I met Keesh and crew in Shinjuku outside of Disk Union. His lovely wife Tama was waiting outside with a trolly full of vinyl while he and the scratch brothers, Haruto and Keito (stay tuned for the next post) were inside the shop. Right as I approached Tama, who easily looked the DJ part, for the Tokyo Record Style pitch, out came the Keesh with half an eyebrow ever-so-slightly raised in natural suspicion about this strange foreigner chatting up his wife who has been guarding a crate-full of records. (Japan IS as safe as a society can be, but this IS Shinjuku, and one should always be a little on their toes.)
Anyway, all tension was diffused immediately when we could sense each other’s good vibes and good intentions behind all our smiles. Keesh’s perfect American accent gained from living in the States for a decade+ gave me a bit of relief too, and when he said he and gang had just finished a residency set at Disk Union cafe of oldschool conscious hiphop and that they too are working towards cultivating a conscious community and knowledge sharing through music, vinyl, old-school hiphop, scratching, DJing, “The Art of Digging” (a term I’d never heard before and instantly resonated), well we just start riffing, and talking, and mixing, and going off. Great killer vibes and the conversation was all over the place, so many topics – leaving Japan as a kid, living in America, Tama’s connection to Canada and Cuba (see he shirt – she even knew Bata drumming!), and of course music, but vibe just steadily going up and up.
Keesh loves all genres of music but he was packing some old school hiphop and I had a chance to ask about his first connection to that music. He said while he was stateside, he’d snuck into a club as a teenager (with a fake ID, as one does) and as soon as he saw a DJ for the first time, he knew that’s what he wanted to do. He rattled off a bunch of cool artists that I also love but finally said that his all-time favorite song is “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash – “It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder How I keep from going under” …the answer to that question: MUSIC!
Great time meeting, Keesh! Looking forward to the next!
More Tokyo Record Style on the Way!
Josh Mason – Coquina Dose
Label: Florabelle – FLOR005
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition
Released: Mar 22, 2019
Genre: Electronic, Folk, World, & Country
Style: Ambient, Experimental
Madlib – Shades Of Blue
Label: Blue Note – 7243 5 36447 1 0
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: Electronic, Hip Hop, Jazz
Style: Instrumental, Downtempo, Jazzy Hip-Hop
A Tribe Called Quest – People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm
Label: Jive – 1331-1-J
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: Hip Hop
Style: Conscious, Jazzy Hip-Hop
KMD – Peachfuzz B/W Gasface Refill
Label: Elektra – 0-66591
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 33 ⅓ RPM
Genre: Hip Hop
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