at times giving us some peek into a sliver of self. there is a level of discovery and revealment that happens; an artist can show you what you need to see, and are missing, but focusing on a microcosm which can actually be huge. or, they can just make cool looking, badass sounding shit.

m. sylvia: as all through human history, i feel artists are still historians and scribes. ages from now, if our work is revisited, it'll be used to understand what society was at this time. today, however, i feel artists have a great power to increase human sensitivity and general feeling of inclusion. we have the ability to bring people together and help them appreciate their similarities, as well as reflect on their feelings. it's important, then, that our work is equally accessible to all and on us to advocate for making it so.

Manifest Chicago