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 of all, introduce yourself!
DJ DISK: I’m DJ DISK a.k.a Disk Nagataki (@omg_djdisk). I’m from Okayama, but I’m currently living from place to place in Japan, changing my production environment.
What kind of music do you play when you DJ?
I always try to find a good balance between the music that I want to play as a DJ and the music that the audience wants to dance to. I feel that being emotional rather than technical as a DJ is my essential desire when it comes to music.
I usually combine modern music such as hip-hop, techno/house, and reggae with disco, funk, and soul.
You are also a music producer. Which came first, production or DJing?
I’ve been editing music since I was in high school. There were DJs, MCs, and writers around me, so I remember doing all kinds of things. I held student events on a regular basis, and while I was building my foundation in music, I somehow knew that I wanted to be involved in this community. When I thought about what I could do, I chose to become a DJ and producer.
In what venues do you often DJ?
I have played at venues such as Sound Museum Vision, Contact, Beat Cafe, and pop-ups for friends and brands where the music I wanted to express and the image they wanted to propose were linked.
What made you start DJing?
I used to dance when I was in high school. When I saw Jommy and Daruma dancing in the concept videos for the brand Roc Star, I became aware of the connection between music and culture.
I came across DJ equipment when I was trying to come up with my own sound framing and the edit style that I liked.
Why did you choose your DJ name, and what do you want to express with it?
DJ DISK is an abbreviation for DAISUKE and it sounds like something that has to do with music. I also want it to convey the image of bringing everyone into a circle through music.
You used to be a member of the tokyovitamin creative collective. How did this connection start?
I got to know everyone when I was working at Dover Street Market Ginza. I started out in the fashion field and gradually made more friends in the music scene. Having so many people in the family to talk about new things is an important part of what keeps me creative.
Tell me about your work with Lava La Rue.
I met Lava La Rue when she came to Japan. When I heard her music, I thought it was really cool and I asked her to come over to my house. We made a beat and she wrote a lyric and after about an hour and a half, we recorded it on a SHURE SM58 and released it. It was “Widdit.”
Since she is back in the UK, we haven’t been able to see each other as much as we would like, but we have been able to communicate on social media, with her occasionally beat jacking tracks from my EP.
You have also worked as a producer for several well-known hip-hop artists as kZm, Daichi Yamamoto, Miyachi, or JNKMN. How is it to work with them?
kZm and I have become good friends over time. When I was with him in Okinawa, I played him several beats and we were able to have a real conversation about music and how to make music that is our own. By the way, his homemade food is so delicious that we often go to eat at his house!
It is a pleasure to work with creative artists like Daichi Yamamoto, Miyachi and JNKMN. They have always had their own way of dealing with music and the ability to transform it into songs. It’s a great opportunity to share a perspective that I don’t have and put it into my work.
What changes in your feelings and your mind when you are producing and when you are DJing?
There is a difference between seeing the audience in front of you and imagining the audience. DJing is an action to move the audience’s mind by improvising on the spot, while production is a time to face new music alone while imagining the situation on the spot.
You have been involved in music collaborations with the designer VERDY. What vision unites you regarding music, fashion, and culture in general?
I think it’s very typical of VERDY to be active in Tokyo and abroad, but also to give back to his hometown Osaka bringing the culture that is happening in different places. I sympathize with him very much. I also have lots of new things planned with my local friends in Okayama.
Apart from music, you have a deep knowledge of various street cultures. I have been thinking that street culture is more on Social Media than on the actual street right now. How do you feel about street culture in Japan nowadays?
Street culture is something that happens in direct dialogue with you, something that you see and share directly with others. I think that things that happen on social media are often talked about in isolation from others. On the other hand, I think there is a strong community that has developed on the internet.
This is also a moment of further separation between different ways of thinking within the same culture. Since the situation is still unstable, the restrictions and pressures may create a culture with even more impact.
How do you feel when you are DJing? And what do you want your audience to feel?
I’m always conscious of whether the audience is enjoying the music or not. As a DJ, I hope that I can make the audience get a feeling that cannot be obtained through watching a video. It’s easy to just capture the atmosphere of the moment on Instagram, but I hope that the feelings you get when I DJ remain in your mind, whether they are good or bad.
What do you think makes you different as a DJ or how do you try to make a difference?
The music a DJ play is like a person’s fingerprint, everyone has their own particularities. By enjoying and empathizing with these particularities, I am trying to get out the unconscious self that is hidden within me.
What musicians, DJs, artists, places … inspire you as a DJ?
There are so many musicians and artists that inspire me, but I also find it very stimulating to try new things with my local friends, seniors, and family in Okayama. When I do exciting new things that are different from music, my music is stimulated from a new angle as well.
One party where you DJ that you’ll never forget.
The tokyovitamin events and parties have inspired me to move forward and have had a particularly big impact on me.
This year 2021 you have moved from tokyovitamin and started your own platform, Creatures Records (@creatures_rec). Tell me about it!
Creatures Records is the first way I’m going to approach telling my story to the world. Whether it’s music, clothing, audio, or art, my goal is to transcend the barriers of race, class, animal, or non-animal in the world we live in and continue to dance together as, in one word, creatures. The idea of creature represents the true feeling that lurks in everyone’s heart.
The meaning of “Records” is not limited to music releases, it is a platform for me to record my activities, and it acts as a place to record various things that spread in my mind. I’m very excited to reveal the full story soon. Please follow @creatures_rec!
What is the role of the DJ in our generation?
A DJ is not only someone who plays music by matching the bpm, but also a person who is very sensitive to people’s energies and creative angles and can interpret their dynamics. DJs can play a role as a creative control tower.
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