Welcome to DMCWORLD Magazine. Your musical journey began at high school in Sendai in Japan, you were unable to afford a mixer or turntables so you spent your spare money buying as much vinyl as you could. So where did you practise the art of DJing?
“I had a part time job and all my income was spent on going to discos and clubs with my friends who were DJing at clubs. I kept going to their houses after school every day. I would bring my records that I had bought. I could mix when I touched the DJ mixer for the first time and made my mix tapes. It’s not difficult to DJ mix for me.”
What sort of music were you into back then?
“House music in the early 90’s. I really love all house music from NYC, Chicago, Detroit and the UK…”
You moved to Tokyo where life changed when you met a certain DJ Kent and started putting on underground parties. Tell us about these parties…
“Myself and Kent met at same college when we 18-19 year old and we started our monthly party at CAVE (Shibuya) in 1994. That club has 2 floors. I played house music in the downstairs floor and Kent played hip hop with his friends kind like KZA.”
How did you get from underground party promoter to label boss?
“I don’t think I was party promoter. In Japan all DJs promote their own parties, organise and DJ. So I was doing everything. I was working for a record company in the day time for almost 20 years and DJing at night time. I was thinking I want to only release music I really love made in Japan. From 2000 the Japanese club music scene was growing up. I wanted to expand our music scene more not only in Japan.”
What was the Japanese dance music scene like back then?
“Some great artists coming out the scene kinda like Chari Chari, Calm, Bayaka, Silent Poets, Kyoto Jazz Massive, Kenji Takimi. I think 1999 and 2000 was the turning point for Japanese music scene.”
Who were the artists back then that you knew one day would make it to a wider audience?
“Chari Chari aka Kaoru Inoue.”
What is the current top 10 you are spinning…
Cos/Mes / Sadistic EP♯2 / FUNIKI ENE Hatchback / Main County EP / Adult Contemporary IORI / NEXUS / BITTA(ALBUM) Kaoru Inoue / Ground Rhythm(THE BACKWOODS Remix) / SEEDS AND GROUND Phreek Plus One / La Spirale(Justin Vandervolgen Remix)/Internasjonal Still Going / Work That Shit Party / Still Going Records Soft Rocks / The Revenge of Soft Rocks / ESP Institute(ALBUM) THE BACKWOODS / Flying Bugz(Kaoru Inoue Remix) / ene THE BACKWOODS / Cloud Nine(The Stallions Remix) / ENESP Windsurf / Weird Energy(9dw Remix) / catune
You once said “I just keep doing my thing in the underground scene as best I can, I want to make a difference”. So, have you made a difference?
“I can’t say I have made a difference right now. But if I keep doing the DJing and the label thing the same way I have been, then many Japanese DJs can release music not only on Japanese labels and many DJs can spin another countries. I have 10 gigs in Europe this year with THE BACKWOODS!”
What was the main reason you started your own label Ene Records?
“Because the other labels were”t releasing the music I love!”
How important was the 2010 hit from The Backwoods, it certainly caught the attention of the world!
“Yes, exactly! His name is already famous in the world as FORCE OF NATURE and THE BACKWOODS music is different than with FON. I really like all of his music. I truly believed THE BACKWOODS would hit many people’s hearts when I got demos from him in 2008.”
What are the next releases coming up in 2012?
“Many 12″‘s coming up: COS/MES, Lord of The Isles, Tiago, Coyote, Beppe Loda and Mushrooms Project, Chida etc. Also our Ene x ESP joint label ENESP will release Land of Light Album. It’s Jonny Nash’s new project. – Great band!! Also Ene records will release Lord of The Isles Album!
How would you describe the musical soundtrack of Ene Records – does it fit into one category?
“I can’t categorise our music. Basically – House, Techno, Nu Disco, Rock, Chill out everything!!!”
You are about to embark on your second international tour taking in 10 hot locations. Where are you especially looking forward to hitting?
“For me, the best venue is LuxFragil for the last 20 years. I am really excited about Istanbul and Moscow this time. I can’t imagine what they will be like…”
Tell us about the stars on the tour, who are on board?
“James Cooper (ReviveHER / London) and Tiago (Lux, Lisbon).”
What is the club scene like in Japan at the moment – where are the best clubs right now?
“Too many clubs in Japan now. Too many international DJs coming to Japan every weekend. But our music scene is still very underground. I really love Club Eleven(ex YELLOW) for this last 20years.”
How popular is the drug scene in Japanese nightclubs?
“All drugs are of course illegal in Japan, but it’s really a big problem.”
What is the best club you have ever DJ’d at?
“Lux Fragil in Lisboa.”
And finally, who are the up and coming producers / singers / DJs we should be looking out for coming from Japan?
“COS/MES, Force of Nature, Sly Mongoose, Cro-Magnon, Kaoru Inoue. Everybody is making new music here, there is much great music coming out from JAPAN!!”
ReviveHER presents Ene Records European Tour
Friday 27th July
@ The Dalston Superstore, London
Chida The Backwoods (AKA DJ Kent) Last Waltz ColouringIN – Live PA Bi-Bop Nicholas Fee Feon