null Licaxxx: Inside Tokyo’s DJ Scene

Licaxxx: Inside Tokyo’s DJ Scene

Based in Tokyo, Licaxxx is a DJ and music producer. Having made her DJ-ing debut in 2010, she appeared at Boiler Room’s Tokyo event in 2016 before going on to perform at Fuji Rock and a host of European club events. Licaxxx is also the organiser of Tokyo Community Radio, a video stream radio station inspired by Gilles Peterson and featuring the best of the city’s DJ talent.

We talked to Licaxxx about her career, her DJ-ing and why she chose Genelec monitors.

What was your first connection with music?

Although I was taking piano lessons from my pre-school to 6th-grade years, I always had more fun playing in ensembles with my buddies rather than simply trying to improve my technical skills alone.

Right after I enrolled in middle school I wanted to play in a band, so I picked up my guitar and spontaneously started to play music. I started copying and covering, listening to western music, searching for my favourite band in the record shop, and I started to love music.

As soon as I started listening to western music, I was obsessed with UK rock. That was the time when Oasis were making hits, Arctic Monkeys released their first album, and Bloc Party were there too. At that time, I thought western music was cooler than Japanese pop, so I kept following UK indie artists through MySpace!

What first got you into DJ-ing?

I had been listening to Gilles Peterson's radio program on J-Wave, who always introduces brand new music. Then I learned that UK rock artists were DJ-ing at night, so I started to listen to more electronic music.

At that time, I was only making playlists with iTunes, so I realised that I had an option to go out there myself and play music for the people as a DJ, which I found really exciting.

Just before I started at college, I stepped into the studio to learn about DJ equipment. There was a CDJ-1000 CD deck and my friend taught me the operation, and that was the beginning of a never-ending love of DJ-ing!


How would you describe your style?

I wasn’t much interested in a short repetitive style or scratching, and my style has always been a long mix. I believe this style is all about disassembling then reassembling. There's something unexplainable that happens within the atmosphere of a live venue which can’t be ruled by the playlist, and makes me break up songs and add little extra elements instinctively. That experimental part is the most thrilling for me.

I think the only way to get better is to push yourself, and personally I listen to DJ podcasts, other DJ’s mixes – and I always check out my favorite DJs playing live.

What is your song selection and performance process like?

It's based upon working with a repertoire of my favorite songs. There are times when I focus on one single particular person in the venue and then heat the whole place. Depending on the circumstances with time, tension, and whether it's hot or cold, I try changing BPM, but always using my instincts.

Nowadays, I often have 90 – 120 minutes of time to DJ, and I need both explosiveness and discipline which is important in the long mix. Occasionally I use 3 CDJs simultaneously, and I even add vinyl which brings extra spice. I've learnt that inserting vinyl changes the tension and adds another dimension, which fits my DJ style.

When did you first hear Genelec monitors?

I took an electronic music class at college, and was making ambient and drone sounds as part of sound-related media arts. In the beginning, I was writing with headphones and checking with monitors at the college studios. Since I was making songs where sound texture is important, Genelec were the monitors that maintained balance even at low volume and translated the sound texture accurately. I had also seen Genelec loudspeakers installed at many art exhibitions, so I wanted to have them at home. So I finally bought a pair of 8010s.


You’ve also acquired Genelec 8320s now, how do they compare?

The 8320 has a very solid localisation and sounds beautiful. It's easy to identify the sound even at lower volumes. Not all homes have a good acoustic environment, and if you want to use multiple channels, the Smart Active Monitoring technology of the 8320 is especially handy. You can avoid the ‘rollover’ of the bottom end and let the sound cut through, so it's ideal for managing the space not only for music production, but for watching TV and movies too.

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