In a culture where you’re expected to study for more hours every day than you sleep, it takes a lot of determination and some serious time management skills to follow your dreams. DJ Chida, born Shinsuke Chida, did just that and his story begins in Sendai, Japan.
“When I was a high school student, I was really into music,” said Chida. “I had a part time job but it wasn’t enough money to buy a mixer and turntables, so I just kept on buying records. Then I’d meet DJs at clubs and go to their house after work to practice mixing records.”
But Chida’s dreams were bigger than Sendai and in 1992, he moved to Tokyo where he met DJ Kent. The two went on to garner a reputation for pioneering the underground scene in Japan.
“I don’t think I’m that big in Japan,” joked Chida modestly. “I just kept doing my thing in the underground scene as best as I could. I wanted to make a difference.”
Soon after the move, Chida landed a job at a record label that would later serve as a gateway into Japan’s music industry and eventually, inspire him to launch his own label.
“Ever since 1999, I knew that I wanted to help expand the Japanese music scene because there were so many unique and cool artists making good music,” said Chida. “Also, there is so much good music made in Japan and I wanted to keep it all on records, so I started my own label.”
Perseverance paid off in 2009 when Chida launched Ene Records, an exclusive label widely known for its dedication to vinyl. “Vinyl is so important to me so we have to find ways to make it survive and keep pressing it,” he said. “At most, sales are a tenth of what they were 10 years ago.”
The label has had a number of big releases like The Backwoods in 2010, which is one of DJ Kent’s side projects. It was at this time that together, the pair caught the attention of the rest of the world.
Chida, who is known for his unique take on classic house music and nu-disco, has since appeared on Tim Sweeney’s illustrious New York based radio show Beats in Space and has a track on Ministry of Sound. Together with DJ Kent, the two will tour Europe this summer.
“We just kept sending our music releases everywhere,” he said. “It’s the power of music that connected us with the world.”
Back at home in Tokyo, he says that the underground music scene is still really small, so besides his label, he also works on making fliers, sleeves, CD jackets and is preparing to launch and online store.
“This is my story. I may not be the most famous or popular DJ, but I’m happy that I was able to keep doing the one thing that I loved for 20 years, and that’s dance music.”
Catch DJ Chida presented by Bass Kitchen tonight at G-Six Club, 249 Fuxing S Rd, Taipei City (北市復興南路一段249號). Admission is NT$600 at the door, which includes one drink.
Also tonight, the man responsible for Hed Kandi introduces his new company, Fierce Angels, to Taiwan at Room 18.
“Fierce Angel is a record label and events company that continues my love of everything to do with music and clubbing,” said DJ Mark Doyle in an interview with the Taipei Times. “We created the brand five years ago after I left Hed Kandi.”
Mark says that his main focus since leaving Hed Kandi is to focus purely on the music. “The inspiration was easy as I wanted to continue with the work I began at Hed Kandi but I didn’t want to be restricted by working for a big company that demanded we make lots of profit regardless of quality,” said Mark.