Dazed Digital

Tokyo

WE HERE NOW - DJ Aosawa

January 23, 2012

As we countdown to the launch of the first installation of the new night, we meet the long-running Tokyo DJ Aosawa

  • Text by Sophie Jackson

"WE HERE NOW isn’t just about having a party with big DJs, but has a sound concept behind it that deserves to get some real attention," says DJ Aosawa.

Satellite Voices: Are you from Tokyo?
DJ Aosawa:
I was born here yes, in Nippori.

SV: How long have you been DJing for and how did you start? 
DJ Aosawa: In 1994 or 1995, so seventeen years. My friend’s brother was DJing and at their house he had the DJ equipment. I had never seen this before and didn't know much about it, my friends brother was playing and I saw it and got really excited and surprised and asked him to teach me. He taught me how to DJ and I used to like music and I wanted to learn how to play a musical instrument but I couldn't, so first of all I DJed. I needed some sort of youth culture hobby when I was younger, all of my friends were doing skateboarding or surfing and I couldn't do any sport, so this was my way of surviving adolescence! 

SV: Where was your first gig?
DJ Aosawa: 
I grew up in a suburban part of Tokyo and so my first gigs were in this games centre. I used to always take my complete sound system into the venue. It wasn't really allowed but at that time there were not really many clubs so people didn't really understand what was going on.

SV: What projects are you working on at the moment in Tokyo?
DJ Aosawa: 
I have been working in A&R for the music label, KSR introducing music to the Japanese market and DJing at the same time. I spend my time doing 50/50 A&R and DJing. In Tokyo we work with domestic artists but now instead of focusing on dance music we bring over some international rock bands from Brazil or New York for the big festivals like Summer Sonic and Fuji Rock.

SV: You are moving to Berlin this spring, what do you hope to achieve?
DJ Aosawa: 
I really want to introduce Japanese culture to Berlin, I think it is little appreciated and sometimes misunderstood overseas. I am proud to be Japanese and I want to showcase Japanese talent. It would be good to develop a booking agency in Berlin which could bring over Japanese talent and showcase what we have here. We are also going to open a Japanese restaurant in a building which also hosts a gallery and a club, in Berlin Mitte. It is an exciting collaboration with ULA Berlin.

What do you think of the club and music scene in Tokyo at the moment?
DJ Aosawa: 
There are many talented Japanese creators and DJs in Japan, but many clubs will only hire popular DJs who are more commercial, based purely on the amount of people that they can bring in. This is okay from a business perspective, but the companies need to focus also on the younger artists who are doing exciting projects.

It is difficult to do creative things in Tokyo now as it is all about the commercial side of things. Big clubs like Womb for example offer a nice opportunity to get involved for people who are yet not connected to music. But then in the end there are not enough places that are small enough to let emerging talents experiment. But these smaller places are crucial for younger artists to develop and become successful.

SV: What made you decide to get involved with WE HERE NOW?
DJ Aosawa: 
Chris Akira, co-founder of WE HERE NOW, got in touch with me about two-years-ago via Soundcloud. A while later he asked me to get involved with the event and I accepted, because the party was exactly on that smaller scale that is missing in Tokyo. WE HERE NOW isn’t just about having a party with big DJs, but has a sound concept behind it that should garner some real attention.

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