In Chorareii’s ‘DJ ID’ series, established and emerging DJs from the Japanese clubbing & raving universe share some information about themselves, allowing us to know the vision behind the bangers.
Chorareii: First, introduce yourself!
I’m Onju (@oxywinter)! I was born in 2002 in Suginami, Tokyo! I’ve spent a bit of time in the countryside, but I’ve mostly been in Tokyo, and I’m still here now.
What kind of music do you play when you DJ?
Until recently, I was really into fluffy techno trance, but lately, I’m into baile funk, jersey club, drill, and anything with a bottom-heavy sound. However, if it’s a standout remix of my favorite song, early hyper-pop, trance, or any sound that I feel fits the moment, time, or space, I’ll play it!
Where do you usually DJ?
Lately, it seems like I’ve been at Saloon and Space a lot.
Tell us about what got you into DJing!
During the pandemic, I bought a small controller to play around with, and I started going to clubs more and more. It happened suddenly when I was asked to perform at an event for friends who couldn’t get in because they were underage. My friends wanted me to play so that they could come!
Why did you choose the DJ name, and what do you want it to represent?
I focused quite a bit on the look and pronunciation. But there is meaning behind it, so if you’re curious, ask me when we meet. I’ll tell you 😉
How do you feel when you’re DJing? And what do you want the audience to feel?
Above all, I want to enjoy it more than anyone else. That feeling is the most significant and something I cherish! I love the sensation of everyone watching me, and the thrill of making people cheer and move their bodies.
I want the audience to go wild, like head-banging levels of wild. But depending on the time, the previous and subsequent DJs, and the event’s purpose, there might be times when I want them to groove gently. I’m happiest when the audience gets closer to the state I want to be in at that moment. It feels like we’re connected.
Tell us about the “Nimbus” party! What’s the meaning of the name, and how is it different from other parties?
Honestly, the initial motivation was that I wanted more bookings, and I wanted to be recognized as someone amazing. But once I decided to do it, I started reevaluating why I’m in the club scene, the community that grew from there, rethinking the ideal clubbing experience, and how to show respect to the people I love.
I named it Nimbus after Harry received Nimbus 2000 from Professor McGonagall, just like my friends who are like teachers, teaching me various things and making me feel like I could fly anywhere with my Nimbus. I also thought it would be great if someone could pass Nimbus on to others and fly together.
This event is all about love and equality. I want everyone to have a good time without anyone getting hurt, and to express respect to others and feel it themselves. I’d be happy if people could find unforgettable nights and new friends within this context.
For Nimbus vol.4, which will be held on 11/17 at Shibuya’s Enter, I’m co-hosting it with my best friend Lucia (DJ name: Sugar High). There are many things we want to do, and we want to challenge ourselves in various ways beyond just being a club event!
You’re also the drummer for the band Nevera. Tell us about this project.
I’ve been in this band since 2021 with friends I met in high school. We perform at live houses in Tokyo about once a month. We have around 15 songs that we’ve created, and it feels like we’re in the middle of recording them now. We even have two music videos on YouTube that were made by my friends since middle school. We’re doing things at our own pace, but we’re doing what we want to do.
From a creative perspective, I’d like to know your thoughts and intentions when you’re DJing and when you’re making and performing music with the band.
Playing an instrument is somewhat similar to DJing, but it’s also quite different. When playing an instrument, I feel like I can directly produce sounds, and do what I want, and it’s more about experiencing life to a greater extent. For me, what’s important in the band is not what I want to become or what I want to do, but the lifelong work with the members and the creative process within me. It’s not about aiming for a particular place or scale, but being happy if we can deliver music to even one person. I’d love it if you could come see us!
How would you describe your personality, and how do you think it reflects in your DJing?
People who know me well would understand, but I enjoy saying silly things and joking around to make people laugh. So, if the audience laughs, or they come talk to me afterward, I’m incredibly happy! I also love talking to new people! In other words, I think the club is a place filled with the things I love!
What do you think sets you apart as a DJ?
In terms of play and sound, I’m still figuring it out, and the differences between me and other DJs, as well as the differences from my past self, are things I need to keep developing. But, if I were to say something, I’d like to expand the multidimensional perspective that arises from doing various things like DJing, being a band member, and modeling. Right now, it’s still a work in progress, but becoming an irreplaceable presence on a larger scale and a broader perspective would be the most significant difference I can make.
You recently started modeling. Has your experience as a model influenced your DJing style or vice versa?
It’s a bit uncertain whether it’s because I’m a model, but in terms of fashion, there’s a significant difference in how I dress when I go to clubs or when I’m DJing. I’ve grown my hair, so I do different hairstyles, put on stylish glasses, and try styles that show my midriff. It’s just clothing, but it feels like it significantly affects my mood. I’ve also become more conscious of how I’m seen, how I present myself, and how memorable I am to people I meet for the first time.
Who are the musicians, DJs, artists, places, etc., that inspire you as a DJ?
There are quite a few people, but first and foremost, it’s my father. My father also works in the music industry, and while it’s a bit embarrassing to speak of us in the same context, I look at him when it comes to creative work. I’ve been watching him the longest, and he’s taught me a lot, including dedication, passion, love for music (and love from the family), and I genuinely respect and appreciate him. He’s my lifelong role model and the person I admire the most.
Apart from music, what else do you like? What do you do when you’re not at the club?
Lately, I’ve enjoyed watching cooking videos! Cooking has a certain set of principles, and there’s room for deviation and mastery, similar to DJing, so it’s kind of like that!
Tell us about an unforgettable party.
All of Soya Ito’s MANA parties have left a lasting impression. While I consider him one of my few best friends in life, it’s not just about that. It’s his convincing approach to how he thinks, feels, absorbs, digests, and outputs things. I believe it’s not just about having confidence in one’s skills but also about how well you can take a broader view of everyday life and your own experiences, and how thoroughly you can feel those things. His parties are fantastic because he excels in all these aspects. He doesn’t overestimate what he can do at any given time and has an incredible belief that he can handle difficult things as well. He’s fantastic at involving people in things other than dance and music experiences. I appreciate that.
Where do you want to play as a DJ, in terms of parties, locations, festivals, raves, or venues?
Playing on a floor where I have my beloved people is less likely to change, no matter the size of the venue or the greatness of the party. I want to play surrounded by everyone’s smiles on a floor filled with love. But right now, there are places I want to go and things I want to do with everyone. I want to do big events at places like Liquidroom, Club Asia, and Unit. I also want to go abroad. I want to become the kind of DJ who can take everyone to those places!
What is your vision for the role of DJs in our generation? The reasons and motivations for starting DJing are somewhat vague, but I think there are many people I wouldn’t have met, and friends I wouldn’t have met again if I hadn’t become a DJ. There are also many dreams I wouldn’t have seen and goals I wouldn’t have achieved.
Starting to DJ is probably connected to everything that came before it, and it’s not about grand roles or visions. Rather, I hope that being a DJ becomes a simple tool to document the journey I’ve been on and to create beautiful images, like having a piece of paper and a pen for that purpose.