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Shigeto’s Detroit

Shigeto is the recording alias of Zach Saginaw. Through Shigeto, Zach produces beat-oriented electronic music that draws on the jazz and hip hop of Detroit, a city that serves as both his hometown and home base. On his latest full-length, The New Monday, the influence of Detroit is perhaps more clear than it ever has been. The jazz and hip-hop influences previously present in Shigeto’s music are still there, but now, the techno and dance music so intimately intertwined with the city of Detroit is placed high on the list of genres Shigeto has blended into his own inimitable sound.

On Thursday May 3rd, Shigeto will be performing a special set with a live ensemble at Elsewhere.

You’ve said that your new album is inspired by Detroit and its musical community. Did you move from Brooklyn to Detroit seeking out musical inspiration? At what point did you know that you wanted to create an album that captured your experience with Detroit?

I moved back to Detroit to be with my family mainly. I also had a desire to be a part of something bigger than myself. I felt like seeking that out at home in Michigan, where my oldest community still was, made the most sense. I think being here over time has made me more comfortable to release a wider range of music. After I had made the tracks I realized it was a collection of music that really reflected my time here over the past 5 years. Whether it was Jazz, Hip Hop, House, Jit, anything really it was a result of being in it. It wasn’t really a conscious decision.

How did you link up with ZelooperZ? Was he someone you knew personally or were a fan of prior to moving back to Detroit?

heard of ZelooperZ while in Detroit through a friend. They showed me the “Hit a Lik” video and I was super into it, thinking “where did this crazy alien kid come from?” We later met at a house party in Detroit, felt really natural. We just talked about linking up at some point. Apparently the floor of the living room caved in later that night! Later that week he hit me up and came through the house. We started hanging out a lot after that.

Generally speaking, this latest album delves a bit deeper into house, techno, and dance music. Have you found that the shift in sound has created a different dynamic at your live shows?

Most definitely. I like to see people dancing at the shows. I can’t help it. It feels very different from having everyone just stare. It’s the live drums and what you’d expect from a show of mine but there’s a definitely a more danceable approach than before. Definitely still have the drums, haha, have to, it’s the center of it for me.

Tell us about the live ensemble you’ll be performing with for your show at Elsewhere. How will this show be different from your others?

It will be very different. It’s a trio. Good friends of mine from the Ann Arbor / Detroit jazz scene growing up. Marcus Elliot on woodwinds and Ian Fink on keys but playing the roll of a bass player as well. It will be tracks of mine from over the years but arranged for a jazz trio. There will be some back tracks and some electronics but it will be much more live and much more improvised. I’m excited to share it.

What’s up next for Shigeto?

Touring Asia this month. Playing with the trio at Movement at the end of the month. Releasing the next record on my label PGS this summer. Finishing a new EP soon and of course working on a new record.

Interview by Ryan Wu

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