Metropolis reached San Francisco groovemeisters Atish and Mark Slee ahead of their appearance at Parties4Peace’s upcoming fundraiser in Shibuya.
Is this your first time coming to Japan? What is the most exciting thing about your upcoming trip ?
Mark: I’ve been to Japan just once before, visiting Tokyo and Kyoto about 5 years ago. This time around I’m super excited to go beyond being a tourist and visit the Labyrinth festival. For many years now I have consistently heard incredible things about Labyrinth – the setting, the sound, the artists. So I’m very excited to get to see it for myself.
Atish: I had been to Tokyo a couple years back, and my friends and I had put together a wig party on a boat called Wiguru. It was awesome, and the party proved that these Japanese take dressing up quite seriously! I’m also most excited about Labyrinth. My friends have told me its one of the best, if not the best music festival in the world, so this is clearly relevant to my interests 🙂
If you could describe your musical style or taste, what would you say?
Mark: Always hard to put genres and sounds into words – but I like to play music that has a mixture of groove and depth. Nice textures, interesting sounds, hints of melody to pull you in, plus the necessary oomph to keep a dance floor vibe going. And a little bit quirky when I can get away with it.
Atish: Mark and I have some overlap in our styles, but my sound tends to lean more on the melodic and emotional side of house music. People outside the US tell me that I have a very “American” or “Burning Man” sound…I’m not sure exactly what that means, but that’s what people say!
Parties4Peace is a non-profit that raises funds for important global causes. Why did you decide to join the Parties4Peace event in Tokyo? What are some of the issues today that you care about most and why?
Mark: Good event coupled with a good cause makes it a no-brainer. Personally, when it comes to philanthropy, I tend towards global humanitarian issues. There is a great organization in San Francisco called GiveWell (http://www.givewell.org/) that researches these. I tend to follow their recommendations for my own personal giving. A couple of the issues they’ve focused on the past few years are malaria prevention (via the Against Malaria Foundation) and global poverty reduction (via GiveDirectly).
Atish: I second Mark’s answer here. I’ve played for parties 4 peace before, I know it’s for a good cause, and I love DJing, so it’s a no brainer for me to participate. I also use givewell as my guide for where I should donate my money. It’s so hard to know how effectively our dollars are used in the charity world, and it’s too time-consuming to research every charity inside and out, so I’m glad givewell is here to help solve that problem.
Do you know any Japanese artists ? If so what is your impression of the Japanese music scene?
Mark: To be honest, I wish I knew more about the current Japanese music scene, and am excited to get a better taste of it on this visit. Most of the artists I know are a bit older, going back to my roots. For instance, Satoshi Tomiie was one of my favorite DJs around the turn of the millennium and the early 2000s. I was a teenager at the time, just soaking in as much new music as I could. He was also putting out some great material on his label, SAW recordings. More recently, I’ve dug some of the deep groove-based sounds of Japanese producers that have transplanted to London, guys like Jun Akimoto and Ittetsu. A few years back I was really digging some of the deep house that Ryo Murakami was putting out. Though it’s different from what I normally play as a DJ, I also really like some work from Hiroshi Watanabe (aka Kaito). There is an ambient version of his album “Trust Less” that came out on Kompakt some years ago. That has stuck with me, I still find myself working some of that music into a sunset or sunrise when the right moment comes about.
Atish: I’ve been really into some of So Inagawa’s (check spelling) productions. I’ve been playing tunes by Bearight for years, but only learned last week that he’s Japanese. Definitely excited to learn more about the Japanese landscape when I make my way out there.
What do you hope to share with the audience when you play in Japan?
Mark: Great music and a great vibe. As always, excited to play together with Atish.
We’ll be celebrating International Peace Day this month! What does Peace mean to you?
Mark: Peace to me is a process, not a destination. I don’t believe we ever get to a utopia, but I do believe that things can and do get better. So let’s celebrate the pursuit of peace.
Atish: I think peace is a theoretical global state not only absent of violence, but one where all of humans are all treated equally, fairly, and respectfully spanning race, gender, religion, and sexuality.
Ucess the Lounge, Sep 17. https://www.facebook.com/events/814741165305507/