Specials > Interviews > KOTO
Interview by: Zeljko Vujkovic
Zeljko : Koto is one of the synonymous for instrumental Italo disco music ! In your songs there is more music, less voices as we can hear. Why is it so ?
I'm specialized in instrumental music and voices are not the most important part of my music, it's more for commercial reasons that we put them into the music. I began as a drummer at 18 years than i learned also piano and synths, made some concerts and piano bar, in the '82 I began to make records, the rest you know.
Who is Koto ? And where did you take your name ?
Koto is me. We took this name from a sound of the keyboards. Each synthesizer has a special sound called KOTO and we liked it.
The voice we can hear, for example in Jabdah, is it yours or ...?
The voice of Jabdah was recorded in studio, by a speaker and then elaborated with effects.
Is there any person who has influence on you and your music (maybe Jean Michele Jarre :-) ) ?
FUNKY and JAZZ-ROCK were my preferred sounds, and I learned very much from Stanley Clarke, and Billy Cobham. And I was influenced from all good music of the '80s.
Anfrando, I have one, Ishould say, delicate question for you. As first on your web site we can see you have 6 songs but we all knows for many others, under your name and with Michel Van Der Kuy production. In your other web interview I noticed you were refusing, in some way, to answer questions about your music and Van Der Kuy. Please, can you explain to me and to others what happend in past ?
Dear Zeljko, at the moment I prefer not explain particular facts of this story maybe in future when it will be the right moment, you and each other will be informed.
You are great virtuous man on the synthisizer. Tell me something about your machines ?
My instruments were TR 808-BASS LINE-SEQUENCER MC 500 ROLAND, OBERHEIM-KORG LAMBDA and today i'm using VIRUS-NORDLEAD-SUPERNOVA (drums-sampler akay 3200-air base 99).
Also something about your Studio. Your Studio probaly looks like ''pure space'' :-) ?
Now, my studio is not so "pure space" as you could believe, it's professional as I need it for my work, and all the "space" touch comes from my head.
If you can tell me something about your co-operation with some other artists ?
I didn't co-operate with other artists, I made re-makes of Vangelis ex. Pulstar '83 published with Hipnosis and also this title, M.v.d.Kuy released it under Koto with my arrangements he only copy it.
My standard question for all artists is, who is your best italo artist and which song? This question has point only if you listen italo disco music, some artists like Tom Hooker said to me that he doesn't like italo !
In the past I surely listened to italo disco music and I really like the voice of Tom Hooker, I also like Self Control and Dolce Vita but my preferred italian artist is Vasco Rossi with Vita Spericolata.
Visitors, Chinese Revenage, Jabdah etc. Each song is real masterpiece, but Visitors made so big success. Your favorite song(s) and what do you think why Visitors was the most popular ?
My favourite is of course Visitors because it was the most popular song and the most catchy.
How many hours do you need to make good song ? Can you recognize in start which song will be success ?
It's impossible to fix a certain time it always take very long time, some days I'm more creative some others less, this is normal. But I always felt immediately when I had a very good idea, even if this is not a guarantee for success.
What musician need to make successful song ?
If we know this we all make successful music, unfortunately the music world is like a lottery sometimes you'll win other not.
Today we barely hear instrumental songs. Why is that so ?
Because, unfortunately they have lower sales, and last but not least they are more difficult to produce.
Did you have concerts ? Would you like to have more and are you ready to have more ?
I did certainly many concerts in Europe, but not recently, but Ii would be really happy to make new concerts in future.
Also something about video clip(s) you have ?
I think it's really pitty we, italo disco fans, couldn't enjoy in many italo disco clips.
You must know that video clip's is made when a song is already in the charts, and so my video was produced in Munich for Formel Eins in 1986 for Jabdah, but anyway we're working on something at present it'll be a surprise.
Something about italo disco music from your perspectives, what do you think about it etc. ?
Unfortunately I'm not really informed on the recent italo dance music scene, and so I won't give some opinion. I only think that italo dance of the '80's was a mile stone for the music scene of these years and therefore I think some song will return.
New Koto is almost here. Can you tell me more about it especially when you decided to make new Koto the original. Was it sunny or rainy day, were you happy in that moment :-) and what is your plans for today and in close future and beyond ?
It was a stormy day and I was not very happy in this period, no, I was really very angry when I decided STOP..... KOTO IS STILL ALIVE and so I worked hardly, I met the guys of TMMC and we decided to co-operate for the new KOTO release. In their studio I work with Beppe Barilli - Alex Nocera - Gigi Montanini and their team. We hope to make many good productions together. At the moment i'm not able to give you more infos.
I have read you will keep italo disco sound in some of your new songs. Is that possible ? I am asking you this because it seems to me that many producers promised old sound in new songs but then nothing. I have feeling that new technology is responsibile in some way for that. You can't make old sound with new technology. Am I wrong or right ? What do you think about this ?
You're 100% right it's really very difficult making old sounds with the technology of today, this is also the reason why someone pomise but at the end they don't succeed. The problem is that the artist must be creative but he must be also commercial and satisfy request from the record companies. But I try to make music as I always made but I'm convinced that artists, market and audience must accept that everything has going on also sounds and technologies.
What do you think about today's disco scene in Europe (Eurodance) ? Do you have time to see what other italo disco producers making ?
I repeat I'm not really up to date for what regards the today's disco scene, also because I'm very busy with the KOTO STILL ALIVE project.
Can you tell me something personal about you, if you have something interesting to share with us ?
Maybe you could be interested in some info about myself : I was born in 1954 in Parma (Italy) Aquarius, married with Martina a German, unfortunately without children but with a dog named Jessi. OK I think this is everything I can tell you.
Internet for me is great thing. For you ? Will be expanding of your web site ?
Certainly, Internet is at the moment my greatest way to promote the KOTO project and my web site is supposed to be re-created very new and interesting.
OK Anfrando, I can't tell you how happy I am because this interview. I wish you all the best with your music, I know one thing, I and many others enjoyed a lot in your music, still enjoying and will enjoy till the end of our lives :-) Thank you very much you gave such a great happy to me and to many people and for the end your message to italo disco fans ?
Well, Zeljko, many thanks for you interest, you made very true and intersting questions, and I tried to answer as well as I can. a great C I A O TO ALL ITALO DISCO FANS and thanks for your fidelity to the real KOTO, I hope to satisfy you all.
© November 2001 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved