In Chorareii’s ‘DJ ID’ series, both established and emerging DJs from the Japanese clubbing & raving universe share some information about themselves, for us to know the vision behind the bangers.
Chorareii: First, introduce yourself!
Bailefunk Kakeko: I am a DJ and producer by the name of Bailefunk Kakeko and DJ nonono (@satononono). I have been active in music for about 14 years, including some time as a rapper and in a band. I was born in Tochigi prefecture and currently live in Tokyo.
You have two artistic names, what are the differences between Bailefunk Kakeko and DJ nonono?
nonono is my original DJ name and nickname. Under this name, I was DJing various music genres.
I started making songs around 2014, and my songs varied from kuduro to melodic hardcore, in addition to baile funk. Bailefunk Kakeko is the name I use when I focus on baile funk. I started using it in 2019 and it has been my main one lately.
What kind of music do you play when you DJ?
I play mainly baile funk with elements of rave and trance and baile funk from various eras. I also play a lot of music by Brazilian producers, and mix South American club music, Japanese rap songs, and nerdcore, among others.
What was your first encounter with funk carioca music? Have you ever been to Brazil?
I think my first encounter with Brazilian funk music was when I listened to Bonde do Rolê’s album “With Lasers” at TSUTAYA about 15 years ago. At that time, I was listening to dance music with elements of live sound, such as dancehall reggae and Ozomatli. When I heard baile funk, I was surprised to find that the imaginary music I was looking for was real! I was so surprised.
Unfortunately, I have never been to Brazil, but I am currently saving up money for a trip there, so I hope to go soon.
Is funk carioca music famous in Japan? Are there Japanese artists who make such music or DJs who play it, apart from you?
I don’t think baile funk is famous, but the number of people who like it is increasing.
2danimeghetto, who lives in Shimane, Japan, makes pretty interesting baile funk music! He plays live on a sampler in the style of Montagem. Another artist, hirihiri, makes baile funk fused with hyperpop, Brazilians often talk about him.
Ritsuko Sakata is a DJ who plays a wide range of music, but she also plays interesting dembow and baile funk. Pìccolo plays baile funk only, and Pharakami Sanders DJs a set of 90s baile funk.
There are many other great DJs who incorporate baile funk into their own styles, including Okadada, Wrack, T5UMUT5UMU, Moro, and Hiro “BINGO” Watanabe.
What venues do you often DJ at?
Anywhere I am invited! I DJ at a variety of venues, but the one I have a long relationship with is Shinjuku Duusraa. I am currently planning my own event at Forest Limit.
How did you start DJing?
When I was in high school, I started going to clubs and live music venues and started collecting records. I spent a long time thinking that I wanted to DJ. When I finally got the chance to touch a turntable, I was instantly hooked and became a DJ very quickly.
You have released the EP ‘時給5000兆円’ (‘5000 trillion yen per hour’) with Haruko Tajima. You have worked together before. How did this connection come about? Please tell me about the EP!
I met Haruko Tajima when we both played at a live house I was in with my band. I asked them to perform at some of my events, and them invited me to perform at their events. From the winter of 2019, I became the back DJ for their live shows.
Soon after I became their back DJ, Haruko Tajima had an important solo show at Shibuya WWW. I practiced cutting the faders in the studio until my hands bled! At first, I wondered if I was interfering with their world. But now they sometimes appear in my DJ shows, and we sometimes go into battles together. It’s become messy in a good way, and we’re having a lot of fun.
I had the opportunity to write songs together, such as the song “KittySandal” on my EP TóquioBug and the track “KINGDIVA” in collaboration with Yukkyun.
The latest EP ‘5000 trillion yen per hour’ contains baile funk songs, but it is also a very interesting EP with a mix of hard techno, hyperpop, breakcore, reggaeton, trance, and many other elements. Of course, the lyrics are great too, especially the song ‘500 trillion yen per hour’, which you should definitely listen to while reading the lyrics. ‘FAAAAAAAAAASTEST’ and ‘Tajjar Samba’ were written for the battle at the AVYSS Cup speed/quickness soundclash in May, and ‘New Future Century Galnia II (RAVE x Funk mandelão Remix)’ was also written during my DJing at the AVYSS event. I made it spontaneously when I asked Haruko to join me at an AVYSS event, so I think a lot of the songs have a sense of the scene. Also, it’s very fast!
You have appeared at mixes and streaming parties in the Brazilian scene. Tell us about this connection.
It seems that Brazil has a very large population that listens to music on the Internet, for example, the baile funk music YouTube channel “Kondzilla” has 65.7 million subscribers. Funk producers are also active on SoundCloud, where they release songs that incorporate various genres and are very interesting and experimental.
I became Bailefunk Kakeko because I was fascinated by the evolution of baile funk released on SoundCloud. I first started posting remixes of baile funk on SoundCloud myself. After I released my EP in 2020, Brazilian artists started to listen to my music and started to contact me. All of the mixes and streaming party appearances came from people who heard my SoundCloud. I feel that I am close to the people of Brazil on SoundCloud, even though I am physically far away from them.
How do you feel when you are DJing? And what do you want your audience to feel?
Before DJing, I picture myself entertaining the audience, I sound like an athlete! I am the kind of person that if I DJ with a negative mindset, it affects my music selection, so I need to have a good image of myself.
I look at the audience quite a bit while DJing. I try not to go too wild and slowly lead everyone along. I want to take the audience to a place they have never been to before, but I am not there yet. I am still in training!
Do you think there are many differences between a Japanese dancefloor and a Brazilian dancefloor?
I can’t say until I go to Brazil myself! When I look at the party scene in Brazil on social media, I am jealous of all the funk lovers, obviously.
In the past, you launched two projects under the name TóquioBug, an EP and a compilation. Both of these projects feature many artists from the scene. Tell us about these projects.
TóquioBug means funk-lovers born like bugs in Tokyo, far away from Brazil. I felt that making the same music as Brazilian music would be meaningless to Brazilian people, so I wanted to put Japanese raps on the baile funk tracks on the EP. The rappers I asked are not funk MCs, but they all have elements of baile funk in their voices and flows, and all the tracks are great.
The compilation was planned with the goal of introducing funk by Japanese producers to funk lovers in Brazil and around the world. When I selected the people, I knew that it would not be a conventional compilation, but it turned out to include 8 very interesting songs, more different than I had imagined.
How would you describe your personality and how is it reflected in your sessions?
I’m not very talkative unless I have had a few drinks, and I often say things that I don’t mean and then worry about them later, so I wouldn’t say I have a cheerful personality.
I also have a tendency to always doubt myself, so I try to believe in myself as much as possible, especially when it comes to music. I believe in music as much as I can, especially when I think it’s good.
What do you think makes you different as a DJ? How do you try to make a difference?
I used to feel that I was too biased in the music I liked and that I needed to become a DJ who could express the qualities of a wider variety of music. I will continue to make a difference by exploring more and more the sounds I like.
The Brazilian collective QUAN has participated in parties such as Kato Massacre and Ether in Japan. You also play with them from time to time. What was that experience like?
When I released my EP, I still had about 300 followers on SoundCloud and very few people following me from Brazil. XIAO QUAN was the first person to contact me. He is extraordinary and I want to meet and DJ with him when I go to Brazil!
When I attended his party, I had a hard time due to delivery problems, but I was so happy that for the first time I was listening to the same music in the same environment with people from Brazil at the same time. I was crying.
What do you like to do besides music? What do you do when you are not at the club?
At home, I like to play with my microphone and read manga, and I often go for walks. Also, recently I have been going to Takarazuka Revue plays and watching DVDs with my friends.
I really like an actor named Nozomi Fūto, who has graduated from Takarazuka, and I like her last play ‘ff – fortissimo’ the best. I want everyone to see it!
Is there a particular song you would like to play at every session?
All of the songs from FKOFF1963!
At what parties, venues, festivals, raves, or clubs… would you like to play as a DJ?
Lately, I’m really interested in a party called TAUMKAOSAQUI in Brazil! In Japan, I would like to DJ at WEST HARLEM in Kyoto and Hikari no Lounge in Aichi.
What is the role of DJs in our generation?
When I first became Bailefunk Kakeko, I had a fierce unrequited love for Brazilian artists and watched and listened to their music in a one-sided way. But recently, little by little, people in Brazil have come to know of their existence. So now I feel that I would like Brazilian people to see the artists and events around me.
I hope that people who share a love for the same kind of music can meet each other, regardless of where they live. I think music will be richer that way and I would like to work to accelerate such encounters.
I also want to make the local scene more of a place where everyone feels safe.