For this edition of City Nomads Radio, the spotlight lands squarely on Japanese techno duo Drunken Kong. Individually knowns as D.Singh and DJ Kyoko, they’ve been incredibly active in Tokyo‘s techno scene, playing regularly at major clubs such as WOMB, Ageha, Unit, Vent and Sanseis TYO in the Japanese capital.
Drunken Kong’s impact on the the Asian and global techno soundscape cannot be underrated, evident from the number of international artists brought in by their own resident party, “Intention”, at WOMB. Their music has also been released on major international labels such as Christian Smith’s Tronic, Monika Kruse’s Terminal M, and Transmit Recordings. We caught up with D.Singh recently on how it all started, the scene, and (probably the most important) their favourite record stores.
What was your earliest memory of music?
For us, the earliest memory of music was from the video games. In Japan, the video game music is really amazing and in high quality. It’s something that is deep inside many of us who grew up in Japan.
So, how did Drunken Kong start?
We started this project when my partner, Kyoko and myself started to play around in the studio just to make tracks for fun. Kyoko had her resident party that time so it was great to play these tracks and see the crowd enjoying it. From this, we sent some of our music as demo to different labels, which eventually led to our first release.
You’ve recently released a track Christian Smiths LP, share with us the inspiration behind it.
This track started from one particular sound that came across while we were collecting ideas. It had a very hypnotic feel to it, and we all really liked how it sounded so we started right there and built the track. We’re very happy with how it turned out, especially it’s something different from what we usually produce and that’s great!
How does it work in the studio, given that there are two of you?
I usually make loops of different elements and feelings, a very short 4-bar loop. We’d usually start with the groove, since that is the part I focus on and enjoy the most. Once I’ve created a few different loop samples, we would sit down in the studio together and decide which fits to the direction we’re going.
How’s the dance music scene in Tokyo right now?
The Tokyo scene is getting bigger! We’ve seen so many more parties popping up in recent years and there are also really nice and new clubs that have opened such as Vent and Contact. We’re also seeing more weekday parties too; and even if they’re much smaller compared to the weekend parties, the vibe is great!
Tell us your favourite record shops in Tokyo.
Technique is the record shop in Tokyo for us. Located in Shibuya, this is a great place for music collectors. They have tons of selection and also happy to see our vinyl release there too!
It’s late and you’re drunk after a gig. Where are you going to eat?
It’s usually sushi or ramen. It’s amazing that you can get quality sushi and noodles for a very reasonable price at any time of the day and night. Some places are even open 24 hours, and that really helps!
Tell us more about this curated mixtape you’ve put together.
The mix we’ve prepared is part of a live recording from our gig at Melodika Festival, that took place in Bahrain in early October. The festival was really amazing, taking place on a small island called Aldar Island. Really cool place with great sound system and energy from the people. Definitely one for the books!
We hope you like the mix that we’ve prepared. We are based in Tokyo, so if you ever visit, be sure to check our social media pages for our schedule.