As a founding member of the Japanese DJ outfit UFO (United Future Organization) in the early ’90s, Toshio Matsuura helped to shape the Tokyo club scene by infusing it with his own brand of acid jazz. UFO spent 12 years together, spinning at clubs all over the world, but their influence stretched far outside the DJ booth. The trio released five albums, heard their music in TV commercials, produced fashion shows and events, and even designed a special UFO watch for Casio. Toshio left UFO in 2002, and he continues to DJ worldwide, produce records, and act as a music consultant to Montblanc and Hugo Boss.

What elements make a good DJ?

An open mind to accept whatever is good, enjoying what you are playing, and physical strength.

What elements make a good artist?

To be unafraid of the differences between you and other people or the scene and the courage to make your feelings into reality.

How important is record sleeve art to an album?

It’s as important as a label on a wine bottle.

How do you think your travels have affected or informed your DJing over the years?

By traveling all over the world, I have developed to include various cultures, races, people, and music [into my sets]. I’m still working on this.

Do you have a favorite place to spin?

Lately I enjoy playing near the beach.

How have you seen the role of DJ change since you began?

It’s become “work” playing dance music. But the fact that DJs think they are playing to introduce good music to people, and that this might affect their lives, hasn’t really changed.

Do you have a favorite artist? One who inspires your music or your musical choices?

There’re too many to answer. I have so many who I like, and it increases year by year. My iPod and my record shelf are filled up all the time.

Do you have a favorite record sleeve or artist who does record sleeves?

I like simple ones, like ’60s Reid Miles design.

You’ve traveled a lot for music. What do you think is the most creative, coolest city right now?

Tokyo - my hometown - and London, Berlin, and New York. I wish to feel the creators’ minds, not the city, and that makes my world bigger.

When DJing live, what do you think makes the perfect set?

The togetherness of music that I play and myself. Also flowing ideas, and just fun.

Toshio Matsuura