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Japanese Producer KezYM interviewed

Kez YM's new

Among the overwhelming amount of producers who decide themselves programming beats
and grooves for a timeless age some people get attention for making a difference
and becoming an idol in a way. We may chat with Kez YM, a japanese producer from a suburban
area, 1 hour away from Tokyo about Discovery.

Kez YM, we are happy to have you here at whatpeopleplay. You`ve already released that great EP "Sweetly Confused" on 4lux before. I think many people got aware of Kez YM`s talent by release of 'City Soul EP' on Yore this year, but not many people know about your background yet. Could you explain where you were grown up and how you got involved in music? Could you also tell me what kind of music you used to listen to, when you were a teenager?

I grew up in Chiba, next to Tokyo. I've loved music since I was a small child. I'd been making music for many years personally but 3 years ago I became more serious about getting involved in the club music scene and I started very small party by myself. Then everything started to change so fast and now I'm a DJ and producer.

When I was a teenager I used to listen to various different kinds of music from different ages and my favorite record was "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane.
I heard that you sometimes play instruments such as drums, Fender Rhodes, guitars, bass, bongos etc. How is this all organic sound important for you by producing music? How often do you praictice it?

yes I love to play instruments but not like a professional. I hope to get more time to practice.

I haven't play live instruments on my house tracks so far but I often take samples from my original instrumental tunes played by myself. You can here my playing on myspace.

Your track "Sweetly Confused" on the selfnamed EP on 4Lux reminds to the flow of
tracks from Moodymann or Theo Parrish.  When did you encounter their music for the first time?

maybe around 2000, at record stores, dance floors etc.

How did Yore come to your attention?? How did you and Andy get to know?

Andy contacted me through myspace after he listened to Sweely Confused EP. Till then I didn't know about Yore but many of my friends told me that Yore is great and I found Rick Wade, Alton Miller etc have released vinyls from the label so I got excited.
Cassy has chosen "Washing my heart" for her Mix CD "Simply Devotion-Cassy In The Mix" on Cocoon which was released octber this year.
DId you know her personally before?Were you able to listen to the mix? If so, how did you find this mix?

No I don't know her personally and I haven't listened to the mix yet. I like the artists on the track list. hope to get the CD soon.

What was the reason for a three years exclusive signing to the german Yore label run by Andy Vaz?

Andy is a great person and keeps doing great job.

The label has very good taste of the deep music and great selection of producers. Also you can find Yore vinyls easily all over the world.

It's not easy to get steady release from such good label. Now I don't need to worry about it and can concentrate to productions.

Besides they can book me in Europe and promote my music.

I'm totally satisfied with the deal so far. Some people told me that the exclusive deal is old-fashioned now but I think it depends on the situation.

You have been in Europe for a six week DJ tour just recently. In which cities did you play and what is the difference playing in Europe in comparation to parties in Tokyo? Which party was the best party for yourself?

I played in 11 cities in Europe. Never can tell which one was the best! Each party was very different and most of them were the best in my life, honestly. Can't wait to travel and play there again.

My personal point of view, audiences in Tokyo are more into listening to the music, watching DJ and feeling the sound on the floor. In Europe, people are a bit more partying and react directly. But there are not big differences when the party goes crazy.
I've listened to a part of "Chameleon", a cooperation with Makoto. Who is Makoto and is this relationship based in your (both) passion of playing together diverse native instruments and taking care of the beat by (mis)using/ manipulating machines?

Makoto is one of the most talented Drum'n Bass producer in the worldwide D'nB scene and one of my heroes for a long time.

We met at Red Bull Music Academy in 2007 where he was a lecturer and I was a participant. That was the beginning of our relationship.

I think we have some similar taste in music because we both have Fender Rhodes and are 70's jazz funk lovers.

How is your relation to other deep house music producers from Japan, such as No Milk, Rondenion or Kuniyuki?

We are not connected each other strongly yet but recently I contacted to Stereociti, Rondenion etc by myself and sometimes play together. I hope to make the scene more exciting by creating such relationships.

I also played with No Milk one time. I don't know Kuniyuki personally but I think his live performance is amazing.

You are famous for a vinyl lover. Is there any recordshop you always go to buy records? When you play, is it strictly only vinyl?

I often go to Shibuya to buy records. I go to Disk Union, Jazzy Sport, Technique, Light House etc.

I prefer vinyls but I also play CDR. For me the priority is to keep playing great tracks in a most thrilling way as much as possible and the format is the second thing. I don't want to give up to play great tracks which I couldn't find in vinyls and could buy in digital. I can play CD at as same level as vinyl.

I don't deny laptop DJ's but it's totally different art form because if you use the laptop you can bring thousands of tunes with you and are not forced to choose which tracks you would bring with you for the night. This difference is much bigger for me than the difference between digital and analog.

Do you have your favorite club or bar in Japan? Have you ever been to the bar called grassroots?

My favorite place is "Koara"(not "Koala") in Shibuya. Very small bar with amazing sound system and full of good music.

I haven't been to Grassroots but I often hear a lot of good underground things going on there.

Can you list your 5 (or 10) favorite records you have bought/found recently?

House Mannequin


Ju Par Universal Orchestra - Moods and Grooves


Takeshi Kouzuki - Japanese Rhythms EP - Mathematics

You joined Red Bull Music Academy Workshop in 2007 which Akiko Kiyama also joined. How effective was this workshop?

Too many good things go on in 2 weeks at RBMA so I can hardly tell how effective it was exactly but after the academy I became to love and appreciate music more and feel free about it. Still a lot of great things happen to me through RBMA relationships so it's kinda big assets in my life in various ways.

I heard that you made a project called 'Invisible Corners' with  a japanese artist called sauce81. Are you guys already have any release together under this name?

wow, how did you know it? We did a few tunes and they haven't been released yet.

Could you give me some name of artists you respect and any artist who you would like to make make music with?

Theo Parrish is my favorite DJ/producer.

It's gonna be cool if I could get Alton Miller's vocal on my track though I don't know him personally yet. He has such a good voice and you can hear it on many classics with Chez Damier etc. Also he is a great producer.

I also curious about making beats with young producers such as Vakula, Baaz etc.

I think deep house scene is still very small in Japan copared to anywhere else such as in Europa, USA. Do you except that this will change?

I have no idea how is the deep house scene in Japan but the club would be packed every time  when Theo Parrish, Moodymann etc plays though the whole club scene in Japan seems shrinking. I feel house music from Detroit/Chicago is kinda popular in Japan. Besides there are many new Japanese talents coming. We can expect something but have to work hard for it.

May we expect an album by yourself in the forseeable future?If so, when will it be happen? We all are looking for your come back to Europa! Thank you.

Actually I hope to make an album for Yore next year but let's see what happens. Now check my new "Butterfly EP" from Yore records! See you next year when I tour in Europe again. Thank you too. ciao

07.12.2009 - 15:10 – by Sebastian Gaiser / Sebastian@whatpeopleplay.com

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