Steve Jansen Biography

Steve was born in Sydenham on December 1st 1959 into a family of five and grew up in South East London. Acquiring guitars in '71 along with brother David (Sylvian) they began to create their own music inspired by early Bolan/Finn recordings. Steve switched to drums in '74 as being left handed was too limiting for guitar. School friends Mick Karn (bass) and Richard Barbieri (keyboards) joined to form JAPAN and signed to German label HANSA in 1977. Success in Japan sustained the band until signing with VIRGIN RECORDS in 1980. The rest of JAPAN's history is well documented. Due to the band's success and sudden disbanding many compilations have since emerged. Original members reformed for a one-off recording as RAIN TREE CROW in 1990.

A writing partnership formed with Richard Barbieri in the mid 80's which led to a series of 5 studio albums being released between 1985 and 1996 for Virgin Records, Venture Records (Virgin's subsidiary label), and their own independent label Medium Productions which Jansen & Barbieri formed in 1991 together with Mick Karn. The trio also formed a band unit known as JBK (Jansen/Babieri/Karn) releasing 4 albums (also for the Polydor label) and performing various tours together.

As well as his contributions to many of Sylvian's solo recordings Steve went on to form a co-writing unit with David Sylvian and Burnt Friedman called Nine Horses, releasing an album, EP and single between 2005 to 2007.

Aside from these key collaborations Jansen has maintained a music career spanning 40 years contributing as a musician, composer, producer, mixer, sound designer and live performer to alternative and occasional mainstream artists including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Anja Garbarek, Annie Lennox and many more. Steve has also sustained a long term co-writing / recording / touring relationship with YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI (YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA).

Steve released his debut solo album Slope in 2007 followed by Tender Extinction, The Extinct Suite and Corridor/ in 2016 & 2017 & 2018 respectively.

2019 saw the release of ‘Book of Romance and Dust’ from Steve’s new band Exit North with Thomas Feiner, Ulf Jansson and Charles Storm from Sweden.

More details can be found on the discography page.