Gota Yashiki is both an independent acid jazz artist and drum/bass player, as a member of the band Simply Red. He was born in Kyoto, Japan, on 26 February 1962, where at a young age he learned how to play traditional Japanese drums. This interest in drumming propelled him into the music scene, and he moved to Tokyo in 1982 to join a reggae/dub band that became known as Mute Beat. Together with Mute Beat band member Kazufumi Kodama he worked on various projects and formed the duo Kodama & Gota.
From 1986 on, Gota entered the European music scene. After spending some time back in Tokyo, he returned to London in 1988 and began collaborating with numerous well-known artists, including Soul II Soul, Sinéad O'Connor and Seal, while also working on film soundtracks and re-mixes.
Gota joined Simply Red in 1991 for the recording of the album Stars and the following world tour. In late 1993, he released an album entitled Something to Talk About under the name Gota & The Heart of Gold, and helped fellow Simply Red band member Heitor T.P. release a solo album in 1994. While still working regularly with various European artists, including an album by singer songwriter Chris Braide, he recorded another album as Gota & The Low Dog in 1995 with singer Warren Dowd. This album, named Live Wired Electro, was released in several countries and took Gota on his first solo Japanese tour. Alanis Morissette credits Gota as "Groove Activator" on her album Jagged Little Pill, for which samples of his works were used. Also, UK dance act Chicane used his drum samples, most prominent on the Chicane Mix of the Bryan Adams song Cloud Number Nine.
In 1997, he released his first album in the United States entitled It's So Different Here. The albums hit single was a top ten Smooth Jazz track of the year. The album went to No. 15 on the Billboard200, and No. 1 on the R&R chart. He also assisted Depeche Mode in the studio in 1997, appearing on their eagerly awaited 1997 album Ultra. Gota then helped produce Simply Red's album entitled Blue the following year in 1998 and subsequently assisted the following year's release Love and The Russian Winter. He released two albums in 1999, the first entitled Let's Get Started, and the second entitled Day & Night. His album The Best of Gota was released in 2002, and he worked on a joint project with Freemasons member and British producer James Wiltshire called B.E.D. (Beyond Every Definition) in the early 2000s. In 2004 to celebrate the first centenary of FIFA he made some arregements to the anthem composed by Franz Lambert in 1994 and is the one heard in all the FIFA officially sanctioned matches since then.
In March 2008, Gota formed the rock band Vitamin-Q along with Masami Tsuchiya, Kazuhiko Kato, Rei Ohara and Anza. However, after Kato's suicide on 17 October 2009, the fate of the group is uncertain.