With roots in Japan and a career beginning to make waves in Amsterdam, Masalo is leading a new generation of dance music talent in The Netherland’s capital. The Brighter Days party he runs with Kamma pushes a spirit of friendship and soul on the dance floor, welcoming Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy, Hunee, Kuniyuki and Ge-ology. Hybridism, he tells us, is a key philosophy in his DJing, not just in a musical sense but relating to his relationship with the dancers and the emotions his selections inspire. With his production work also getting more recognition – a solo remix and two collaborations with Jamie 3:26 since 2016 and a forthcoming EP for Rush Hour – a prospect is emerging as brightly as his party’s name.
As part of a series profiling the 2018 recruits for Dimensions Festival’s DJ Directory, we speak to Bobby about what’s moving and motivating him, alongside a first listen to a mix that includes Trinidadian Deep, Sly & Robbie, Yasuaki Shimizu and Fingers Inc.
What’s been your musical upbringing? Self-taught, schooled or otherwise?
My family consists of music freaks. I think my Dad and brother unintentionally forced me in this haha. I’m mainly self-taught but I’ve learned a great deal from professionals. I’ve followed a brief electronic music production study. Besides that I’m taking piano lessons since a couple of years. The latter really opened up my mind. Musicality over technicality!
Can you think back to a key moment that made you want to take music seriously?
Hmm not really a specific moment. I’ve always searched for a creative outlet in different disciplines. Music was always a fun but seriously dedicated matter while growing up. In retrospect, creating something that others could enjoy was inevitable.
Rather than focusing on a specific sound, is there a key principle or philosophy that drives you as a DJ?
The art of hybridism. Bringing people together and making them dance in different emotional states.
Have there been any people or collectives who have empowered you or helped you find your feet as a DJ?
Too many to name! I have to say Momo DL, Kamma, Dr. Tiong, Carlos Vigelandzoon, Jamie 3:26, Antal and Sounds Familiar have been very inspiring and supportive.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a DJ?
Overpriced records on Discogs and Rekordbox struggles.
And what’s your biggest source of optimism or inner strength?
Perfecting the art of the craft is never ending.
What’s your greatest musical achievement to date?
My first record ‘Testify‘. Experienced many wonderful dance floor moments with this song.
What goals have you set yourself this year?
What’s your favourite party to dance at?
Trouw’s Verdieping. Somewhere In Amsterdam. Brighter Days.
What’s your perfect party to play at?
Last year at Dimensions at my friends’ apartment there was a painting in the room. It had a sunset, a boat, a dolphin, palm trees and two lovers kissing each-other on top of a mountain. Probably an attempt to create the perfect atmosphere. It turned out as something hilarious. It’s very hard to depict perfection.
Where do you get your inspiration from outside of music?
Zoning out in nature. Japan. Weird cult movies.
You’ve also become more active as a producer over the last year. How does your DJing inform your work in the studio and vice versa?
It’s really beneficial in both ways. Playing a broad palette of sounds helped me incorporate different elements in my productions. It’s hard to describe it in words but I think it’s a highly subconscious process. All I know is that you need to have faith and trust in what’s happening down there in the subconscious realm and something tangible will come out.
Any releases or collaborations coming up you’re allowed to let slip?
Rush Hour release coming up!
You run the Brighter Days parties with Kamma. What are they all about and what have you got coming up?
Celebrating friendships and dance music culture to the fullest. I feel that every party still has the same spirit as the very first one. Our next party will take place on July 14th at our home base Claire. We’ve got some very nice local and international friends jamming with us. Come down if you’re around!
Anything else away from music you’re excited about this year?
Takoyaki (Mouth burning Japanese Octopus balls) party and Arrested Development Season 5.
And finally, turning back the clock, what advice would you give to your younger self before you started pursuing music properly?
Beware of the rabbit hole. It runs deep.