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Deka plans to get Shanghai's house in order

KAZUO "Deka" Nishino is more than a performer - he is closely connected with some of the biggest names in Japanese music and has planned many major events, musical and otherwise. Nie Xin asks him what he has planned for Shanghai in the near future.

With a beanie cap, red sunglasses, three earrings in one ear and a sporty jacket, Japan's Kazuo "Deka" Nishino looks every inch the modern musician.

Deka is one of the most popular managers and producers of musicians in Japan and event planner for nightclubs in Tokyo and Shanghai.

With his own artists' agency in Japan, Deka is also one of the founders of Club Yellow, the top nightclub in Japan which has attracted the leading DJs from all over the world.

Deka is closely connected with some of the biggest names in Japanese music such as Tetsuya Komuro, Misia, Speed and Judy Marry. He also arranges their performances in Shanghai.

He has planned and arranged many major events and stars like X-Tril Jam, Rainbow 2000, Fat Boy Slim and the Red Bull Air Race.

Very soon, some of Japan's leading DJs will take the stage at Ark Restaurant & Lounge Bar on Nanjing Road and in other nightclubs around Shanghai, all organized by Deka.

"These musicians are very popular in Japan now and will be tomorrow's DJ stars in Shanghai," says Deka. "Fresh blood is always needed."

In Tokyo the most popular music in today's nightclubs is house music, a style of electronic dance music which originated in Chicago and has spread through the world since the late 1970s.

First popular in discos catering for Latinos and African-Americans, it has infused hip-hop, funk and soul, and is now a major movement in mainstream pop and dance music worldwide.

"It's one of the best music styles and shows the flexibility, freedom and emotion of music. It's also my favorite," says Deka who predicts that house music will be the next big hit in Shanghai, after hip-hop and electronic music.

Deka first came to Shanghai 13 years ago when nightclub and DJ culture had just started and there were just a few clubs here such as Rojam disco on Huaihai Road.

Shanghai nightclubs have a quite different style compared with those in Japan, says Deka.

"People have different ways of enjoying nightclubs here," he says. "In Japan, the customers pay more attention to the music itself. They listen and enjoy the music more than people in Shanghai, where club culture is more like a social event."

Japanese DJs who have performed in Shanghai have worked with local DJs and their counterparts from Europe and America. This communication has helped the development of Shanghai's local DJ culture and also the Japanese music scene.

"The DJ culture in Shanghai has been growing rapidly since the early 1990s," says Deka.

Although the global financial crisis has affected all sorts of entertainment venues including nightclubs, restaurants and bars, Deka never worries about the development of DJs.

"No matter what happens, the development of DJ culture will not be stopped," says Deka. "I also believe that even though there are many influences on the business side of nightclubs, Shanghai will be the city that will recover first from the financial crisis."

The current top house music DJ in Japan, Emma, will land in Shanghai soon - an appearance arranged by Deka with Ark Restaurant & Lounge Bar.

As well as Emma, Jet Turkey and Takeshi Nakatsuka will also be on the performer list. Nakatsuka is well-known for his work with mainstream Japanese artists and he has composed music for the leading Japanese pop group SMAP.

"Audiences in Shanghai will be able to enjoy more and more Japanese performers from June," says Deka.

Ark Restaurant & Lounge Bar

Address: 3/F, 248 Nanjing Rd W.

Tel: 6327-7177


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