Takahiro Izumikawa is a highly sought-after pianist, keyboardist, arranger, and producer born and raised in Japan. His style has its roots in jazz but incorporates hip-hop, R&B, gospel, and traditional Japanese melodies. He released his first piano solo album in 2014, which was sponsored by Kawai Musical Instruments. He moved to New York City later that year to further his music career. Since then, he has worked with well-known hip hop artists such as Smif&Wessun, Kool Keith, Black Moon, and Smoke DZA. He has also worked with Grammy Award winning musicians Maurice Brown (trumpet player for Anderson .Paak), Jermaine Holmes (vocalist for D’Angelo), Daru Jones (drummer), Mononeon (bassist), Marcus Machado (guitarist), and Timothy Bloom (vocalist).
In 2016, he performed with Takuya Kuroda, a notable trumpet player who debuted through Blue Note Records at the Blue Note Jazz Festival, which was headlined by Earth Wind and Fire, George Benson, and Marcus Miller. In 2017, he arranged all the tracks on “Hard Times,” an album by alto saxophonist and jazz giant Vincent Herring.
We chatted with Takahiro on how he uses the Prophet-6 in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet-6?
First of all, Sequential synths have a strong, fat sound. Every time I use them on stage, the real analog sound gives me great inspiration and creativity. The sound is truly musical and Sequential synths bring my performance to the next level. You can hear the fat sound clearly in any situations. It’s doesn’t matter if you play with a rock band or with just an acoustic guitar and a singer. The synth blends perfectly with any kind of music and instruments, and the sound is extremely beautiful. I can’t go to gigs without my Prophet-6, because I don’t want to lose any future gigs!
How are you using it?
I use it on all my songs and albums. I create signature sounds using its built-in effects. One is a “poly-sine” sound with overdrive. I use it for playing melodies a lot. A square wave with a low-pass filter is really good for backing singers and rappers. Every time I play the sound on the stage, Artists invite me on their next gigs. [laughs]
I fly all over the world with my Prophet-6 module. It doesn’t matter how big the event is. Even If they have plenty of backline synths, I bring my Prophet-6 module!
What is one of your favorite things about it?
The capability of saving patches with a fully analog sound. You can create any analog sounds with physical knobs and save them very easily. There are 500 preset patches, so you can create perfect sounds for each of your gigs and keep all of them. And you can still can change the sound with the knobs real time on the stage with analog filters. That’s absolutely useful for professional musicians who play for different artists. You can manage sounds like software, and you still get real analog sounds.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
Having 10 physical patch buttons right on the front of the panel, so you can access 10 sounds with just one action. I really need this capability. I do a lot of hip hop/R&B gigs that I have to change the sounds and effects right away between the song’s sections. I have never found a synth before that has real analog signals and filters, saving capability, 10 patch buttons, and even built-in effects at the same time. That’s a game changer for me!!
Any interesting tricks or techniques you would like to share?
I connect my Prophet-6 module to Keystep MIDI controller. You can change the tempo and phrases of Prophet-6 sequences from Keystep, so MIDI capability is an extra bonus for me.
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