DJ Nobu may indeed be one of Japan's top techno virtuosos, gaining critical acclaim, a cult following, and legions of attendees at his regular Future Terror parties, all thanks to his intricate, unpredictable yet catchy tunes. But that success hasn't gone to his head. In fact, he remains humble and even a bit insecure during his performances.

"I’m not sure about others, but I’m always a bit worried in the booth," Nobu says during a recent interview with the Beijinger, ahead of his April 18 performance at Migas. "To be able to surprise and test the crowd while keeping them engaged with different kinds of music, maintaining the groove and keeping them dancing is something I have to think about on a moment to moment basis and its really difficult."

Above, watch a kid get whiplash on her dad's shoulders each time the beat drops. Below, Nobu tells us more about his obsessive perfectionism, and his punk rock origins.

You told Red Bull Music Academy: “I don’t think there’s a harder job (than being a DJ) here in Japan – but it feels like that’s what I’m living for.” What specifically makes it so “tough?" Is there anything about Japanese society, or the music scene there, that makes it more difficult than DJing in the West?
I think DJing is one of the hardest jobs out there, and not just because I’m in Japan. It's a job where you have to create a chemistry between yourself and other people. Depending on the moment, people’s feelings and vibes can really fluctuate. So, considering all these variables, it's a huge challenge to provide the perfect atmosphere as a DJ.

Do you have a unique approach to that challenge? Or is there a set method that you think most DJs should follow?
There are some DJs out there who are okay with having the exact same styles every single gig without any progression or growth. They just do it to make money. The majority of DJs are probably like this. It's easy to just pump up and excite the crowd. If I had chosen that path, I wouldn’t talk about DJing as a stressful job. Also, I play a lot of marathon sets, so it takes a toll on my body as well. Sometimes it tires me so much that I'm late checking out of my hotel (the next day). Recently I was in France for 20 Hours, Berlin for 20 hours, then Hamamatsu, then Osaka  four gigs in a row. It was really tough.

I’ve read that you have more than 10,000 records in your vinyl collection. If the room where you keep this collection caught fire, and you only had enough time to grab one or two records from the blaze, which would you rescue?
Why? I definitely cannot choose. Why are you talking about my house burning down? This question is too difficult to answer.

Fair enough. Tell me about your life before DJing, when you were involved in Chiba prefecture's punk scene?
I was born in Kamogawa, then moved to Chiba when I was four. The punk culture was so big there that magazines in Japan even dubbed it "The City of Hardcore." There were a lot of bands, and I naturally just got influenced and when I was 18 and started playing in my own group. During this time I misbehaved a lot, and my friends from then still come to my Future Terror parties to this day.

Tell me about your transition from punk music to techno. How did it happen, and how are the two genres similar?
Some closed minded people might assume that they have nothing in common ... It was probably the groove that was similar. Even if it was hardcore, there was still a groove to the sound. During my teens I was really into this band called Nukey Pikes because of the bass-y, dubby aspect of their sound. The bassist is now in a band called Rise that is still going strong. Nagoya’s Nice View is also groovy. The extreme, excessive, violent, anarchic, aspect might also be the connecting factors between punk and techno. Yamantaka Eye of the band Boredoms, did a set a long time ago where he wrecked the live house with a backhoe. That was awesome.

What project are you working on next? What inspired it, and how is it an evolution from your previous work?
I'm working on some mixes, and remixes. I want to make tracks that can be described as "quality over quantity."

Wooozy Offline presents DJ Nobu at Migas on April 18. For more information, click here.

Photo: i.ytimg.com


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