Stratos Hermes Konstantinos Kyriakopoulos, better (and more easily) known as Polaroidfades, arrived in Japan in 2006 to a very different nightlife scene than exists today. Back then, vinyl was still popular, and his DJ equipment, Ableton Live, set him apart.

“When I first arrived in Japan, there were DJs here that asked me what I was doing and said it didn’t look like DJing,” he says. “A lot of those same people are now some of the main ambassadors for tools like this in Japan.”

The DJ, a native of Greece, has as good a grasp as any in Japan of how to use Ableton, a combination of software and hardware that allows artists absolute freedom when performing live. “With Ableton, you can add a personal touch to your sets,” Polaroidfades tells The Japan Times. “Electronic dance music is not like hip-hop, disco or early house. With a modern set, it doesn’t feel the same if you feature scratches, cuts and other DJ techniques so heavily.”

Due to the nature of the music he plays, though, and the fact that large portions of his sets feature his own songs, Polaroidfades has become a passionate advocate of Ableton. “I may receive a song where I like most of the tune but just not the drums. Now I can create a remix on the fly while I’m playing and make an entirely new song in front of the crowd.”

That explains the difficult-to-describe sound that the DJ performs. His own description — “more focused on melody, part tech-house, part deep house, it has elements of everything” — is inadequate. The music has a darker feel than is commonly associated with Tokyo clubs and incorporates a multitude of sounds into a backdrop of breakbeats and techno. If the charts were not full of bad music, perhaps a 2 Many DJs set would sound something like this.

The thousand or so samples, loops and songs he uses to create his sets are a compelling argument for DJs going digital. “All forms of DJing complement each other, and as somebody that was looking to get into production, (I found) Ableton was a natural step forward,” he says. “When people criticize the use of the software, it seems strange. When the car was invented, people didn’t stick to bicycles. If people use it in a simplistic way, Ableton is not worth it, but if you use it to do more creative things, it is worthwhile.”

Polaroidfades plays at 24K, which will be held at Microcosmos on April 28 between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Tickets cost ¥2,500.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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