A Diary of Two DJs: Blu and Rex Detiger in Japan

 

By Blu and Rex Detiger

 

On December 21, 2016, we left for our 14-night DJ residency in Niseko, Japan. It’s the most time we’ve ever spent together (we think). We started in Tokyo, then went up north to snowy Niseko to our residency at Powder Room. On our way back to New York we stopped in Sapporo, and then Tokyo again.  Here are some photos, videos, songs, and thoughts during our time. 

 
 
 
 

December 23, 2016

Early morning in Tokyo. Up before sunrise.

 
 

 

 

December 23, 2016

Jetlagged in Tokyo. Rex outside the Buddhist Temple at sunrise.

 
 
 
 
 

 

December 23, 2016

Tokyo.

 
 

December 23, 2016

The train system in Japan is incredible, the trains go everywhere.  If you’re a kid growing up in Japan you could really just run away; must be liberating.  

We took the train from Tokyo to Niseko - about 8 hours total.

It was pretty stressful for us… we almost missed our train; good thing we had some green tea sodas and Hi-Chew. Here’s Rex meditating between cars with the luggage as a headrest. Sometimes the light will find you.

 
 
 
 

December 23, 2016

“I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover.” Rex eyeing the cardboard cutout of Sapporo’s baseball team: The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.

 
 

Christmas Eve might have been our best night. Powder Room was packed, everyone was ready to have a good night. For this setting, the rare house B-side wouldn’t hit as hard as a Bruno Mars track.  “24K Magic” got the house bumpin'. Bruno Mars is essentially a throwback act - totally retro. But he does update the funk sound enough to fit into the contemporary pop landscape. The song is a global hit, so it lifted the entire room (it “raised the roof”!). 

It’s funny, if we played a song by the Gap Band or Zapp (80s funk bands who obviously inspired and sound very similar to Mars), the crowd wouldn’t really feel it. People like what they know, and if you didn’t grow up in America, old funk records may not have been that accessible.

 
 

Christmas Day. George Michael. The night before, Christmas Eve, at about 1am, we played George Michael’s “Last Christmas.”  English wasn’t many people’s first language, but they knew every word to this song. They jumped on the tables, hugged, rocked back and forth. They didn’t do this for Mariah Carey…

 

Since we were playing every night, we started to really get into a rhythm.  Every night before our sets we’d go to the supermarket and get a few snacks (Hi-Chew, Gummy Bears, bananas, rice crackers, nuts, green tea, water).

 
 
 
 

December 28, 2016

Niseko is on the large island of Hokkaido.  All the food was incredibly fresh.  Rex would always get this sushi box at the supermarket.  “SO GOOD.”

 
 
 

December 29, 2016

NIGHT SKIING. We loved it. Thrilling.  Here we are wearing our matching fleece gators with pandas.

 
 
 
 

December 30, 2016

Inside the coolest whiskey bar in Niseko. There’s a giant record collection next to all the bottles. The bartender played jazz records while making cocktails with the finest Japanese whiskey.

 
 
 

December 30, 2016

Our neighbor, “The Mad Hatter,” and his shaggy dog.  He makes hats in his purple house with a small sign on the front that says “Mad Hatter.”

 
 
 

December 30, 2016

In front of the gorgeous Mt. Yotei.

 
 
 
 

December 30, 2016

Blu and the Chef.  He loves De La Soul.

 
 
 

December 31, 2016

New Years Eve.

 
 

Jan 1, 2017

It snowed almost every day.  If it didn’t snow, many wouldn’t even bother skiing. “It’s shit today,” they’d tell us.

 
 

Everyday we’d get coffee at a spot called Fan Fun.  It was the only place that was within walking distance of us. The owner makes leather goods and serves coffee, but we still don’t know why the store is named “Fan Fun.”

 
 

January 2, 2017

It was cold, the Chef put on his ski mask, and decided to “kidnap” Blu... for a second. She was fine after this photo.

 
 
 

January 3, 2017

Our setup every night.  We were elevated above the dance floor, the VIP section was behind us.  

Here’s Blu setting up the CDJs and serato while Rex loads in some new samples to his SPD SX.  Every night Rex would try to put something funny and relevant to trigger during the set (i.e. “Powder Room is ready to party!”)

 
 
 

January 5, 2017

We were so high up that at certain parts of the club you couldn't see us. So we sent a live stream of ourselves to the screens downstairs.

 
 
 
 

January 6, 2017

Rex says “goodbye” to the Powder Room bear.

 
 
 

January 6, 2017

Sapporo. Incredible city and very different from Tokyo. No tourists. In Sapporo they build everything underground as well. We could walk for 20 blocks or more completely underground, get food, shop, etc.  Almost felt like two cities above and below.

 
 

January 7, 2017

Sapporo fish market. We had lunch above this place and it was the freshest we’ve ever had.

 
 
 

January 7, 2017

The Japanese do everything with care - even buckling in a bass guitar for a safe flight.

 
 
 
 

January 7, 2017

Tokyo.

 
 
 
 

January 8, 2017

Tokyo. Rainy day in Harajuku.

 
 
 

January 8, 2017

Blu on the Tokyo docks about to board the octagon "party spaceship" boat.

 
 
 
 

January 9, 2017

With our friend Julius after his gig with Onyx Collective in Tokyo. Flatbush Zombies played later that night.

 
 

January 9, 2017

Our friend for the night. We met downstairs at the club part of the secret sake bar. He brought us to his even more secret sake bar behind the secret sake bar and made tofu.

The club downstairs was amazing. When you enter, it's a small sake bar that seats only four. We walked behind the seats and opened up a secret door to a 20 person dance floor. The sound system was incredible. The DJ played the best funk and disco records - switching from vinyl to CDs to USB. We crept behind the booth and peeked at the vinyl… but the secret stays with us! You'll have to come to our next set to hear what it was.

Everyone in Japan is an expert. Best sound system, rarest funk records, smoothest sake, etc. There we were at 5am dancing at a secret sake bar in Tokyo to a white British DJ spinning rare American black music from the late 70s.  Felt very 2017...

 

Keep up with Blu and Rex on Instagram.