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KS Cover no. 71 2006 April

APR 2006 :: 071


DJ Cashmere: sweet like candy

When it comes to Osaka's underground music scene, one name has become synonymous with cool club nights, crowd-engaging DJ sets and beats that you can't help but get your groove on to.

With growing popularity (and some notoriety) amongst foreign
and Japanese communities, KS decided to break it down with Clifford John a.k.a. DJ Cashmere, and get his spin on what's happening locally.

Hailing from Vancouver, Canada, Clifford's fascination with vinyl was fuelled from a young age, by his father's wooden Zenith record player. "I collected hundreds of disco and rare groove records from swap meets and second hand shops," and like many others in his profession, he confesses it was (and still is) an addiction, so "DJing was a logical progression."

During high school, he and his friends set up 'Club Cliff', a makeshift hangout comprising of old equipment at his parents' house. "It was a place for people to get drunk, listen to music, smash away on drums and guitars and freestyle rap", Clifford remembers. He began DJing during these sessions on an old set of turntables and a junky Radio Shack mixer to entertain his friends.

Clifford went on to play underground parties all over Vancou-ver, which in the mid 90s, were the solution to the 2am closing call of the city's clubs and bars. For a while Clifford was juggling DJ gigs at raves and parties along with exams at high school. "Those were crazy times for me", he sums up.

Arriving in Osaka 4 years ago, Clifford found a very different night and club life compared with what is on offer these days.

"The underground music scene was hard to find!" Clifford explains. "I am really into break beats, which were practically non-existent in Osaka. I hadn't planned on DJing here at all, but it happened as a result of meeting so many interesting people and a feeling that if we worked together, we could contribute something to the scene that we would not only be proud of, but would appeal to everybody, Japanese or gaijin."

In a country that is notoriously difficult for foreigners to break into any industry other than teaching, Clifford surprisingly didn't have too many problems. He believes that due to his Asian looks he never "had the foreign label that a lot of other gaijin in Japan have had, the only problems have been language related."

He began by making demos and letting his spin and scratch abilities do the talking for him. Soon clubs and bars such as Ammunition, Freeza Triangle and Sazae, along with the clubbers, were becoming aware of Cliff's undeniably unique style that made him stand out from other DJs operating within the same arena.

His combination of techno, break beats and “heavy weight funk” along with superior scratching skills and infamous show-manship mean clubs are eager to get DJ Cashmere on their line-up, with Studio Candy being the latest, giving him a regular club night to run as he sees fit.

"Candy has given me a good opportunity to get involved
with the Japanese dance community, including some of the best underground Japanese DJs,” he says passionately. “I feel the club's sound and ambiance is well suited to my style and it is a privilege to have my own spot with them, and hopefully I can bring something fresh to the line up." Playing alongside Jaxx Da Fishworks with other special guests to be announced, Clifford's next Studio Candy event will be in the form of Cherry Bomb later this month.

As Clifford puts it, "Dance music is something that is univer-sal. When you get behind the decks, most of the cultural differe-nces and communication problems disappear. Ironically, it's at this moment, when I don't actually speak, that I have no problems communicating with the people." Touché — anybody that has seen DJ Cashmere in action knows this is very true.

Vinylic Republic and Bike Club Osaka Present:
CHERRY BOMB! @ Studio Candy
• Saturday April 15th, 10pm-5am
¥2000/1D with Bike Club Osaka E-flyer • www.bikeclubosaka.com


Text: Elisabeth Lambert • Photos: James Russell

:: Online Articles


White space for sale
Art galleries to rent in Osaka


Way out west
Golden Week in Yamaguchi-ken


Walking with history
Yamanobe-no-michi, Tenri


Convergence: come together
The future is wow!


Leaving on a jet plane
Are you ready to leave Japan?


DJ Cashmere: Sweet like candy
DJ who spins the town

:: Listings


Up to date cinema listings guide so you always know what's on, where and when!

:: ART

Best exhibitions + listings


Best events + listings


Best gigs + listings


Parties not to miss + listings

:: Also in this month's mag


Falafel Garden
Israeli Vegetarian Café, Kyoto


Wanna get drunk?
Bar, Isn't It?, Umeda


Six days in the Sahara
Alan Ryan on the world's toughest footrace


Art of living
Meditation course of the most wanted peace


Anthony Pappa
A man who made his name from Melbourne to Moscow


Best festivals + listings


New releases and top ten paperback books


Reel reviews of the silver screen


Domestic and international news