A former music student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, Japanese native Gomi is truly a man who wears many different hats as he continues his rise up through the ranks of the dance music industry. He has developed quite a reputation for his creativity in the studio on the production end of the spectrum and in the past couple of years has ventured forth and earned kudos for his work in the DJ booth. Gomi - who is one of the headlining DJs of the upcoming inaugural CircuitAsia event in Thailand, makes his Chicago debut this month at Hydrate
and recently sat down to answer some questions in this exclusive ChicagoPride.com interview.DP:
I know you were in Boston for college at Berklee before moving to NYC. But where are you from originally and was music a big part of your childhood?
Gomi: I'm originally from a small town in Japan called Chino-city. My father is a piano tuner and mom is a traditional Japanese dance teacher. They also own a CD & musical instrument shop. So music always surrounded me when I was growing up. I'm so lucky to have been brought up in this environment.DP:
How did you come to be in the dance music industry? G:
I started piano lessons when I was child. When I was a high school student Hip-Hop and House music was emerging from America. I was so shocked because the sound was very original and new. I never heard that kind of music before. Then I stared going out to nightclubs, checking out the club scene. I thought that if I'm going to make house music it's not a bad idea to know traditional/Jazz music and so I choose to go to Berkeley in Boston. I attended daytime classes during the week and then traveled down to New York City every weekend to go clubbing. DP:
The name Junior Vasquez appears numerous times in your artist bio. What stylistic influence has he had on you, be it in the studio or the DJ booth?G:
Junior taught me that music has no rules. I come from a more pure musical perspective while Junior comes at things from a DJing perspective. When we were working together in the recording studio, sometimes I would play out of tune sampling sounds. It's musically incorrect, but it sounds good in the song. If it sounds good then it's ok. Even when Junior is DJing he brands two different songs together to create a new unique sound.DP:
Which of the classic dance music categories has the biggest influence on your current work?G:
I listen to all kinds of music all the time. I'm always looking for new ideas. Even If I'm listening to classical music sometimes I get an influence to apply toward tribal hard house remix production.DP:
Do you have any current DJ residencies?
Any special events or parties you’ve spun at in the past year that were particularly special for you?G:
I have a residency on Saturday nights at XL in New York City and it has become my base. The venue has changed since I started DJing there. Initially, the music was not very loud and not too many people paid attention to the music or me. But now I play facing to the audience and I can interact with crowd and see them responding to my track selection and programming. Almost every weekend bartenders are going nuts, dancing and cat walking in the space. It's so funny and I have a good time. It's very hard to keep a weekly DJ residency in NYC but I've been only DJing for two years so I’m really proud to be at XL.DP:
During your live DJ sets, do you find yourself going more new school, using lots of the current technology with CD players, mixers, and samplers to “spice things up” with added effects and looping? Or do you still do it more old-school, creating and varying the mood and energy through song and track selection?G:
I'm not into using vinyl records anymore. I prefer to use CD's and sometimes I'll bring my laptop computer if I decide to download a track at the last minute and incorporate it during my DJ session. I love to use cutting edge technology to develop my own style.DP:
Which 2 or 3 records/tracks are with you the majority, or all, of the time when you go to a gig?G:
Hmmmm ... that's a difficult question because I love so many different songs. I bring my own original production and remixes all the time plus a few Madonna dance classics and 80's music.DP:
From a remixer/producer point of view what has been your career highlight moment? G:
At this point I should say that it's when Shades of Love "Body to Boy” - Junior Vazquez remix went to
number one on Billboard’s Club Play chart. This project was the fastest project we worked together on and it went number one.
That was an amazing experience!DP:
Any particular artists on your wish list to do production work or a remix project for and why do you want to work with them? G:
I want to produce an original song for Madonna.
It's my dream.
I have some excellent ideas for her already. Please call me Madonna! I am here!!DP:
Any new projects on the horizons you want the folks in Chicago to be on the look out for?G:
Yes, I’ve been working hard.
I just finished Ru Paul’s “Work Out” and Carl Bean’s "Born This Way” on West End Records. I’ve worked with DJ Escape on the new single by Tony Moran with Deborah Cooper called “Live You All Over.” I'm creating an original song with DJ Skribble for his up coming album "Spring Break 2005" by Perfecto Records. Love Storm’s "Come Closer" is a project I already did with DJ Tedd Peterson. We featured a very famous artist and good friend of mine singer Lisa Fischer. She released her own album in the 80's and now she is doing back up vocals for the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner.
Besides all of that, I am doing a bunch of different projects, including my own production work and getting DJ gigs across the country.
NOTE: You can catch Gomi’s Chicago debut at Hydrate Nightclub
on Friday, March 4, 2005.
For more info on DJ Gomi, visit his website: www.ggv.net