13th November 2015 : The Office Techno Towers : Bristol 14th November : Scala : London
Definitely a prime contender for the title of the world’s most travelled DJ, Tsuyoshi Suzuki is one of the true pioneers of dance music as we know it. One of the original DJs at the legendary Return To The Source events, he first started DJing in his native Tokyo and was influenced by the trance scene in Goa before coming to London in 1993.
Also co-founder of trailblazing Goa trance label Matsuri Productions – which lives on as Matsuri Digital – he’s produced and released some of the most ground-breaking music around. This incredible eclecticism shines through in his high-energy live band Joujouka, who are currently writing new material for their forthcoming album. With Tsuyoshi back in the UK for the Return To The Source parties in Bristol (13th November) and London (14th November), we managed to have a chat with this jet-setter extraordinaire and professional connoisseur of parties…
Thank you for taking some time to chat with us! We have not spoken in several years, I am so happy to re-connect!
1) You relocated to London in 1993. What made you decide to come to the UK? Was it to pursue music more seriously?
UK new wave and alternative music were my favourites since I was a kid and I wanted to try my musical ability there.
2) When did you first hear about the Return To The Source parties and how did you come to be a resident DJ for the organization? Well, I met Chris Deckker through my ex-wife in London and we became good friends and felt a musical connection together. One day, he came up to me and said, ‘Hey Tsuyoshi, let’s make a party together’, and I totally got into his idea about RTTS. So I was resident DJ from the first one.
3) What was your first international gig and how did that compare to what you were used to in the Japanese scene you grew up in?
My first international gig was in Goa around 1990 I guess… and I knew it was great one! I knew lots of Goa travellers from Tokyo already at that time, so it didn’t feel that different to a Tokyo underground party.
4) You are known for being part-founder of one of the most ground-breaking and well respected ’90s Goa trance labels called Matsuri Productions. What made you decide to start an electronic music label and what were some of your first artists to be signed? Myself and Nick Taylor had been making Prana stuff and wanted to release somewhere on a label. But I knew the greatest psychedelic artists, like Organix in Tokyo, and wanted to do something together with them. So, I thought it would be the best decision to make my own label, which is much easier and I can release what I make whenever I want… so… simple. The first release was Prana’s first album called ‘Cyclone’ in ’95.
5) Tell us the difference between running an underground electronic label such as Matsuri and Madskippers, another label of yours which houses more punk and new wave bands. I’m not running Madskippers anymore, and I’m more into the Nu StyIe psychedelic Goa stuff. I have Matsuri Digital in Japan now in partner with DJ Yuta, which is growing so much. So I’m running the label and doing events in Japan and worldwide as well.
6) One of your ongoing projects is the group Joujouka. Can you tell us how you first met Takeshi Isogai/Ubar Tmar and what birthed the band? What has it been like working with him all these years? Tell us also, how Minoru Tsunoda (Funky Gong) came to be involved? Well, I met Takeshi for the first time in ’96 through his manager to remix some stuff and we had a kind of similar idea about psychedelic music. Takeshi is an ingenious producer, so it was really fun to work with him. When Joujouka tried to do an album tour, I wanted to get a guitarist for our live set and Takeshi introduced to me Funky Gong. Since then he started to become a DJ and became part of Joujouka as well.
7) Joujouka has been known for mixing electro, new wave, alternative rock and punk. The band has even won an award for the Best Dance Act in the Avima Awards 2009. Your most recent release in 2013 ‘The Sound Kills Despair’ was the first after 7 years of silence. We hear you will be going back to your roots of ’90s style Goa trance on the upcoming album in 2017. Can you tell us what we can expect musically from your LIVE Joujouka performance in the Bristol Return To The Source gig? Yes our concept now is making totally new psychedelic Goa trance sounds, inspired by ‘90s stuff. We’ll play our old tunes with a new kick added and our recent tunes as well. So it will sound like totally new Goa trance stuff
8) Future plans? Upcoming gigs? Tsuyoshi gossip? Yes, Matsuri Digital will release a lot of new stuff from October and we’ll prepare our new Joujouka album, which we plan to release in 2017, hopefully before August. As for gigs, there will be a Matsuri Digital party in Belgium on November 10. I’m also playing Earthcore, South Africa, the Matsuri Digital party in Tokyo, and many more…