Shigeto, ‘Olivia’: First Listen and Story

Anthony Ciannamea


The offbeat producer returns with a new set of dark, charming melodies.

As they have always been, in 2013, Detroit’s shining stars are their musicians. Zach Shigeto Saginaw, who records simply as Shigeto, hails from Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he has become a key member and rising star of avant garde electronic label Ghostly International.  His second full-length album, “No Better Time Than Now,” is due August 20th. You can check out the premiere of one of its tracks, “Olivia,” exclusively here:

Since the release of his first album, “Full Circle,” in 2010, the producer has put forth a steady stream of singles, remixes and EPs, though his return to an album was always part of the plan for the artist. “I'd say my preferred way to release music is via an “album’,” says Shigeto. “I like having the music come as a package -- as a whole idea with artwork and a story behind it. It makes it into something more for your senses than just sound.”

“Olivia” somewhat typifies Shigeto’s sound: Dark and haunting without being brooding or melodramatic and imbued with meaning often beyond the obvious. “Olivia is actually not a woman or a person,” Shigeto explains. “It's the name of the street I grew up on. I feel it is kind of a nostalgic track [that] can also resemble a sense of comfort and ‘home’ type of vibe for me.”

Shigeto is not only a son a student of Motor City’s musical legacy. He’s also a trained jazz musician, with a specialty in drums. His jazz background has influenced his recording process, from improvisation to embracing “perfection in imperfection.”

“Sometimes I'll be recording a part and all of a sudden everything will cut out,” the producer says of his studio sessions.  “I'll think I need to record again, but then that element of randomness actually could have made something really great.”

A thorough, six-week North American club tour starts just after the album’s release, giving listeners a chance to hear these recordings somewhat reinvented on stage, where Shigeto says his musical background really shines through.

“I'd say that jazz really comes out more in live performance,” he says. “There's the element of the live drums along with a lot more room for improvisation. After all, the real jazz experience is the live one.”