With an increasingly large global roll-out the last few seasons, the once fabled Porter line of bags and products have continued to make waves. Known for their remarkable quality and intuitive designs, the bag-makers have amassed a strong following with a great product line-up that fulfill many different situations and great aesthetics incorporated into the equation. While the bag label hasn’t been one to shy away from collaborations, this latest bag with popular Japanese DJ Toshio Matsuura takes things a step further in the development of a new collaborative DJ bag. Created in conjunction with the recent launch of Toshio’s own label “M”, the bag aims to preserve the increasingly rare vinyl form in a package that falls in line with Toshio’s jet-setter lifestyle. Together with Porter’s Kenichiro Matsubara, we discussed the details of this project with DJ Toshio Matsuura.
We had Toshio unveil his bag at his favorite venue, eleven as a July release is set for the following retailers: ISETAN MEN’S, B JIRUSHI YOSHIDA, MAKE ART YOUR ZOO and colette in Paris. Limited to 50 pieces, the bag will carry a suggested retail price of ¥ 81,900 JPY.
Interview: Eugene Kan
Photography: Saki Tagami
Interview with Toshio Matsura
How did you get your start in DJing and music? What kind of music do you mostly play?
In the late 80’s I was a teenager and I loved the whole club environment and the dancing behind it. From there, I got a job in a Jazz club and started to really appreciate not only Jazz, but music in general. I also got influenced by dance jazz and the “rare groove” movement, which had just started in London at the time. It was around then I started to think that I wanted to DJ too. I formed a DJ group called United Future Organization (U.F.O.) with two other guys and we started to make records. Our first single “I Love My Baby” and second single “Loud Minority” became a hit in Japan, and abroad, and was the catalyst for making a name both domestically and abroad. I play a wide range of music including Jazz, Latin, World Music, House, Techno and Hip-Hop. My style and eclectic tastes have been a part of me for the last 20 years.
DJing arguably changed a great deal when digital tools were introduced like SERATO, what are your thoughts on that?
I think SERATO and those digital tools changed not only the creation but also recording styles too. But I must admit, it’s great that we don’t need to carry heavy record bags anymore. But even if it gets convenient I think it still requires a good taste and selection of music to be a successful DJ. The need to create a story during your set is still something that hasn’t changed.
Much like the previous question, vinyl records are increasingly becoming obsolete, yet the bag you designed holds 60 records, what is your relationship with vinyl records?
The sound of vinyl records still possesses its own unique sound that you can’t replicate. If I want to play a certain track in vinyl, I will bring the vinyl and also I will bring the CDs too so I have a wide variety.
Do you look at music differently now due to all the technology involved?
Maybe yes, maybe not. At the root it’s probably still the same for me.
Within Japanese music, how much of it is inspired from other musical cultures and how much of it is Japan’s own style? Where do you get inspiration for your style?
I don’t really know all sides of the Japanese music industry so it’s hard to answer this question. But speaking on behalf of myself, I will not listen to music by limiting it by country, genre, or time. So I guess I am inspired by music that I always feel is fresh and innovative.
What were the current limitations of DJ-specific luggage and bags on the market today?
I don’t think there’s currently a bag that is functional and aesthetically pleasing in the current market. In that sense, I think in the 90’s we had more choice when hardcases were much more mainstream. Looking back, those had a certain elegance to them.
What design elements were you looking to incorporate?
I was looking for something high-quality in materials and design. Essentially, the final product had to fit within the lifestyle of both casual wearing and suit-wearing DJs like myself.
Can you tell us about your clothing label “M”?
It started earlier this spring and as a DJ, I travel all over the world. I guess between my travels and daily experiences, I’ve developed a good understanding of what I personally want in a collection and I’m hoping I can achieve this with my “M” project. It’s aimed at being real clothes for jet-setters who don’t have a distinction of on and off time. A lot of it is simple with strong silhouettes and details. The materials offer mobility but aren’t really casual.
Interview with Kenichiro Matsubara
What’s the history behind Porter?
Our parent company, Yoshida & Co., was established in 1935, while the Porter brand was conceived in 1962. Much like the past, all of our bags are made in Japan.
Porter’s collections often include both aesthetics and functionality in their design, do you value one more than the other?
Both aesthetics and functionality are important, but what we keep in mind the most is the durability. At the end of the day, our bags and products need to be able to withstand heavy use.
For an all-new design like the DJ bag, what is the procedure from start to finish?
In this case, there was a definite level of perfection on Toshio’s side, so we made samples over and over again. Throughout the repeated trial and error process, hopefully we’ve made one of the best instances of a DJ bag ever.
How long did it take to create?
From the start of the project to the final stages, it took approximately half a year for the final sample to be completed.
How did black and orange become the signature color of Porter?
Our TANKER series has been one of our most popular styles and themes. The flight jacket inspired motif featured a “Rescue Orange” color which eventually got adopted as a signature style to our brand.
Will we see any more task-specific bags in the future from Porter?
At Porter, we’re always up for a challenge. Bringing to light difficult carrying solutions and creating the answer to them is something we never shy away from and we look forward to any new challenges.
Any last words?
This DJ bag is a bag that nobody has ever seen before. With the help of Toshiya and his travels around the world as a DJ, we’re confident we’ve incorporated all the necessary details into a solid product. We designed the bag in great detail for ease of use so hopefully those that have an opportunity will enjoy it.