Kazu Kimura: Fresh juice

Brisbane considers Kazu Kimura as one of its own. His career beats a resolute path to the beat of techno, stretching as far back as the Japanese club scene of the late 1980s, America during the 1990s with Australia, particularly Brisbane, as a port for some years in the early 2000s, before finally settling in Spain. With an enduring love for eighties music like Depeche Mode, Kraft Werk and especially Yellow Magic Orchestra, Kazu has still remained steadfast in his commitment to the resounding basslines and industrious meters of techno. Still, he has managed to stamp his mark on the genre, with an infiltration of his cultural roots of taiko-inspired rhythms and multifaceted layers of instrumental and percussive textures interweaving the techno matrix. Whilst Kazu tends to disregard vocal lines, he does maintain that one must “feel his music” to understand those vocal lines aren’t needed. Indeed, if one was present at the last Jack’D event at Barsoma in Brisbane, one would also have seen the effect of Kazu’s basslines in the room, as the reverberations caused a glass to vibrate across a table and fall to the ground.

It is his unwavering strength of mind, such a prevalent force in his sets, that Brisbane will lay claim to. With an affinity for the harder side of dance – be it trance, tech or progressive – Brisbane will take hold of Kazu’s tech driven beats. And now, having proven his worth as a techno DJ overseas, Kazu has returned to Australia on a whirlwind tour, with smashing performances already behind him. Ahead of his final Australian performances for Bad Manocracy Productions with Sample in his Australian hometown of Brisbane this Friday, and Tokyo Tune In in Melbourne next Friday, ITM sits down with Kazu to talk fresh juice, techno and how you should listen to techno.

What is it about techno that keeps you dedicated to its beats? What do you think it is about techno that fascinates audiences?

I have been playing techno since I started DJing at the end of the 80’s but in the 80’s, techno was different to what we listen to now. I’ll keep playing techno music – it’s really important for me, because I am passionate about it and it’s just me. Many producers are using the latest modern technologies to create music, so I feel music is more an art to me. Music also reflects our private thoughts. Everyday we have different feelings and thoughts and that comes out in the music. For my music, I say there is no need for vocals in techno music because it’s all about feeling it with your body. Don’t just listen to techno – feel it. I do get sick of playing the same music but I do sometimes enjoy playing some of the classic tunes from the mid 90s – though that’s really rare. I play mostly just released new tracks – because everyone wants fresh juice right?

What is it about the decks especially that fascinates you?

I think I fight against myself when I play. I like when we (the decks and I) are together as one. I want people to feel that what I am feeling when I’m on the decks. It is a big mission but when you are done, this mission feels great.

I last saw you perform at Barsoma for Jack’D and it really struck me how unique your sounds are for the techno genre: you have so many layers of rhythmic textures happening with basslines and beats entwining with each other. How do you make your sets so unique?

I have started using Traktor Pro since February this year and it makes my sets much more unique. This program gives me much wider mixing skills that will give a higher performance than any others could. I can do three by three in total for six effects to be used at once. I can also play loops, using three or four decks at once. Four decks are bit too much to be honest. It sounds can get messy because there can be too many sounds, so this is where some vocal samples or just some special noises works. For me, it’s like half live, half DJing.

What challenges do you present to yourself to keep yourself growing and developing as an artist?

I think music production is important. There are too many DJs on the planet these days. I probably need my music to come out every three or four months to keep my name around. I will listen to new music on any music site to know what’s new. It’s also very important that I follow the latest technologies inside the DJ world, to know what’s going on right now and keep myself moving forward,

Apart from touring around Australia and your gigs in Spain, what else have you been up to lately?

My last gig in Australia will be in Melbourne for Tokyo Tune In. They will have Japanese guest DJs and I will the first one, so I’m excited about it. I’ll be going to see my family in Nagano, Japan for a week to have a relax at home, then back to Spain to enjoy the rest of summer. Musically, I’m trying to finish a remix work for one of my friends in Barcelona, and then another remix for a Chilean producer. After I finish this tour, I will also start a new EP for the Japanese label Plus Tokyo.

How do you think the Brisbane techno scene rates on a national and a global scale?

It’s a very small scene here. There were a great number of people who came to Jack’D at Bar Soma. I really enjoyed that gig, it was very special for me to see many friends all at once and having a good night. I have seen really positive vibes for tech events in the past as well. Here in Brisbane, underground music parties may not be big but they will never die.

What can Brisbane expect to hear from you on the dancefloor for your upcoming performance for Sample @ #12 Lounge on Friday night?

I have a two hour set, so I think I will try to play as many tracks as I can. I’m looking at probably 2-3 min for each track. I’ll play some of my own loops that I’ve just done recently/ #12 will have a fat and clean sound system and some extra speakers basses at night, so it’s going to be fantastic for those sounds. We will definitely have an epic night!

Catch Kazu Kimura at Lounge Bar in Brisbane this Friday July 24th, and next Friday July 31st at Miss Libertine in Melbourne.