by Don Crispy
Long before it was fashionable, the DJ was cutting up rock
with electronic beats
|Too many clubs
are chasing too few customers, and many dance floors are
Since the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim began mixing
rock riffs into sequenced beats to come up with a style called
big beat almost a decade ago, its become
trite to hear tracks like Nirvanas Smells Like
Teen Spirit chopped and blended into house music.
But as anyone whos heard a set by Tokyos Duck
Rock will know, the DJ takes this approach to a higher level.
Rock tracks are not played just to get a rise out of the crowd,
but form a seamless part of a dense thicket of beats and samples;
hes not a hands-in-the-air showboater, but a dedicated
craftsman of sound.
My style hasnt changed in 15 years, Duck
Rock (Nobuhisa Yamamoto) tells Metropolis. I select
electronic music with a rock taste.
Growing up with rock and ele-pop, his inclinations were formed
early. He got his first exposure to dance music at a club
in Kyoto called China Express, and he began to mix dance tracks
into sets of indie rock hed started playing at a local
Relocating to Tokyo, Duck Rock was behind the decks at some
of the formative clubs of Japans early-90s dance
explosion, including Picasso, Cave and MC1000. These days,
the soft-spoken DJ can be heard mashing up rock with breakbeats
at venues like La Fabrique and Ruby Room, but his essential
approach hasnt changed.
In recent years, Duck Rocks mixing skills have brought
him a variety of recording projects. When the drummer for
the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion heard him spinning at Milk,
he asked Duck Rock to remix for the band. The result was an
incendiary live mix on turntables that blended a breakbeats
track with JSBXs 2 Kinda Love.
With the increasing interest in breakbeats during the last
few years, Duck Rock has found himself more in demand as both
DJ and remixer. Hes worked with overseas forces like
Germanys Westbam and domestic acts including Pealout
and Polysics. Hes also released a series of mix CDs,
including Sound Republic Vol. 2 Mixed by Duck Rock on KSR.
A quiet but opinionated veteran of the Japanese club scene,
Duck Rock believes that not all recent developments have been
healthy. Demand and supply are not in balance,
he says. Too many clubs are chasing too few customers,
and many dance floors are empty.
He says changes are needed in the way clubs organize parties.
These days, anyone can make a party easily, whereas
for me it was a struggle. Dance music has become repetitiveI
think events should be playing a wider variety of sounds.
Duck Rock is resident DJ at Vanity,
Deck n Effect, Cosmopolitan and other parties.
Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter
to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.