When it come to virtuoso turntablism DJ Kentaro sits atop the pile, in the company of legends like Mix Master Mike, Cut Chemist, and Q-Bert. Having earned the highest score in DMC World DJ Championship history at the tender age of 20, as well as working with hip hop gods The Pharcyde and everyone from Spank Rock to Fat Jon, Kentaro is sort of like the Luke Skywalker of DJs, the youthful prodigy determined to vanquish The Empire and triumph over the forces of The Dark Side. Well, maybe not those last few points, but you get the idea.
Anyway, as this veritable master of his craft is soon to arrive on our fair shores we were lucky enough to be able to ask him a few questions before he hopped on a plane. He’s English isn’t the best but I think it’s better I leave things as he said rather than try and correct the mistakes so bear with me.
Music Feeds: So the first thing I wanted to ask was what was it like working with The Pharcyde? They’re like old school hip hop gods, were you a little overwhelmed?
DJ Kentaro: Yes. I have always loved Pharcyde and it was always different from the east coast hip hop. I was really diggin’ their style in 90s. I was so happy to see them at my album launch at Liquidroom Tokyo in 2007. And we did a song ‘Keep On’ together that was memorable time. Really happy. Hope we can work together in near future!
MF: Going from DMC championships and DJ gigs to producing an album seems like a bit of a creative leap, was it hard to get your head out of a live space and into a more studio based way of thinking?
DK: Yes. I am simply making beats everyday towards to my next album. I am enjoying it. I’ m in my studio all the time to do some creative works.
MF: You have so many influences it can be hard to pinpoint your style, how would you describe the album?
DK: Turntable is probably a word to describe of me right now. Everything is around my decks. Even my creation at the moment is with the decks.
MF: I understand you’re working on the next album as we speak, what can we expect? How does it compare to the first album?
DK: It will be different from my first album Enter. I’m more towarding to show my “Core”, or original part. So I’m concentrating on where I’m coming from. Please wait. I am preparing a new fresh story for everyone!
MF: What’s it like being on Ninja Tune, you’re signed with some of the best artists in your genre, do you ever get star struck by some of your label mates?
DK: I’m just simply proud to be in it, I am so happy that they invited me into their family. I’m so glad. This one, my second album will be out from Ninja Tune, I am so excited about it. I did a tour with The Qemists, and did share a same stage/nights in Japan as well, everyone does their own things and make their own music in their own style that’s incredible. I m just inspired by all the artists from Ninja Tune. And again, I’m so happy to be part of it.
MF: Now you got the highest score in DMC Championship history, so I’m assuming you’re pretty good, what other DJs then do you look up to if any, in terms of your craft?
DK: When I was teenager, I was always diggin DJ Shortcut, Craze or DJ from Australia DJ Dexter. I love Dexter’s routines.
MF: What can we expect from the live show? Are there any special surprises you can let slip?
DK: I will be ready to drop the whole my show but I’m thinking to bring my new tunes, please be there at The Forum!
MF: What have you been listening to at the moment? Do you tend to play the music you listen to when you play live, or do you keep personal and professional tastes separate?
DK: I listen to everything, Hip Hop, Breaks, Ragga, Dub Step, DnB and Techno. And I play everything as well.
MF: Hip hop as a genre has always grown in terms of the influences it incorporates into it’s language and style, are there any areas or genres you would like to see brought into hip hop that you haven’t really seen yet?
DK: Anything is possible, that’s hip hop I think. Attitude. There is no such a rule for hip hop, only if you are able to do it “cool”. Lol.
MF: Where do you think hip hop will go in the next ten years?
DK: I believe this will maintain the same, but there will be more styles, and rule-less. From the global world by Internet these days, you hear great sounds from unknown cities for sure.
DJ Kentaro plays the Forum on Saturday 27th March.