Who is Dj Romy Mats? Could you introduce yourself briefly?
I'm based in Tokyo. Since 2017, I’ve been working as a party organiser and promoter at my resident party called 'Kaitai Shinsho (解体新書)'. As a DJ, I usually play hypnotic / psychedelic techno, bass music from UK, speedy electro and breaks, broken and noisy EBM, african and middle eastern inspired sound, and more experimental or leftfield stuff etc. I think it's my style to mix these music eclectically. Of course I sometimes play house and disco stuff, but I don't have much opportunities these days. Putting that aside, despite my short career and young age, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to play in great parties like DJ Nobu's 'Future Terror', 'Rural Festival', Boiler Room Party in Tokyo, and the main floor of Contact Tokyo etc. So I’m enjoying the moment now, growing up based on these various experiences.
You've been organising the party 'Kaitai Shinsho(解体新書)', which comes from the Japanese surgery book under the same name. How did you come up with this title?
The actual 'Kaitai Shinsho(解体新書)' was published by a medical scientist named Genpaku Sugita, who majored in western studies, in 1774, and it was the first English to Japanese translated book about western medicine. Briefly, this book was created by translating various medical books written by German, Dutch, French and other doctors in European countries into Japanese and reconstructing the important parts. Personally, I think the origin of this book is similar to that of the electronic / dance music scene in Japan. The scene of Japan has such a strong identity and history, but I believe that this is a result of actively incorporating and interpreting various electronic music from around the world. In fact, even though it’s a small part of the scene, I’m constantly looking for new electronic music from around the world for my own mix sets and working hard to introduce wonderful international producers / DJs to Japan. I felt that this situation is very similar to the activities of Genpaku Sugita; his publication of Kaitai Shinsho as a result of his work. That's the main reason why, but actually I didn't thought like this from the beginning. When I started the party 3 years ago, I discussed a lot about the titles with VJ Camel (aka Akio Oda) who is my organising partner. At that time, we were thinking of a title that would have a strong impact and would not be buried in many parties, and after talking with each other, we came to the conclusion that a title using kanji would fit both conditions. After that, we kept on listing idioms in kanji as candidates, but when 'Kaitai Shinsho(解体新書)' came up, we thought it's strong enough and the meaning also came to my mind, so we chose it as the title.
How would you evaluate the goals and accomplishments of running the party brand by yourself for the past 3 years?
I definitely have a sense of accomplishment. Because we have continued our efforts to maintain our uniqueness along with the party build up, we were able to receive positive feedback constantly. At the 3rd anniversary party at Contact Tokyo, I had a toast with VJ Camel right after the party started, and we said to each other that we would have never imagined three years ago that we could have our anniversary party at such a huge venue. But now, I think the present is a legitimate place considering our efforts so far. And on the other hand, I think the reason 'Kaitai Shinsho' exists today is because there were so many people who have been supporting us, and also great local artists who played a lot of times in our party such as Mars89, Saskiatokyo, Albino Sound, k_yam and HELKTRAM etc, plus, people who came to the party. This is by no means humble, it’s an obvious facts. I can’t thank them enough. And then, I think there is still a long long long way to go. I just keep trying something new.
However, even before you started djing or promoting you've been working as a journalist as the chief editor of 'Higher Frequency' magazine. How did electronic music(or dance music) become involved into your life this much?
I'm not a producer at all, but I know electronic music has changed my life definitely. And what hasn't changed since I started listening electronic music as a teenager, is that this kind of music is always exciting and always makes me feel fresh. I used to dig and listen to alternative rock and indie rock a lot when I was a teenager, but I gradually started to feel that there was no big difference between any of the new albums coming out, so I really got into electronic music from then. And when I started to feel that electronic music is creeping up on indie rock increasingly year after year, I began to think that electronic music might be the undifferentiated frontier of all present music including pop, rock, and rap. That point of view hasn't changed even now. My current motivation of life (or of all general activities) is the expectation that something new will start to happen from electronic music.
We also heard the news that you performed in many different countries in Asia(Bangkok, Hanoi, Taipei, Seoul, etc.). What is the core of your motivation that makes you keep going on in all these activities?
No matter which city I’m playing, it's totally different from playing in Tokyo (the atmosphere of the floor and dancers, the sound, my mind), so it's always a lot of fun. The best gig for me was at Safe Room, Bangkok in November and at B1, Taipei in August. Of course, it's not only about my gigs, it's also very interesting to see local DJs, and to communicate with DJs, promoters, customers to learn more about each scenes. There are many things that I don't know until I visit the city, so my current motivation is to get some new experience. In 2020, I’m going to start an exchange program between Asia cities and Tokyo. so I would be happy if I could know more about various wonderful parts of Asian dance music scenes, and increase our possibilities.
Could you explain about the mix set? Who would you like to recommend this mix to listen to?
This is a live recording at Contact Tokyo from last year July. I think the first half was strange and difficult to grasp the beat, but in the second half, it became intense techno but hypnotic. I find this mix has a pretty aggressive configuration so I hope the listeners look up this mix set whenever they want to uplift their feelings.
Translation by Closet Yi
Parrish Smith - L'Importance De Doute
Sleep D - Shark Tempo
Struction - Seel
Locked Groove - Eden feat. Stella (Prequel Tapes Remix)
Rhyw - Biggest Bully
Szare - Sink Hole
Call Super - The Mess
Kr!z - Salvation
Oliver Rosemann - Intermediate World
Yogg - Close Enough
Schiari - A Far Vision
Nobusawa - Raspberry
Peter Van Hoesen - Second Hologram Rose
Objekt - Runaway
PTU - Over