One half of female duo PALM BABYS, Osaka-native Gem Wallow has made herself a fixture on Tokyo’s alternative dance scene. Venturing across an array of sounds that cover dark disco, acid and exuberant dance music, Gem’s approach to the dancefloor is an eclectic one.
Her intimately broody sets have taken her around China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans for a European tour in 2023.
Making valuable use of her time during the pandemic, she started producing in 2020, and already has outputs on Lithuanian label Electric Shapes as well as Samo Records from New York. Later this year, she’ll be dropping her third release and debut EP, ‘鼓動 KODOU’ on Spanish imprint Playground.
Ready for some gritty basslines encapsulated by voluptuous tones? Tune in to Tokyo-based Gem Wallows below.
Where are you based and how did you get there?
I’m based in Tokyo, Japan. I’m originally from Kobe. I had the opportunity to visit Tokyo when I was in high school, so I naturally thought I would expand after graduating from college. I started DJing in Osaka and moved to Tokyo two years later.
I spend most of my time in the Shibuya area, where you can hear top international artists play up close every weekend, and the local DJs are all very good. I also recommend the fact that there are lots of clubs nearby, so you can easily visit them in one night.
What’s your favourite thing about the music scene there?
I love that there are so many big clubs and small underground clubs and bars, but no matter how big or small, there is always a high-quality music experience to be had!
In five words, what do your DJ sets sound like?
Psychedelic, cosmic, trippy, energetic and groovy.
And in three words, how would you describe yourself?
Curious, peaceful and loving.
What recent trends in music have you been paying attention to? Have you caught onto them?
I'm currently paying attention to indie dance with an acid element added to it. I also feel that dark disco, electric and EBM with a psychedelic bass line is pretty unique!
Are there any producers and DJs in Asia that have recently caught your attention?
Atsuko Satori is my partner who works together in a unit as PALM BABYS. We perform solo and also play as a unit. She is a cool DJ who manipulates minimalistic and deep elements.
Sakura Tsuruta is a Tokyo-based artist, music producer, and educator. She is a deep explorer of music, and her weaved music is both soothing and uplifting.
Remmy is a Tokyo-based artist and producer. He's only recently started as a producer, but his danceable, acidic disco dub with cool tunes is so good.
Describe one prediction you have about dance music in a post-pandemic world that’s being driven by new technologies.
Before the pandemic, I used to DJ every weekend, but then the parties stopped and I was able to spend more time at home due to the increase in my family. I have been able to start producing music and am enjoying the pleasure of creating my own music in addition to DJing.
Tell us about the inspiration behind this mix - what drove your thoughts and emotions, and how did you curate your selection?
This mix is something I always try to do in my own playing; to create a strong storyline throughout, to get into the groovy, uplifting feeling that you find yourself getting. Feel the groove connected by the signature bass line that I focus on the most!
What equipment did you record this mix on?
A pair of Pioneer CDJ2000, a Pioneer DJM450 mixer, and a TASCAM DR-05.
Where can we hear you playing next?
On June 9 at Mitsuki in Shibuya, followed by Sandcastle at Camp & Sauna UUSi in Kamogawa, Chiba.