We welcomed our first international guest DJ at Soul Time In Hawaii this September.
DJ Notoya from Tokyo reached out to me a month or so before his trip to Honolulu. He’d be in town towards the end of September and was looking for a few record digging recommendations.
We hadn’t ever met in person before. We were simply acquaintances on Twitter and Instagram and had been following each other for a few years. I don’t even remember how I came across his account—maybe a record-related hashtag? Outside of our shared interest in vinyl and this excellent 1980s Japanese boogie mix he did (maybe that’s how I found out about him!), I knew nothing about DJ Notoya.
After sharing some tips on where to buy records in Hawaii, I extended an invitation to join us at Soul Time In Hawaii on September 24, 2015 as our guest DJ for the month. He accepted, and that evening turned out to be one of the best nights we’ve had so far at Bevy.
Notoya blessed us with two sets of all Japanese 45s. Each record had the original picture sleeve, and Notoya put the respective sleeve up by one of the speakers for anyone who wanted to check out what was currently playing.
With each track, Notoya had the crowd dancing, smiling, and peeping the pic sleeve to find out what he was spinning. We were all over it. Notoya killed it. (My favorite was the 45 version of Haruko Kuwana’s “Akogare No Sundown”. We used the LP cover for the event flyer.)
I brought my laptop to record the entire evening. Not only am I a sucker for Japanese funk, boogie, and so-called city pop, we also had an amazing sets by Hideki Yamamoto and a one-each session at the end of the night with Notoya, Oliver, myself, Hideki, and our good friend David Jordan. So this for sure was going to be one of the highlights in the Soul Time playlist on Soundcloud.
But the next morning I realized… I mistakenly recorded the Auxiliary out for both turntables, not the Master out. The DJ can be heard cueing up each track for a full 6 hours. Huge, huge disappointment. Especially after such an incredible night of good music!
We met up with Notoya and his wife later that day, which is when I found out that—thankfully—that Notoya had recorded his first set on his iPhone. The sound quality isn’t exactly great, but it’s enjoyable to listen to.
When looking back at that evening—in fact, whenever I look back at any evening we have at Soul Time—I can’t help but smile and joyfully remember the dedicated regulars, the friends we haven’t seen in a while, the surprise DJs who bring a bag of records to play, the photographers, the musicians whose “old school” records we’re spinning, the handcrafted cocktails that loosen the night as we go.
Our goal with every Soul Time is good music and good vibes, which can seem like a pretty broad statement, but I think we do a pretty good job achieving that goal.
I’ve been a little reluctant to post the recording online. Mainly because the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired. But I’ve been listening to it a lot lately and I’ve come to think that it’s worth sharing.
The photographs here, taken by Hiko Arasaki, capture the environment of what Soul Time In Hawaii looks is. Bevy’s intimate interior, friends shaking hands and sharing music, fingers snapping, a curious listener asking the DJ what’s playing now, people laughing, having a good time.
When paired with Hiko’s photos, Notoya’s iPhone recording transports the listener to this space.
Together they recreate an authentic, nostalgic experience of what our monthly all-vinyl event in Honolulu is like. The iPhone recording has become more important than that recording I botched, because even though the sound quality is far from perfect, perfectly captures more than a mix ever could.
And because this is all that remains of that night, then what we have is priceless. It’s all there is—what’s tangible, at least, since now we’re lifelong friends with Notoya. I hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I do.