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Phonica Friends & Family Mix Series 16:

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Long time label Friend and Phonica White artist Keisuke aka Christopher Iwatsu steps up next on our Friends and Family mix series with some driven numbers inspired by Berlin where he has resided for years. With our 20 years of Phonica compilation on the way and with the man himself having a track on there we thought it only fitting to ask him for a mix. We had a chat with Keisuke about the mix, about what he has got coming up and more:

Hey Keisuke, thanks for joining us! Can you tell us about your mix and what the idea behind it was?


I’ve been living in Berlin for the last three years, and the faster tempos you hear more of here have finally started to rub off. This mix reflects that, and it’s a bit higher energy than the deeper stuff I’ve put on mixes previously. Snuck in some unreleased tracks from myself and my brother too (Michael Iwatsu).


Can you tell us a bit about how you usually approach recording a mix or a set?


My favourite sets build and release tension throughout, so that’s always something I have in mind when playing out or recording a mix.


What are your preferred methods for finding new music—do you still enjoy digging around in dusty crates, or do you prefer to buy online?


Nothing beats going to a record shop – love the serendipity of the stuff you stumble across there, not to mention good recommendations from staff (shout out to Luther who always sorts me out at Phonica). Bandcamp is very helpful too though, especially for deep dives on a label’s back-catalogue.


What advice would you give to any DJ’s or Producers just starting out?


For DJs, I’d say recording mixes is the fastest way to improve your technical skills – listening back you’ll hear things that you missed while playing. Your music selection is more important though, so make sure you’re searching for new music each week.
For producers, I’d recommend learning the discipline of arrange your ideas into finished tracks sooner rather than later, as that’s the hardest skill – making nice loops is arguably the easy part. Setting aside a week or two where you ONLY arrange existing ideas, and don’t start anything new, can be a good way to force yourself to do that.


What is your dream setting for a DJ set?


A sound-system that hits you in the chest and a crowd that’s up for it – all you need really.


What do you have up your sleeve for 2023?


Very excited to have a track featured on the 20 Years of Phonica compilation that’s coming out later in the year. After that, have another track coming out on a Berlin-based label & party, Elsi. Also working on a new EP or two. Oh, and I’ve just bought an Octatrack – gonna have to spend some time learning my way around that, and the debut of a live set will follow.


Sounds great! Thanks again Keisuke 🙂

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