Playing at Outta The House on New Years Day – Naoto gives us a taste of what you can expect.
Hailing from a small town in Japan called Tokyo, Naoto Ida (formerly known as DJ Banjo) has fast established himself as one of the most versatile DJs in Melbourne after relocating in 2019. With over a decade of experience in Tokyo as a DJ and event producer, he held down residencies at some of the city’s most famous clubs including the world renowned Harlem, while also running his own night Black Jack every Friday at another Shibuya hotspot Club Camelot. Naoto was also regularly asked to open for touring international artists, having shared the stage with Nas, Talib Kweli, Tony Touch, Biz Markie, Lil Jon, DJ Spinbad (RIP) as well as local legend DJ Muro on countless occasions. With a steady stream of corporate events and guest spots on offer and having seemingly conquered the urban scene in one of the world’s most competitive music cities, Naoto found himself restless, in need of further challenges and more freedom to explore his diverse musical tastes and influences.
Having visited Melbourne on two previous occasions, Naoto was already in contact with a number of DJs in Melbourne’s bar and club scene, and found himself being frequently contacted by DJs heading to Tokyo who wanted some local knowledge on the best record shops to go crate digging. It was during these record hunting missions that Naoto noticed that the DJs he was hosting were not only looking for the typical hip hop and funk records, but obscure jazz, Afrobeat and Latin records… Styles Naoto was passionate about but was never given an opportunity to play in his home city. It was apparent if he wanted to continue his journey and explore his diverse musical passions, Melbourne was the place to be and after 6 months of planning, a one way ticket to Melbourne was purchased and the enthusiasm for music he felt when he first started DJing returned.
Having been embraced by Melbourne’s DJ community as soon as he touched down, it wasn’t long before Naoto was spinning at Melbourne venues such as Onesixone, Ms Collins, Afrobeat night Bendo, as well as curating one off events at city laneway institution Ferdydurke just before the pandemic hit and Melbourne’s music scene ground to a halt. With an unexpected amount of free time on his hands, Naoto embraced the opportunity to go on a 9 month digital digging binge, further immersing himself in Brazilian and African music, discovering a love for producers and musicians in London’s younger jazz generation and exploring the catalogues of some of Japan’s lesser known beat makers. It was during this time he also took up playing the Djembe, a West African percussion instrument he now sometimes incorporates into his DJ sets, creating live breaks while he plays.
Emerging from Melbourne’s lockdown with an immense knowledge of multiple music styles and a hunger to get back to playing in front of appreciative crowds, Naoto’s rise was fast tracked when he was asked by one of Melbourne’s most respected music venues Section 8 to be their Monday night booker and resident DJ, affording him the freedom to not only play multiple musical styles he is passionate about, but also provide a platform to showcase some of the city’s most eclectic DJs and beat makers.
Not long after Naoto took the next step in his career by joining boutique Melbourne agency 100% Phat, standing alongside some of Melbourne’s most respected DJs including Agent 86, DJ Flagrant, Mrs Wallace, Deejay Hijack, GhostNotes, Tom Showtime and DJ Maars amongst others. This has lead to a number of new residencies since the start of 2021 including Storyville, Lucky Coq, southside mecca Blue Bar and 100% Phat’s monthly night Forth & Back.
With his turntable skills, vast musical knowledge and unique blend of hip hop, Afrobeat, jazz and Latin sounds Naoto is set to see history repeat itself: being at the top of the game in the city he calls home.
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