In his first year out of Japan, DJ Kazu has wowed audiences in Thailand and Indonesia, with well-planned beats and non-stop mixes that constantly has the crowd off their feet and jumping to the beats. With a ever-growing set-list of popular anime and tokusatsu openings and endings in his grasp, his lively and passionate performances have garnered great reviews, so much so that he has been invited to come over to show off his skills at the biggest stage in South-East Asia: Anime Festival Asia Singapore, as the opening act of the 3-day I Love Anisong extravaganza.
We were able to have yet another chance to sit down with the affable young man and discuss even more about his passion, his goals, as well as his impressions of Singapore.
What was your inspiration to start this career?
Back when I was in high school, it was an all-boys school, I had some classmates who were DJ-ing, and from there, I started to pick up an interest in it.
Before AFA has even started, you welcomed song requests from the people to perform during your live in Singapore. Could you share with us what are some of the songs that were requested?
The song requests that I received the most were songs by EGOIST and songs by Kalafina.
In your own words, what is music to you?
I believe music is something that bring joy and fun to you. As much as I really enjoy bringing everyone together through my DJ-ing, I also believe that it is not just through DJ-ing, but the music, the song itself that brings everyone together as one.
This is your first time visiting Singapore, what are your impressions about this experience so far?
I have only just arrived not too long ago, so I haven’t had the chance to explore and look around the place yet. However, I have noticed that there are people of all sorts of origins and races in Singapore, and it feels to me like this country is the center of everything.
What is the one thing that you always look forward to when Dj-ing on stage?
It always brings me great happiness to see my audiences punch their fist up into the air as they cheer loudly to the music’s beat.
You have been praised for being extremely talented for your song mixes. Is there a special technique in doing so?
If it is a song from an anime series, I would first watch the anime series and study it to gain a better understanding of what it is about. From there, I compare it with other anime series with similar setting and piece their songs together. So the more I watch and gain additional knowledge, the better I find myself being able to join their songs better.
For your performance this evening, how did you decide on your playlist?
Other than EGOIST and Kalafina which were requested by the fans, I would also include anisongs which anime series have been aired in Japan recently. Also, when at conventions, I also observe the cosplayers at conventions to see which anime is popular within the population, such as “Sword Art Online”.
You recently performed in Thailand, along with LiSA. Can you please give us your thoughts on that.
Recently, I’ve had the privilege of being invited to perform in places around South East Asia. Thailand was hot, but the people were also very receiving. There is a slight difference when compared to Indonesia. I don’t know about Singapore yet because I’m going to perform soon.
I haven’t really gotten the chance to look out for them because it’s dark when I perform.(laughs)
Do you have any advice for people wanting to be DJs?
Do listen to your favourite music constantly, and learn from other DJs by observing them when they are performing, or when visiting clubs. Personally, I learnt by studying how other DJs perform in person.
What would you like to do if you’re not a DJ?
I like being around children and dogs. Thus I might end up becoming a kindergarten or nursery school teacher or in an occupation that is related to dogs, like a trainer.
Aside from DJ-ing, would you consider branching out into other areas of entertainment, such as singing?
I’m very bad at singing, so that’s out. I would like to be a voice actor, although I’m not very confident with my voice, but I do want to at least try it, even as a side character. I would also like to be a producer, and produce for a 2-girl unit with myself DJ-ing in the back.
This is your first time in Singapore, do you have any special preparations you make before you perform?
I have been thinking about playing songs that I’ve never played before overseas, or new anisongs from anime that are currently airing in Japan.
Are there any artiste you would like to collaborate with?
I passed by them just now on my way here, but I would like to work with Azusa Tadokoro and Ayaka Ohashi, voice actresses from Aikatsu!, one of my favourite anime. If I were able to do a collaboration with them, I wouldn’t mind giving up being a DJ, it’s like the fulfillment of a dream, and I’ll have nothing that I would want to do in life after that.
Since you started DJ-ing from a young age, how has music impacted your life?
Listening to music allows for a distraction from the bad things that happen, and serves to enhance the enjoyment gained from the good things. As long as you have music and some alcohol, you’re able to live on.
Back at AFA Indonesia, you played songs from Aikatsu!, Love Live! and THE IDOLM@STER. What are your thoughts on ‘Anime Idols’?
It’s a trend that really came to the forefront around 2013-2014, when the anime of Love Live! came out. The type of fans for each are quite different. THE IDOLM@STER has that adult atmosphere, with Love Live! having a younger set of fans, even more so for Aikatsu!, like kids. Actually, kids and uncles. Then there are also other groups such as Wake Up! Girls as well. I find that interesting. I quite enjoy these groups myself.
Who’s your favourite Aikatsu! character?
Aoi Kiriya, voiced by Azusa Tadokoro!
Is there anyone in the industry that you admire?
I haven’t met her in person before, but I really admire Yukari Tamura. I would really like to meet her.
As a DJ, what do you hope to achieve?
Not just in Japan, but in various countries across Asia as well, I hope to perform for people who have never seen an Anisong DJ perform.
What is your most memorable moment as a DJ?
It has to be being able to perform overseas for the first time at AFA. Coming to Indonesia and now Singapore for AFA is like a turning point for me. Today has already turned into a fond memory for me.
Aside from DJ-ing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Aside from watching anime, I like to visit clubs, but that is also connected to music. I also have friends that are also lovers of anime, and we go to anime related events, such as concerts, together as well. After that we go drinking. I don’t usually sing, but I may end up doing so if I get really drunk.
Do you sing Aikatsu! songs? or Enka?
Aikatsu! songs are too difficult. I don’t know much about enka as well.
Besides anisong, what other genres of music do you listen to?
Club music such as EDM, Techno or House.
I’ve noticed that you wear the happi for your performances, could you tell us the history behind that?
This is the only one in the world, specially made for the 10th anniversary of the noitaminA anime time block in Japan, which broadcasted shows such as Anohana, Psycho-Pass and Guilty Crown. I released a remix CD for this anniversary as well. I’ve never seen other DJs wear the happi to perform before, and thought it’d be interesting if I were to do so.
What are the challenges in DJ-ing?
The difference between DJ-ing and singing is that singing involves that artiste expressing themselves through song and talking, whereas DJ-ing only involves the combination of songs, which in itself is a challenge.
For example, tonight there are three singers performing tonight, angela, Eri Kitamura and Yui Horie. But there’s only 1 DJ. This difference itself is a challenge.
Since you watch a lot of anime, what would you say is your favourite title, or if it’s too specific, favourite genre?
Aikatsu! Aikatsu! and Aikatsu! For titles that are currently airing, probably SAO (Sword Art Online). Let’s go with that. People might not know about it, but I also like Non Non Biyori. I also like Gochiusa (Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?), Kinmoza (Kiniro Mosaic) and Hanayamata, titles where the characters are all female schoolgirls of all ages in uniform.
What’s your favourite school uniform design? Do you prefer summer or winter uniforms?
The uniform in Kinmoza very cute. Winter uniforms are better! This conversation is getting quite perverted (laughs).
That’s all we have for DJ Kazu, stay tuned for more from Ani-Culture.net !
Photo Credits: SM