Many stories exist regarding the formation of the super group Locus. Some say they're highly trained agents of Naicho created to bring the Yakuza down from within. Others say they crashed to Earth disguised as a fallen satellite.
I'm here today to tell you the truth about Astro, Ajekt and QP.
Prior to any written record of Locus, Astro (MC/Vocal) associated himself with hip-hop/rap culture. He was heavily influenced by his younger brother and Dirtyneez, a group of talented artists coming from Detroit, Ann Arbor, North Carolina, Atlanta, and Tokyo.
After working as an MC and producing several tracks for his first duo, No Future, Astro formed an MC duo with his kid brother, DNA. Playing shows became the norm for the next few years, along with meeting greats like Chance, Baatin, Miss Corona, Yoshi, Black Milk, Elzhi and Spier1200, but something was missing. Astro became aware he needed to excel his skill as a rapper and entertainer. He was looking to change his game. That's when he approached Ajekt and QP.
Early on Ajekt (DJ/Programming) enjoyed listening to Nine-Inch-Nails, covering Weezer and borrowing style from Rivers Cuomo. The study of audio engineering brought him to the US; Miami to be specific. During his time in subtropical South Florida he developed his eclectic musical taste through deejaying at a college radio station. Tracks from DFA, Domino, 4AD, Ninja Tune, Warp and Thrill Jockey were on heavy rotation and spinning 12-inch UK Breaks/Tech House vinyls at house parties became second nature.
It was a career opportunity that brought Ajekt to Michigan. Once here he joined a J-Pop cover band, where fate lead him to QP and later Astro at the band's first performance.
Despite doubt, Ajekt did enjoy playing mainstream Japanese music, but gradually realized his true passion for electronic music. When the cover band broke up he got the urge to create his own music at least once in a lifetime (yes, he also loves the Talking Heads). He then asked Astro and QP to collaborate on a project combining rap and electronic music, reflecting the musical culture of Detroit and the diverse musical influences of the three artists.
QP's (Bass/Programmer) musical carrier dates back to 1999 when he joined/co-founded the rock band called JAM2 in Tennessee. Despite being a young novice band, they were booked to play at a local music festival and attracted a large crowd of passionate rock fans. They left the stage after making a massive impression.
Later he moved back to Tokyo and formed a new band called Rock On and performed at several well known live music venues. Although successful, QP felt unmotivated by the tepid environment in Japan. He was eager to expose his passion in a challenging yet inspirational situation. So he moved to Detroit to fulfill his desire.
As his roots grew deeper in the state of Michigan, he formed another successful band with local talents called Hoola-Hoop. Around the same time he began recording and producing music for fellow artists through which he met Astro. In addition he also spent considerable time contributing to his community by organizing annual local music festivals and volunteering as a sound engineer for many events. When Hoola-Hoop disbanded due to a key band mates departure, he joined the band where he would meet Ajekt.
Then.... Locus was born.
"A collective mind of musicians with different musical backgrounds searching for our own unique sound through trial and error. We've put out various types of music, now creating more danceable tunes and setting fire to the dance floor by experimenting with sounds and collaborating with artists who specialize in their own genres of music. We've had many opportunities to work with talented artists, sharing passion and love for music, yet we're still on a journey to create something extraordinary and new to the listeners. We're trying to establish a fan base in the metro Detroit area, Japan and wherever the internet can take our materials to. The band's music is heavily influenced by hip-hop, rock, electronic, pop and j-pop. The masks we wear represent our alter egos, separating us from the daily life to portray characters more fitted to the image of Locus and our songs. The original purpose of our masks was to have an edge and mysteriousness on stage, as well as hide our faces so the audience hears and feels the music rather than focuses on who we are as individuals. We want to send the message that we all in some way wear a mask trying to fit into our own community like a facade or front. We say that out loud by physically wearing the masks."
All the pictures were taken during a recording session between Locus and an incredibly talented pianist named Aya Higuchi.
The group met Aya, the most recent collaborating artist, through Astro's daytime job a few years ago. Last year Locus created a demo track of "Original Message", a song in Japanese to send a goodbye/thank you/good luck message to all their friends and family who've left this state to pursue dreams. In it they recomposed the classical masterpiece "Canon in D" by Pachelbel. Aya heard it and they started talking about collaborating their talents.
Many thanks to my good friend Astro for providing the background so many have wanted to know.