DJ Sodeyama is inspired by Francois K's breadth and width
Francois K's style is totally different from mine, but I used to listen to him a lot, especially through the '90s and the early '00s. He's a DJ and producer who basically represents NY house, and his style never stops evolving. He always surprises me, and the breadth of his knowledge about music is outstanding. My image of NY house when I first started listening to him was people playing organic and soulful tracks, but his style is very different from that. For example, at the high point of the night, he'd play nothing but techno.
The way he'd develop his minimal set was actually what got me interested in techno and minimal. I don't want to categorize his set too much, but you wouldn't hear his mix of house, techno, tech house, minimal, dub ambient, dance classics—even sutras—anywhere else. He has a way of mixing those styles together so naturally that it doesn't sound odd to have them together.
Iori loves how precisely Claudio PRC mixes
I've loved Claudio PRC's DJing since 2011, when I saw him playing at a festival in the mountains in Shizuoka. Since then I've played with him a few times. Even when he selects records that I have, it sounds somehow different and I hear the song in a new way. He's also from a small island like me, so I feel like we can easily relate to one another; we share a similar attitude to music. He is still young, but he has a very sophisticated way of selecting tracks. He plays really deep, moving music, and mixes it very precisely and delicately so it comes over you in waves, like a tide going in and out.
I love the twists he makes in his mixes, and the energy he creates on the dance floor shows how much he loves music. He has a very professional sense of rhythm, even to experienced DJs; it's neat but also funky. He plays what you'd recognise as techno, but you can also sense a bit of underground hip-hop coming through. I'm always taken aback by how open and honest he is, in terms of his personality. I find him very inspiring.
Kez Ym says Theo Parrish creates an "amazing surreal bricolage" when he DJs
There are many different kinds of DJs in the world, and many of them are very good, but Theo Parrish stands out from the rest of the pack. The way he selects such diverse and vivid tracks, his timing and the order in which he plays them, and how seamlessly he blends them together... it creates an amazing surreal bricolage. It's as if the sounds turn into energy particles that engulf the audience, taking them on a mindblowing journey. And while they're basking in that sound, they are liberated from everyday life, letting them just co-exist in harmony with the music. Even when the night is over, you feel a new sense of energy and courage, ready for a new day.
Whenever I dance to one of his DJ sets, I'm always like, "This is it!" He's that kind of DJ. I've heard him play in several different places and in different mixes, and you can always hear that same unique Theo sound. I think it was like that even before he started bringing his E&S mixer with him to gigs. Is it the records? Is it how he EQs the sound? Is it the volume? And does he achieve it all intentionally, or is it unconscious? I think it's all of the above.
Gonno is reminded by DJ Nobu that an exceptional DJ can be great anywhere
I think that a good DJ has to be kind of educated about the dance floor, and has to have manners. I don't mean they have to know a lot about old records, I mean they have to know how to move people, both in a physical and spiritual sense, both people who have an ear for music to people who don't know much about music. Regardless of their age or nationality, that's my criteria for a good DJ.
DJ Nobu is able to do all of that, and built up that ability from years of experience playing dance floors. The other night I went to see him play in a club in Shibuya, in the pretty horrible love hotel district, and the club was filled with foreigners who likely knew nothing about Nobu or even house music. But he started the night with basic house music and then just nailed the dance floor. I realised that night that an exceptional DJ can be great at any time, any place.
Satoshi Tomiie admires Hector Romero's "b-side taste"
If you put a gun to my head and asked me to choose my favourite DJ, I'd choose Hector Romero. And not just because he is one of my best friends. The thing about Hector is, he has such good music taste. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to start my label Saw Recordings with him. He has what I call "b-side taste"—an amazing ability to sniff out these obscure b-sides that you never knew existed. He always has these really cool house tracks and hidden gems that he works into his sets.
The way he plays is inspiring too. He has this chameleon-like ability to match the environment he is in without ever compromising his sound. His mixing skill too is amazing, although of course nowadays people don't really respect beatmatching vinyl or CDs that much, but regardless, he can keep a groove going like no other. From the beginning until the end of his sets, his groove is always continuous but never boring. Another reason I fell in love with Hector Romero's sound was his creativity and improvisation as a DJ. Back in the day, long before "tech house" existed, Hector played techno records pitched down at minus 8 in order to fit them into a house set. Whenever I have the chance to play with him, I feel pretty lucky.
DJ Kensei thinks Sadar Bahar is the next level
I've been DJing for more than 25 years now, and have been inspired by a lot of DJs. But my recent favourite is Sadar Bahar, who is based in Chicago and is 43, so the same generation as me. There are other DJs around my age like Kenny Dope or Mark Farina who are really skillful and craft groovy, well-inflected and soulful sets, but Sadar is really the next level. He can make literally everyone on the dance floor happy, he just totally captivates the audience.
Along with disco and high-energy soul music, he plays brilliant instrumental tunes, everything from jazz to Brazilian and Afro music, and mixes it together seamlessly. Mixing everything together like that with 7-inches, all analogue, is of course one of the standard skills for a DJ who can make people dance, but it's actually one of the most difficult things. On top of everything else, I really like him as a person.