“On the Map” is our take on a city guide of sorts; it’s a way of us sharing stories from our international community kingpins by spotlighting the people living, working and doing good things in the vicinity of our stores and stockists. As we like to say; it’s all about Good People and Good Places.
Straight off the back of our Universal People “On The Map” Birmingham project, we head over to our friends in Berlin, Germany, for the next instalment. To kick things off we visit music artist and producer Samon Kawamura's studio in Berlin's Kreuzberg. Samon was introduced to us by none other than Lyon Roque, store co-owner of Truffelschwein and our Universal Works Berlin partnership store where Samon is a frequent shopper.
When most kids had paper-rounds, or were getting paid for washing the family car, Samon Kawamura’s juvenile earning potential came from the music industry instead. He moved to Berlin in 1994 - just a few years after the fall of the Berlin wall, and had spent his adolescence playing drums in school bands, Dj’ing at parties and trying to perfect his singing and rap skills. His early 90's breakthrough came via a track he’d made with a classmate. With a grin, Samon remembered, “It was for a compilation album released by a club called Shibaura Gold in Tokyo. We were amazed to even be paid for it! And then found out that Fujiwara Hiroshi also had a track on the album too!”
Samon Kawamura wears, Field Jacket In Navy Cavalry Twill), Vince Cardigan In Orange Eco Wool, Oversized Sweatshirt In Olive Japanese Stripe Knit, Braga Pant In Navy Cavalry Twill, Watch Cap In Orange Eco WooL,
Life in Berlin was good. An inspiring mix of lifestyles, languages and creativity. By chance, Samon was introduced to a young up-and-coming band that were on the verge of promoting their first album with EMI. Speaking about how it shifted his focus, he explained, “The band hired me as the Turntablist for the Live setup. We played a lot…solo tours, support tours for bigger artists and many of the big festivals across Europe. It felt like a never ending party but it also kind of became my education into the inner workings of the music industry.
I learned about performing live, working with labels, publishing rights, TV, radio and other media etc. From initial writing to big budget productions in those fancy big studios. These were valuable years. Fast forward to 2001. Till Broenner (a very talented classic jazz-oriented trumpet player) invited me to put a hip hop spin on his upcoming (mostly instrumental) album. I ended up co producing the entire album. “Blue Eyed Soul" got quite some attention. It opened a lot of doors for me. These days I work producing music for a variety of artists - as well as making my own soundscapes too.”
When we ask what he loves most about producing, he mused, “No matter whether it’s a successful artist, total newcomer - there’s so much to learn from them. It’s my job to unlock the music, play with it, and together with the artists, let it grow. It’s a magical process.”