It’s almost time for number 20 in our size? sessions (20:20 Mix) series – they’ve really been flying by, haven’t they? And for this instalment, we’re set to be joined by Japanese hip hop expert DJ Koco.
He’s been perfecting his craft for quite a while now and is renowned worldwide for his vast hip hop knowledge as well as for his battle, beat-juggling, and scratching skills.
We can’t wait to see what he has in store for us this Friday. But before that, we’ve caught up with the man himself to get to know him a little better. So keep on reading and check out our exclusive interview with DJ Koco below…
Tell us about yourself; where you’re from, what you do and what’s your shoe size?
“I am from Japan, from an area called Shikoku. I’ve been DJing for a quarter-century, 25 years. I was playing basketball until I started DJing,
“In junior high school, I seriously wanted to go to the NBA and practised hard. I was a short a player but I looked up to Muggsy Bogues, an NBA player playing for the Charlotte Hornets at that time who was of the same height and playing in all-star games. I couldn’t continue to play basketball though and started DJing. I wear a US 9.”
How did you get started in the music industry?
“I liked music, so I bought records and listened to them. I started playing once I collected enough records to DJ. Once I started, I enjoyed it so much that it had become a profession in no time,
“I also worked once a week at a used record shop called Flash Disc Ranch for about six years. I was able to buy records before the customers could. It was an old record store, so I was able to purchase and grow my collection with the vintage records that were in storage for years. With the underground hip hop 12 inch, I recorded a mixtape and made some money. I sold a lot of the store’s stock to the younger customers.”
What has been your record of the year so far and what are you looking forward to hearing for the rest of the year?
“DJ Rob Manga from Amsterdam told me about a band called Soul Supreme, and they covered Check the Rhime by A Tribe Called Quest. Noam, one of the band members sent it to me this spring. That’s the record I played the most this year,
“A Japanese band called Wa Yo Set covered Common’s ‘Be’ and the record, which I edited, will be released this November. The test press is ready so I’ll be playing that the latter part of the year. It’ll be released from a Japanese label run by my friend Ryuhei The Man that catalogues unique edits. I play it a lot already on Instagram live. This single has two edits – house and hip hop recorded on it.”
Has there been a particular event/party that has stood out for your career?
“Besides my own plays, I think I was most affected by KID CAPRI playing at Harlem, a club in Tokyo. I can’t forget it. Regarding my own plays – it’s that I joined DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Scratch in 2019 on their 45 Tour. The most memorable thing about the tour is not the sets themselves but Jeff and Scratch’s professionalism as DJs,
“For about a month, I was able to spend time and basically live with the two and their crew, I got on a tour bus for the first time, travelled across the US, and through rehearsal and the actual shows I was able to witness their professionalism. The day we played in Glendale, Arizona was so hot, I can’t believe I survived it. Because of that day, when we went to Texas and New Mexico, where it was over 104°F and hotter than Tokyo, it felt like nothing.”
And looking further ahead, who should we be looking out for in 2021?
“There’s no particular artist per se, but I want to look out for bands and songs that incorporate new sounds and essences. I look forward to artists who will create trends that have a hip hop feel but plays us unexpected sounds.”
On Friday 28th August you’re broadcasting an exclusive size? sessions (20:20 Mix) for us. What can we expect to hear?
“With hip hop as the axis – not much house music, but 20 dance music songs of a wide genre that can be enjoyed by anybody.”
Outside of the music industry, where do you look for inspiration?
“I get inspired by the vibe when I listen to music in my everyday life, anywhere, and whatever kind of music it is. I think about songs and their mixes in environments also outside of the clubs and parties. There are times when I realise the good parts of a song in unexpected places, all of a sudden. I use Shazam a lot more.”
What are your top 3 records of all time?
“James Brown – ‘Funky Drummer’
Incredible Bongo Band – ‘Apache’
JB’s – ‘The Grunt’.”
What are your top 3 trainers of all time?
“ASICS GEL-Lyte III,