Chorareii: First, introduce yourself!
nasthug: I’m nasthug (@nasthug), a DJ in Tokyo. I was born in Chiba in 1998. My father is Jamaican and my mother is Japanese.
What kind of music do you play when you DJ?
Hip-hop, trap, trap metal, dancehall, afrobeat, and I’m into Jersey club these days.
Which venues do you often DJ at?
I used to DJ a lot at Ebisu Batica and Nakameguro Solfa! Now, I think I have DJed at almost every club in Shibuya where hip-hop is played.
How did you start DJing?
I started when I was working at Circus Tokyo when I was 19. Most of the staff there were musicians or DJs. It was tough at first, being cooped up in the studio for 6 hours.
Why did you choose your DJ name and what do you want to express with it?
I loved Young Thug when I was in middle school and my real name is Nastashia so my friends called me Nas Thug! I liked so much that I used it on Instagram and I wrote it directly like that on the flyers.
You are part of the Japanese hip-hop scene. How did this connection come about?
I’m probably more hip-hop than anyone else, so hip-hop people naturally gather around me. Seriously!
DJs play the music they enjoy so that others can enjoy it as well. Do you enjoy the music that Japanese hip-hop artists are making now?
I have always checked out music from overseas and rarely check out Japanese music, but when I listen to my friends’ songs and attend their live shows, I always think that the current Japanese rap scene is well established, including the listeners. Opportunities for rappers are definitely increasing.
How is the hip-hop scene in Japan different from other countries?
That’s a tough question… Comparing people who are successful in both places, I think Japanese hip-hop has a strong sense of empathy and closeness, in both good and bad ways.
In the U.S., there is a huge difference between celebrities and ordinary people, and their rapping is seen as a distant and admired worldview. They kind of ignore this side of the world. Well, it’s the size of the country.
How do you feel when you are DJing? And what do you want your audience to feel?
I honestly don’t think about it too much while DJing, but come dance with me!
As a performer, I lip-sync and dance. It is easier for everyone to dance when the DJ is dancing than when the DJ is standing like a stick. I feel these DJs play the best songs!
I am very curious about your passion for Hannah Montana!
I was a lonely kid in elementary school, so I would go home and watch Hannah Montana on TV by myself. I still keep that feeling inside me. I’m grateful and will always love her!
How would you describe your personality and how does it translate to your sessions?
People think I’m self-centered because of my appearance, but I’m not. I care about the people around me and the things I do for them.
What do you think makes you different as a DJ or how do you try to make a difference?
I can’t say exactly what it is, but every time I play as nasthug I think I’m the only one, and when I play nasthug I don’t want to be cooler or prettier than other people, I want to be crazy!
What musicians, DJs, artists, places … inspire you as a DJ?
The Bootychaaain, Hook, and Bktherula I heard during my SoundCloud heyday really ate me up. I honestly thought they were really goofy like they weren’t trying to sell. I could feel them rapping with the yin and yang. I also used their music in my DJ mix [DJ PRETTY BITTY MIX 2021]!
What do you like besides music? What do you do when you are not at the club?
I go from hamburger shop to hamburger shop. I love hamburgers.
Is there a particular song you would like to play at every session?
“Anutha Day in L.A” by Mani is my favorite but I feel like it’s a summer song so I’m waiting until the summer.
Also “Are U Live” by Chance The Rapper. I play it to dance! I like the simplicity of the beat.
One party where you DJ that you’ll never forget.
When I played at Dancehall at Circus Osaka in the summer of 2021, I felt like I was shaking because everyone was dancing so much! Seriously, I feel like crying just remembering that day. I’m so glad I did it.
At what parties, venues, festivals, raves, clubs… would you like to play as a DJ?
My goal is to DJ in the U.S. and Jamaica. nasthug from Tokyo!!
What is the role of DJs in our generation?
I think Japan still has a very low level of respect for DJs. I have heard stories about young DJs who have been treated badly. I think that the DJs as a whole need to show how incredibly hard it is to be a DJ. It’s not just that they are lucky.
For that to happen, we have to hone our skills even more. I think DJs can be called modern music entertainers, at least that’s what I do!