Tokyo-born Kazuho Miura opened Danang’s first ramen shop. And the city’s most viral bar. When he’s not at either, he’s usually DJing, as DJ Kazho, somewhere in the city he calls home. It’s a city he loves. “People just feel like they’re overflowing with happiness in Danang, and it’s contagious,” he tells us as we catch up to get his guest mix.
Đọc bài viết bằng Tiếng Việt
“Oh, it’s so different,” Kazuho Miura, who’s known as DJ Kazho, says about his hometown of Tokyo compared to Danang, which he now calls home. Central Vietnam’s beach city presented a polar opposite to Japan’s capital. “In Tokyo, people are kind of insular, living their own lives and minding their own business. In Danang, on the other hand, everyone’s like family. People help each other out.”
Here in Danang, he feels, people express themselves more too. “In Tokyo, expressing joy or even frustrations are kind of frowned upon,” he muses. “You know, people have even been prohibited from dancing in clubs! But in Danang, people are really expressive; when they’re having fun it’s clear they’re having fun,” he laughs.
That’s probably what keeps him here. “Just walking down the street people are smiling. People talk loudly and laugh a lot, but no one seems to mind.”
Kazuho should know. He gets to meet a broad cross section of Danang’s community thanks to his eclectic activities – ramen shop owner, bar owner, and DJ. “People would definitely describe me as having a friendly personality – I guess I just gravitate to places where there’s people…”
There’s his United Bar Danang, on Nguyen Chi Thanh, with its entrance disguised as a banh mi stall that you’d have already seen on social media if you’re on social media. Then there’s his ramen shop, Aji Ichi, at 79 Le Quang Dao – the first ramen shop in the city since it opened in 2014, and which relocated and rebranded in 2022.
“That idea for the banh mi stall entrance to United Bar, Danang came about around the time of the lockdown,” Kazuho Miura explains. “Lockdown made it tough for bars and clubs. Lots of them reverted to a secretive style that reminded me of the speakeasies of the 1920s. With some time on my hands, I started walking around the streets of Danang alot. I saw lots of banh mi stalls. And that gave me the idea to create a fake door to the bar in the style of a banh mi stand and which completely blends into Danang’s cityscape..”
It’s become a serious attraction. “A lot of people come just because of the door and for the photos, and some come for the music and the drinks – our fresh fruit cocktails with mango and passion fruit are really good, and our fruit-infused spirits,” he smiles. “For me, I don’t mind, as long as they’re enjoying themselves.”
“And the secret to our ramen, at Aji Ichi, Danang?” he asks. “We boil chicken bones all day for the broth that gets served the next day – a good chicken broth works really well for ramen…and most importantly it’s very delicious.” There’s other specials at Aji Ichi too. “Like our fried rice. It’s wok fried by an expert giving a finished fried rice you can’t get at other shops, and that you can’t make at home,” he promises.
Danang has everything, he feels. “Downtown has lots of nightlife and good restaurants, but a 10-minute motorbike ride brings you to the beautiful sea and calming mountains. I love city life, but sometimes I need to get out of town and recharge, and in Danang you can do that easily.”
Describe a typical DJ Kazho DJ set for us…
My sets aren’t elitist or for music aficionados only. Even people who aren’t too familiar with music can enjoy what I play. Generally, it’s R&B or hip hop. I’ll read the audience before deciding which direction to take. It’s about creating an atmosphere in the place – regardless of the era of music, whether there’s vocals or if they’re male or female vocals or whatever.
Danang is something of a party city. How do you keep a healthy balance?
I keep a healthy lifestyle by not drinking alcohol at all. No hangovers means that I’m fully focused from the get go every morning. But I do love coffee. Coffee is my energy.
Besides your own venues, which three places do you love the most right now in Danang?
Right now, my three favorite venues are The Craftsman Cocktail Bar, Karma Lounge, and Esco Beach. I’m choosing The Craftsman Cocktail Bar because the interior and the atmosphere are great. I like to play there too – it fits my style of music. I play every Saturday, focused on hip hop and R&B and it works with the cozy vibe of the bar.
Karma Lounge is great too, and, understandably, it’s especially beloved by Vietnamese. The design is opulent and inviting – the perfect backdrop for club music. When I play there, what I play very much depends on the time, how many people are in the place, and the atmosphere.
Finally, Esco Beach is unique to Danang. On weekends, you can eat and enjoy whatever entertainment’s on – maybe a DJ with live saxophone. And it’s inclusive. Anyone from children to the elderly can enjoy it.
If you have one track to make someone love music, what would you play to them?
One track to make someone love music? It would be ‘Return of the Mack’ by Mark Morrison. It’s still my favorite beat.
When I first heard it, I knew I liked it from the first tenth of a second! It’s the balance between the bass and treble, the synthesizer between the beats, and the melodies.
Imagine you’re stranded on a desert island. Which one album would you want to take with you?
Honestly? I don’t really view music in album form anymore. So, I can’t really answer this one.
Which song would you like played at your wedding? And which one at your funeral?
At my wedding, I want to hear ‘24K Magic’ by Bruno Mars. I’m choosing this song because of its happy vibes that are perfect for a joyous occasion like my wedding.
At my funeral, I would like played Got ’Til It’s Gone’ by Janet Jackson. I had lots of different answers to this question, but finally I’m going with this one because of the meaning of the song. But, besides that, it just has a melody and a vibe that feels right..
Can you tell us a bit more about your tracks you selected for The Dot Magazine?
Well. Smash hit songs, and songs with high energy, and even just pop songs become trendy. And trends come and go. Maybe we listen to those kinds of songs all the time when they’re released, but we forget them easily soon after. But some songs last. We can listen to them again and again, and return to them years later, bringing back good memories. They’re the kind of tracks, with the perfect timeless groove, that I wanted to include here in this guest mix for The Dot Magazine.
Where would be the best place to listen to this mix?
Don’t pay special attention to this mix. Play it in the background, whatever you’re doing. I promise your output will be of a really high quality. Much higher than usual…