text by Ryoko Kuwahara
photo by Takaaki Sano

Interview with Jayda B from Bae Tokyo

baetokyo4| Photography :  Takaaki Sano

Overcoming differences in culture, race, and gender identity, Bae Tokyo was established in 2015 as a devoted community to support talented female creatives. Through creative, unique events in collaboration with various artists, Bae Tokyo has been providing a platform to introduce music and culture from around the world. Bae Tokyo aims to not only promote artists, but also to foster an inclusive environment that connects everyone inside and outside of the community to come together.

ーーCan you tell us about yourself?

My name is Jayda B. I’m from Atlanta, GA. I’ve been back and forth between Tokyo since I was 19 so I’ve been here for a while. Currently based in Tokyo.

ーーCan you tell us about Bae Tokyo?

Bae began in 2015 in my home state of Atlanta. There were a few other people involved but once I moved to Tokyo to expand the brand we parted ways. Now, we’ve grown much larger than expected. My team is still pretty small but we’ve worked with so many women already in the UK, Seoul, Singapore and LA just within two years. I don’t think I expected personally people to genuinely support the way they do.

ーーWhy do you take the form as a creative agency?

We realized that everything we do comes from within our own team. Along with that, there came opportunities where outside promoters or companies wanted to book me and the “Bae girls”. Within that, we were acting as an agency making sure for those gigs everyone was paid fairly for example. So not only do we do our own work, we can and have provided the same services for others.

ーーWhat are the roles of the host members?

There are various positions within the team ranging from interns to managers. Everyone plays a really important roll within the team but a lot of the decision making still falls on me as the founder which is fine. I’m really picky about how we’re presented and how we represent ourselves in business, I think that’s really important. All of the design is done by COO still based in Atlanta, Ashley Rhoden. She has “the eye” for it and knows design. When it comes to presentation, we both have similar styles of what we visually like but I don’t and would never dictate what she does. I think that’s one of the many reasons why we work so well together because we work in a lot of the same ways so I understand her process. You just have to trust what she’s doing and ask questions later.

ーーI heard that your artwork is inspired by Sailormoon, but what is Sailormoon’s attraction?

I personally have been obsessed with Sailor Moon since I knew who she was. Not only do the characters represent strong female characters, but you can relate to them as well. The 90s anime art style and color scheme has always given me a sense of comfort oddly, I guess because of my childhood. Ashley too is a fan of anime and it just worked out. Before Bae, we had been working on a few personal projects of mine which we used the same references for and that continued over to Bae. The look and presentation is really inviting. I think we just saw that from the beginning.

ーーWhat do you think about the relationship of artwork and DJ activity?

I think social media culture has just made everyone’s attention span really short to where now the majority of people are only attracted to content based on how well or poor it looks. Everyone seems to be about “aesthetics”.

baetokyo5| Photography :  Takaaki Sano

ーーWhat are your observations on current condition of female DJs?

There is a pretty small community out there and a lot of us know each other or have mutual friends. That’s usually how other girls get jobs or gigs in other countries, cities and base who they decide to work with. I think that’s great because its easier to filter out those who just talk a lot of shit about female empowerment but aren’t really bout it.

ーーIn America, Feminism is a huge movement right now, but what do you think about that?

I wish there were a larger conversation in Japan. A lot of what women deal with globally happens in Japan too, however its just not a thing that’s spoken about. Its nice in a way to be pioneering a feminist movement in Tokyo but also a lot of people (I think) don’t understand what we are trying to do or really care about it. We have a lot of support don’t get me wrong but sometimes I wonder if I didn’t nag the way I do sometimes if anyone would even bother to ask about or be interested in helping.

ーーIn Japan, on the other hand, there are many people who are uneducated about feminism. Why do you think that is so?

There are a lot of things that aren’t spoken about just as in other communities. It still baffles me sometimes how far behind Japan especially is. Most people look at Japan as if we’re so far into the future, but we’re not at all.

ーーWhat was the most memorable occurrence during the world tour?

Everywhere had its own special memory. Between bonding with the girls in Singapore who I’d do anything for (ATTAGIRL) and playing in LA. We had our own show at Tokyo Beat in Los Angeles and it was amazing to me to see people who really wanted to come out because they heard or saw online about what we were doing. In Seoul however, there were a few people who reached out to me personally via email saying that they were really excited that we were coming and that they wanted to meet, and they did. They came and some of those girls are still some of our biggest supporters. You just never know who’s watching.

ーーAny new discoveries in each of the countries?

We all struggle with a lot of the same issues and want a lot of the same things, but each issue is catered to its own country and or culture.

ーー Did you come across discoveries and new tasks during the two years? Tell me both good and bad things.

Good thing is that people have continued supporting through all the changes. The bad is that the more “clout” (I guess) you get, the more people want from you and want for their selves. For me, this has never been about me as an individual, I just happen to be the face of the movement as the founder. I want to use this platform as I’ve used radio to highlight likeminded women and unify the industry. If we can help someone gain confidence or a sisterhood or whatever it may be through this platform than even better. I’ve learned to not let that be at my own expense though.

ーーAbout the 2 year anniversary event, what kind of event did you hope to create by booking the DJs you have booked?

I’ve had lots of experience doing events before bae, so I had a really good idea of what would work and what didn’t work as a guest rather than the promoter. With booking, there are so many people I’d always like to invite, deco I’d like to include and other elements but budget is always an issue, especially in Japan, everything is expensive. I’ve always tried to express a sense of an experience more so than a party at bae. The team totally gets that and every time that we could go full on, we have. With the tour and changing venues so many times this year a lot of the really important elements haven’t been included. When I say elements I mean games, or a photo booth, last anniversary we had a nail booth where a lady custom made “bae” nail design. I never really saw this as highlighting individuals rather than a community of like minded people who wanted to participate guests and artists a like. I still hope that we have that vibe and even more so within the anniversary party as we end the year.

ーーTell me what is appealing about each of the DJs?

Everyone has their own style and preferred type of music. I think that’s one reason why people enjoy the event because they know when they come to bae, they’re going to hear good music. I’m grateful that we’ve been able to find and work with so many talented women who know their craft and know music.

baetokyo3 | Photography :  Takaaki Sano

ーー What kind of music do you listen to recently? Name of Band/Artist?

I’ve been really blessed to get booked as much as I do. I prefer to play a lot of vogue, vogue edits, bass, tech house, hip-hop and r&b in my sets. Depending on where I’m playing and the vibe of the party. So I get easily burnt out from playing a lot of hardcore music. When I’m at home or just on my daily commute, I listen to Jazz and Bosa Nova. I’m really into French bands from the 70s lately. Cortex will always be one of my favorites.

ーーWho is your favorite DJ?
More so on the producer side, its Tokimonsta – Shes inspired a lot of women currently in music from my generation. She came up at a time where there weren’t many respected female producers. The emotion she’s able to evoke in her music is really memorable and I have so much respect for her and her knowledge of music. I know she’s inspired a lot of girls and boys a like.

ーーWhat kind of magazines, media are your daily must check?

I get a lot of my information from Twitter and I wish I had a magazine that was my go-to. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know! I miss the 90s teen magazines with the pullouts and collages. If I could find a more updated version of that I’d be down. There’s just so much information floating around these days that if I’m going to pick up a magazine or such, id want it to be completely effortless.

ーー What kind of SNS do you check daily?

Twitter and Instagram mostly. Facebook is necessary but my homepage has become a dump that I really don’t like to log on anymore.

ーーWhat’s Internet to you?

Memes and information, true and false.

ーー Where do you think the trend comes from today?

Influencers from the internet.

ーーHow do you find the information usually?

Word of mouth or twitter.

ーーWhat do you think you will be doing in 5 years? Near future?

I hope to be at a place where I don’t have to work a part time job to support myself and the company within the next two years let alone five. I know a lot of creative people have issues with this to where they are so positive about the future and then become so cynical thinking about all of the things that still need to be done, according to the modern day definition of what it means to be successful and how to get there. I go through the same but I know I deserve to be compensated for my work and knowledge.

ーーAny news, or highlight you want us to note about? The latest News on your brand?

We just went through a sort of “re-brand” to where we changed our logo and wanted to make our visuals tighter. We’re still bae but we feel its really important that we represent ourselves the best we’re able to.

Bae Tokyo

November 4th 10PM – 5AM
2,500 Door/2,000 Adv
CIrcus Tokyo
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya, 3-26-16
Main:Aisha (Live)/Koppi Mizrahi (Live/DJ) (Queen Beat)/Ericalandia (Los Angeles) /Jayda B./Imani feat. Chocoholic (Live) Yukibeb (Soulection) /ShioriyBradshaw/Coates (Live)
Lounge: Yuitty /SakiSukiSake ASAMI/MNZ/Revenge Porns /Juliette Jemm

2 bae anni flyer middle

photography Takaaki Sano
interview & edit Ryoko Kuwahara

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