Le Bain: You and Alex from Tokyo collaborated on the track 'Black Star' by Tokyo Black Star. What's the story behind this song?
Rich Medina: Black Star was a record Alex and I made back in 2005. Quite simply, he said "Rich, I would love for you to be on this track. I made it specifically with your voice in mind and all that is missing from it is you. Would you please be a part of this record?" I couldn't refuse him. I loved the track and I love Alex like a brother, so it was a very simple decision for me... the rest is history!
You've travelled to Japan many times, what was your first impression of Tokyo?
I've played in Japan approximately 14 or 15 times over the past 12 years. The first time I arrived in Tokyo, I slept the entire ride from the airport, so I had no idea how long the ride was. When I woke up, we had to carry our bags across Shibuya Square, and the amount of people crossing with us felt like an ocean of bodies. It was like a human organism that I had never seen before. That was my very first impression of Tokyo.
And beyond that?
I found out many things about Eastern culture, Japanese history, music, politics, and family structure. I've come to find Tokyo as one of my very favorite places to visit, not only for my work as an artist, but as a world traveler. I believe the Japanese experience is something every Westerner should allow themselves to experience at least once in life.
Is there one recent record that really impressed you?
The newest record from The Internet surprised me quite a bit. I was expecting to hear fake drum rolls and drug riddled EDM climaxes, and none of that happened... It's a record full of soul and 21st century creative license, an elusive combination in our musically gentrified world.
As an iconic NY DJ for more than 15 years – from APT to Santos Party House – do you think the NYC scene got gentrified?
I believe New York's pedigree as the place that started it all is what will cause New York to come full circle as a city to go to dance, not only in large pop clubs, but many of the newer intimate venues and lounges that are now coming to life within the latest real estate boom. If the new transplants with money begin to see NYC as more of their home than a place to simply populate and spend money, the old mystique of New York City will have a chance to survive and we might regain our glory days as the dance Mecca of the USA.
Sunday June 1st, Nouveau York and Japan Society Gallery invite you to an afternoon and night in Été d'Amour at Le Bain. Music by Rich Medina, Alex from Tokyo & more! From 5pm to 3am. The Standard, High Line.