Steve Jansen

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Steve Jansen
Jansen in 2017
Background information
Birth nameStephen Batt
Born (1959-12-01) 1 December 1959 (age 64)
OriginSydenham, London, England
  • Musician
  • composer
  • record producer
  • Drums
  • electronic percussion
  • keyboards
  • sampler
Years active1974–present
Member ofExit North
Formerly of

Steve Jansen (born Stephen Ian Batt, born 1 December 1959) is an English musician, composer and record producer.[1]


Jansen was a founding member of the band Japan, along with his brother David Sylvian (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Mick Karn (bass guitar), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), and Rob Dean (guitar), having all met in Catford.[2][3] Japan began as an amateur band in 1974, while their first studio album entitled Adolescent Sex was released in 1978, followed by Obscure Alternatives the same year.[4] Both albums saw polarized reviews and poor sales domestically in the UK, but were commercially successful overseas.[5] The band's third album Quiet Life marked a significant departure from their original alternative glam rock style, with the change in sound causing them to be associated with the New Romantic movement by critics, though this was repeatedly rejected by the members themselves.[6] Virgin Records released Japan's final studio albums, Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum, while the band had their last live performance on 16 December 1982. Japan suffered from personal and creative clashes and decided to split during a period when they were beginning to experience significant commercial success both in their native UK and internationally. The band briefly reunited in 1991 under the name Rain Tree Crow and released a self-titled album.[4][7]

After Japan's break up, Jansen recorded with bandmate Richard Barbieri under the name Jansen/Barbieri and released an instrumental album Worlds in a Small Room and later (Catch the Fall) as the Dolphin Brothers, with Jansen handling lead vocals as well as drums and percussion.[8]

In 1991, Jansen, Barbieri, and Karn formed Medium Productions as a venue for releasing their own music, as well as releases by other artists.[9]

Jansen has worked as a session musician and in collaboration with a wide range of international artists, such as Yukihiro Takahashi and Italian singer-songwriter Alice. He collaborated with David Sylvian and Burnt Friedman on the Nine Horses project,[10] which has given birth to one album and one extended play CD released through Sylvian's record label Samadhi Sound. Jansen performed with Sylvian during his live tours,[11] playing drums and percussion.

He released his first solo album, entitled Slope in 2007.[12] Regarding the creative process behind the album, Jansen stated that he "approached composition attempting to avoid chord and song structures and the usual familiar building blocks. Instead I wanted to piece together unrelated sounds, music samples, rhythms and 'events' in an attempt to deviate from my own trappings as a musician."[13] The album was released on Samadhi Sound, and features Sylvian in a "bluesy" duet with Joan Wasser, and contributions by Anja Garbarek, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Thomas Feiner and Nina Kinert. On 15 April 2016 Jansen released a second solo album entitled Tender Extinction via Bandcamp and other digital music retailers.[14]

Jansen has continued to work on new compositions, some of which he has released as standalone tracks, and continues to be in demand as a producer and collaborator, working with musicians across a range of genres. A recent re-release of the 1995 Jansen/Barbieri album Stone to Flesh includes a new track entitled "Map of Falling," composed by the two musicians in 2015.[15]

During his time with Japan, Jansen dabbled in photography, documenting the band and their transient lifestyle.[16] He held small-scale photographic exhibitions in Tokyo and London during 1982 and 1983, respectively. A selection of these images are available on his website. In October 2015, Steve released a book of his photography entitled Through a Quiet Window through the Japanese publisher Artes Publishing.[17]

Jansen maintained a Tumblr blog under the username of "Sleepyard" as an additional avenue to publish his photography and answer fan questions, but wrote a post on in April 2016 stating that he would no longer maintain it, citing his displeasure with the platform as a whole.[18] Later in the same month, Jansen re-launched his blog through WordPress.

In 2014, Jansen formed a new musical project, Exit North, with three Swedish musicians Charlie Storm, Ulf Jansson and Thomas Feiner. They worked together in Charlie Storm's studio in Gothenburg, and the album was released on 1 October 2018, called Book of Romance and Dust.[19] Exit North played live in Tokyo, Japan, on 27 September 2019.[20] In 2020, Exit North released a new single, Let the Hearts Desire. Their second album, Anyway, Still, was released on 14 April 2023.[21]


Jansen is an atheist[22] and describes astrology as "almost as bonkers as religion."[23]


Solo albums[edit]

  • 2007 – Slope (Samadhi Sound)
  • 2016 – Tender Extinction
  • 2017 – The Extinct Suite
  • 2018 – Corridor
  • 2022 – Neither Present nor Absent

with Japan[edit]

with Rain Tree Crow[edit]

with Jansen/Barbieri[edit]

  • 1985 – Worlds in a Small Room (Pan East (UK) / JVC Victor (Japan))
  • 1991 – Stories Across Borders (Venture / Virgin)
  • 1995 – Stone To Flesh (Medium Productions)
  • 1996 – Other Worlds in a Small Room (Medium Productions)
  • 2015 - Lumen (KScope)
  • 2015 - Stone To Flesh (KScope) re-mastered with additional track Map of Falling

with Jansen/Barbieri/Karn[edit]

  • 1993 – Beginning to Melt (Medium Productions)
  • 1994 – Seed (Medium Productions)
  • 1999 – ISM (Polydor / Medium)
  • 2001 – Playing in a Room with People (Medium Productions)

with The Dolphin Brothers[edit]

  • 1987 – Catch the Fall (Virgin Records)
  • 1987 – "Face To Face" (Japanese T.V.C.M. 7" single) (Virgin Records) (Also included on Virgin Japan CD release of Catch The Fall)

with Jansen/Barbieri/Takemura[edit]

  • 1997 – Changing Hands (Medium Productions)

with Nine Horses[edit]

with Yukihiro Takahashi[edit]

  • 1986 - Stay Close/Betsu-Ni (non-LP 3-track 12-inch EP)
  • 1997 - PulseXPulse
  • 1998 - Pulse Remix

(also appears as guest drummer on several Takahashi releases)

with D'Agostino/Foxx/Jansen[edit]

  • 2009 - A Secret Life

with Exit North[edit]

  • 2018 - Book of Romance and Dust
  • 2023 - Anyway, Still

with David Sylvian[edit]


  1. ^ "Steve Jansen | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  2. ^ "A Beginner's Guide To JAPAN - The Electricity Club". The Electricity Club. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  3. ^ STEVE., BINNIE (2014). SOUND OF THE CROWD - A DISCOGRAPHY OF THE '80S (THIRD EDITION). [S.l.]: LULU COM. pp. 157–159. ISBN 978-1326073589. OCLC 1032351265.
  4. ^ a b Cowley, Jason (9 April 2005). "Turning Japanese". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  5. ^ Cartwright, Garth (5 January 2011). "Mick Karn obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Rolling Stone Random Notes", The Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, AL, p. 6, 17 July 1981
  7. ^ The rough guide to rock. Buckley, Peter, 1971- (3rd ed., expanded and completely rev ed.). London: Rough Guides. 2003. pp. 533–4. ISBN 1843531054. OCLC 59305933.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  8. ^ "Lost Albums: THE DOLPHIN BROTHERS Catch The Fall - The Electricity Club". The Electricity Club. 19 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Steve Jansen biography". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  10. ^ Peschek, David (6 October 2005). "Nine Horses, Snow Borne Sorrow". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  11. ^ "David Sylvian, Royal Festival Hall, London". The Independent. 24 September 2007. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  12. ^ Walters, John L. (7 December 2007). "Steve Jansen, Slope". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Steve Jansen, Slope". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  14. ^ Jansen, Steve. "Tender Extinction". Bandcamp.
  15. ^ "Steve Jansen discography". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  16. ^ "Book Review: Steve Jansen's Through A Quiet Window". 21 January 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  17. ^ "A Short Conversation with STEVE JANSEN - The Electricity Club". The Electricity Club. 23 May 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  18. ^ Jansen, Steve. "Tumblr post by Jansen". Sleepyard. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016.
  19. ^ "A B O U T". Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  20. ^ "Exit North Setlist at Billboard Live TOKYO, Tokyo". Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  21. ^ "Anyway, Still release date". Exit North Music. 14 April 2023. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  22. ^ Jansen, Steve. "Answer to question regarding religious beliefs". Sleepyard. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  23. ^ Jansen, Steve. "Answer to question regarding belief in astrology". Sleepyard. Tumblr. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.

External links[edit]