The dance-music compilation album Billboard Presents Electric Asia, Volume One — which showcases tracks by DJs and producers from various Asian countries — was released digitally in June and physically on Wednesday (July 19).
Billboard Japan spoke with KSUKE, the Japanese DJ and producer who contributed a new song called “Pool (feat. Meron Ryan)” to the collection, featuring the stars of contemporary Asian EDM.
Currently based in Thailand, KSUKE shared his views on the role the project plays in the landscape of the current dance music scene and about his own stance as an Asian artist in a genre dominated by American and European players.
How did you end up participating in this project?
I was asked to contribute after my song “Breathe Again,” which I made with Amber from [South Korean girl group] f(x) picked up steam in Europe, mainly through Spotify. My understanding is that I was selected because I’m a Japanese producer working out of Bangkok.
How did you feel when the compilation including your track was actually completed?
I check out the Billboard Hot 100 and other Billboard charts every week, so it was a great honor to be able to participate in an album with its name in the title. I listened to the other tracks and they were all top quality.
Dance music is dominated by the U.S. and Europe, so it kind of feels like we’re losing ground, but I think this was the first step in showing that the scene in Asia is currently gaining momentum, too. There have been mix CDs before but nothing official like this one, where Asian artists come together to create a single work.
You didn’t have a conscious desire to “unite as Asians” before?
I’d never really felt that way before, to tell you the truth. Japan does its own thing; Thailand does its own thing; South Korea, too. I’ve even sensed a kind of rivalry between us. So I hope projects like these can help us take a step forward and we can keep on collaborating on new works.
How do you feel about the variety of the music in this compilation?
EDM is a genre but it’s hard to define. It’s a kind of music that varies a great deal in terms of sound. So I think it’s only natural that the compilation ends up having a lot of variety.
Everyone including myself checks out the U.S. Billboard charts so we’re all probably influenced by it in a way. But we also each have our backgrounds, the culture of the country we grew up in. I think that also contributes to the variety of the sound as well.