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In the sixth installment of the Circle of DAYZ series, we take an in-depth look at some fascinating people who have strong ties to DAYZ. We spoke with EZ, who selects the background music for the store, about the connection between his brand 〈TILT〉and music.

—— What made you get into the world of music and fashion?

When the Sex Pistols released "Never Mind the Bollocks", my brother immediately bought it and I was forced to listen to it without much choice. My fashion was also influenced by music, and when I looked at my graduation album from elementary school, there’s a picture from a field trip and I saw that I was the only one wearing a lot of safety pins (laughs). In junior high, I was listening to Japanese punk and new wave bands. When I went to a live music club, I was shocked to see that "there is hardcore punk in Japan!?!?!" When I think back, that was probably where it really started for me. When I was in high school, I wore a riveted jacket and Dr. Martens with my head stuck up, and I wasn't really interested in disco. I only went to music shows with bands playing. There was a music club in Shibuya's Center Gai called "Attic", which is now located in Shimokita, and the entrance fee was about 1,000 yen. Even if I didn’t have the money to get in, I would always hang out underneath the store when there was a concert, and if I really wanted to get in, I would sneak in through the window of the third-floor bathroom. Those were the days. If I stayed to the end, I would miss my last train and ended up sleeping at Yoyogi Park until morning.

—— When did you start skateboarding?

There was a time when I started listening to American punk bands, and that's when I started skateboarding. Then I bought the skateboard magazine, THRASHER, and the cover and ads were all about punk rock bands. What the hell? Back then, skateboarding wasn't an Olympic sport, or considered a sport at all like it is now, it was street culture. My family owned a barber shop, so I went to school to become a barber, but I used to ride my skateboard to school and hang out at skate shops after school. As a result, I ended up working at a skate shop that I liked.

——So that was the first time you started working in the street world as a job.

Yeah. I sold skateboards for a while, but I actually holed up in the mountains to get serious about snowboarding from about the age of 21-26. In the winter, I would sell boards in Japan and also participate in snowboard competitions. When there were no competitions, I was an instructor. In the summer, the snow would disappear in Japan, so I would attend summer camps in Canada and Oregon to practice. Then, in 1996, I had a turning point when I happened to go to a club. Up until then, I had been playing GOLD in the early 90's and RAVE, which started when I went overseas, and around that time, DJs who specialized in only one genre were big. But then I saw DJ Harvey play, which inspired me to play songs from various genres. I hadn't really been interested in DJing before that, but when I saw that songs from completely different genres were like a story, I thought, "I want to try that! “Around the same time, I started working for a snowboard brand and became involved in the brand itself, making clothes for snowboarding and logos. That was when I was approached to start TILT.
For me, music and fashion have different motivations, but I personally think they have something in common, such as the sampling culture. In fact, when I first started , my collection was small, and I was producing designs that combined punk rock and other music. I was making studded belts and raggedy jeans. Even now, I do fashion that combines skateboarding and music; fusion of cultures is important to me.

—— The collaboration between DAYZ and TILT has finally been realized. Please tell us the key points of the items.

This collection features BDU jackets and the classic TILT graphic. It's not punk, but it's a variation on the hippie culture of the 70's. It's a USED spring/summer ripstop Woodland Camo BDU jacket from the 80's and 90's, modified to Special Forces specifications (hip pockets on the chest, chest pockets removed, buttons and flaps removed and replaced with Velcro tape for easy opening and closing), and vintage Tyrolean and Indian tape was randomly slapped on the cuffs and chest pockets. It's all in the details.

—— You always have DAYZ change the music for each event. How do you decide on what to play?

I am particularly conscious of the flow of time. The store clerks don't want to hear a song that sounds like the Don Quixote theme when they come to work in the morning (laughs). So I try to start off slowly and play a refreshing song. Since I can't actually come to the club because of Corona, I try to play music that I could imagine myself listening to on a morning commute; I think that is a new challenge for DJs.

——These days, most people play music digitally, so why do you bother with vinyl records, EZ?

It's because there are many songs that are only available on vinyl. I listen to both data and vinyl, but I don't think that they are that different. But if I had to choose, I would say I prefer vinyl. As a DJ, I am very happy when people like the music I choose, but as a listener, it's like a sake snack (laughs). If it's a good snack (i.e. music), you'll want to drink good sake, and vice versa.

Interview & Text : Yu Yamaki
Photo : Ryutaro Izaki