Three centuries ago in ancient Japan, a young swordsmith’s impeccable work earned him the position of swordmaker to a king. His speciality was in producing swords that were small enough to be carried by the king for self-defence or the grave act of harakiri. This young man spent all his waking hours focused on the production of these swords, which were the greatest in all the land and earned him the name ‘Ittetsu’ or ‘One Iron’. He dedicated his life to swordmaking, perfecting his skills through hours of practice, locked away on his own quietly crafting an armoury for the king. This solitary work ethic was embedded in Ittetsu’s DNA and the family’s connection to iron was passed down from one generation to the next…
His lineage can be traced all the way up to the modern-day, leading directly to the subject of this story who has taken on his forefather’s name – Ittetsu. A member of London’s infamous Fuse collective, 33-year-old Ittesu possesses the same characteristics as his great ancestors, instilling a level of commitment to his music that is hard to find in today’s fast-paced climate. Preferring to take his time on his productions, patiently tailoring subtle nuances to cultivate a sound that is all his own, Ittetsu’s approach to making music is as precise as the work of the 17th Century swordmaker he has descended from.
Born and raised in Yokohama, he relocated to London seven years after experiencing a turbulent period back home in Japan. Seeking solace with a relative, he fell in love with the capital and decided to up sticks for a new life in the UK.
Early years spent learning guitar led him to his first musical love, hardcore metal. Bands like The Deftones inspired him to join a band and start gigging at venues across London. However, after two years together, internal differences led to the band’s demise and Ittetsu found himself alone with no output for his passion for music. He was writing songs and bursting with ideas but without a bassist or a drummer, there was nothing he could do to execute them. That was until the next phase of his musical life began.
A visit to Ministry Of Sound sparked his interest in dance music. No longer having to be reliant on the presence of other band members, Ittetsu could indulge his passion for music once again and began to explore Ableton – initially sampling his guitar and making rock music with the program – and eventually began making electronic music. Collaborations with fellow Japanese artists fuelled his growth as a producer, first working with Holic Trax owner Tomoki Tamura and, later, fellow Fuse resident Jun Akimoto.
It was his partnership with Jun that really propelled him into the world of underground house and techno. The duo spent every Sunday at Fuse, soaking up the sounds, the atmosphere and making a strong connection with the event’s man with a plan, Enzo Siragusa. After each Fuse session, the pair would excitely return to their studio and imbue their music with inspiration from the notorious daytime parties. A natural order of events unfolded and Ittetsu handed his music to Enzo, who by this point had become a friend. He was welcomed into the Fuse family thanks to his penchant for solid beats with soul, or ‘Ninja Beat’ as he likes to call it.
By spending so much time on the dancefloor at Fuse Ittetsu realised the importance of injecting his music with a unique stamp and giving it a soul. Those weekly sessions laid down the foundation for his current output, resulting in tracks such as ’1018′, ‘Sunny Side Up’ and ‘Gutterlove’ – the latter two both made with fellow Fuse family member Luke Miskelly.
Throughout his journey so far Ittetsu has remained true to the ideals of his forefather, working in an organic manner – letting things take shape naturally, working hard but never forcing it – which has helped to establish a strong foundation for his career and universal respect for his art.
And so Ittetsu’s legacy remains intact, from the creation of regal swords to the depth and precision of the beats composed by his present day incarnation. Long may the legacy continue…