PREPARE TO GET KRUSH-ED

Words by: Amirose Eisenbach


DJ Krush
Over a decade ago, DJ Krush (born Hideaki Ishii in 1962) started out as part of a hip-hop duo with his brother on the streets of Japan. Their friend gave the nameless duo a tag that would soon embody the birth of a legacy. Since the duo indubitably crushed their audience as well as their competition, the name given to them was "Crush." "I had to replace the 'C' with a 'K' because a 'K' is obviously cooler," teases Krush. So the empire was born, but it needed to grow. A slow but steady fruition occurred, and soon turntables were admitted into the family. Krush discovered his innate quality for producing and mixing music. He began pursuing his newly found passion, creating an abundance of unprecedented music aided by the benefits of technology. From vinyl to computers, the face of the industry changed once again, and Krush evolved with it. "I now use a Mac computer, ProTools, and Ableton Live software. Computers are obviously quicker and easier, but not necessarily better or richer," says Krush.

The first full-length album on which he started using computers was called Shinsou. Translated into English, Message at the Depth, is an album that addresses underlying political agendas as well as September 11th. The disc was an effort towards universalizing his message through his music. Whatever medium Krush uses, the conclusion is raw, vivid, and astonishing in construction.


DJ Krush
To properly grasp the interesting nature of how this interview was conducted, it must be understood that DJ Krush speaks not a word of English. He originates from Tokyo and has a translator by his side to ensure that nothing is lost in translation. It was a very interesting dynamic to have a translator serve as the only bridge of communication between myself and a person who embodies my attraction towards electronic music. It went much smoother than anticipated, and it proved to be a rather unique experience. The translator was only necessary for the interview itself, however, for Krush's music undoubtedly speaks and inspires universally.

On a recent warm evening, DJ Krush spun at the Mezzanine in San Francisco. Happy bodies danced into the early morning hours as Krush enforced the powerful name that was given to him. Touring in support of his new double-disc, Stepping Stones, an effort that highlights his prolific back catalogue by adding a new spin to it, the evening was a massive success. Collaborating with big names like Zap Mama, Mos Def, Aesop Rock, Esthero, and fellow revolutionary, DJ Shadow, Stepping Stones is an insightful look into the many facets of Krush. "I just wanted to approach making my material differently," says Krush. The album proves that once again, Krush raises the bar, and he raises it high.


DJ Krush
A performer hopes to connect with the audience present and anticipates that their art is being fully absorbed. The Mezzanine club was the perfect catalyst to fulfill this intention for Krush, with its good acoustics, an adequate amount of dance space, and a chill ambiance. After a long set, Krush modestly bowed to his adoring fans and attempted to leave the stage. The only thing that could ease the screaming and awestruck audience was indeed an encore. Playing some of his older tracks and covering a classic DJ Shadow song "Organ Donor," Krush whipped up the cherry on top of a rather flavorful evening. He orchestrated the night and set the prodigious mood. An extremely humble demeanor and soft presence were preserved in Krush the entire set, even when the music was far from Zen.

Those familiar with DJ Krush may be aware that he tends to use more English rappers than Japanese ones. Since he doesn't understand English, I inquired to see if he felt like any of his music becomes a casualty to miscommunication. "I don't intentionally use more English rappers. The rappers that I feature on my albums are the ones that share the same beliefs as me," says Krush. "There are a lot of political and financial problems between countries. My intention is that through music, people all over the world can become connected."


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