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November 4, 2019 | Yokohama, Japan | Rasheed San

DJ PMX needs no introduction, as the number of productions he has released in recent years is impressive. For some, he remains the precursor of the G-Funk movement in Japan, and for others, a super producer with mainstream sounds. For a few years now, the DJ and producer from Miyazaki have been making more and more waves, riding the current hip-hop wave sweeping the world. Wanting to know more about this change of direction, the RJHH team met him to discover his ambitions and future projects.

RJHH: Hello, DJ PMX. Thank you for granting us this interview. Most of our readers already know you, but could you introduce yourself in a few words?

DJ PMX: Hello, everyone. I am DJ PMX, a Japanese hip-hop producer. I took my first steps in hip-hop in the late 80s. I have been observing the music scene from the outside and the inside for a while.

RJHH: Let’s start with your most recent project with Diablo, titled “AIM HIGH,” now available on CD and digital. Can you tell us a little more about this project?

DJ PMX: I met Diablo in 2013 at the Yamagata event “MINORITY.” A few years later, we met again to work on a compilation. Since then, we have stayed in touch. When I released the single “Something New” last summer, the reactions were good, which pushed us to work on the EP “AIM HIGH.” We also released “Something New Remix” this summer featuring DJ☆GO & Gipper. Currently, we are working on a new EP. The atmosphere is perfect.

RJHH: Diablo is a young artist, and your work seems to focus on this new generation of rappers. Do you think these newcomers are the future of Japanese hip-hop?

DJ PMX: The excitement around this new generation of rappers in the USA pushed me to observe more of our young rappers. I went to many concerts of young artists in Tokyo, where I noticed that some of these rappers brought something new, whether in energy or quality. I believe it’s the right time to find new heads.

I wish Diablo great success. He is very active, despite his handicapped geographical environment. He is based in Sakata (Yamagata prefecture) and Daia, who moved from Okinawa to Tokyo and has already managed to fill the prestigious Club Asia.

RJHH: You made your first beats in the 80s, and today, 30 years later, you are still present. What is the secret to staying active for so long?

DJ PMX: Hip-hop is in a constant state of evolution. If you observe the evolution process of music, not just for a few years, but over a long period, you will see it for yourself. I keep the evolution of hip-hop based on whole years, not just a few months, which allows me to understand and see how I should work on my following projects.

The movement of the west coast scene in Japan is just one example among many others. It would be best if you were not afraid of evolution but adapted. Otherwise, it may become complicated if you want to continue.

RJHH: What motivated you to do beat-making? And what job would you have chosen if you were not in music?

DJ PMX: I am not just a Beatmaker but DJ and producer. I also direct the flow of the artist and the content; I take part in video clips while using social networks. I would have been bored for a long time if I was not in music.

RJHH: Even though GFunk is no longer part of your recent productions, you can still feel its influence on tracks like Kowichi’s “Every day’s Flyday” or Daia’s “Freeway.” Do you think GFunk is dead?

DJ PMX: In my opinion, the GFunk era is over; you can see that the new generation is not interested because, at parties or events, very few people show up. I was interested in the genre when it dominated the hip-hop scene, but today this style is and will remain a classic from the 90s, even if there are some perfect songs. The west coast scene will always inspire me, but more by the genre that dominates today.

RJHH: How do you see the evolution of hip-hop music? For example, is making a beat today different from 20 years ago?

DJ PMX: 20 years ago, in early 2000, there was an increase in original compositions compared to the New York side’s sampling. Today’s trap is more like an evolution of the DefJam and Tommy Boy sound from the 80s in terms of drums and synths. Initially, these elements were used in genres like techno or pop, but more concentrated.

At the time, beatmakers used the TR808 to make beats. The same TR808 can now be found virtually. I think the manipulation of filters and how digital is used make it more practical. For me, I still use the atmosphere of hip-hop and R&B from the 90s while adapting to the current musical movement.

RJHH: You have released several singles under the DBL Music label. Can you tell us about it?

DJ PMX: I have always wanted to create my studio and label. I have been producing some artists under my label for a few years now. The following albums will also be released under DBL Music in partnership with a major. My name is recognized no matter the label; nothing will prevent me from releasing projects.

RJHH: For 2 or 3 years, you have been more active than ever. You’re making beats, releasing singles and EPs, and making music videos. Are you looking to expand your skills?

DJ PMX: A video is an essential tool for developing and promoting an artist. It’s a side that interests me more and will become even more present with the arrival of 5G in 2020. From composition to programming to recording and mixing, I like to master all the tools that touch musical development. I think the only new challenge left for me is rap. 

RJHH: How do you explain that despite such talents in Japan, collaborations with international artists remain very limited?

DJ PMX: I think that language is the main barrier and prevents Japanese artists from exporting. It’s a huge problem that is likely to persist. Even though sometimes the links between artists from different countries are solid. It seems that listeners are not entirely interested in foreign artists, especially from us. It’s the same thing here in Asia. It’s going to take some time before our artists export more. In the meantime, we have no choice but to outdo ourselves and do better than others. Artists from different countries must be more interested in each other’s musicality to build natucollaborative fruits that encourage listeners to follow.

RJHH: You announced on social media that a new “THE ORIGINAL” series is coming soon. Can you tell us about it?

DJ PMX: I think I will release something for spring 2020, but I can’t say much about it now. Some people tell me about “The Original III” and why I released an album that sounds like that. The sound is different from the previous albums, etc… Some new generation artists, after appearing on my album, have become pillars of the current Japanese hip-hop scene. I think it’s essential to be in tune with the times to put an end to a bygone era. Maybe “The Original III” came out a little early for some, and I think I’ll launch a new series of “The Original,” which will be an actual fresh start.



RJHH: When you work on an EP like Diablo’s “AIM HIGH,” do you direct the artist from start to finish or make the beats and leave it to them?

DJ PMX: Firstly, we work on selecting beats, then comes the content and flow. Usually, I always arrange the melody afterward. It depends on the artist, but sometimes the artist already has a clear ideaRJHH: 2019 was a big year for you with productions for artists such as Daia, K.O Feat Iamsu, One-G, Ashura Mic, and more… How do you explain this strong demand, and what sets you apart from other producers?

DJ PMX: I think the difference with other producers is that I can adapt to the times while still being influenced by the west coast hip-hop vibe. Hip-hop changes over time, and I find it very interesting; I never tire of it.

RJHH: What are your favorite productions?

DJ PMX: I love my recent works, especially “The Original III.”

RJHH: Your musical style and genre have evolved in recent years. Can you tell me which artists inspire you today?

DJ PMX: Recently, there has been no specific artist. I keep up with releases by checking out the “Young California” website. I was more inspired by DJ Mustard & Ty Dolla Sign a few years back.

RJHH: Thank you so much for this interview DJ PMX. We are looking forward to listening to your future projects. If you want to say a final word, it’s yours.

DJ PMX: Don’t hesitate to check out my website for all future releases. A new series, “The Original,” is coming, and productions for artists such as Gadoro, Halogen Diablo, Daia, etc. I also have opportunities to train university students in music production. Stay connected. Thank you.



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