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Interview with DJ Krush

This is an interview with Krush from this month's mag called "Machina".It was translated from polish by Komay on the Influx list and then I tried to correct the grammar, so it may not be word-for-word what Krush said, but I hope it's fairly accurate and at least keeps the spirit of the thing. If you feel something should be changed mail me.

As a teenager you were a member of the japanese mob.How do you feel about those times?

Krush:It was a time,when I couldn't find a place for myself.I was looking for something that would make me happy.I did a lot of bad things just to secure my life.I don't feel good when I think about it now. The experience of being a gangster influenced my life and my music.

Why did you leave the gang and start to DJ?

I watched "Wild Styles" and thought that this is it.I was still a member of a gang and i was pretty concerned about my future. I was thinking about my life a lot.Next day after seeing the movie I bought two decks and a mixer. Hip-hop culture shocked and fascinated me .Everyone who likes street-life likes hip-hop.

In the eighties you founded "Krush Posse".What can you say about the hip-hop scene at the time?

There was no scene at the time.The music just started coming out. Labels wern't interested in it.Now it's different. We have our own hip-hop culture: DJ's, MCs, breakdancers.I have a lot of respect for "Kemuri Productions" dj's collective ,MC Rino who I have worked a lot with recently and "Caminari"(Rino band).The biggest influence was american hip-hop.Now is one of the most important stages in building the japanese hip-hop scene.

Why did you leave "Krush Posse" and start working alone?

I did not leave "Krush Posse".We just made that decision all together.There were too many problems and conflicts.There was no chance for anyone to get better,to improve.It was a hard time for me.I wanted to make something great with "Krush Posse". I was thinking about quiting my DJ job.I didn't know that I could DJ by himself.

How did you sign a contract with Mo'Wax?

They just sell my stuff.Only "Strictly Turntablized" was made especially for them. When I met James Lavelle I was amazed. He was thinking about music the same way I did. On the "DJ Krush" album he liked short breakbeats.

How do you feel as a one elemnt of the James Lavelle empire?

James Lavelle empire???That sounds like "Star Wars". But seriously - I was very happy working for Mo'Wax. I was thinking that James's label is a place where my dreams will come true. Now,I'm not sure about that. I'm begining to wonder what Lavelle really wants. I need changes and I don't know if Mo'Wax will be helpful.

You have worked with many great artists.Any comments on that?

I remember that when I was recording "Meiso" I spoted a tatoo on CL Smooth's back(What was he doing half-naked? :-) ).It was his name in japanese. I was very happy when he said that Japan has been very influencial on him. That was the reason that I used shakuhachi flute in my track for the first time.

You started as a strict hip-hop artist.Now you are making slightly diffrent stuff.Is what DJ Krush makes still hip-hop?

I started as a hip-hop Dj and I'm still hip-hop Dj. Many people can say that it ain't hip-hop but that's not true.This is my is a way of feeling hip-hop. Under the skin of my music there is always hip-hop.

What can you say about the DJ Battle with DJ Shadow?

I was very shocked that it went so smooth and interesting.Everyone made diffrent beats, then we joined them in one track. It was amazing that we both knew exactly what we would do with the track.When I played with my deck,Shadow was copying that and adding some new ideas.

What inspires you the most?

My kids,my life,everything,all what is going on around and jazz music.

You don't speak English.How do you get on with it?

I'm hiring a translator.But when you are in the studio you don't need any words. Music is all. You communicate by "sounds".Music is a universal media.

What would you say about yourself as a musician and as a human?

I'm a little bit corrupt,very stuborn and I can't refuse anyone.I like serious challenges and lately I found a few grey hairs on my head.