April 03 2018

DJ Monchan's Transmissions

New York-Le Bain
We chat with NY underground house hero Toshi Moriguchi, aka DJ Monchan, before he plays for the Level party on Friday, April 20th.
LE BAIN: You moved to New York from Japan in the early '90s. What made you fall in love with New York? 
DJ MOCHAN: I was a big fan of Def Mix production, Deee-Lite, and Sonic Youth, so I had to come to New York! At that time, NY had more character, each neighborhood had its own individual atmosphere, Manhattan was different from Brooklyn and the Bronx. The East Village was different from the West Village. Soho was not like Midtown! I fell in love with the East Village because it had music and drugs! I have lived there for over 10 years.  
"The Loft changed my life." –DJ Monchan
Through the 1990s, you used to go out at The Sound Factory, The Sound Factory Bar, Tunnel, Twilo…all those famous clubs which are now part of the dance music history. How does today’s nightlife scene compare to those times and clubs?
New York DJs used to have residencies. The same DJs were playing every week in the same clubs. People were coming from all over the world to see them! Those famous clubs were all huge but people had to wait in line every weekend. Also, It was more of a gay scene than what's happening now. I must say I have never been to the Sound Factory! I went there one night with my friend but the guy at the door told us it had closed the week before, so my friend took me to The Loft [of David Mancuso] on Avenue A...and that changed my life.

You're the person behind the selection of house and techno at the NY music institution A1 Records. How is your typical day?
Grab a stack of 100 to 200 records. Listen and price them. I don’t listen to the whole record, but I drop the needle on every records unless it is sealed. 

How has your taste evolved in those two genres? Are there some specific records, artists, or sub-genres that you just discovered or re-discovered?
I've always been crazy about house music, but for the last two years I am having fun playing more '80s stuff, electro and freestyle beats. I've been listening to the album by DJ Rashad, Double Cup. It's not new and not something I always play on my set but this record is the best dance album in decades to me. 
Botanik Dreams feat. DJ Monchan
You’ve done it all, working in NY's record shops and vinyl plant, going out and organizing parties in NY’s nightclubs, running a NY label and a music website (Dailysession). What’s the next music thing you would like to achieve?
I want to open a space like the original Halcyon shop on Smith street in Brooklyn. A space with a little bit of everything: records, drinks, art, and books, with a good sound system and sofa. A space for something and nothing. You can chill, chat, study, whatever. Also, I've been hosting underground parties for over decade and I recently feel like it's taking shape, so I am curious how this will go. And for sure I want to DJ more to show what I've learned from the New York dance music scene over the last 20 years!

On Friday, April 20th, Le Bain presents The Level Party
feat. DJ Monchan, Nadia Ksaiba, & Brandon Wilner
10pm | The Standard, High Line