Weezy from Japan Talks Footwork
Ryoya Okamoto, known as Weezy, is a 25-year old Japanese footwork dancer, producer and DJ from Yokohama. He is currently on tour in Europe for the first time.
In the past few weeks he has taught dance classes in Barcelona, London and Berlin while also displaying his top-notch DJ skills.
Before his footwork class and DJ performance at London’s Basing House, I talked to The Era dancer and Teklife affiliate about his musical journey so far.
Where do you live in Japan and what is the footwork scene like there?
In Yokohama. In the Japanese footwork scene the biggest event for footwork is Battle Train Tokyo, which is every month on a Tuesday. Some people DJ footwork tracks and some people footwork for the tracks. And sometimes DJs from Chicago and other countries come to play. It’s cool. It is the biggest event in Japan for footwork. Crews play footwork music in every city in Japan: Yokohama, Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Niigata. People play footwork in many places in Japan.
When and where did you first hear footwork music?
2011, Winter, when I DJ’d at Roppongi. DJ April and DJ Go played footwork music. They are the first I heard. I was so impressed. I asked DJ April ‘what is that?’, he said ‘Juke, Footwork’. He gave me 100 tracks and when I got back home I searched Chicago footwork and when I found a movie of the dance I was like ‘what the fuck, oh shit’. My first experience to watch a footwork dancer was Litebulb. It’s the most played video of Chicago footwork.
What made you want to dance?
When I was a child I had a dream to be an artist but I didn’t know what artist. I noticed Chicago footwork. I don’t know why. Sixth sense. No reason.
How did you meet The Era and when did you become a member of the crew?
I went to Chicago in summer July and August 2014. When I arrived at the airport we took a car with DJ Fulltuno and DJ April. We went to a restaurant in Chicago and there was DJ Spinn, Litebulb, Dempsey, Tmo, everybody. Litebulb said to me ‘hey, you join The Era’. I said ‘thanks I appreciate it and I joined The Era.’
Which tracks makes you want to footwork the most?
The best track is so hard. No, I can’t answer.
When did you first start producing footwork tracks and did you produce other music before?
In 2012, I released the On Nukes EP on my Bandcamp. You can buy my tracks there. I played and made tracks of Dubstep from 2009 to 2011.
How did the song ‘DJ April – Talk Too Much’ with Boogieman come about?
DJ April has the character that he talks too much but I like him. But he’s liar. Its true. He talks too much. I don’t know what he says. He talks shit. I made this track with boogieman.
What impact has DJ Rashad had on you?
The most big impact was when he died. It’s big and it’s sad. This story is sad and no good for the world, for Teklife, for footwork. Because if he still lived he would make tracks but he died so he doesn’t make it. I don’t know why.
Who are some of your favourite producers or artists at the moment?
Big artists, D’Angelo, really really dope. He’s sick. It’s perfect, I think. And Jay Dee, Jay Dilla. And Madlib. He has the same birthday as me. And Drake, Drake is same birthday (laughs). And I like reggae. When I was student I listen to a lot of reggae music because my friend writes this music. In Yokohama reggae is famous: dance, dub, roots reggae.
What about footwork producers?
Footwork producers? Boogieman. He’s cool. Paypal. Paypal is genius. And DJ Earl. He’s good. He’s really good. His tracks are beautiful. And DJ Spinn is super cool. His tracks, man. His music is like magic. Yeah. And Rp Boo is the originator of footwork. And a really cool story.
Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2016?
I have a new release with Boogieman and one more title from me. Making more cool music. Yeah.