Tokyo-based DJ Lisa Mizuno is all about pushing the boundaries of techno with psychedelic nuances. She characterises her hypnotic style of playing as being a gateway to the subconsciousness; when playing live, her ethos is to get in your head and leave a mark of positivity and beauty.
Her musical essence stems from traditional Japanese philosophies that include openness, acceptance and creating a positive impact; whilst techno is her primary domain, Mizuno's commitment to experimenting and avoiding generic sounds gives her sets a fresh experience, every time.
Dive into the deeper thoughts of Lisa Mizuno while listening to her hypnotic mix below.
Where are you based and how did you get there?
I’m based in Tokyo, Japan. My hometown is Nagoya, but somehow I always wanted to come to Tokyo. After moving here, I realised that Tokyo is such a creative city and I've met so many wonderful people here. Then I thought it was meant to be that I end up here to input amazing creativity.
So many things happened to me while living in Tokyo, both good and bad. So I have a lot to learn from, plus it’s helped me build a strong mentality and I have lived a totally happier life ever since then. Being here makes me want to share my happiness through the power of music as much as possible.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?
The things I love about the music scene here are all the amazing underground clubs and bars that book DJs. Venues here always have great programming, proper sound systems and the right ambience. I feel Japanese people have a strong sense of music, and it shows in the quality of clubs and events.
Also there is one more thing which I love, and that is our “rave scene” that you can discover across Japan; there are small rave parties and festivals going on pretty much every weekend from April to November in the forest or near the beach.
Raves in Japan are very peaceful; parents bring kids and everything is very clean. Also, you can enjoy onsen during most outdoor raves, but it’s usually very hidden. The Japanese rave community is much bigger than people think!
In five words, what do your DJ sets sound like?
Hypnotic, deep, spacey, psychedelic and spiritual.
And in three words, how would you describe yourself?
Honest, dignified, majestic.
What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?
I think these days in the techno industry, the trend is organic sounds and complex rhythms. Mixing many types of sounds, from deep to psychedelic to drum'n'bass and electro.
I also prefer not to get caught up in music genres — my mix needs to transcend the boundaries set in place by them, so whatever's currently trending music-wise can be very inspiring for me.
Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention?
Here are my 3 favourite producers and composers from Japan.
Sugai Ken — I found him the first time I was looking for an interesting Japanese sound artist that I can use for my DJ set. His sound is very unique but in a good and strange way. I felt his sound has some power and when I had the opportunity to experience his live show, I finally found out he creates strong magic power from his performance. He blows my mind.
Yuki Matsumura — He is from Kochi,Shikoku,Japan. I accidentally found him on Instagram, went to his Bandcamp and listened to his tracks. I found so much intelligence in his beautiful and experimental sound. His sound adds plenty of depth to my sets and really aligns with my philosophy around music. So, I feel very lucky to found him accidentally.
Lynne — She is a DJ and producer based between Tokyo and London. I met her a long time ago somehow she knows me as a model from a music video that our mutual friend made. I recently caught her playing at Kagurane, here in Tokyo; I've never seen or heard a DJ like her before. Her sound was experimental with drum'n'bass. She really had my ears and eyes locked on her. She inspires me a lot at that time. I’m very excited to play a support set for her at an upcoming open-air event called “Transcendence” in Shizuoka, Japan.
Describe one prediction you have about dance music in a post-pandemic world that’s being driven by new technologies.
A huge amount of data is accumulated on the Internet every day, and the amount of data continues to increase at an accelerating pace. With the spread of smart devices and SNS, our daily activities (movements, purchases, search history, etc.) have become quantifiable as behavioural data. So a huge amount of data from the internet consists of what people listen to, what kind of music makes them happy, and what kind of music affects people’s brains to work better and smarter.
I believe hypnotic techno music is easy to connect to our subconsciousness and make us realise something more important in life. To summarise, technology can be a great tool to make music for helping people improve their life in many ways.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?
In this mix, I imagined spacey sounds, and aliens jumping and flying around. I wanted this mix to feel connected to the extraterrestrial.
What equipment did you record this mix on?
XDJ-1000MK2. Allen and Heath xone92, TASCAM DR-07MK
Where can we hear you playing next?
April 29 for FORCE at Womb, Shibuya. And May 3 for Evangelist at Rubyroom, Shibuya.