In early November of 2004, DJ AM & a few close homies took a trip to Japan in which he was the featured DJ at the long standing club The Redzone at the legendary Club Harlem. This was Adam's first ever trip to Japan (he took another trip to Japan exactly one year later and played at Club Harlem again, the live mix from Club Harlem in 2005 is up on the DJ AM Lives Mixcloud Page). In classic AM form, he brought a whole crew with him for the occasion. I reached out to Kev E. Kev, DJ Vice & Rick Ramirez, who all went with him to Japan, to get their memories of a trip filled with DJing, shopping for kicks, sampling food & searching for the latest electronics:
KEV E. KEV: "I'm not sure how he got 4 other people to go with him either, but he did (lol)."
RICK RAMIREZ: "I remember AM coming from first class to visit us to coach in his robe just to say 'Ahh yeah'"
KEV E. KEV: "My best memory from that trip was going sneaker shopping (and records too). It was Adam’s first time in Japan, so that was a fun experience in itself. Japan was obviously a Mecca for sneakers and that was 100% the mission. A Bathing Ape was this somewhat underground brand and incredibly difficult to get...except, of course, if you are going to their store in Japan. We made our way to the store and Adam bought every single pair of BAPE shoes they had available in or close to his size. It must have been 10-20 pairs. Keep in mind, he bought other shoes in Japan as well. I remember we went and bought all this luggage and he broke down all the shoe boxes nicely and packed up his Japan haul to return home a BAPE STA sneaker god."
RICK RAMIREZ: "I remember going into the shoe store and AM telling the sales person 'I want all of these in a size 11' pointing at the whole wall and, it was funny, she came back with 5 boxes out of the 80 or so pairs on the wall."
VICE: "Some memories that stick out was Adam wanting to go to the BAPE store and buy everything in his size. From there we hit a record store and I found copies of BUKO BREAKS, a party break record I had just recorded with Echo, Dlux and Syphe….we were all hyped to see that in Japan."
VICE: "Hitting up electronic stores since all of us were gadget nerds was a must as well."
RICK RAMIREZ: "I remember Vice & AM having a crepe out of a minivan in an alley..."
VICE: "When it came time to hit Club Harlem I was HYPE AF because we all had heard that it was the most legendary Hip Hop club in Japan and legends such as Jazzy Jeff, Mark Ronson and Stretch Armstrong had all already played there. We stepped in the club and one of the first things I noticed walking in was that they had lockers for people to rent and put there belongings in so they could get wasted and not lose shit…thought that was genius and funny at the same time. We got situated and DJ Kango and Koya were the resident DJ’s who were there to greet us. We automatically noticed that the crowd was all standing side by side dancing and facing the DJ booth. It was a very unique vibe for a nightclub because they were there to appreciate the DJ and the skills they were bringing to their country. It was almost showtime and Adam asked me to rock the mic last minute. I was still working at Power 106 in LA and in full hip hop mode as you can hear from my vocals on this mix. I was honored to be the MC in Japan for Adam's first set but at the same time understood that they don’t understand me! haha
We got behind the booth and I asked for a tequila shot and they brought out a bottle of Jose Cuervo Gold….OUCH!!"
VICE: "Being around AM I knew not to get wasted like I may have gotten in Vegas because I had already been scolded by the big homie when I get sloppy…thats the kind of friend he was. From there the set begins and to be honest I don’t remember what I said first but listening to this mix brought it all back….KONICHIWAAAAAAAA!!!"
Special thanks to DJ Kango for sending over the cassette rip of the mix as well as providing info on the gig and the images below. Also a big shoutout to Danny Diggz for combining both sides of the cassette into one long playing mix and for cleaning up the quality as much as possible by EQ'ing and leveling parts to make it more listenable.
This is one of the few existing mixes of AM playing on vinyl (as opposed to Serato - others include the Moomba mixes & the Concorde mixes - all of which are on the DJ AM Lives Mixcloud page). This 2004 Japan mix is a great example of an early version of DJ AM spinning the open format style he became famous for. As previously mentioned, this mix features Vice on the mic as Adam's hype man. There are some tape cuts here & there and the quality is not great in some parts but that's beside the point really... it's a time capsule back to 2004 with one of the greatest to ever do it on the decks. Enjoy!
We'll leave this post with Vice's final words to us about the trip: "LONG LIVE THE GOAT DJ AM!! THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE GIVEN TO THE DJ WORLD. WE MISS AND LOVE YOU BRO!"
We couldn't agree more Vice!