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Headline

The Voice of Tokyo for over 50 Years

JAPAN’S NO.1 ENGLISH LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE

Serch Form
Latest Issue
About Us

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MORTEN: Getting Inspired in Tokyo

We catch up with Danish DJ MORTEN just before his first live show in Tokyo

By Lyn Tsuchiya

Danish DJ and producer Morten Breum, who performs under the name Morten (stylized as MORTEN), landed in Tokyo for his first-ever show in Atom Tokyo. He’s been taking the industry by storm with Future Rave, his current collaboration project with David Guetta. We caught up with him a few hours before his first live performance in the capital.

How would you describe your music?

Well, for the last two and a half years, I’ve been releasing a lot of records together with Guetta. I would describe our sound as melodic, dark and inspired a lot from the underground. We’ve put our flavor and our taste to it to make a unique sound that is difficult to explain, but it’s good.

Why did you choose to perform in Tokyo?

Actually, it was my birthday last night. I turned 40. And when they asked me if I wanted to come to Tokyo to play this weekend and spend my birthday here, I told them that this is probably the only place in the world I would go on my birthday to work. I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture and really wanted to come here. When the possibility came up, I called one of my best friends and asked him if he wanted to join me for a week.

Photo by NEONMAFIA inc.

What do you think about the music scene here in Tokyo?

They have a lot of local DJs here and maybe it’s because of the pandemic but I think there’s a strong community of DJs that play at Atom Tokyo a lot. Tonight, I know many of them working before and after me, so I’m going to stick around and listen to the kind of music they play. I think the people here like to party. Shibuya is a young, fun and energetic place.

How has the pandemic affected the DJ scene for you?

For me, it gave me a lot of room to create music and improve on my craft. I released a lot of music with Guetta throughout the whole pandemic. It was important for us to keep the fans engaged. We felt really creative and we kept making music.

I think every country, club, DJ and everybody in general was affected differently. But for a lot of us, this is our community. We go to a club; we have our friends and we meet a lot of people we know when we go out. It’s an institution. So, when you shut down something, we unite and keep finding other places to meet. People started meeting up online, went to Twitch rooms and set up YouTube channels to connect with different places. And now it feels like we’re back. We’re together again.

Would you ever trade performing live with anything else?

No, I’ve been doing this my whole life. I started this when I was 13. People work the whole week and they have a lot of stress and problems on their minds. So, when they come to see me for one or two hours during the week, I feel like they’re able to forget everything, celebrate and put their hands in the air. Sharing a moment with the crowd is really cool. I would never trade it for anything else. I’m really excited to feel that and see the crowd let loose at Atom tonight.

Photo by NEONMAFIA inc.

What have you been up to during your free time in Tokyo?

We’ve been shopping a lot. The people here are so cool and they have great taste. It was very nice for us to come here and shop. I especially like how Japan has a lot of secondhand designer shops which is great for the environment. I think that Tokyo is one of the coolest cities in the world, everybody’s dressed so cool, so it’s great to come here to get inspired.

We went to the Emperor’s Palace to bow and say a prayer. In the city, we went to the forest. We took the subway and we’ve basically just been walking around and feeling the vibes of the streets of Tokyo. We’ve been walking 20 kilometers per day, eating good food, talking to people and getting to know the city.

What has been your best experience so far?

I would say the food is really incredible and also, they took to me a place where you can sit and talk to a woman, that was a fun experience for me.

What were some of the things you didn’t expect from Tokyo?

I didn’t expect the biggest city in the world to be so quiet. That was a shock to me but it’s also really nice. I came from New York so it was completely different. That was really unexpected.

But I expected Tokyo how it is: very polite and clean. I was born and raised in Denmark and I see a lot of similarities, like the clean streets as people don’t throw their trash on the floor. It feels great to be here.

What has been your favorite Japanese dish so far?

I really like how they do the barbecue here. It’s amazing. I’ve had the best rice I’ve ever had in my life. And I love rice. We had good sake, we had incredible sushi, like the best sushi I’ve ever had. I still haven’t had ramen, I’m going to have some before I go back, for sure. I had a matcha ice cream that was incredible. One thing that I know here is that Japanese desserts are not very sweet. And very petite, I like them.

Dream guest artist, dead or alive to have a meal and drink with?

Tupac Shakur. I would have loved to have met him.

Any upcoming projects that we should keep an eye out for?

If you guys travel and come to Ibiza this summer, I’m doing this Future Rave night at Hï every Friday together with Guetta. It’s going to be incredible. We are finishing up an EP, so new music is coming soon.