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Poketo People: Scott Kitano

At Poketo, it’s the people around us that help keep it real. Inspired by their great vibe, this series puts the spotlight squarely on them, their aspirations and their brushes with the Poketo world. It’s also a great way to keep in touch, don’t you think? Yeah, we thought so too!

This week, we’re saying hi to Scott Kitano, an educator, music maker and one of our regulars at Poketo events. Based on the cool, self-mixed CDs he’s given us, he has an awesome taste in music. You might remember him from earlier this year, when he channeled his love for music into a fundraiser for Japan. Here’s a little more about him:

Hi, Scott! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Scott Kitano and I am a teacher, musician, artist and someone who loves to cook.

Where in the world are you?
I am born and raised in Culver City but have also lived in Honolulu for about five years.(I just came back from a recent trip to Hawai`i where I found tons of cool patterns and design ideas.) I moved back to Culver City about three years ago to regain my inspiration. Plus, I missed Mexican food!!

We also know that you are a teacher and also a DJ and musician. What a cool combination! What subject do you teach? And what level?
I teach 9th grade Algebra 1. I started teaching in Kapolei, a city on the west side of Oahu. When I moved back to Los Angeles I taught at a school in the West Adams neighborhood. I enjoy teaching the kids at the 9th grade level because you can positively shape the next four years of their high school career. Everyone comes into a math class with predetermined disdain so I am motivated to change that. Learning math can be fun if it’s meaningful to the kids.

How did you come to be both teacher and musician?
Teaching is just an extension of being a performer. Playing music in front of people is just the same as giving a lecture to the students.

Could you tell us your earliest memory of music?
The earliest I can recall is listening to vinyl from a band called Kalapana (they’re like the Rolling Stones of Hawai`i), Mama’s and Papa’s and the Beach Boys. I also remember borrowing my brother’s Kool Moe Dee cassette tapes. The first CD I ever got was Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” which was right when the discman was first invented.

How does music make your life better?
Music is everything to me. It’s a soundtrack. It’s a memory. It’s history. It represents so many emotions. It can make you feel something that nothing else can make you feel. That is powerful.

You’ve given us some kickass music CDs, so we want to know, what’s your latest musical inspiration?
I have been producing music for over 10 years now right from my bedroom studio called Dojo Arigato Studios. I have a couple EPs I am working on for some musicians in Los Angeles (Ami, Tim & the G-minors, Miya) and my solo Scott Eats Ohtoro EP. The gem I am holding onto is the second record with my band Hearios. We have Aloe Blacc on a couple songs and they are amazing!!

What is ESO Music Art and Scott Eats Ohtoro? Could you tell us more about them?
ESO Music Art is my company where all my creative projects live. From albums to design work to re-salvaged lifestyle pieces to Hawaiian quilts, everything is thought of and created there. ESO has always been the name I gave my art and there is really no thought provoking reason behind it; I picked it because the letters are easy to work with. Being in Los Angeles has taken a new meaning which translates to “that”. So I guess it’s that music art from Scott.

Scott Eats Ohtoro is just saying what my favorite food is. Traveling to Japan and the love I have for that country, I wanted to showcase their appreciation of food.

How did you first find Poketo?
I went to a Felt Club art show that my friend told me about. I have always liked trees. I’m walking around and I see a cool looking tree on a shirt and I need to have it. Turns out it was a Poketo shirt and when I look at their other stuff I was instantly hooked.

What Poketo stuffs do you have at home or at work and could you show us how you use it?
I have a bunch of shirts, some mugs, some wallets, the apple vinyl print that my other brother gave me and stickers I use as bookmarks. When I am travelling, I always have something Poketo (During my recent trip to Honolulu, I came with nothing but Poketo shirts).

Scott’s traveling gear. All Poketo. Wow!

What do you think has been the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far?
Never give up. If there is a passion for something and outside forces are making it difficult to continue, you can’t give in. You can’t stop. Even if it hurts, you need to keep it going because in the end the journey will be worth it.

What’s next for Scott Kitano?
Well, I am going to be very busy. For my music, I am really excited to release the Hearios LP and to finish up the Septt Eats Ohtoro EP. I am working on a collection of my re-salvaged lifestyle products and my mom has just taught me how to sew so I am going to start whipping out some Hawaiian patchwork quilts. Oh yeah, I am also starting to brainstorm an autobiographical cookbook which will have my original recipes inspired by Japan, Hawai`i and California.

Thanks, Scott!
Thank you so much for the opportunity. I am really honored that Poketo has chosen to interview me. Thanks Angie and Ted!!!

Find more of Scott at ESO Music Art for all the songs, artwork, recipes and updates.

Know someone we should talk to for our next installment? Send us a quick note. We’ll be glad to hear from you.

Update: In honor of this interview, Scott just released a free to download EP, “Like to Love.” Listen here.

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