Interview / Kengo Takahashi / Block Party / NO HOUSE?

Lone Star host their first party of the new decade, this Saturday, at Bonobo in Harajuku. We`ll be joined by a trio of guests. Martin and Jez from A Certain Ratio will be manning the decks following their gig at Marz, and following them will be Kengo Takahashi. Alongside Japanese house music veterans Dazzle Drums, Kengo is one of the founding members, of the long-running Block Party. I`ll be speaking to ACR later this week, but first here`s a quick Q&A with Kengo. 

Kengo cover blue

Where is your home town?

I was born in Chigasaki, Kanagawa, but I lived in Sapporo for 9 years, and then Fukuoka for 3.

Where are you based?

Tokyo. 

Where do you currently buy your records?

New records from Lighthouse. Old stuff from Disk Union.

How long have you been DJing?

I started when I was 18, when I graduated from high school.

What inspired you to start DJing?

The spark is easy. I liked the music I was hearing in the clubs, I wanted to listen to it at home, so I bought the records. As a kid I was into foreign films, and music – especially soul. I got really into funk, so I was really into finding these records. From there I bought a little DJ equipment, and very quickly I was throwing parties with my friends. To be honest, I was blessed by the people around me. 

Where were your first gigs? 

I forgot the name of the club …but I think it was in Shibuya.

KENGO BLOCK PARTY

Do you currently have any residencies or regular gigs?

Currently, I’m doing two. There`s Block Party, with Dazzle Drums, at Aoyama Zero on the second Sunday of every month – and then every month we also have a party called NO HOUSE? At Redbar (formerly Oath). Block Party has a different theme every month, the music played will be based around that. At NO HOUSE ? it`s a bit more freeform, and we`ll spend a lot of the time DJing back-to-back. I enjoy the challenge of going back-to-back, getting inspired by others. I also have a party at Nakameguro Solfa, that happens on an irregular basis. At Solfa I`ll play what I can’t normally play at the other gigs. I`d like to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues, and the venues, for their support. 

Kengo No House flyer

Where are your current favourite places to play and party?

The places I’ve mentioned are my favourites – but there are also many other places, such as Tunnel – where they have a lot of my favourite DJs. Plus the chance to meet with people from a variety of other countries is also fun. 

The Freedom Sunset party at Oppa-La was my best summer memory of this year. A great location, with a great sea view, and a great open-minded crowd. I enjoyed it from beginning to the end. 

kengo freedom sunset

How did you meet Dazzle Drums?

I met them at LOOP in Aoyama. I started throwing parties at LOOP in the early 2000s, and I was there pretty much everyday. I was completely immersed in house music. At that time, the Internet wasn’t such a big thing, and access to music and records was nothing like it is now. The older folks I met at LOOP taught me a huge amount about music. In particular, there was a party called FLAT, where both of  Dazzle Drums would DJ – I went to every one. I can still remember them coming to my home for the first time, and talking about records (laughs).  After that it was only a matter of time before I joined FLAT.

kengo dazzle drums photo

How long has Block Party been running?

13 years. Except for a brief period when LOOP was transforming into Zero, there`s been a party every month. Me and Jambow! (club decor designer) were also involved in FLAT, so altogether, with the club and Dazzle Drums, maybe 15 years?

Zero`s sound system is amazing, Machida’s lighting is amazing, and Jambow!`s decorations are so wonderful. I would like as many people as possible to come and experience this.

Can you give me a current Top 5 records that we might expect to hear you play at Bonobo on Saturday?

Here are a few newish ones…..

Quando Tu Dances – Micky Milan

Give It To Me (Kapote Edit) – Tonic Edits 07 

Flight of the Eisenberg – RBJ

Doin’ It – Labor Of Love Edits

Kengo - Labor Of Love

Track List

Canoe Song – Eccentric Edits

Night Time Lady – Mike Francis

Stop It! – Keysha

Runnin’ Out Of Time (Instrumental) – Alex Simon

Eyeko Dyko – Horse Meat Disco

Dream Merchant – Skyrager

Little Flurry Clouds (Cumulo Nimbus Remix) – The Orb

Mind Force –  We Are Destino

Thiba – Sea Bee

Qu’est ce qui ne va pas ?  – Alfio Scandurra

I Need Some Money (Perdu Edit) – Afrobotic Musicology

DZE –  Jex Opolis

Avventurieri (Dance Remix) – Jo Squillo Eletrix

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