Guillermo del Toro beams at the camera holding a slowly blinking eye encased in a ball of flesh. Lil Yachty enthusiastically shows his social media followers a similar eye, proclaiming it “crazy.” Elsewhere, someone cracks open a beer with a human ear, and Sid from Slipknot snarls at a camera, holding aloft a mouth, identical to his own on a chain. There is no blood, though. These body parts are designed by Japanese beatmaker Masataka Shishido, and the world has gone crazy for his ultra-realistic “human flesh” items under his moniker Mother Factory — no humans harmed in the process.
While Shishido, who goes by his stage name, Doooo (four Os), has drawn worldwide attention for his gruesome products, he’s been a part of the Tokyo music scene for over 10 years as a member of the rap and creative crew Creative Drug Store (CDS).
With Halloween fast approaching and a new album in the works, we figured now was the perfect time to find out the hows and whys of Doooo, an unlikely musician and artist in the global rap scene.
Horror Movies and Hip-Hop Influences
Doooo, inspired by his older brother, a DJ in Tokyo, loved horror movies and hip-hop from a young age.
“I came back from elementary school one day, and he was playing a gross, bloody movie on the screen. I was obsessed,” he says. After that, he devoured all the horror movies and sci-fi he could get his hands on. A few years later, he returned home to find his brother mixing hip-hop on some turntables.
Doooo started frequenting his local record store in his hometown of Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. He bought old 1990s R&B, rap, hip-hop and soul, so he could be a DJ himself. In his university years, he finally invested in a sampler so he could make his own tracks. “If I’d known that to be a beatmaker you just needed to get a sampler, I’d have done it way earlier.”
When his brother moved to Tokyo, naturally, Doooo followed as soon as he could. “Being in Iwate was good for me in order to focus,” he says. “There were a couple of great clubs, but not as many as Tokyo, so that ensured I knew my way around a sampler and some DJ decks before I moved.”
He left for the capital when he was 23 and was picked up by CDS three years later, after members heard a mix of his, were left impressed and reached out. As the other members were still in their late teens at the time, he joined in a predominantly professional capacity, DJ’ing at events and making custom beats for the team, which consisted of rappers and designers.
“I was more an observer at the beginning,” he admits.
Gradually, though, he began to get more involved as the group’s profile grew.
Human Flesh Music Started it All
As the back DJ and track maker, Doooo was a less visible member of the crew. That changed in 2017 when he released his first album, Panic, which included members of CDS rapping over his tracks. His sound — synthesizer and chopped samples mixed with original beats — was combined with the power of CDS and other collaborators and was positively received. However, it went viral for another reason altogether.
“I really wanted a flesh MPC (sampler) on the cover,” he says, retelling an already famous anecdote. “But there wasn’t one for sale.”
He, therefore, got in touch with Amazing Studio Jur, a special effects studio, and asked if they could create one. “They were so unfussed by it,” he comments. “I imagine they get even weirder requests.”
After seeing how good the human skin MPC looked, Doooo was inspired to create more fleshy items. A USB power adapter and phone case followed. Then, he had a eureka moment. “I was shopping one day, took out my coin purse and had an idea,” he says. “Wouldn’t this look great as a mouth eating coins?”
He got in touch with the studio again and made the strange request for his mouth as a purse. The “human flesh” coin purse debuted online in 2019 and was picked up by outlets including Hypebeast and Complex.
“After that, the orders just started coming in,” he tells me, bemused. “Sharon Stone commented on social media — that was crazy. And John Stamos got one.”
Music Community Embraces Doooo’s Passion
Within the rap community, Doooo’s creations, produced under his Mother Factory brand, are particularly popular. From Jason Derulo to Waka Flocka Flame, American rappers have been clamoring for their own mouth purses.
“I make them in my Japanese old-guy likeness, but I think artists especially like to have their own mouths done so they can personalize them themselves,” he says.”
Doooo has even collaborated with grill companies to make custom grillz for the purses, which attach to a chain just like a necklace or the bling chains seen across the industry.
After the mouth came other everyday “human skin” items ranging from nose shot glasses — the liquid goes in the nostrils, of course — to severed finger electrical connectors and blinking eye dice.
Exhibiting in New York
Doooo was puzzled by the worldwide attention at first, but he’s gotten used to it.
“At the start, I was approached by a gallery in New York that wanted to exhibit my items, but I refused because I wanted to hold an exhibition myself first,” he says.
He then reached out to the New York gallery. “I asked if they remembered me,” he says.
They did, and this November sees his first show outside of Japan.
I ask what the other members of CDS, who have been spending more time together recently as they make their debut group album, think of his venture.
“They don’t say much,” he reveals. “Sometimes, they say they’re cute or whatever, but I think they’re happy to just let me do my thing,” he says laughing, “They’re used to me by now.”
Doooo has his feet firmly in both music and art, and that’s how he plans to keep things.
“I can’t choose between them,” he says. “I love them both.”