- Mind-expanding DJing from one of Japan's most talented selectors.
- Depending on who you ask, Yousuke Yukimatsu is the best DJ in the world. Or at least in Japan. The eccentric Osaka-born, Tokyo-based DJ has built up an arsenal of fans and disciples—most famously Tzusing—who revere his cross-genre approach and knack for out-of-this-world blends. Case in point: he recently released a mostly ambient mixtape that somehow felt more gripping and propulsive than many techno DJ sets. He also used that release, Midnight Is Comin, to highlight Japan's underrepresented experimental electronic music scene, another sign of his wide-ranging and unusual tastes.
To go with his voracious hunger for all kinds of music, Yukimatsu can play alll different kinds of sets, from the meditative to the peak-time, all with the blending ingenuity and expert pacing we've come to expect. (Just check this mind-blowing Boiler Room set from 2020.) If that performance was nightclub madness and Midnight Is Comin' was a slowly unfurling coil of downcast textures and moods, then Yukimatsu's RA Podcast is something in-between.
Over two captivating hours, Yukimatsu brings in beats only to jettison them, returning several times to artists like Palmistry, Tzusing and Ryo Murakami. He anchors the mix with familiar tracks and voices before letting it drift out to sea again. It's also deeply personal, focusing on tracks from people he played with at his Zone Unknown parties in Osaka and Kobe, as well as his friends who participated in Midnight Is Comin'.
Some of these blends need to be heard to believed. But more important is the pacing: the mix moves at such a slow but intuitive speed that it's almost tantric, the work of someone who knows how to keep the party going at a simmer without giving into the temptation to go faster. (He even says that the mix was supposed to be longer.) With hooky tracks from Palmistry and Equiknoxx up against explosions of noise and heavy EQing, Yukimatsu's RA Podcast is like dipping your head above and below water, soaking in and appreciating the beauty of both realms at once.
What are you grateful for lately?
I'm grateful for my family, my friends, especially Kavan who let me curate Midnight Shift's compilation Midnight Is Comin in line with their ten-year anniversary. This mix has same concept: my storytelling and friendship.
Your DJing style and mixes are one-of-a-kind. How much do you prepare for sets, and/or plan blends/transitions?
I prepare sets depending on each party's concept or lineup. And some parts of the set are planned blends, some parts are transitions, also it's case by case. For example, for back-to-backs, I can't do planned blends, but I think I'm good at back-to-backs.
How and where was the mix recorded, and can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
It was a longer mix in my first thought. But my recorder could record only 2G for one track. So I had to make it shorter. Anyway I think I did well :)
I held my own parties by the name of Zone Unknown in 2016 and 2017. I invited Shapednoise, Imaginary Forces, Kamixlo, Aïsha Devi, Endgame, Palmistry, Equiknoxx and Rabit to Osaka or Kobe. Also I played with Kane Ikin and the Latency founders (Sidney and Souleymane) in my party. And I played with Tzusing many times in some countries (China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan). Blood Music, AKA Simon Pomery, is my friend who lives in London. Recently he used my voice in his music.
Kukangendai is a unique three-piece band based in Kyoto. I played with them many times. And they made their own studio & live house called "Soto." Recently they released on Ideologic Organ. And they produced tracks with Ryuichi Sakamoto who inspired me in many ways.
So I played all their works in the mix with works produced by artists involved in Midnight Is Comin.
Future Terror recently turned 20, and you've credited the party and DJ Nobu for helping change your life and your DJ career. Can you tell us a bit about the history there, and what happened to change things for you so much?
The biggest change happened in 2016. I got a malignant brain tumor. I had surgeries twice. Then I took an anti-cancer agent and radiotherapy, so I had to quit my day job. But the timing was very good, my DJ fees had been rising.
Do you have any plans to do more of your own parties?
Recently I've been very busy preparing for booked gigs, so now I don't have any plans to do my own parties.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
Global warming. I think it has a complicated relationship with capitalism. It is very hard to solve but we have to keep thinking about it.
What are you looking forward to in the near future?
I'm looking forward to producing my own music. ?
Equiknoxx Music - Fly Away (Dubbed by Gavsborg) - Swing Ting
Gabber Modus Operandi - Tekyan - SVBKVLT
Endgame - NXN - Purple Tape Pedigree
Kamixlo - Paleta - Codes
Palmistry - wyrdo - Fool's Gold Records
Albino Sound - Black Lagoon - Modern Obscure Music
Kane Ikin - Gestalt - Latency
Gabber Modus Operandi - Mencuri Singeli - Nyege Nyege Tapes
Palmistry - Ora Rose - Fool's Gold Records
Tzusing - Esther (Suda Remix) - Sea Cucumber
City - Ffaith - Halcyon Veil
DJ Nobu -Safari - Tikita
Ryo Murakami - Untitled - Depth Of Decay
Rie Lambdoll - 17(DJ Nobu Remix) - Hypercubic
dub magus from beirut / orhythmo - killer atmosphere II - grouper sounds
Struggle For Pride - Blockpain (You Never Defeat Me Mix by DJ Nobu) - Tearbridge Records
Aïsha Devi - The Sore Party - Danse Noire
Coni - Imaginarium Essai - The Trilogy Tapes
Tzusing - ???? ???? - L.I.E.S. Records
Kukangendai - ?? (Mark Fell Remix) - Unknownmix / Headz
Sapphire Slows - Swirl - AD 93
the hatch - ???????? (YPY remix) - UNDERCOVER RECORDS
2Crue-L Grand Orchestra - Endbeginning (Dazz Y DJ Nobu Omi Dub 12" Remix) - Crue-L Records
Aïsha Devi - Mazdâ - Houndstooth
Tzusing - King Of System - Cititrax
KEIHIN - Rust - Prowler
Albino Sound - Uneven Objects 2 - KTSNS
Palmistry - Lil Gem - Presto!?
Tzusing - Shame (Slikback Remix) - Sea Cucumber
Mr. Mitch - VPN ft. Palmistry (Mechatok Remix) - Planet Mu
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Zure (Kukangendai Remodel) - Commmons
Björk - History Of Touches (Rabit Naked Mix) - One Little Indian
Imaginary Forces - Council Flat (Roly Porter Burning Light Version) - Bedouin
Ryo Murakami - Statical (Porter Ricks Change Of Tide Remix) - Meakusma
SPINNUTS - Zweimal schlafen atmosphäre - Midnight Shift
Equiknoxx - Rescue Me - Equiknoxx Musiq
Shapednoise - Resistance To A Harmonious Vision feat. Roly Porter - Type
Blood Music - The Crying of the Air (read by Yousuke Yukimatsu, Meiji Jingu version) - Sonic Poetics
COMPUMA - View 4 - SOMETHING ABOUT
A track recorded in my room on a stormy day
Anohni - Untitled - Rough Trade