Since he moved to Los Angeles, Mac DeMarco has had plenty of musicians over to visit the home studio in his backyard. Today’s guest, however, is a special one. Haruomi Hosono has arrived, trailed by a Japanese film crew, who are shooting a documentary about the legendary musician’s hugely influential career and recent cultural resurgence. DeMarco is an avowed Hosono superfan, so while he’s usually as laid back as they come, today even he betrays a few nerves as he plays Hosono some of his recent recordings. He mentions that he was even more nervous last night, when DeMarco joined Hosono onstage at The Mayan Theater to perform the Japanese artist’s 1975 track “Honey Moon” together.
Haruomi Hosono’s music is impossible to pigeon-hole. The 71-year-old experimentalist started out playing with Tokyo psychedelic rockers Apryl Fool before he became the bassist for California Sound-indebted four-piece Happy End, but it’s his work with Yellow Magic Orchestra, the pioneering electronic group that he formed in 1978 with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi, that he’s most known for. To a certain type of musician, however, Hosono will be equally recognised for his mind-bogglingly eclectic solo career, which has experienced something of a revival in the west as of late. A number of his albums were recently reissued by Light in the Attic, and Vampire Weekend sampled his ambient track “Talking” on their single “2021”. DeMarco has been covering his songs, too, and in a recent interview with CBC Radio, he said that since hearing Hosono’s music ten years ago, “I’ve just been trying to rip him off. He’s been my favourite thing to dive in to or listen to or try and emulate for a long time… There’s a wealth in terms of what I’d like to achieve.”
So today, beneath the shade of a pomelo tree, the pair are sitting down to discuss Hosono’s work, his studio clothing etiquette, and all the times he’s been as starstruck as DeMarco is right now.