2 Minutes With ... Composer and Producer Aska Matsumiya

Her musical journey from childhood songs to the score for Kogonada's After Yang

Aska Matsumiya, co-founder of Black Cat White Cat Music, is a Los Angeles-based Japanese composer and producer who works across film, television, advertising and music production. 

Aska provided the score for the Amazon feature film I'm Your Woman for director Julia Hart. In addition, she partnered with A24 and acclaimed director Kogonada on his upcoming film After Yang, starring Colin Farrell, collaborating with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

In television, Aska worked on the HBO limited series Betty with longtime collaborator Crystal Moselle, a series based on the original Sundance breakout film Skate Kitchen starring Jaden Smith.

Aska has collaborated with many brands in the advertising space, including Porsche, Chanel, Hermes, Miu Miu and Prada, and also scored the short film I'm Here for Spike Jonze. She is also a member of the Music and Sound Design jury in Film Craft for the 2021 Clio Awards.

We spent two minutes with Aska to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations, and recent work she's admired.


Aska, tell us...

Where you were born, and where you live now.

I was born in Osaka, Japan, and now I live in Malibu. 

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

I've always wanted to be a concert pianist as long as I can remember.

How you discovered you were creative.

I don't know if it was so much a discovery but I remember spending lots of my childhood in an imaginative world with my brother. We would also create dance routines and ritualistic songs that existed in our world, which we still remember. 

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

Ryuichi Sakamoto.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

When I discovered punk music.

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

The first concert I saw was mostly classical music my parents took me to. The first one I went on my own was Ryuichi Sakamoto when I was 16. I cried for the first time with overwhelming joy. The first punk show I went to was with my art school friends—an indie band, Go Go Go Airhearts. They were creatively so unique and open it blew my mind and changed my life forever ... I didn't know until that point you had the freedom to express whatever you wanted.

My favorite music now is still classical music. I also love artists like Arca, Oneohtrix Point Never, Nico Jaar, etc.

Your favorite visual artist.

teamLab from Tokyo.

Your favorite fictional character.

Totoro.  

The best book you’ve read lately.

Elena Ferrante's triology My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.

Your favorite movie. 

Of all time? I love Breakfast at Tiffany's. Recently, I loved My Octopus Teacher.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

@amuletsmusic

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life.

This time has made me realize how much I feed off and am inspired by being connected to others, but it also have allowed me to really work on my heart. Professionally, it hasn't changed much since the majority of my work is me composing by myself in a room.

Your favorite creative project you’ve ever worked on.

After Yang. Creatively, I felt more open than I have ever felt working with the director Kogonada. I also brought on my friend Luke Fischbeck, who helped me with making variations of my original music with A.I., which was a fascinating experience for me. 

Someone else’s creative project that inspired you years ago.

When All Melody by Nils Frahm came out, I listened to it on repeat and loud for a while ... and was very inspired by the sound, production, his senses, everything.

Someone else’s creative project that you’ve been impressed by lately.

Lately, what inspires me more than anything is being in the ocean, surfing with my friends, seeing the sunrise, encountering dolphins. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

Hmmm ... this is a hard one. I think maybe my main strength is feeling very free in my creativity and not having too hard of a judgement on myself as a creative.  

Your biggest weakness.

Maybe being too captivated by one idea and not being able to see past it.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Surfing.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Few days before my moon cycle.

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Ashley Epping
Ashley Epping is art director of Muse by Clio and program lead at the Clio Awards.

Featured Clio Award Winner

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