DJ Krush is a pioneer of Japanese hip-hop and late milenial soundscapes, his inspirations are vast and range from funk, soul, jazz, photography and even the old samurai films of Akira Kurosawa. For this current tour, his past and present influences are more than palpable as the “Zen Master” guides the kids on the dancefloor with a 3 hour set of classics, chest-rattling bass, introspective atmospherics and even hints of Krush’d out dubstep. After completing sound check at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, DJ Krush took time out to reflect on his career, creative process and his own vision of heaven.Thank you for meeting with us. How are you? How is the current tour?DJ Krush: Today is the second day [in North America]. I was in Toronoto before this and I have a lot of energy still. I’m sure later into the tour I’ll feel like I’m dead (laughing).

How do you feel you’ve changed as an artist from the time you released your first album (1994′s Krush) to the start of your 20th anniversary tour?

DJ Krush: I still love music. That will never change. However, as more years pass, I have more responsiblities and more work to do. It’s just like any other job.

What do you feel is more rewarding – reinterpreting/remixing your own work (such as 2006′s Stepping Stones – The Self Remixed Best: Lyricism & Stepping Stones – The Self Remixed Best: Soundscapes) or trying something new that you’ve never done before?

DJ Krush: It’s more exciting to create new music. The old pieces I’m familiar with and it’s just as challenging to reinterpret them. Constantly creating new music, though, is what excites me and keeps me going.

Do you have a routine for creating music – a rigid schedule like a 9-5 or is it purely inspirational?

DJ Krush: I don’t have a set schedule. When the inspiration comes, I just stop what I’m doing and focus on creating the music. Sometimes I can work for a long time, but at other points I just have to stop . . .which means I have to pick up and complete the work at a later point. When the inspiration comes, though, I just do it.

What do you use when composing new works?

DJ Krush: Ableton Live. Also, Serato and my turntables, the SP-1200′s.

How do you know when you’ve completed a piece? Is there a physical feeling or you just know?

DJ Krush: That’s a difficult question (laughing). It’s like a roller-coaster, really. In my head, I see the journey of the song . . .and I already see the ending. It’s a matter of following through with it and completing the path … With instrumental tracks, I see the images first, almost like clips from a short story or film. When I complete the story of the track, then I know it is ready.

For me it’s always been the opposite. When I create films, I tend to hear it before being able to see the imges. This lead me to create music. As a musician, do you have any visual creative outlets that help keep you inspired?

DJ Krush: I love photography, but it’s so easy to get obsessed because I love images. I’m trying not to get too distracted by it, although I really enjoy it. Classic black and white films, like the works of Akira Kurosawa, are highly inspirational to me. In order for me to express my ideas through sound, I absorb a lot of books, movies, photographs, everything. Also, it’s always fascinating to me to see what kind of visuals people of different cultures create through my visuals because the music has a language of its own.

You spent some time touring as member of the band, Method of Defiance (DJ Krush, Bill Laswell, Toshinori Kondo, Hawkman, Bernie Worrell, Dr. Israel & Guy Licata). How was the experience of being a DJ in a band as opposed to working as a solo act?

DJ Krush: When I was in Method of Defiance there were limitations to where I could go because I was one part of an ensemble. The group is more important than the individual. As a solo act, though, I can be freely expressive and go wherever the music takes me. At the same time, being in a band is great because you have lots of support. As a solo act, you’re alone and everything rides on you . . . but the audience is definitely there to help.

If you could choose your own fantasy band (living or dead), comprised of any musicans, who would you choose?

DJ Krush: (laughing) Miles Davis. John Coltrane . . .and Jimi Hendrix. They’re all dead, so if I go to Heaven, I’ll have my turntables cremated with me. I’m not sure if I’ll make it into Heaven, though (laughing).

Domo origato, DJ Krush. Thank you for sitting down with us. Good luck with the rest of the tour.

DJ Krush: Origato!

Remainder of DJ Krush Tour DatesFeb.24th Fri The ROXY / Los Angeles (USA)Feb.25th Sat Mezzanine / San Francisco (USA)Feb.26th Sun Future Sound Club / Vancouver (Canada)Mar.1 Fri Upstairs Beresford / Sydney (Australia)Mar.3 Sun The Esplanade Hotel / Melbourne (Australia)Mar.7 Wed Beach Hotel / Byron Bay (Australia)Mar.8 Thu Transit Bar / Canberra (Australia)Mar.10 Sat Villa / Perth (Australia)Mar.11 Sun WOMADelaide Festival / Adelaide (Australia)– Brooklyn, NY, Febrary 19, 2012Translation via Noriko SatoPhotography by Ludgy WuSpecial Thanks to Ittetsu Asai, Noriko Sato & Isaac Kiener


Interview: Jon-Carlos Evans

Photography: Ludgy Wu