Thursday, February 18, 2010
DJ Krush: Famed Japanese Hip Hop DJ, Producer Japan Times Interview
Japan Times: What do you feel has been your greatest achievement over the course of your 20-year career?
DJ Krush: There were a lot of difficulties, but I think the greatest achievement is that I've actually continued! I've never been able to speak English, but using my music there are people all over the world that are waiting for me. That is truly something incredible. In this way, I feel there are no boundaries — that there is a common empathy. And when I go to a country and my fans tell me, "We were waiting!" — when I hear this — I'm really glad that I'm doing this.
Japan Times: What exactly inspired you when you first saw "Wild Style"?
DJ Krush: I really liked music, and was in a band in junior high school, but I couldn't find the type of music I really wanted to do. In "Wild Style," things are utilized that you can find at home, like a turntable and records, and my father had records, so it seemed like something I could do straight away. And also, I could get a real feeling of the street off it.
Japan Times: How did you "become" a DJ? Obviously you weren't taught . . .
DJ Krush: There was absolutely no information in those days, and now there are things like DJ school! There was nothing like that back then, so I bought the video and watched a DJ scratching on repeat. I tried to figure it out like that and that was how I learned. At the time you couldn't buy the kind of mixers that they were using in the film, so I ended up buying a totally different mixer, which I remember really struggling with.
Japan Times: And were you doing hip-hop from the start?
DJ Krush: I was listening to 1970s and '80s funk and rock, and then slowly incorporating hip-hop.
Japan Times: How long did it take for you to develop your own DJing style?
DJ Krush: I'm still looking for it, even though I've been DJing for 20 years now.
Japan Times: How has the Japanese hip-hop scene developed over the years?
DJ Krush: I'm not really all that interested in the mainstream scene which is saturated with commercialism, but I really get the impression that there has been an increase in DJs and talented young people who want to manifest their own individuality and who have developed their own originality. Initially, hip-hop was a culture that was born in America, right? So the scene was imitating that. As the years went on, people started developing a sense of originality, an individuality that only they had. Not only DJs, but also rappers who were rapping in Japanese. I saw an increase in young people reflecting on things that were actually happening in their own country, not just copying gangs with guns.
Japan Times: You tour a lot with DJ Kentaro, but who are the other notable up-and-coming DJs in Japan.
DJ Krush: Oh, there are many now, but Kentaro won the DMC DJ championships (in 2002, aged 20), so I really think he has a certain groove that only he is capable of. I think Japanese are quite talented, so I really hope from now on that there are young people who want to participate on an international level.
Japan Times: Is your music more popular overseas than locally?
DJ Krush: I go overseas a lot, so maybe the level of recognition is higher overseas.
Japan Times: Why is that?
DJ Krush: I really feel the way that the crowd that accepts you abroad is slightly different than in Japan. They decide what they like and what they think is good for themselves, whereas in Japan, they don't make their own decisions; it's more like someone tells them it's good. If it's on TV that a CD is good, or if everyone says that it's good, they go out and buy it; they don't make their own selections.
Japan Times: People who meet you say you are really modest. Is it important to keep a humble attitude?
DJ Krush: Yeah, I don't really like the "me, me" attitude, and I can't really understand it. I wonder why people end up like that? Before that happens, I really think I have so much to do because people are really watching. I just think that I have a long way to go and that I haven't become the king yet.
Japan Times: Is it necessary to not feel satisfied as an artist?
DJ Krush: I really feel grateful to a lot of people that I have been able to come this far. For me to be able to go all over the world is really something I'm happy about, and there is more depth to music — it's so vast and free. So there is still a lot to pursue.
Read the full DJ Krush Interview here:
Japan Times - DJ Krush spins some tales