Tokyo-based DJ Taku has been hard at work for over a decade, becoming one of Japan’s most-praised music-makers in the process. He started off with pop group m-flo back in 1998 as their DJ and since then the group has sold millions of albums and singles. But Taku is equally at home making his own solo music, and won the top spot in Japanese dance music magazine iLoud’s DJ list. “What I do solo is more experimental and based on dance music,” explains Taku, “while m-flo is more pop-oriented. The cool thing is I love [both genres] at the same time.”
He’s also a well-known remixer and in fact won the beatport Music Awards Top Tracks with his album Incoming…. TAKU Remix. “Remixing is an art form and there are so many ways to express it, but I like to stay basic. I usually try to make it something playable in clubs. As a DJ, I like to make something that I would want to play in my sets. I also listen to the requests of people who ask me to remix. I’ll admit, I never used to back in my early days, but I find it exciting now to be able to explore new aspects through feedback and requests.”
In addition to his albums (both solo and with m-flo), Taku has a multitude of other projects. One of the biggest was setting up block.fm, Japan’s first and only dance music radio station. It now has over 40 separate programs with exclusive mixes from some of the world’s biggest international DJs. “On block.fm we play everything from hip-hop to electronic, which allows me to find out a lot of trends in both Japan and world-wide. So, I see a lot of hip-hop DJs playing electronic music and at the same time a lot of hip-hop musicians are making beats with a more authentic late 90s flavour.” Taku’s own tastes run the gamut from EDM and techno through to garage and reggae, so it’s unsurprising that he wishes more than just EDM was being played. “Don’t get me wrong, I love EDM, but there is so much cool music besides that which I would love to recommend.”
Perhaps it’s because Taku spent time in Los Angeles where he used ‘to love the sunsets’, or perhaps it’s because he keeps one foot in commercial pop and one in experimental beats that his musical outlook is so varied. Regardless, DJ Taku is a name to watch and you’d do well to check him out next time he plays in Hong Kong.