Dance Delight Interview!
Code Red Invades Japan
Recently, Code Red sat down with Masaya "Bboy Knit" Maeda of Dance Delight Magazine for an interview on Liquid and Digits. As Japan's largest and most reputable dance magazine and production company, this opportunity was by far one of the the broadest platforms of exposure for our culture to regarding the history and progression of these EDM dances. We were humbled to have been asked to speak with them and are grateful to have been considered worthy! Big ups to Nari Digits, Cham and Ryoga for being amazing hosts and helping organize the interview! Another giant thank you to Liquid Kevin for helping translate the interview!DM Editors Note: We just want to point out that this interview lasted over 3 hours. Dance Delight did an amazing job getting the important information down to a 2 page spread. That's talent right there! That said, a lot of people were mentioned during the interview that did not get into this article. Just know we dropped some serious knowledge bombs and even if you dont see your name, anyone who is anyone in this journey of the dances was mentioned, we did our best to tell the true story as we know it. We feel that recognizing our creators, influencers and fellow artists is one of the most important thing any artist can do, whether we share the same story, or took different roads.
JARED "CODE RED"
Code Red is the stage name of one the originators of the finger dance style known as “Digits”. As a member of the original “LPC,” Jared was also responsible for [helping form] Digits and he is now a core member of the Dark Matter Squad.
We asked him about the roots and the style of “Digits”.
Can you tell us how Digits came about?
Digits originally started out in New York. There was a guy called Mario who did the first finger wave in a massive club called the Tunnel. It was what we now call “Basic Finger Wave”. That was the first real expression of Digits. I moved to Philadelphia around the time the Tunnel closed down and it was there that I met Eric and and Fu Man Chu. They were the master Liquid Dancers at the time and I brought Digits to them. In 2001 we formed a crew called LPC (Liquid Pop Collective), which included Eric, Fu Man Chu, Ben Grimm, D-Strange, Super-Girl, Relic (Lucas) Frequency, Doody and me. The first thing we did right after forming the crew was to define both Liquid and Digits. Just like other dance styles, we defined all the techniques, named all the moves and recorded it all onto video. The reason we made the video was because there were so many styles being created at the time and we wanted put it all together and give it a proper foundation. Back then, people were dipping in and out of our moves, a lot of them incompletely, so we thought it was better if we came up with proper definitions. The video was separated into Liquid and Digits and I named most of the digit techniques. Liquid’s roots go way back and involve many people, but for Digits I can definitely say it was born in New York and I am one of the originators.
What is the most important thing when dancing Liquid?
For most street dances, you dance to the rhythm of the music, but with Liquid the most important thing is the “Flow”. To be in continuous flow, like water. Treat the entire music as a “flow,” not just a beat, and keep going without breaking the flow.
Music-wise, in the beginning we were dancing to 4/4 beats like techno, moving into genres like Chicago Hard House, Acid House, D&B etc. All kinds of electronic music. Essentially, Liquid is a dance for rave scenes.
In street dance, we often dance in cyphers to show each other our dance, how does that work for Liquid and Digits?
Unlike B-boys or Hip-Hop, Liquid and Digits [were not originally] for showing each other in a big circle.
D & L both started in rave scenes, so it’s more like dancing and grooving with each other. [They were] not really designed for struttin’ your stuff or battling with other dancers. When Digits was first born in the Tunnel, a lot of the street dancers were dancing with big cyphers. But the original L & D crew were doing smaller cyphers in other rooms. A cypher back then was about 13~14 people. All that changed after we started LPC. We’d be doing events and out of state dancers would come up and say “We started that first,” so sometimes that led to battles.
The thing is that various forms of Liquid Dance were spontaneously emerging from crews all over America and many styles were being born.
What did you guys do after the video was made?
After the video got released, around , we were no longer active as LPC.
But around that time a guy from Chicago called Kai built the Floasis.net website. Kai is from the next generation, the younger guys who were inspired by our original LPC videos. So Kai began to upload video and original text from LPC onto his Floasis.net. Kai’s website eventually became a repository for Liquid and Digital video, comments and participation from all over the world. Sad to say, Kai’s site closed down recently, but it served the very important role of filling the gap and keeping L&D alive until Dark Matter was born in 2010.
What was your intention when forming Dark Matter Squad?
After watching the various independent sites, like Kai’s, and the various YouTube clips, we began to realize that there were many people, all over the world, doing Liquid and Digits. We formed Dark Matter as a way to spread the knowledge once again. In order to build a bigger community, like other dance styles, we do stuff like hosting events or making videos.
What sort of events have you hosted?
In 2010, we [taught at] an event called the “Liquid & Digits Conference” a semi-official gathering that was well-attended by dancers including Floasis.net fans and people who’d uploaded videos. Then, in 2011, we hosted an event called “AXIOM” which was our first really big event which attracted dancers from all over the states and even some foreign countries. Axiom was in fact a combination of workshops and a party.
Who are the members of “DARK MATTER SQUAD”
Eric, Lucas, me, Houdoken, Ty, Tiny, Shenchi, Hooposis, DJ Lush, DJ Bass Phreak and Cham a Japanese member who recently joined.
Besides dancers, we also have DJs and Hooping (dance style using hula hoops). Tiny Love, especially, is from the old school and a really important person in Digits history. Well before LPC, Tiny Love headed the “Liquid Lights Crew”, the most well-known liquid crew in New York. Besides being a master of Electric Boogie and Rocking, Tiny Love [and D-Strange] was the very first person to incorporate Finger Boxing into Digits.
What is the different between Finger Tutting and Finger Boxing?
Tutting is from the west coast and Boxing is from NY. Basically they’re the same thing with different names.
What about Finger Connect?
Well, Finger Tut was created by Poppers who tut. Digits was created by Liquid Dancers and Finger Connect was created by Flexers. Finger Connect is very similar to a Digits concept we call Remote.
Last year in Baltimore, AXIOM’s All Finger Dance Battle was won by Nari, from Japan. How did that go down?
The reason Nari won was because of his showmanship and his musicality. Each of his moves was really fast, but not just fast, he had great speed control and he totally expressed the music. There’s no [finger practitioner] in America who dances quite like that. Also, very few people had seen him before, so we knew the way he dances would be a big surprise to the audience. On the night before the big event, some of the principals were talking about the possibility of Nari getting into the finals. Sure enough, he did and he won! As you can see from the clip he did a lot of tutting in there, but that's not a problem. The battle was “All Fingers,” it wasn’t a Digits Battle or a Finger Tut Battle.
Nari Vs. Riz // Axiom 2012 Finals
What’s your impression about Digits Dancers in Japan?
The Japanese dance scene is very different from ours and in some ways I consider you guys to be more advanced. So it’s interesting to watch and I’m happy that Digits is being accepted here. Japan is a country with advanced technologies, so it will be really interesting to see how that will impact on our dance.
Please give a message to all the Digits freaks in Japan
If anyone is interested please contact us through our site, Youtube, Facebook and other social media.
Also, I want to say that we are all looking forward to see how you guys will advance this style of dance. We want to thank Cham and Nari from Japan and everyone else who kept the dance alive when we were out of the scene.