INTERVIEW | Tsuruda Talks New EP with Deadbeats, Early Influences & More

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Finding himself a long way from his early SoundCloud days, Tsuruda is now among the most revered bass producers in the scene. The LA-based producer has always pushed himself to innovate and break the mold to rise above the abundant sea of fellow bass music producers. Continuing that trend, Tsuruda has returned to Deadbeats for the release of his latest groundbreaking EP, Deathwish.

As is true with so many artists, Tsuruda looked to his roots and early inspirations when putting together this EP. While he’s widely known for his ability to create jaw-dropping festival bangers, Deathwish is an opportunity for him to experiment with his own unique sound. Tsuruda incorporates elements of break, glitch, hip-hop, freeform bass, and even a bit of house over the course of four very disparate tracks.

We had a chance to sit down with Tsuruda about the project, his inspirations, non-music related interests, and more. You can check out our conversation below, along with the stream of his new EP. Enjoy!

Tsuruda – Deathwish

The sound of this EP is more diverse than anything we’ve heard from you yet. Are you looking to push Tsuruda into a new direction?

When i started the tsuruda project i didn’t really have any intentions  to follow some strict sonic palette or safe genre rule book. i was releasing everything, all the vibes. I feel like as the years continued and, what with touring and stuff within EDM realm i felt more and more pressure to just put out heavy-ish bass tracks. Crowd pleasers. Shit for the club. Don’t get me wrong i do have a lot of fun making that kind of stuff, but it’s always been a small part of what i actually create. I feel like the direction i wanna move in is to just be more comfortable with who i really be as a musician and not to doubt myself to serve up the various vibes i be cookin. 

I’m hearing breaks, house, hip-hop, and bass here. Do these styles reflect your current tastes in music? Who have you been listening to recently?

The style of music that i make is constantly reflecting my taste in music. I’ve always loved house… and hip hop (my first love).. Lately i’ve been getting in touch with my roots music listening wise. I keep rinsing the albums i grew up on when i’m not in studio mode. Quasimoto, Little Brother, dilla etc. also been slapping lots of hardcore like blackflag and gorilla biscuits. Also always be slapping my friend’s music (regardless of the genre) Been trying to keep up with all the new cats in both rap and beat/bass music too but man it’s tuff. So much good music being made today. Kids are getting wild with it.

What excites you most about electronic music right now (or music in general)? 

Like i said, there truly is so much good music being made by this younger generation it’s hard to keep up with (especially when your job is to also make music lol) The gatekeeping vibes from the old days are now pretty much gone production wise (s/o internet) and everyone is sharing their knowledge and tools (and sample treasures) it’s definitely making the sonic landscape  of modern electronic music much more advanced and i’m here for it. Very very exiting times in music indeed

Has streaming on Twitch helped you as a producer? What do you enjoy most about streaming?

Not sure if twitch has actually made me better at producing but it definitely has helped with my camera anxiety and overall studio shyness. It also gives me a reason to sit down and create! There are definitely days were i feel like i gotta dig deep to just even sit in the office chair and attempt to produce a beat or song. When that live switch is activated on OBS though i feel like i have no choice but to try and make a song or two or three. To be honest  im pretty sure all the tracks off the EP were started on twitch haha. My favorite thing about twitch though is the community that i’ve managed to cultivate. In the chat. In the discord. I’ve met some seriously incredible young producers  just through doing these casual streams. Kids i wanna put on. Kids i wanna work with. It’s been really dope!

Outside music and gaming, what are you up to? How’s life?

Life is good! Honestly just been grinding on physical activities ever since covid lockdowns eased up in LA. i got hooked on skating again real bad haha. I feel like all my free time is spent skating. And climbing (indoor bouldering) . . . it’s been game changing. It too easy to fall out of shape when you’re suppose to grind on music stuff all day. It’s super important to find some balance and get out of the office chair! 

What are you currently most looking forward to?

I would have to say getting all the lil’ working things i gotta do out of the way so i can skate and chill haha… i’m telling ya’ll im really hooked on that skateboard life right now. It’s the best. I love being outside so much. Very lucky to live in this LA climate where i can cruise/shread all year round 

You recently mentioned that you wanted to work harder and smarter while putting on artists you love. Any big goals for the future? Either long term or short term?

I would really love to put these young music peeps i keep finding out about as much as possible. I lowkey wanna do my own label one day too. OH! And i gotta drop music on  my other alias “Cousin Litt” one time for culture. It’s my rap/hiphop project i’ve been grinding for daaaays now haha. Definitely need to drop the tape this year!  Just gotta make some moves and/or music videos!