Miso Extra’s Music is Umami For The Ears

Raised on anime, Bend It Like Beckham and old school hip-hop, Miso calls her brand of music "Umami for the ears."


Miso Extra is an English-Japanese rapper, singer, and producer. Raised on anime, Bend It Like Beckham and old school hip-hop, Miso combines pop culture references from both countries to create her own brand of music, what she describes as”Umami for the ears.”


What are the origins of Miso Extra?

It started when I was really little. I used to have a little Fisher Price cassette recorder and a tiny Yamaha keyboard that had loads of little pre-recorded loop samples on it. I’d sit there for hours recording these terrible, terrible compilation tapes of myself. That’s the Miso origin.

Tell me about your new EP.

It came into fruition in the first lockdown, combining English and Japanese which has been really fun. It’s difficult for me as I can only really express myself in Japanese to my mum and immediate family, but now rapping in Japanese has enabled me to cover topics that were close to my heart but in a more intimate way with the world.

As soon as I started playing the beats and listening to them, trying to decide what to put over them, it was just instinctively the first thing that came out. It was a moment of, “Oh, I’ll just try rapping in Japanese”. And then it just blossomed from there.

Talk to me through how Japanese culture has influenced you.

Being born mixed race, you’re almost forced into it being part of your identity. Whether or not you want it to be. For me, language is a huge thing. Growing up in my more formative years in Japan definitely shaped who I was coming into the UK when I couldn’t speak that much English. I went into primary school thinking, “Well, I’m going to have to learn to speak English now!” and my first week ended by all the other kids home speaking Japanese! Kids in my class would go home speaking a few words of Japanese and their parents were so confused!


There’s already a very well established Chinese, Indian, Pakistani culture in England But for me, there really wasn’t much in terms of Japanese culture. My touchstones of trying to find stories that I relate to, is quite varied! With Bend It Like Beckham, that was quite a big one for me to see a character blending one aspect of their home life in their cultural upbringing and being able to contrast it with navigating British culture. It was hugely inspiring and relatable.

How do you combine all of this into your music?

I actually grew up learning to play violin, piano and guitar, so I’m very much into classical and jazz. Listening to my music that might seem strange, but then there’s definitely elements of hip-hop, in terms of sampling.

How was it performing this new style for the first time?

It was unbelievably nerve-wracking. Because no one knows the lyrics yet and I’ve got the added bonus of no one understanding Japanese, if I do fuck it up, everyone’s none the wiser!

Miso Extra released her new single ‘Deep Friend’,this week, from her forthcoming ‘Great Taste‘ EP, out next year on Beatnik Creative.

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