An understated yet longstanding figure in an underrated yet pivotal musical city in Japan, Yukari BB and Kyoto go way back. Her Especial Records Session – run with Yoshihiro Okino – has been running for 11 years with a genreless dance floor mentality, influenced in equal measure by her partner’s Kyoto Jazz Massive group and weekends spent at plastic people with CO-OP during a London stint in the early noughties.
The first Japanese inductee to Dimensions’ DJ Directory, we speak to Yukari about her movements til now, alongside a first listen to a mix recorded at a recent party, stretching out through jazz, soul, disco and funk. For more info on last year’s Directory DJ’s check our Frequently Asked Questions feature.
What’s been your musical upbringing, self-taught, schooled or otherwise?
My father is a soul/funk music fan and started listening to his records when I was a little. That’s the big influence of me to become a DJ.
Can you think back to a key moment that made you want to take music seriously?
I used to be a record buyer for many years so that made me become a DJ quite naturally.
Rather than focussing on a specific sound, are there a key principle or philosophy that drives you as a DJ?
Selecting records, putting record on the decks, putting the needles on the record, spinning the record with respect for the artists. DJing is almost like a ritual for me. Same with dancing!
Have there been any people or collectives who have empowered you or helped you find your feet as a DJ?
Kyoto Jazz Massive categolised genreless music style as “crossover music” and that is the biggest inspiration for my DJ set for many years.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a DJ?
To make people dance!
And what’s your biggest source of optimism or inner strength?
I don’t think too much. Just feel.
What’s your greatest musical achievement to date?
Hmm I can’t think of any…but music connects people and I’m always happy to see people become friends at our party!
What goals have you set yourself this year?
No goals this year…just keep on running!
What’s your favourite party to dance at?
CO-OP at Plastic People was definitely one of the best ever.
What’s your perfect party to play at?
A beach party
Where do you get your inspiration from outside of music?
What’s coming up this year for you that you’re excited about?
I have been offered to DJ in Asia and Europe by the end of year and early next year. I hope I can make it to both parties!
And finally, turning back the clock, what advice would you give to your younger self before you started persuing music properly?
Don’t sell your records!