Where: The Shelter (5 Yongfu Lu near Fuxing Xi Lu, 永福路5号)
Starts: Friday, March 27, 10PM
DJ Kentaro knows a thing or two about scratching up a storm and creating a wild night out. Lauded as one of his country’s best hip hop artists, he’s won the DMC Japan Championships twice. In 2002, he became one of the first Asians to take home first place at the World DMC Championship and was also the first champion in the history of the contest to get a perfect score.
In recent years, he’s released an album (Enter) on London-based independent record label Ninja Tune, a DVD detailing the craziness that was his 2007 12-city tour of Japan, and supported hip hop luminaries such as the Roots and The Pharcyde. Oh yeah, and most importantly – last year, he rocked the socks off of Shanghai.
He was kind enough to quit preparing his undoubtedly awesome set long enough to answer just a couple of questions for us.
Welcome to Shanghai… again! You’ve been here a couple times already—What keeps you coming back?
It’s always great to be back in Shanghai and in China. China’s our neighbor and I find it great that I can bring new tunes and new routines to this city. But my main reason is my man V-nutzand The Shelter… he’s the man and whenever he asks me to come, I can’t say no, you know what I mean? Also, the food is great.
You’re from Japan originally, right? Does where you grew up color what you play?
Yeah, I’m originally from Sendai, Japan – about 90 minutes north of Tokyo by bullet train. I don’t know if I show my original city’s color but Sendai is definitely a musical city – we have Gagle, Mitsu the beats, etc. We all grew up together and everyone is doing their thing in their field now – It makes me really happy and motivated. It’s great to know my homies are doing well.
How did you get into using turntables?
I was watching this local DJ battle TV show one night and that got me interested. I got myself decks after that. I was only 12 or 13 years old.
Usually turntablists have something to say about the whole digital djing v. vinyl debate. What’s your position?
My main thing is still vinyl, but I’ve got a Serato now and I get a big kick out of it. My set has three decks, the main decks are two vinyl ones on the right side and one Serato deck on the left side. It’s just like when I was using DVJ – it was just fun, I just got a kick out of it so I used it.
Obviously the world’s going digital now… I’m not against it or anything like that, but of course I think vinyl sounds a whole lot better.
What do you think of the music scene here in China? Do you think your line of music’s gotten more popular?
I’m not too sure about Shanghai’s local scene today, but I know V-Nutz is there to run things culturally. I’m sure he’s doing his job to enrich the whole scene by inviting many international acts to his venue – showing locals what else is out there. That’s important.
So you’ve already won the DMC World DJ Final, made several albums and even a DVD. What’s next on your plate?
Working on my new album. I’m also working on a whole new Live set with lighting and visual guys to make the set more complete as an entire entertainment show. This will be great – I’m thinking of lauching my ideas for this show this summer, maybe at Summer Sonic Japan.
Describe your sound:
Party tunes – exciting and speedy!
What do you hope people will come away with this time from your show?
I’m bringing some new tunes and routines, so I’m also excited. This tour will be my first tour in 2009, so I’ll be trying out some new things in Shanghai!! C U soon!