He has paved the way for a legion of mix masters and beat jugglers to follow in his wake with his unmistakable style, flow and track listing that has captured club goers for over 2 decades in the Sydney DJ community. DJ Naiki is a legend in this game, first and foremost, having carved out a very successful and respectable career for himself as one of the country’s most celebrated and booked club DJ’s to date, Naiki is undeniably a master of his craft yet makes it all look so easy!
Starting out in the era of Sydney’s urban nightclub surge in the late 90’s, Japanese born and bred Naiki has always played a pivotal role in shaping and creating of our thriving hip hop DJ community. As a proud member of the globally respected Chiefrocking DJ Crew, rocking the crowd is all part of Naiki’s DNA, as he packs clubs out from city to suburb with sets that are smooth, effortlessly mixed and bursting with musical flavour from old school to everything present and beyond. He knows his music, he reads the crowd and he rocks the party with ease, securing himself as one of the communities most respected and celebrated hip hop DJ’s to date.
As a DJ myself, I am always in awe of those that continue to hold forte as the vanguards of this timeless and classic profession and DJ Naiki is certainly one of those pioneers in this game. I am always honoured to at time DJ before or after him at anyone of the various clubs our sets run across and am always humbled in his presence, knowing I keep company with some of the greatest in this business. Naiki has remained steadfastly true to his inner core as a DJ who plays what he knows, what he loves and what he believes and herein lies the very essence of a true master of his domain. He is always humble, always smiling and always ready to bring the heat as only a chosen Chiefrocker knows how!
Hey Naiki – how are you and how has life been treating you?
I’m good!! Thank you. I’m getting older and older now (laughs) but still staying busy even though it’s harder to make time for yourself these days.
You have been a hip hop DJ in this Sydney community for well over a decade, building a very successful career for yourself in the meantime. How has the journey been for you and what do you think has been the biggest lesson you have learnt about the DJ business?
It has been a very long journey and I have played many different gigs for many different people. It has been a challenge and a blessing to play all type of music and I feel sometimes I’m still learning even after 25years of djing (laughs). It hasn’t been easy but I’m proud of where I come from and where I am now!
What was your greatest motivation to becoming a DJ and who inspired you to perfect your craft and pursue your dreams?
When I saw a DJ in a club I was working at as a waiter in Japan, i didn’t know what it was but it blew my mind! I knew I just wanted to do what he was doing and I think that was my first motivation to becoming a DJ.Now I can’t name any one person that has motivated me because it has been everyone in my life that has been supported my role as a DJ from my DJ friends, different clubs, the crowds, promoters, and all my crew and friends.
What do you believe is the DJ’s biggest role in Hip Hop and what do you see your role as being in the urban music community in Australia?
I think the DJ’s biggest role is to play good music, in any genre not just Hip Hop. I think my role is to just keep playing good music.
What do you love about being a DJ and how do you maintain consistency and relevance in an industry and music genre that keeps changing?
Getting free drinks all night! (joking) But seriously I think sharing music that I love. I think you have to keep an open mind, always checking what is out there, and mix with what you know will work for the club and crowds you play for.
When did you first fall in love with hip hop?
I think around late 80’s and early 90’s.
Your thoughts on the evolution of DJing as an art form to something that is now fused significantly with higher technology and software driven tools i.e.: Serato etc. )
I think the club DJ’s job is to share music with the crowd so anything that helps make job easier is good. That’s why Serato is great! I can play the music I want and I don’t need to carry a lot of crates around damaging my records. I used to carry 4 large crates with a trolley walking from gig to gig around town and I don’t want to do that again (laughs)
What are your current projects / mixtapes etc.?
Right now I’m working on Dancehall mixes for the Edge 96.1 every week and also something new with my Chiefrockers crew!
Where can people catch you spinning these days?
My current gigs are:
Reggae Monday At Civic Hotel, Rasta Thursdays at El TOPO Bondi Junction(The Eastern),Red Room at Hotel Chambers, Mr Tipplys Friday/ Saturday, 80 Proof and some guest spots such as Soul Of Sydney, Red Bull Music Academy, J Dilla Tribute Night, Bob Marley Birthday Bash, and a few other spots here and there. You can also can catch me at Dance Battles (B-boy, Hip-hop Dance, all styles)
Your motto in life?
Stay healthy, stay positive and keep open mind!
For more information on DJ Naiki visit:
Always Hip Hop