Coming out of the last set of Covid restrictions, it feels as though partying and gigging has truly started again. With this in mind, we felt it was only right to introduce Japan’s ultimate party DJs, CYK.

Formed six years ago, the four-man group is known for its party power. CYK’s sets often sell out, with people wanting to dance the night away and soak up the vibes that the group excels at creating. CYK also has its own mix series which runs sporadically. Called Tokyo Radio, it introduces key members of the Tokyo DJ scene.

We spoke to the group about the closing of Contact in Shibuya and the semi-closure of West Harlem in Kyoto. We also got their recommendations and predictions for the future of clubbing life in Tokyo and beyond.

Japan Scenesters///
Members: Kotsu, Nari, DNG (fka DJ No Guarantee), Naoki Takebayashi
Genre: House

1. Can you please introduce the group?

Kotsu: We are a house music collective with four members. Our previous parties have featured guests from both Japan and abroad, such as Mall Grab, Baba Stiltz, Soichi Terada and Kenji Takimi. We aren’t just active in Tokyo but have played in cities across Japan, including Osaka, Kyoto, Sapporo and Kumamoto. We’ve also played abroad in countries such as Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand. In 2022 CYK played at Rainbow Disco Club and Fuji Rock festivals.

2. How is DJing together different from doing it solo?

Kotsu: It’s surprising and always full of discoveries. We don’t know what song is coming next so we can’t tell how a song will develop until we actually play it.

Of course, when we play, it’s for the [dance] floor, but also for the other members too.

3. What is your favorite Shibuya club? And a memorable song you played there?

Kotsu: The place where CYK started, Circus Tokyo.

The first time Mall Grab came to Japan, the last song that we played was “Mad Disrespect” by Anthony Naples.

DNG: It’s already closed, but I have to mention Contact.

Unbeatable Italo House classic including Montego Bay’s “Everything” (S-Tone Mix). It’s always a highlight.

Nari: My favorites are also Circus and Contact. A song that stays with me is Liem’s “If Only.”

Takebayashi: Well, it has to be the place where CYK had our first party — Circus Tokyo. At the time we were still students, we didn’t really have much experience but the club believed in us. We grew so much thanks to Circus.

A song I love is Keita Sano’s “Explosion.” At so many different venues it has brought us and the floor together as one.

4. Contact and Sound Museum Vision are now closed. What are your predictions for the future of Tokyo nightclubs?

Kotsu: It feels like the end of an era. I think that many parties will disperse and rejoin each other again, not by club but by party. I can’t predict what shape this will take, though. I think that parties in smaller venues will become even more united and deeply connected.

5. What has changed in the music scene in the last six years? How have you adapted to the changes?

Kotsu: There’s been an increase in DJs in their 20s and a crossover has begun. From the standpoint of party organizers, we are always considering how to be open and receptive to make the most of various expressions, rather than just looking at just one context.

From left: Naoki Takebayashi, Kotsu, DNG, Nari

6. When did you move to Kyoto and how did this change the group dynamic?

Kotsu: I moved to Kyoto in September 2020. Since then, the artists I’ve met around Kansai have actively been asking CYK to play at their events. Organically, our community across Japan began to grow even more.

7. What clubs would you recommend in Kyoto?

Kotsu: West Harlem. Though the current place closed at the end of October so until the next one opens in February, the plan is to borrow another club called Muse. For more information check out the West Harlem Instagram.

8. What place does West Harlem have in the Kyoto music scene?

Kotsu: There are close to 20 people in or around their 20s who are great DJs. And almost all of them have their own party. There are also a lot of producers and trackmakers so it’s a great way to interact with the current dance music scene.

The customers who gather there respect each other peacefully so we can have fun and be free.

9. Please tell us your favorite artists right now. Who should we be looking out for?

Kotsu: With regards to Japanese DJs, I have so much respect for Torei.

DNG: Literally every day I come across amazing records, DJs and artists, I simply can’t write them all here.

Rainbow Disco Club · RDC 042 – CYK

10. Recommended mix for pre-drinks before heading to a club?

Kotsu: The CYK build-up mix we made for the Rainbow Disco Club’s podcast [above].

11. Tell us something you are looking forward to?

Kotsu: On December 12, we’re having a party for our sixth anniversary in Shibuya at Spotify O-East. This time it’ll just be CYK, playing an all-night set.


Follow CYK on SoundCloud and Instagram. See here for more details on CYK’s 6th Anniversary party