Pioneer Japan have licensed Bedrock from Pioneer US and issued a three-part compilation mix series showcasing the talents of three of Tokyo’s most prolific DJs.
The first CD in the series has been mixed by one of Japan’s most influential and prominent DJs, Ko Kimura; former collaborator with Satoshi Tomiie and owner of record label Futic and DJ & Promotion agency Futique Management who will bring Bedrock resident Phil Thompson to Tokyo on April 27 at legendary club Yellow
RA caught up with Ko Kimura to ask him about his involvement in the Japanese club scene and the future of the progressive scene in Japan.
Interview with Ko Kimura
Your monthly party KOOL has been successfully running for six years now. What kind of music did you play when you first started the night?
Essentially house mixed with techno and trance. Back then I also played a lot of uplifting vocal tracks but unfortunately these days it’s very hard to find quality vocal tracks.
Last year the dominant sound at progressive nights in Tokyo was dark and tribal. What about this year?
I think this year the sound will become a little bit more aggressive. Most people go to clubs to dance and enjoy themselves. I think Tokyo DJs will be trying to create a more uplifting vibe without compromising the quality of the music.
How did you become interested in DJing?
I started collecting records like movie soundtracks from the age of 10. After I discovered DJ music I bought one turntable, a record player and a mixer and started seriously buying records. My goal was to educate Japanese audiences. Initially I started playing hip hop before later moving onto things like Depeche Mode and New Order. Later on a friend of mine introduced me to New York house music which I fell in love with so then I started playing that kind of music.
Where do you think the Japanese club scene fits in with the rest of the world?
A lot of Japanese DJs started out playing New York style house later combining this with the UK sound so I think Japan should continue to be a middle ground for showcasing U.S house and its UK progressive counterpart.
However, at the moment there are many Japanese DJs who simply play records without any real innovation or individual style. I think the whole idea of imitating well-known DJs needs to be changed by encouraging DJs to adopt new sounds and make them their own.
How did you select the tracks for your Bedrock compilation?
I think the traditional image of Bedrock is dark and progressive. I like to play a more uplifting energetic style of music so I took elements of the Bedrock sound and fused them with my own style to create my own interpretation. I think the end result is an aggressive tribal progressive mix.
Currently commercial trance is the most popular form of dance music in Japan. How do you think the progressive scene is going to evolve to compete with this?
Japanese audiences like the atmosphere and fashion of associated with that kind of music but are not really interested in the music itself. We'd like to try and educate that audience onto a more intelligent sound by promoting the progressive scene without losing its underground element.
What sound are you trying to push with your label Futic?
Driving and aggressive. We'd like to steer away from the stereotypical progressive house sound and try and create a whole new genre by mixing various genres together. Ideally, we'd like to start a new party that would represent this sound in the same way that clubs like Gatecrasher and Cream in the UK have done except that the sound would originate from Tokyo. Obviously the most important thing is to make records which make people dance.
Bedrock: Compiled and Mixed by Ko Kimura is available now through Pioneer Japan. Read more about Bedrock Japan at www.pldc.co.jp.