MANILA -- The music of Naga City-based electronic artist ビクタ MKII are like tasty morsels of lo-fi hip-hop. They are snippets of conversations and electronica to go with soul nuggets for beats. They are then wrapped around Japanese manga art that complete this delectable pop confectionary.
Welcome to MKII’s world where Japanese themes and album art have everything to do with the music.
MKII, also known as Viktor, says his brand of lo-fi hip-hop has always been tied to that Japanese aesthetic and anime culture. “That and my long time fascination for Japanese culture drives me to put a bit of it into my music,” explained the prolific electronic musician who has put out five albums in the past three years.
Under the foreign Insert Tapes, ビクタ MKII put out three albums – "Ame," "Omoide," and "Kimi to Boku" on the Swedish cassette label. With Naga City-based Demohauz, he added another two – "Itterasshai" and "Kimi no Machi."
You might want to add a sense of mystery to the music.
“When I started making beats, for some reason, I wanted a name that’s not easy to find or search on social media that’s why I translated my actual name Victor into katakana, ビクタ, and put the MKII (or mark two) which means a second version of something and now second version of myself,” he said.
The second version of Victor is because he previously played on various bands with an altogether different sound. “This is like the alter ego of those previous journeys,” he clarified.
“I have quite a few music influences in general but on the beat-making side I’ve always admired the likes of J Dilla, Madlib, Nujabes, and Pete Rock, as well as new OGs like Flying Lotus, Mndsgn, Knxwledge. I’ve always listened to these artists and try to take in their energy and vibe. Listening to these musicians made me realize there are no rules when it comes to beat making. If it’s vibin’ and it makes you feel good, that’s good enough,” he said.
Part of the enticing package is the artwork by Marikina-based Zom Kashwak that features the female of the species although you never see her face.
Explained ビクタ MKII: “The faceless girl is not really based on someone but instead it loosely represents the whole feel of the album, or maybe an ideal or a minor suggestion on how these short beats will make you feel. I’ve always described my music as instrumental short stories. The great thing about this type of music is the instrumental nature of it. There’s no fixed idea attached or message and listeners can interpret it however they like. Small nuances like background noise, the melody itself or the little bits of barely audible conversation samples are just suggestion.”
The response and demand to ビクタ MKII’s music has been strong that Demohauz has had to go through another batch of releases.
“I think the response has been amazing," enthused ビクタ MKII, who is now making music full time. “Until now I still can’t really describe it. I’m always thankful to the fans who always support my music be it buying the tapes and vinyl or just playing my music. This year in particular is amazing with vinyl and tapes selling out so fast. As an indie musician who doesn’t have any connections, to make it on my own is a revelation. So I am always grateful to the listeners and supporters.”