Remember this party I’m playing at tomorrow?

Well, Frenchy sent an email on the Mailing List to promote it and because one of the DJ is a resident at Buddha Bar in Paris, we mentioned:

Come early as some Buddha Bar CDs will be given out,
compliments of the Buddha Bar, Paris.

Guess what we received this afternoon:

Hey,

How can I ever get my hands on some Buddha Bar CD compilations!

I’ve turned sooooooo many people onto the series…… But not
everywhere I shop has them. Hey it can’t hurt to ask, right?

DTour Inc.
[address]

Respect,
danny tenaglia  🙂

Yes, apparently, not only is Danny on our mailing list, but he also actually reads these emails (he’s probably the only one who still does). And he is into Buddha Bar Compilations.

Because my last entry on Japan might have sounded overly negative, and also because the tone of the last few weeks is dangerously edging toward serious and mature stuff, here is something to bring back the balance on both counts.

Although on some level, this might read as yet another episode of Wretchedly Altered Dave’s Comical Adventures in Magic Tokyo, it is also a heartwarming testimony to a people’s confounding sense of honesty underlined by the epic struggle of a man with the evil power of pharmaceutical-grade narcoleptics. A modern tale of hope and pride, if you will.
This is what I will be solemnly citing in answer to the usual insipid inquiry regarding my inspirations for coming to this country. Of course, I couldn’t have cared less about this when I bought my plane ticket, but I sure ain’t telling people the truth about coming here to complete my lifelong collection of worn Japanese schoolgirls uniforms.

Anyway, this all happened about two weeks ago. I know this is no longer fresh news, but, as you might recall, I have been quite busy lately ensuring that I did not have to find a spot for my tent in Yoyogi koen. And after the move, NTT persisted in taking more than ten days to move an ADSL account that had been created in three days, thus ensuring my internet activities were limited to the most essential stuff (which oddly enough, does not include ranting on this page).

This actually happened right after we had found a place at the last minute and gotten approved by the owner: all that was left to do was bring the cash and sign the lease, on Saturday morning, and move in the following day.
On Friday evening, I had planned to go play a few records at Bar Tokyo with Miss Kate, which seemed like a great occasion to celebrate at the same time. Lease-signing meeting time was 10:30 in Ueno: that gave me ample time to get back home with the first train, take a quick shower, maybe even a post-disco nap and then head over to the agency with Nordine and Yoshiko (who had been enrolled as our personal scribe). NOTHING wrong with this plan, right?
Oh yea… one important detail: a conjunction of factors such as daily ATM withdrawal limit, the scarcity of ATM accepting foreign cards in this city and the presence of one such bank, open 24h, in Roppongi, had caused me to stop on the way there to withdraw the last leg of the rent/deposit/gift money we were supposed to bring in the day after.

So it was half past midnight, I had about 60,000 yens in cash on me, and I was heading toward some seedy bar for the night.

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Ever since last time, I went through two set-ups… First using a rather diverse array of boxes and furniture, raising the whole thing to a smashing 20 inches from the ground, which did little for mixing posture comfort.

And then last weekend, I spent an hour at Tokyo Hands, picking raw shelf construction units and having pieces cut left and right in order to put together the ultimate DJ-Stand/Book Shelf/Clothes Rack (plans and design: drDave ©2003, patent pending).

Quite amazingly, the neighbours have not yet torn down the wall or nailed a dead rat on the door to protest against our repeated noisy late night romps these past few days. It seems they are either really cool with the noise or completely deaf. Actually, that seems to be a pattern with most places where I live – except of course for the one neighbour who got me a court citation for noise disturbance at night, a few years ago.

In other music news, I got two gigs coming up: I’ll be playing at Bar Tokyo this saturday, the place is just at the crossing, on the 7th floor with a huge bay window… it should definitely be a good party.
Then, I’ll be playing a much smaller venue with Atsushi, at Cafe Idée in Sangenjaya: a mix between a loft and a design lounge, not really huge, but since we got the place for ourselves, it promises to be a good night of fun between friends.


Thanks to Atsushi, truly the nicest bloke ever, I am now in possession of a whole set of mixing equipment including decks and cd-mixer…

Last week at home, we were chatting and I mentioned how I seriously missed being able to play at home and was trying to figure out how to buy second-hand turntables. To which he just told me he was so busy with photography these days that he barely used his and I could borrow them for the time being!

Two days later, he was helping me bring all his equipment to my place. When he asked me if I had an amp to plug all this on, I told him no, but that was more than okay, I’d go buy one the next day. But he just told me to hold on: “As a matter of fact, my friend has one she is not using”, and the following night, he was dropping by with an amplifier!
Not to mention the gift of a precious lump of el hashish, rarer than gold in this beautiful, but quite substance-adverse, country…

あっちゃんどもありがとう!

I’m really lucky to have met friends like Atsushi here…

Anyway, now I am more excited than a japanese schoolgirl in a shibuya shop… Just need to go fetch some speakers and a stand for all that, and we’ll be ready to rock the house…

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A small anecdote that’s barely worth mentioning given how often this type of crap happen, but anyway:
A few days ago, Mr. David Morales, living legend and most definitely a very talented house dj/producer, was to headline some party at Ruby Skye in SF. Along with him was good friend Frenchy le Freak, representing the local scene.

Scheduled to play around 1am, he of course shows up 20 minutes late, so far, so bad, but nothing to call home about (it seems like starting your set on time is the most debasing thing when you’re a world famous dj). But then, after hanging around a bit, he simply declares the club “sounds like shit” and he won’t be playing there. Then proceeds to hang around the stage, royally ignoring the turntables, as if his mere presence was what people had come for.

Now, I’m no huge fan of Ruby Skye, but one thing is sure: the sound is pretty damn good for a club of this size, in fact, it’s probably among the best sounds you can get in the City. The sound system is more than decent and the room itself, being a former theater, has flawless acoustics…

Finally, after half-an-hour middle-man negotiations between the club manager and Morales’ agent, some kind of agreement was reached and Mr. Big Star Dj headed over to the decks, where he half-heartedly botched a low-quality set in front of a crowd he obviously could not care less about.

Of course, the real issue that night was not sound quality or any such thing: the deal was probably more about acting out some diva caprice on a whim, flex some ego around and, most likely, extort extra cash from a rattled club manager who would probably sooner slit his wrists than having to announce the headliner was a no-show…

This is an all too common story. Ask any club promoter, manager, DJ: they will all have their story about such or such Big Name DJ not showing up at the last minute, asking twice the previously agreed price, or just casually sliding a mix CD in and not touching a knob for the whole set…

And it sucks. Big time. It sucks because it gives a bad name to every dj out there, including the ones who work hard to respect their public and not feed them crap just because they can. It sucks because, of course, such set give a really poor idea of what good House music can be (“is that what a legendary DJ sound like?”). But first and foremost, it sucks because this is the exact opposite of all things House music used to stand for (DJs check their rockstar ego at the door, the vibe is more important than the venue etc).

Anyway, next time some over-hyped super-dj comes playing in your vicinity, you should probably wonder whether you care to see some jaded button-pusher who doesn’t give a fuck about the crowd or the vibe, or if you would not be better off with some obscure but talented local dj who truly cares about the public…

Congrats to Will aka Frenchy le Freak, who made it into this year’s Top 10 DJs for San Francisco

Ranked among the likes of Miguel Migs and Mark Farina, not bad, eh…

For the ones in SF: there’s probably gonna be a bash featuring the 10 of them at the Fillmore sometime next month… worth checking out, especially since, along such master talents, there will be a good diversity of styles from the lesser known but nonetheless brilliant other DJs on the list (and Ellen rocks!).