Naomi in action
A really old school DJ
Most DJ’s are vinyl junkies but Naomi Kashiwagi’s taken it to the extreme by using a only a pair of wind-up gramophones and some old 78’s for her sets. We caught up with her to talk Glenn Miller, performing in libraries and sourcing her records!
Where did the idea of being a gramophone DJ come from?
"During my Fine Art MA at MMU a few years ago, my work was and still is concerned with transforming the utilitarian and conceptual function of obsolete objects.
"This involved using typewriters as instruments and the score being text based, performed by either percussionists or keyboard players. Also, I used the piano as a drawing instrument, using the hammers and the strings and displaying both the drawings and the sounds.
"Gramophones have now been replaced by more advanced technologies and are therefore obsolete. The 78rpms are no longer made and therefore represent a specific era. I decided to use the gramophones as DJ turntables to give them a new function, one that dates after its initial use."
You played the Central Library on your last outing. What was that like?
"The main reasons for choosing this venue were that a library is a place where you are encouraged not to speak - a silent space. I wanted to play here, because it is a place that music hasn't been performed in the past.
Naomi playing at the Central Library
"Due to the echoing, it probably isn't the most desirable space to get surround sound, but the quality of the acoustics were astonishing. When I DJed, there was a strong echo quite near the gramophones, but round the other side, it was amazingly louder than at the source."
How do people respond to your sets?
"I think that people are intrigued at what is involved, so rather than just listening to the music, many people like to watch the process of winding the gramophones, changing the needles and changing the records. A lot is involved, because it is all mechanical and therefore eco-friendly!"
What are the top tunes in your record box?
"Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets, In The Mood by Glenn Miller and his Orchestra and a new edition, Pinky and Perky - The theme tune!"
Naomi's first set: at Victoria Baths
Are the 78s difficult to get hold of?
"They are quite difficult to get hold of, but I keep meeting people all the time that either have them or know a good place to go. Ebay is one method and also a record shop I found in Liverpool is a real goldmine."
So is this art or DJing?
"It started off as art, because the concept came from the ideas I had in my practice. I tend to choose venues that have a significance or relevance. I also want to DJ and approach it from a DJ aspect as well: in bars, maybe on the radio. Yes, my next challenge is to try and play on a radio station."
last updated: 29/04/2008 at 16:12