Song of the Day: DJ NHK Guy – MOOD


Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “MOOD” by Seattle-via-Japan producer DJ NHK Guy, from his debut 2017 album At Your Door, out now via Yesterday Once More.

DJ NHK Guy – Mood (MP3)

DJ NHK Guy, aka producer Jesse Lopez, may be categorized as a local artist, but his work spans influences from across the globe. Lopez moved from California to Japan in 2010 as a part of the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program, finding himself way out in the rural town of Isahaya. While most of the music scene in that part of the country was centered on hip-hop and reggae, Lopez found a collective of artists in Tokyo called Yesterday Once More creating electronic and synth-based music that more aligned with his taste. He’d begin taking an hour-and-a-half train ride every weekend to Tokyo to play shows and create music.

When his JET contract expired, Lopez moved to Seattle — inspired by CUSTOMS booker Allen Haung, a Seattleite who had been an early fan of Lopez’s music. While Lopez spent a good chunk of time in Japan, he was also getting inspiration from Chicago’s footwork scene with its fusion of hip-hop and drum and bass. This, alongside the music he experienced firsthand in Japan, would become the foundation for his debut At Your Door.

“MOOD” exemplifies a lot of Lopez does best. Opening with a breezy, chirpy synth-lead over low rumbling drums, the song quickly fades out and starts over. The synths come back with a new melody, clearer and more defined before. A sampled voice yells “uhh!” and the beat kicks in. The rhythms get periodically faster without losing the laid-back, cool vibe Lopez starts with at the top of the track. You can feel the Japanese electronic influence and the Chicago footwork bleeding through, but Lopez fuses them to make something wholly his own.

You can keep up with DJ NHK Guy by following him on Twitter. In the meantime, check out his video for the single “NATSU1000.”

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