Finally I find some time to write about my exciting appearance and experience at the WIRE13 Festival in Tokyo. I was invited to perform on the main stage along with such great artists like Dj Sodeyama, Agoria, Ken Ishii, Westbam, Giorgio Moroder feat. Chris Cox, Takkyu Ishino, Hell, Len Faki, Josh Wink and Sven Väth (in order of appearance). proud to say that Giorgio and me were the only live acts on that stage.In the (only so-called, yet smaller but very intense) second room we had Takaaki Itoh, Ryukyudisko, A.Mochi, Bart Skills, Philipp Gorbachev, Slam, Matias Aguayo, 2000 And One, Beroshima, Pachanga Boys and closing a great night Fumiya Tanaka.
BARFLY NIGHT FLIGHT
But first things first: when I arrived in Tokyo on Thursday, September 10th I had a production meeting with WIRE sound staff right away. We checked all the equipment I needed and I had a first opportunity to hand out my spanky new business cards.
In the evening it was time to meet my friends Toby Izui and Kaori for dinner. Her husband Yoshihiro Mori (who is also the director of this great video clip by her band Language) joined as well. Of course my first dinner in Japan after almost 2 years was no less than delicious.
Later it was time to pay a visit to Tama-chan’s Kibi Bar in Nonnbei-yoko-cho, probably the world’s smallest bar street next to Shibuya station. And I could not resist to see Venus-san at her famous Oiran Bar later, where I did not only found cold beer and nice conversation but also that yellow T-shirt that I would wear at my WIRE performance. Later we got lost at Kuro-chan’s new joint Soup di Nero in Ebisu, a perfect place with a view for late night barflies.
Next night we had the big WIRE artist dinner and a perfect get together of many friends and artists I had not seen for a while. There was also a German camera team from Spiegel TV, travelling with Westbam around the globe for a documentary, that I certainly would like to watch.
On Saturday the really busy time began: departure to Yokohama, check in at hotel, soundcheck at Arena.
The soundcheck was as perfect as it can only get in Japan. All ordered gear was on location, in clean (no dust from last party) and perfect working condition (like all knobs of the ordered mixer were in default position and so on).
Sound staff was highly professional and super-friendly. It was also the final rehearsal for my two Japanese singers that would accompany me on stage: Michiyo Honda from Overrocket and Kaori from Language.
Both bands and singers are favorites of mine and with both I had recorded and released songs already, that we wanted to perform at WIRE. And we were the only live act on the main hall stage besides electronic music legend Giorgio Moroder.
That was a really big honor for me.
By the time I went on stage, Agoria was finishing his set, that started with chilled out moods and beats, grew constantly and ended masterfully with a fierce crescendo.
It is still and always an exciting moment for me to step out behind the stage curtain in front of thousands of people. You feel the anticipation of the crowd, you recall the first things to do like check the sequencer with a quick glance once again, get the mic, say hello and hit the start button. Self confidence rises when I feel that all clips in my live set sound like they should, all dials and faders do what they are supposed to do and the bass drum kicks nice and fat.
To popular demand I started my set with a new remake of “Gamer’s Night” of my 1995 Mijk’s Magic Marble Box release “Tokyo Trax” on Superstition Records, which is something like a classic for my friends in Japan.
The original is super-fast, 150 bpm and I dared to drag down the tempo to 125 bpm, which is usually my top speed in my DJ sets these days. I was eager to find out how this version would be accepted and when the reaction on the first tones and beats was already over-whelming I could feel that tonight’s performance was set on the right course.
Next up was my latest track “The City Rain“, out on Solee‘s new mix CD “Re:cognition Vol.6“. I really loved the live version I did of that and will take that as an inspiration for a new remix, once I release that track on my own label Microglobe Productions later this year.
Now it was time for Michiyo to enter the stage to perform „My Wire To You“ with me, our contribution to the official WIRE13 compilation. It was nice to see the crowd react on her and I took the opportunity to let her stand in the focus and concentrate on the technical side of things. While the original breathes a lot of Boogie, I speeded it up to a healthy 125 bpm and with bigger drums to make it suitable for a big room performance. Worked really well and I think I shall give that tune also an update on a future release.
Now I reclaimed the microphone again. Unlike in a club set, I feel that a huge festival stage like WIRE requires some extra physical presence so I picked songs for my set, that feature my voice as well, like „More“ from my 1997 album „Glow“ on Superstition Records. Again the live version was different from any other version I did before and I guess I surprised the audiance by clearly showing my „different entities“ described in the song by using two microphones simultaneously on stage, one with a deep voice effect on it.
„All U Got“, the next song was a premiere. I finished this relentlessly driving tech tune just before WIRE to have a simple but yet uplifting track in my quiver to get the crowd going for the second half of my short live set.
Next vocalist would be Kaori with a complete rework of our song „Without A Word“ that was originally released on„Past Perfect“, a greatest hits compilation from 2010 released only in Japan. I actually did not want to play that tune but during preparations of my new live set I reworked it and now I am totally happy with that version which cries for release. Kaori did a superb performance with a sheerly amazing physical presence.
Unlike my ususally seamless live sets I stopped the sequencer after the songs with Michiyo and Kaori to grant them their round of big applause from the WIRE audiance before kicking in the next tune, which was again a premiere.
„Your Rave Or Mine“ is a tongue-in-cheek techno track with dead-simple hooks and vocals and was inspired by a conversation at Berlin’s „Rotation“ record store about several forms to rave or dance already years ago but never released, since it felt too „ravey“ for me during my NuFunk years.
But since WIRE is an actual RAVE and since the tune requires a lot of vocal performance as well I considered this the perfect first time to play it out.
It was actually the tune that made me feel best on stage and I guess I’ll make that a regular in my next live performances.
Finally it was already almost time to conclude, I already received signs from stage staff to come to an end in time, so I literally rushed through a very brief version of „All Our Colours“, once again a classic that I chose as my final track, also expressing my hope in the opening vocals, that there will be peace in Syria and Egypt. Unfortunately war and hatred never go out of fashion and by the time I can stop to shout out to countries and people that are under fire in my opening lines of „All Our Colours“ the world would be a better place.
When I jumped off stage behind the curtain I gave Michiyo and Kaori a big hug and was totally happy, while the crowd cheered to Ken Ishii pumping the first beats of his DJ set into the arena.
Backstage I was immediately caught by the WIRE camera team for an interview about my WIRE13 experience. Needless to say, I was happy and exausted.
Actually the backstage looked more like a family gathering. So many of my Japanese friends were there, like Toby Izui, Kengo Watanabe, Dai Sato (check out his new Japanese TV series „Noconkid“), Pierre Taki, Q’hey, Katsu Arai as well as the German WIRE13 and live acts DJs Sven Väth, Westbam, Hell, Frank Müller, Matias Aguayo, Philipp Gorbachev.
Watching Giorgio Moroder’s performance together with Pierre Taki from a higher level was another treat. Pierre Taki is founding member of Japan’s electronic pop icons Denki Groove together with Takkyu Ishino and currently super-popular as a actor in Japanese TV.
Whilst watching Giorgio going through the motions of his body of work, we contemplated about his influence on each others music and memorized good times we had. I had to laugh out loud (LOL 4 U) when the „Giorgio Girl“ appeared on the big cube screen, announcing Giorgio’s set with a name plate, moustache and iconic Giorgio sunglasses. Nice video artwork from devicegirls as usual.
Another personal highlight for me of course was meeting Giorgio Moroder backstage and exchange a few words, in German language, since he was born in the Southern Tirolean alpes, a tiny part of Italy, where the people speak German.
Later Taki and me would sit on stage behind Takkyu Ishino, when he played his DJ set, drinking beer and giving him thumbs up for every cool track he played.
Later I checked out the second floor, which was a super-packed and heated-up, a great alternative to the main hall. The performances by Beroshima and Fumiya Tanaka that I witnessed were excellent as well.
All in all, WIRE13 was an amazing experience. I hope to be back soon again!