Rock Trax Running Club
The best DJs never stop moving. A solid nod of the head, an even wave of the arms, whatever shows they’re feeling it. The best of the best, though, are perpetual energy machines. That’s what it’s like watching Japanese DJ duo DexPistols in the club, bouncing wildly to drum machines on tracks written long before they were born. And just as they’ve got a steady bop in the booth, the two never stop moving outside of the club. Both avid athletes, DJs Daruma and Maar—along with the other half of Toyko’s Roc Trax crew, Jon-E and Kosuke—are integrating style, music and exercise into a single movement to become one of the city’s most popular and innovative collectives. The all-corners-covered approach of Roc Trax harkens back to the original tenets of hip-hop, when breakdancing was as crucial a part of the music’s culture as record scratching or emceeing—though, obviously, their gear is a long way from drab, matching polyester tracksuits.
This quartet of renaissance men make music, design clothes and head a record label, a busy lifestyle that logically leads to a lot of running around. “Sometimes I just run to listen to music, or to stay away from the music,” says DJ Maar, who diligently runs two to three times a week. Kosuke is similarly regimented and rocks ratty, teenage Phys. Ed. gear when bounding around, a sartorial surprise considering he and Jon-E are members of the Swagger/Phenomenon design clique known for its ludicrously limited, eminently sought-after neon, tie-dyed—and anything else brightly colored or otherwise shredded/ bedazzled—streetwear of the highest order. Jon-E, to his credit, runs in a windbreaker and Swagger pants.
“Everyone in Tokyo has their own style,” Kosuke says, proud of his homespun haute couture. “I’ve found my style by learning from the people around me, which I am very happy about.” And since this is Tokyo, there are plenty of people around. DJ Maar prefers to get familiar with folks while weaving through the city’s most famous pedestrian pile-ups. “I don’t think many people run in the middle of the city, but it’s fun,” he says. “I am thinking that I may run across the ‘scramble crossing’ in Shibuya next time.”
Roc Trax’ emphasis on achieving the highest plane, regardless of platform, is undeniable—a good run is as satisfying as the right design or perfect beat. “The joy of moving my body affects my spirit,” Daruma says, without clarifying whether he means the dancefloor or the pavement. Maybe for him, there isn’t much difference.