Wednesday, 28 November 2007
By Johnny Chingas
with the kind assistance of Jonny Nash
I first met Jonny Nash in Tokyo in 2004/ 2005 when I was DJing out there. Jonny was recommended to us as 'an extremly nice' guy, which also was my first impression when I met him. At that time the Lasermagnetic sound could be summed up as Italo, Canadian Disco and early 80s dubby boogie sound. We quickly figured out that we pretty much had a similar taste in music. We had now hooked up, exchanged ideas and eventually ended up spinning together at some 'improvised' gigs in Japan. I also got to meet Dr. Nishimura, as he was working at Cisco Records in Shibuya. A couple of months back in the UK later I got a message from Jonny, saying that Discossession (Dr.Nishimura, Chee Shimizu & Jonny Nash) would like to visit Europe in December 2005 and he'd love to make it a special experience for Chee and Nishi, as it was their first trip outside Japan. At the same tiem, I recieved a message from Danny Wang citing that the Dr. was his 'musical mentor', a sweet guy and skills -wise as talented as his European/American counter parts, and because of obvious geographical and cultural barriers 'totally under-rated'.
I couldn't agree more, so both Neilo and I decided to throw a warehouse party in London's East End. It was great. The vibe, the people and of course, the selection. We were treated to lots of classic disco, italo-influenced sounds, and a few cosmic sounding flavours. (basically, early German electronica). The following year I visited Japan again, and this time went out with Nathan Gregory Wilkins, who is a talented DJ with good taste in music and fashion. We threw a party together with Discossession on a boat in Yokohama overlooking the harbour, which was - needless to say - great fun and special (Thank you Takashi!). Already, only a couple of months later the focus of the party had naturally shifted to a more leftfield Euro/Spacedico, progressive and fusion sounding selection. Imagine tracks like 'Folkstone Hoovercraft' by Space Art, next to Evisu 'Spelling Love' , Nancy Nova, Slang 'Pinch Roller', Methusalem, Booker T 'Don't Stop your Love' and Eloy all sitting next to each other and making sense.
In the following months I heard reports that Chee had now sold his entire 'Italo' collection and was into the cosmic & afro-funky vibe, being inspired by the early Loda and Baldelli tapes. Hearing several of their Discossession mixes, I realised that the dudes had carved out their own sound, not only citing Italo, Disco and Cosmic, but also added psychadelic, jazz fusion and rock elements into the occasion.
Tracks like John Tropea 'Living in the jungle', fusion bands and artist like Neil Larsen and Focus, the German Electronics of Klaus Schulze and labels like Sky & Innovative Communication were all being utilised form maximum audio-fidelity joy and entertainment.
'As long as it is danceable and good it will get played' seems the ethos of the Discossession crew.
Now that's a meaningful definition of disco - we like a lot!
In that sense, we are very delighted to welcome Dr.Nishimura back again at this weekend's Typhoon/Mountain of One/Studio/Discossession/Lasermagnetic party.
1) Nishimura San, what's the first record you bought, When did you start DJing and why?
The first record I bought was Hall & Oates"Family Man". I started DJing at my University's festival before becoming a club DJ. It was New Wave club at Simokitazawa (an area of Tokyo). Maybe '91 or '92? Firstly I played US radical indies like Big Black, Butthole Surfers, or some junk rock and Belgian Techno he,he,he.
2) How did DISCOSSESSION start, and who is involved in it?
It began in 2004 after having meet Chee Shimizu. Both of us were into Italo. It wass a rare case in Japan at that time. So, we decided to play together. One day, we were playing at Holland's Creme-Organization party at Roppongi, and we met Jonny Nash. At that time he couldn't speak much Japanese, but after talking about music, we made friends with him immediately. As well as us three, Zecky (guitar player) is now also a member. He is an excellent tatooist. He's an old friend, I never imagined I'd be playing in a band with him in the future! Also Kozono (our bass player) is supporting Discossessions' live performance.
3) How would you describe your DJing style? Whats the situation with the nu disco revival in Japan?
I think it to be "DISCO" how matter any genre I play. kraut,electro,ambient,new-age,funk,fusion,techno,and so on.I feel The Disco Revival is complete in Japan now although techno is still the most popular among youngsters. I suppose this its pretty universal that young kids want harder, uplifting stuff!
I do think that Japanese youngsters have good sense and are pretty quick onto new movements and scenes - Disco-dub caught on in a big way out here quicker than it did overseas I'm sure.
4) Throughout the last couple of years I have noticed a shift in focus on disco sub-genres with the Discosessions crew. From Italo to Boogie to Psychadellic Rock, Cosmic and New wave influenced electronic and Jazz Fusion. Can you describe whether there was a logical progression involved in finding and exploring these sounds?
I think that Discossession has always been about exploring different genres and making sense of them in a club context, pushing boundaries of your DJ sets.
5) Please name 3 classic disco tracks that u love!
Five Special"Why Leave Us Alone"
Chas Jankel"Glad To Know You"
Daniel Wang"All Flowers Must Fade"
6) Whats the best party you ever played at?
So many good memories... one of the best parties I did was a party with Jonny in a small bar called Rajishan in Shizuoka (a city a few hours from tokyo).
7) How much importance do you place on "mixing"? Are your sets carefully programmed or is it pretty much a freestyle affair?
I want to merge old and new stuff together. So,I need to listen carefully to each tracks in order to find the right mix. I don't want to stop people dancing by a bad mix - I guess that I'm a DJ who places alot of importance on the mix. I adore the DJ's who have amazing skills. Beppe Loda, Jim Burgess, Theo Parrish,and so on. Such style is few and far between these days. I guess its my hope and aim to approach these great men of those past and present a little. Also I like to play more relaxed freestyle with close friends.
8) Do you think there is a difference between US/ EU Djs and Japanese DJs? Who are your favourite Japanese DJS?
I really don't think there is much difference between Japanese and non Japanese Djs these days. Lots of Japanese kids used to see foreign DJs as a kind of "brand" and superior to Japanese DJs.
At last I think the quality is really high in Japan. People have really caught onto this and thats why so many people come to events like RAW LIFE (http://rawlife.jp/history/2006/index.html ), which consist of just Japanese artists and DJS..Things are really opening up... so I've been able to do stuff like 8 hour sets in Osaka. It would be great if more young Japanese DJs start doing this kind of stuff.
My favorite Japanese DJ is, Toriyama from Sendai. He is very young, but the very best in Afro/Cosmic vein in Japan. He has amazing ideas and skills! Lovely. And. Konen Suzuki Jr. He also has amazing talent and passion. He is one of the extroadinary disco collectors in Japan. If you fortunate enough to hear him play, (he rarely does DJing...) the lost madness of The Saint will appear in front of your eyes!!
9) Who are your favorite Japanese producers?
Maybe Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono. I didn't like them at all in old days, but now I really understand their talent.
10) In terms of new artists, who excites you? What are 5 tracks that you are grooving to at the moment?
Alot of the Techno or Balearic sound is not interesting for me. But there are some unique talents that attract my interest. James Holden, Minilogue, Audion, 3 Channels, A Mountain Of One, Studio, Zombi amongst others.
Ronny & Renzo" Big Smack and Flies - Mungolian Jet Set Remix"
Matt John"Trampolin - Audion's Paradise Cafe Mix"
Mint"Secret re-edit of some prog-rock keyboadist"
Steve Moore"The Henge"
11) I head that you compiled a cosmic top 100. Was this for a magazine and do you mind sharing that list?
There was a big feature on the scene in Japan in a magazine called "Studio Voice" and many DJs were asked to give their best records from different genres. I can't remember what i put in mine.. but the feature is good and its worth hunting down. Tomita and Hideki Matsutake from Logic System were interviewed for it.
12) DISCOSSESSIOn's debut 12" just came out on crue-l. Any more releases in the pipeline?
Yes, We are planning an album release from Crue-L sometime next year.
13) Who gave you the name "Dr." ?
Chef Marbo. I don't like his recent DJ style and crazy sound system (I cannot understand why he must set the needle pressure so light...), but I love his character. Very funny guy.