Saka: Fusing the Soul of Hong Kong with Underground Electronic Music
Saka is taking us on a mind-bending odyssey that combines the essence of Hong Kong’s soul with the cutting-edge sounds of underground electronic. In a conversation with MP3 MAG, we delve into the rising star’s musical voyage, exploring the influences that shape his sound, his connection to the city’s ever-changing atmosphere, and the driving forces behind his creative success.
Growing up amidst political unrest has left an indelible imprint on Saka’s personal and musical identity. He openly shares his leftist views and emphasizes the importance of preserving Hong Kong’s cultural elements. For Saka, Hong Kong embodies the quintessential vision of “east meets west” that captivates the imagination, and he draws inspiration from the indie aesthetics that permeate the city’s art and music scene.
Amidst the whirlwind of changes and cultural shifts in Hong Kong, Saka expresses a strong desire to preserve the city’s unique identity. Hong Kong, with its cyberpunk aesthetics juxtaposed against pockets of natural beauty, serves as a constant source of inspiration for him. “I try to feed that into my music,” Saka told MP3 MAG following his appearence at Elecrtric Forest. “A lot of it is in that cyberpunk, alternate world, but I try to implement organic sounds as well.”
For Saka, the importance of having like-minded friends who inspire and support each other, while maintaining their individual sense of self cannot be understated. His credits his friends FLY, Chee, sumthin sumthin, VCTRE, Black Carl!, Mirror Maze, Upscale, and the Lost Dogz collective as being instrumental in his music journey, and Gove from Ivy Lab as a significant supporter who profoundly influenced his artistic process.
“It’s always good to have ships going in the same direction as you. And I think above all, when that’s the case, a rising tide lifts all of you,” said Saka. “When you all tap into that mutual connection, it can really take you places.” The bonds formed through collaborations and shared experiences have been instrumental in shaping Saka’s unique sound.
Saka’s journey into a career in music has been a self-described slow burn. After graduating college, he landed a rigorous job at a tech startup where he worked for a few years while saving money to pursue his career in music. As his passion grew, so did his dedication to honing his skills as a producer.
“The more I progressed, the more I wanted it and wanted to get better and better,” said Saka. “I was motivated by the idea that I wanted to be as good of a producer as possible.”
Saka describes his creative process as a sort of controlled chaos, where he aims to break boundaries and create new sounds. Fusing experimentation and precision, he combines meticulous mix-downs, drum construction, and danceable arrangements to strike a balance between experimental and accessible, ensuring his music remains danceable and engaging.
As his music career has continued to progress, Saka has realized the importance of authenticity and creating music that resonates with his fanbase rather than chasing popularity or bending to the whims of algorithms or trends. Instead, he emphasizes the value of staying true to oneself and the importance of finding a balance between artistic integrity and commercial success.
“The reality is, it’s very hard to tie in the idea of being profitable with making art, and I think once you do that, especially in the space we’re in, people can really tell and feel that,” said Saka. “It doesn’t come across as authentic because there’s a difference between kowtowing to what the algorithm and the system want and kowtowing to what your fans want.”
In the ever-evolving landscape of the music industry, finding one’s artistic voice and staying true to it can be a challenging endeavor, but it is this emphasis on duality and balance that underlies Saka’s creative success. In authentically expressing himself through his music, he has also discovered new ways to connect with his fans.
This year’s Electric Forest represented a significant milestone for Saka, as it was his first time ever playing or attending the festival and provided a special opportunity for him to connect with his fans in a new way. By letting his personality shine onstage, Saka has been able to develop a strong connection with the live aspect of his project and a mutual connection with the crowd in a way he never has before.
“Playing Electric Forest, I literally ran up to the front of the crowd and was on the mic a lot more. That is part of my personality and how I am as a person, but for a long time I gate kept that,” said Saka. “At a certain point, it’s like, I’m not that cool. I’d rather connect with the crowd and be like, Hey, I see you, this is a mutual connection, let’s feed off of each other and have fun.”
In the pursuit of his goals, Saka prefers to focus on smaller, actionable tasks rather than setting long-term visions. He believes that true goals should be centered around personal growth and artistic development rather than external achievements. This approach allows him to remain agile, continually evolving as an artist, and avoiding the pressure of conforming to preconceived notions of success.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about learning and enjoying the process,” said Saka. “I love experimenting and trying new things.”
At this point in his career, Saka is continually evolving and refining his music. With a strong support network, the eclectic influences of his hometown, and a clear vision of his sound, Saka is set on a path that promises great artistic evolution. Amidst a fast-paced world of fleeting trends, he stays focused on his mission to create meaningful music, consistently seeking balance, and making his contribution to the dynamic landscape of electronic music.
For the future, Saka is already cooking up a plethora of new music, with some upcoming releases that he’s particularly excited about. While he remains tight-lipped about the specifics, he hints at collaborations with familiar faces, as well as some new solo work that dives even deeper into the cyberpunk and organic mix that defines his sound.
Through the lens of Saka’s life and creative journey, we get a unique glimpse into the spirit of Hong Kong, the challenges and triumphs of the creative process, and the power of connection in the music community. As Saka continues to navigate his musical voyage, one thing is certain – he isn’t going to let anything, not even a dystopian reality, stand in the way of his musical aspirations.