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claude young interview

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Different World Biography

2 brothers born in different countries but of the same mind who encompass an entire wealth of electronic music history in their performance.

Claude Young (Detroit USA) – one of the most respected and accomplished DJ / Producers to come from the home of techno. His solo Dj sets are the stuff of legend and he has remixed and produced records for some of the greatest names in the business from Kevin Saunderson, Carl Craig, 4 Hero, Octave One, Sven Vath, Alter Ego and a host of other names to long to mention. His DJ mixes are among the most popular on the market having compiled DJ mixes for K7!, Jeff Mills AXIS records, Sony Music Japan and may other labels. He has headlined almost every major event globally and entertained audiences in America, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, China, Scotland, Austria, Australia, France, Croatia, Switzerland and many other countries.

Takasi Nakajima (Tokyo / Fukui Japan) – one of the greatest DJ’s in Japan and the head of Xpansive Media a successful multimedia company. Nakajima began playing at the age of 16. He has one of the finest and varied collections of music in Japan playing everything from Dub, House, Techno to Hip Hop. In 1997 he was a finalist in the DMC regional DJ competition in Japan.

Young and Nakajima became close friends after Young relocated from Glasgow to Tokyo in 2005. Both having a strong love of music the two decided to form Different World in 2006 and began playing at their own resident events in Japan gaining a loyal following of hardcore music lovers. They also host a monthly podcast at their website www.cynet-media.com which currently began syndication in Australia. Cynet-Media is the media label started by Young and now run by Young and Nakajima – the idea was to release not only music but video content as well and they are currently in the process of developing Young’s second solo album for the label as well as the release of a Different World album.

Interview with Claude Young by Kazuumi Ishii

You are currently based in Tokyo. Why did you choose to move there ?

Moving to Tokyo was purely for personal reasons. I wanted to spend more time with my wife & our first child is on the way so my main priority was to be close to my family. When I was based in Europe I could only see my family a few times a year during breaks from touring. Now I’m home all the time and tour only when I feel I have something new to present. Family is an essential part of my life and always the main source of my inspiration.

You have lived in two of the most influential techno cities in the world, Detroit and London, how important is location when creating music ?

Location is really not that important to me when creating music. I like to isolate myself from my surroundings most of the time so I can be anywhere and create music.

How has living in Tokyo influenced your music ?

It is nice and quiet where I live – so I get more experimentation done here in Japan. Most of my recording in done at the main studio in Fukui.

What are the main aims and ideas behind the Cynet-media label ?

I felt it was time to create a media company to release all the different projects I’m interested in. We are not purely a music label. We also have several DVD projects in the works as well. I also plan on showing some of my digital art instillations in Japan. I’m constantly working on new projects that most people never see. For me its all about the art of creation.

So what is your opinion of integrating audio and visual in the club ?

I think it is definitely the future. I personally would like to see the focus move more toward the visual with the DJ or musicians only visible at the beginning and end of their performance. This would take things back to a pure state of sensory experience.

Jeff Mills’ "Exhibitionist (DVD)" certainly opened up the new era of music culture, and it was highly acclaimed as a phenomenal project that integrated audio and visual in perfect harmony. However, we have not seen significant evolution of this area, especially in the records shops, but there are lots of interesting audio-visual projects going on in the clubs and across the Internet. What is your take on that and what do you think are the biggest issues with audio-visual products ?

The biggest issue with audio visual presentation and music in general at the moment is the over-saturation of the market. The problem also lies with the sources people use to find their information. Many magazines, record shops, web boards, festivals, etc have a set of friends / artist / agents that they work with closely. This is the basis of everything they do. Rarely are these people out looking for new interesting things. So as a result of consolidation of media it takes a long time for new things to come to light.

I always find new music, applications, producers etc, because I enjoy these kinds of projects but I want to seek them out myself so I spend about 3 or 4 hours a day just checking out digital media / art online. I don’t want to be told what is cool by some magazine – I want to discover it myself. A lot of people have lost the curiosity so they take what they are given or what is easily available.

How did you find your new Different World collaboration with Takasi Nakajima ? You’ve worked with him a few times now. What was your artistic process when working together ?

Different World is actually a group comprising Nakajima, myself & Takenaka. We work mainly in Fukui where I can be completely free of the distractions here in Tokyo and can concentrate on being creative with my friends. Nakajima, Takenaka & I have been very close friends for some time now and we have the same interest in music and technology so when we get together we just work on different projects and see how things work out.

When you do collaborations with people like Anthony Shakir and Ian O’Brien how do you know you are going to work well together ?

I know things will work because these are people that I know personally. Our foundation as friends is not purely based in music but in life.

Although there’re many talented Japanese DJs and artists, it’s been quite hard for them to break into the European dance scene. Also, there are only a few of dance music labels here in spite of large party scene, because Japanese labels have been hardly distributed by European companies before. Do you think it is the matter of distance between Tokyo and Europe, or is it simply because Japanese people are missing something important for dance music ?

I think the problem is many Japanese artist are afraid to do their own thing. Be themselves and to spend time developing original ideas. So many people I meet have great talent but their main concern is pleasing or imitating European producers / promoters. Why would a promoter in Europe or anywhere want to cooperate with a copy when they can easily get the original artist from Europe. I think the current club scene here is the same. So many international guest and no room for great Japanese talent to grow. Because Japan is so small this is again a problem caused by perception, media consolidation and event consolidation.

I do find great music here in Japan all the time but most of the time it is on myspace or the artist personal home page. I would love to see more experimental events here in Japan with Japanese artist doing their own thing instead of cloning the current European trends. At the moment all I see is artist from around the world exploiting the scene here and the only benefit is mainly for the promoters / managers in JP who bring internationals here. The Japanese independent music scene needs to start supporting their own artist then I’m sure more people will take notice globally. Germany is a perfect example of how this strategy works.

The mixing that you do on Cynet-media Podcast is quite prolific. What elements do you bring to your mixing to keep it fresh, to maintain a level of originality ?

Myself, Nakajima & our guest all try to play music we personally enjoy. It’s quite a simple process really. One day I will be listening to some music I recently purchased and get into a mood. When the time feels right I will just do the mix and send it to my friends to enjoy. If I really like a particular mix we post it on the podcast. Like everything I do it’s purely for the love of the music. I’m happy when other people enjoy the mixes – that is the main reason for creating them. They are designed to flow with life.

When I hear your set, it always give me feelings like pleasure, happiness, and sometimes even sorrow and loneliness. Do you always reflect these life emotions in your sets ?

I’m happy you asked this. The mixes are mainly a reflection of how I’m feeling at the time I record them. The music follows my current emotional mood.

What’s in store for Cynet-media as a label and for you as a creator ?

I’m working on another solo album this year. I’m also working on a concept DVD project and original soundtrack to go with my visuals. Different World will be recording an album this year as well. I have some solo tours planned for Europe, actually I just returned from a tour yesterday and DW will be touring heavily this year as well to help promote our sound and ideas. We hope to also do a DW tour in Japan this year but this depends on our schedule worldwide.

We have some new artist were releasing, my favorite is MXM a guy I found on myspace. Really nice guy and amazing and versatile producer / media artist. I’m happy hes decided to work with us. I hope we can get a project out of Ian O’brien this year as well as a new project from Shake. We also have some digital download compilations planned featuring Nakajima, Takenaka, MXM, Orlando Voorn, DJ GA9, myself and a few more of our friends here in Japan.

Cynet-Media Discography

  • Claude Young – One.Nine.Eight.Four, CD
    CD-001 (2005)
  • Orlando Voorn – Sessions From The Deep, CD
    Cynet-CD002 (2007)

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Written by Kazuumi

May 2nd, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Features

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  1. Only if more musicians were like Claude Young… lucky he is in Japan now & can influence & improve the scene there. Nakajima & Claude were great in Detroit at the DEMF.

    Thomas

    2 Jun 07 at 12:28 am

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