At a glance, Kento Yamada’s work may seem directionless, but this young video artist’s history has an identity that nourishes his art, delivering the feedback he requires. Yamada heads the Tokyo-based indie band yahyel’s video production and is the video jockey for live shows. He’s passionate about his work, bringing new elements to it all the time. The band’s post-dubstep period portrayed a dark, dystopian world, but the band has effortlessly met their genre’s demands for quality in their approach to modern minimalism, which they have been pursuing since their post-dubstep days. Yamada’s vivid images bring yahyel’s music to life, adding a new dimension that speaks a universal language and drives their fanbase overseas. Yamada plays an important role, not only as the video artist but also as a part of their live performances.
“Each song has about two-hundred assets. I pilot from my pad and can respond quickly to adapt to each performance, delivering what I feel the audience needs. I don’t just make patterns; I use video as a musician uses music. I perform conscious of yahyel’s inorganic and human content.”
As a junior high school student, Yamada taught himself programming, developing a gaming app. Later, in high school, he immersed himself in electrical engineering and built an amp. Yamada revealed his talents on the American football field as well, making the Japan team for the 2012 U-19 Championships. He began his career as a video artist in university when he taught himself motion graphics.
“I haven’t been influenced by any particular artist or work. But I do think that every experience in my life so far has influenced me in some way. That’s my realistic side, which is a phenomenological way of thinking. I think the evolution of technology will be limitless, but that’s why I believe human expression will take on much greater importance in the future. I strive to make each scene look like a movie. I don’t do happy images either. I want my images to have a dark nuance about them, and that’s why I think my worst enemy is natural sunlight. (laughter)”
Presently, Yamada’s goal is to become a movie director, as well as to improve the quality of his videos. “I want my work to be more like pop culture. To accomplish that, I want to take myself and my work out into the world to a wider audience.”
Words: Shoichi Miyake
- Kento Yamada
- Image Creator / Yahyel VJ
Born in Tokyo in 1992. Yamada taught himself motion graphics and began his career as a video artist in university. His work with yahyel and as a music video director for groups such as Suchmos’ hit Stay Tune has brought him into the limelight.