Interview / Masanori Ikeda

Where is your home town?

The North Island. Hokkaido. Japan. Like Ireland?

Where are you based?

At the moment I`m living between Osaka and Tokyo. The West and East of Japan.

Are there any big differences between Osaka and Tokyo? Between the people?

Not much difference.. but in Tokyo there are more foreigners. Both the crowd and the DJs.

How long have you been DJing?

I started DJing when I was around 20 years old. In London. I`m 47 now.. ha ha.

How long have you been making music?

I started making music in the late 1990s.

How did you start DJing?

Some friends knew that I bought a lot of records. They asked me, “Can you DJ at my party?”

Where were your first gigs? 

My first gig was at DNA in Soho, London.

What kind of music were you playing?

I was playing kind of Rare Groove. Loads of old funky music. Then I started mixing in many different kinds of music.

What inspired you to start making music?

The main reason was to get a Visa. At that time in England it was very hard to get a Visa as a DJ. When I asked my lawyer, he said “Musician” would be easier…ha ha

Can you tell me about Mansfield?

Mansfield was pure sampling Hardcore Easy-Listening. Heavily influenced by funky and trippy Library Music. Stuff like that.

How did you make the connection with Flower Records?

At first they asked me to do a remix, and owner, Takamiya-san, had been a very good friend of mine for long time. Also I liked what they`d been doing.

If you had to pick a favourite record on Flower what would it be?

DJ Nori`s Nomad E.P. Little Big Bee`s first LP..but Flower have over 200 releases, so it`s pretty hard for me to choose. So many good things.

Can you tell me more about your time in London? London there were always good music people around me. They were always very kind and introduced me to a ton of good music. Hooked me up with many good parties. I used to work part-time in Soul Jazz, and every weekend I`d be DJing. Both were very good experience.

Why did you go to London?

When I was a kid I was really into UK New Wave. Then Acid Jazz, Rave Music…I was always some form of UK music. So that`s why I went.

Which clubs did you go to?

There were so many good parties everywhere in UK during the `90s. I can’t count them..Of course you know that..ha ha.

Who did you meet?

I met many good DJs because I was working in the record shop. There was no internet then, so every DJ had to visit a shop. Good old days..ha ha.

Where did you DJ?

Every Saturday I`d play upstairs at Blow Up at The Wag. I`d usually have a few guest spots through the week, up and down the UK.



Where were you living in London? Did you meet Marbo there? Did you go to Moist?

Can you remember where you were the first time you heard a House record?

I was flat sharing with The Gentle People in Soho. I think that`s where I met Marbo.

And yes, I went to Moist at The Gardening Club. Tongue Kung Fu was my favourite night down there. I first heard House while still in Japan. I was a teenager a long time ago…ha ha ha.

When did you come back to Japan? 

At the end of 90s.

How was the scene in Japan compared to London?

In the `90s, in London, venues usually closed at 3 AM. Sometimes 2. Only The WAG and The Ministry Of Sound would go on until 5. Because of the Liquor Licence, I think? But in Tokyo’s all the venues were open until at least 5 AM. Pretty much always going more, more and more! I thought, “Wow, everyone in Tokyo is very tough!”…ha ha

What were the big parties / clubs when you returned to Japan?

In the 90’s, Yellow and Gold were big I think. But I don`t really know `cos I was’t in Japan. When I came back Yellow was still big. But Gold was gone..I was more into smaller clubs like Organ Bar, Mix, Shinkukan. Blue was slightly bigger, but cozy.

Who were the big DJs in Japan at that time?

UFO and DJ Takemura. But I think they were big worldwide at the time.

Do you have regular gigs or residencies now?

I still do a lot of guest spots every week. I`ve stopped my weekly and monthly residences for a while. `Cos gigs are taking me from town to town. I`m travelling. Which is nice.

Has the dance music scene in Tokyo, and Japan changed?

Musically it gets better year by year I think. There are always great new venues and great new DJs. It`s still growing I think.

Where are your current favourite places to play and party?

Toranoko in Shibuya is alway fun. They serve very good Caribbean food and have a great Reggae sound system. Good food and nice sound are very important.

Masanori Toranoko Shibuya

masanori Toranoko in Shibuya poster

Where is you favourite local place for food?

In Tokyo, I live in an area called Komazawa. My apartment`s near a restaurant called PICKEENOO. They serve a super Thai curry. When I`m in Tokyo, I go there everyday.


Where`s your favourite local place for coffee?

In Daikokucho Osaka, EDENICO, is one of my favourite coffee shops. Open air, nice music and good coffee. After going to the onset (spa), I always go there with my wife to chill.


Are you still making music?

Yes! But I want to release music on vinyl and these days it seems to take ages to get things pressed. I`ve released two records this year, and both took over a year. But I still love vinyl!…ha ha.

I also do some work making music for commercials. Stuff like that.

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