The unlikely crossover between DJing and Bouldering
THE STONE SESSION is one of the most unique and definitely one of the best bouldering gyms in Japan, located just outside central Morioka City. What makes this gym special is that it is a facility combining sports and music. The owner, Mr. Choku, has been known locally as a DJ for over 20 years.
“I started out DJing, writing songs, and opened a record store. From there, my friends and I decided to start a production company that combined music and sports, and that’s how I found climbing. When I investigated it, I found that at competitions overseas, the entire venue is filled with music that keeps the audience and athletes psyched. So I thought it would be great if I could create a space where people can enjoy music while providing a place where they can go bouldering.”Choku explains why he fell in love with the world of bouldering, which he had never heard of up till that point.
“For example, a DJ picks 100 records to play that night. In bouldering, you connect holds to create the route you want to try. The process of creating grooves and routes based on one’s own taste and mood is free and fun, and I think it’s a feeling we all know.”
This is how Choku came to be fired up about DJing at bouldering events. The idea of introducing music at serious sports competitions has been extremely well received by players, and he plans to deepen the integration of music with sports other than bouldering in the future.
“It’s well known that music is played at basketball and skating tournaments, but if we could link music to more sports events, it might create an interesting chemical reaction among both players and spectators. In fact, being in a place where bouldering and good sounds are mixed can really lift your spirits Of course there are traditions and precedents, but I want to liven up the scene with music wherever possible. I’d like to explore those possibilities more and more.”
Born in Iwate Prefecture, he has been active in a wide range of fields, including DJing and design, inspired by the way that hip-hop music borrows from the old to create the new. He was one of the first coaches to take notice of top climber Futaba Ito.