Que Sakamotois a DJ and producer who comes from Tokyo's underground scene. His work takes him all over the globe, but he always brings a piece of the music and culture of his birthplace, weaving the Japanese sound and aesthetic into his sets. Only in the last year, Sakamoto toured 22 countries on several continents and played at cult venues such as Panorama Bar (Berlin), Mamba Negra (Sao Paulo), Fuji Rock Festival (Japan), Sub Sonic Festival (Australia), Garbicz Festival (Poland) and Artlab (Buenos Aires).
His style is an eclectic mix of musical styles that go through disco, dark wave, psychedelic rock and electronic sound. He says that he never repeats the same mood during his performances and always tries to create strange and interesting music that expresses his Japanese identity. In his latest projects, he turns the focus back to his roots and says this new direction reflects his deep appreciation for cultural heritage and his desire to showcase Japan's rich musical traditions to a global audience. One of his most famous tracks "Minimüzikhol" (in collaboration with NT) features a combination of Japanese and Turkish electronic music, and since its release in 2019, it has been played in clubs and podcasts around the world, cementing his name as a rising talent on the dance scene.
Sakamoto hosts his own podcast on Tibilisi's Mutant Radio and works with numerous artists and DJs from around the world, including John Talabot, Gaye Su Akyol, Hoodoo Fushimi, as well as Japanese pioneer NT (Noriyuki Takagi), whose background in sound engineering helps him create a truly authentic and innovative sound. We talk with Sakamoto about the musical influences that have shaped him as an artist, the trends in the Japanese club scene over the years, and the best party locations around the world he visited.
Coming from the Tokyo underground music scene, tell us more about it - what are the trends right now, how is it developing and how did it change during the years you are part of it?
I dreamed of more work around the world. My influences are always changing because of the different feel of each place. What is important to me is how the music changes and the energy refracted through the Japanese taste.
You say that you're influenced by the 70's and 80's music. What exactly fascinates you about that specific period. What is interesting and not so popular about the Japanese music from that time?
These are the golden years of Japanese analog culture. So much different and amazing Japanese music is emerging such as city pop, electronica, jazz, minyou and Japanese avant-garde. What I got from the music of the Golden Years is inspiration. Analogue sounds make me feel pleasure, unlike digital ones, which stress me out and I can't experience that ease. Thats why I love analog sound.
In the past often records were famously released with special Japanese editions - what is your explanation and thoughts about the effect of that fact?
I think Japanese music and Japanese editions are a whole movement, because of their originality and authenticity, and because they're trying to create a more interesting audience.
What are the cliches about the Japanese scene that you find to be mostly untrue?
It's a really difficult question. People across the оcean always have a good scene, but I think Japanese venues bookers don't have much respect for local artists and DJs. They only pay good fees to foreign artists but not to Japanese artists. That's а sad situation.
Which are your favorite places in Tokyo and makes this city special for you?
My favorite neighborhood is Akabane. I really like Japanese cuisine, and there is a lot of variety of food there, as well as Izakaya (a type of informal Japanese after-work drinking bar that serves alcohol and food - editors note). I always have fun when I'm on food digging.
If you're to choose one specific track that describes your feeling of Japan, which one would it be?
Tomoko Aran - I,m In Love (1983) – such a sweet vocal and totally dramatic track.
You'ra travelling all around the world and only for the past year you visited more than 20 countries. Which are the best party locations you can't forget and why?
I have many beautiful moments, but I will pick а few. One is from "Panorama Bar" in Berlin, because for me this place is so special and in June it was my debut in it. The sound system and beautiful crowds gave me such amazing vibes that I almost cried. I really want to go back and play there again. Another venue is the Bruma Festival Silver Jardim in Rio, Brazil - a three-day festival with a unique location and beautiful mountain nature. As well as the Everybody Peace Happy Warm Open Minds festival. There my stage was all in bamboo and the smoke and lights enveloped the crowds totally. These vibes make me really happy and I can't wait to be on stage again.
You're managing a podcast on the Georgian Tbilisi's Mutant Radio. What inspires you as a host of such a project and what are the main challenges you encounter?
The concept of my podcast "Thoughts and Ideas" (思考と発想) is not about dance music but about selection music - rare tracks that are not easy to find, but not too crazy. It's 60 minutes full of history. I only invite friends who have good taste in selections and understand selection music. I'm always inspired by them and happy to discover new things in their mixes. I learn a lot from my guests. I always mix Japanese music myself and I believe it has a unique and original sound that has so many feelings.