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24 Nov

INTERVIEW: Kool Out Talks To Akio Kawahito Ahead Of “Maribou State” Show. #EightOfEight

Eight artists will be opening for electro duo Maribou State on the 8th & 9th December 2017 at Mercury Live (Cape Town) & Good Luck Bar (Johannesburg). Kool Out had the opportunity to ask these stellar eight local acts, eight questions as the lead up to the Maribou State party begins…. #EightForEight

For our third interview Kool Out sat down with the man responsible for putting the Kool in Kool Out. Akio Kawahito aka DJ I.D, aka Papi Gonzalez, aka The Yellow Wesley Snipes.

Born to Japanese & Dutch parents Akio grew up in America before spending time in Europe & Asia completing his studies. He would pick up DJing quickly falling in love with the art form & becoming a regular on the scene in Japan & Amsterdam. A well travelled DJ in 2007 Akio relocated to South Africa settling down in Cape Town & 2008 started Kool Out Concepts alongside Falko & Just-B (who have since departed the company) before relocating the brand to Jozi. Akio has gone on to become one of the most influential figures in the industry today, a decorated DJ, event promoter & entrepreneur, Akio has worked with brands such as Sprite, Play Energy Drink & Nescafe & shared stages with the likes of Pharouhe Monch, Kendrick Lamar, Mobb Deep, Talib Kweli, Blu & Exile, DJ Babu & many others.

Akio Kawahito

  • You travel the world and seem to choose the most interesting and unique places to visit. How have your travels affected your DJ’ing career?

I think traveling makes you more versatile as a DJ. Each market is different and while some preferences overlap and are universal, you have to find a new way to connect in every country you play. I like to compare it to a first date. You’re trying to figure out what it is they like and where your musical style fits. 

  • Few people know that you once worked as an Analyst at the International court, did this experience in any way contribute to your success as a DJ and music mogul?

I think it was more the education I received leading up to that job. Getting my undergraduate and then Masters taught me a certain degree of critical thinking and also just improved my ability to write and present. Most of this translates over to the business side which is as important if not more than the music side. 

  • Why Hip-Hop?

Hip Hop was that outlet for me growing up. The birth and initial growth really started in my generation so its a genre that I can say is unique to my life. As a Asian kid growing up in America, there was quite a bit of cultural isolation. The two things that gave me a sense of identity were Hip Hop and Basketball.

“You can put someone in the right position to win, but its up to that person to take action for that win. I figure I’d rather win or lose based on my own decisions and not those of others.”

  • You recently retired from managing and Dj’ing for artist Reason. What were your reasons and how has this affected your solo career?

It was really just time to move on and focus on myself. I had been wanting to retire for about a year before I actually did it, but struggled to do it out of loyalty. You can put someone in the right position to win, but its up to that person to take action for that win. I figure I’d rather win or lose based on my own decisions and not those of others.

Since I’ve started focusing on my own career things have been incredible. I’ve had the opportunity to extend my overseas tours and have been extremely active in the SA market. At the end of the day, DJing is my first love and now I’m able to focus on it. 

  • What would the pinnacle of your success look like?

Its never been about money for me. Its been about the creative process. I would say the pinnacle is for me to be able to bring all my crazy ideas to reality while continuing to make a living off of it. 

  • You are one of 8 local acts opening for Maribou, where and when was the first time you ever heard a song of theirs? 

I found them on youtube. We play a lot of similar music through our Alchemy brand and they popped up as a recommend artist. After I heard their first song, I went and searched as much of their music as I could.

  • What can audiences expect from your performance on the 9th December at Good Luck Bar?

I’m excited about my set because P-Kutth and I will be going back to back switching up every two songs. I’ll be playing a mixture of Hip Hop, electro, and beats. Love having the freedom to mix up genres. 

  • If there was a catch phrase titled ‘Akio Kool’…what would that express?

I think it would be not going mainstream and embracing your uniqueness. Cool is when the everyone accepts you for who you are, not what they want you to be. 

kooloutc
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