At a young age, Toshiki Kadomatsu developed an interest in music after watching his older brother play the guitar. As his skills with the guitar developed, he began playing with other bands in middle and high school. He began writing his own music when he was in middle school.
Kadomatsu focused on creating music that he was happy with. His sound was influenced by The Beatles and the folk rock band Happy End which led Kadomatsu to incorporate soft rock, funk, and R&B into his music. While his sound became known as city pop and was popular, he had a lot of hardships in his career.
Kadomatsu’s debut came through chance. His upperclassman debuted as a professional singer, and they needed a backing band, so they asked Kadomatsu and the college band he was in. While they were recording, a demo was recorded. A producer found his demo later on and called him to record music.
His Musical Struggle
He created his 1981 debut single, YOKOHAMA Twilight Time but wasn’t happy with it due to his lack of singing talent. However, he continued creating music. Even though his first two albums didn’t do so well, the president of his label allowed him to have creative control for his third album, On The City Shore which did a lot better than his previous two albums.
Off the success of On The City Shore, Kadomatsu became a producer. Throughout the course of his career, he was involved in the production of over 30 albums for artists including ANRI, Yoko Hamasaki, and Akina Nakamori. These albums proved to be insanely popular; one of the more notable albums was ANRI’s Timely!! which is extremely popular in the Vaporwave/Future Funk scene.
In the 90’s, Kadomatsu became frustrated with his career and was on the verge of retiring, but his label convinced him to take a break. AVEX allowed him to create his own sub-label, Om, later renamed iDEAK, that allowed him to produce music for his personal projects in the late 80’s. One of these projects was VOCALAND which he used to discover vocalists. Some notable members were actress Yoshizawa Rie, radio host ANNA, and singer/songwriter Yoshida Tomoyo.
The group only had two albums until the company decided to remove the sub-label after a company reorganization. During this time, he also learned the ins and outs of video production and made his own videos. During his break he also helped produce songs for many artists such as Miho Yonemitsu, Jimsaku, and Konta.
He also did some work with the band NOBU CAINE as a session musician in the late 80’s. He even went as far as playing the bass for the album recordings and live shows. The band had two albums under his label Om before they moved to Pony Canyon.
He also joined a band, AGHARTA as a guitarist in the mid-90’s. The band was a project that included him and other vocalists who wore masks to cover their identities. The project ended up being a success as the first album had over 10,000 pre-orders. The group released 4 albums before Kadomatsu came back to his solo music career in 1998 with the single Realize.
Since his return in 1998, Kadomatsu hasn’t stopped creating music. He went on to produce movie soundtracks, one of the films was Yoshinari Nishikori’s 2006 film, Miracle Banana. He has also continued his solo music, and his most recent album, Tokyo Shonen Shojo was released in 2019. He currently has over 30 albums in his discography, not including all of the albums he produced for other artists and films.
Kadomatsu’s music is popular amongst fans of city pop, but it can be hard to listen to Kadomatsu’s music for us who are used to streaming everything. The artist is a firm believer in buying physical CDs instead of streaming. This means that we have to buy his albums to listen to his music in the way he wants his audience to and refuses to put his music on streaming sites.
He has stated that while he is impressed by technological advancements, he feels computer-generated music lacks heart. He believes that music is meant to connect people and that no one can produce music on their own. The music creation process meant to be collaborative and is meant to convey the artist’s feelings to the audience.
For a modern audience, it’s easy for a lot of us to connect with the chill lo-fi study beats and a lot of electronically produced beats, but it’s easy to see where Kadomatsu’s coming from. As an artist part of the city pop genre, it’s no surprise that his music has been sampled and put into a variety of vaporwave/future funk songs. While he may not like it, music is always changing with new technological advances and introducing younger generations to his music.