/// What major/significant changes have happened in the Toronto techno scene particularly over the last 20 years? ///
20 yrs is an eternity when it comes to change in a music scene. But, one thing is for sure, is that everyone is
so connected with Facebook and other social media. People are getting exposed more to the different events and genres Toronto has to offer. Parties have become smaller than what it was in the 90’s but a feeling of family and closeness is prevailing more.
/// Does Toronto have a deep/long history with techno? Because you are close to Detroit, what do the Euro artists vs. Detroit artists, techno bookings look like? ///
I don’t really consider Toronto to have a deep history with Techno. It is becoming more popular, but it's still a tech house, deep house and trance city. The European vs Detroit artist’s bookings are mainly due to popularity from labels. There is far more artists that hail from Europe than Detroit and because of Toronto’s love of the above mentioned genres it makes more sense to book artists from those labels. Toronto definitely pays respect to the Detroit forefathers of techno and you’re guaranteed to see a few of them a year. We have the Wizard Jeff Mills making an appearance in September.
/// What techno trends have you been seeing in your city? Driving more above or underground? - and what are those reasons? ///
The word “techno” in Toronto is a word with many meanings but usually not the right one. Like I mentioned earlier, Toronto loves tech-house and deep house and the word techno is usually the term used to describe tech house. I also don’t believe in using the word underground to describe anything with electronic music. There is nothing underground about it, it is now being played on a large scale, and merchandise is everywhere. These artists are now at a rock star status. People are so lazy with promoting that you could never do fliers with a map to the location and partygoers expect everything to be announced on Facebook so, ya, there is no underground.
/// You've hosted some of the bigger names in techno recently over the last 3 years (Developer, Paula
Temple, Dax J, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Ben Sims, Truncate). Can one promotion company be able to support the bigger names and the bigger fees that come with them? ///
Not really, If you’re in it for the money then you’ll have a very difficult time doing out of club events. Most promoters need to team up with several others to displace the profit/loss. Nobody likes seeing high-ticket prices, but it’s hard to keep it competitive with all the costs involved in an event. In the end it’s still nice to execute a well-organized event, but you’re not going to become a millionaire doing so in Toronto.
/// Being a promoter in an international city, do you still find pressure to bring international headliners or has your scene developed to the point where the locals can get the job done? ///
Toronto has incredibly talented locals and lots of people recognize this. It’s an uphill battle though trying
to do all local events on a large scale. It has been ingrained in the average partygoers mind that an
international artist needs to be on the bill. I personally have started doing just local smaller scale events
in which I put two locals who have never played together on 4 decks and 2 mixers. This for me is a way to show who really has an art to mixing and who are the ones who just pre plan their set.
/// Toronto is spot for well-known producers, has the city in general been supporting them? Or do they find themselves playing outside the city more often than in the city? ///
If the producer is putting themselves out in the open and marketing themselves really well, Toronto will support. It doesn’t matter how good your tracks are if you don’t market yourself properly.
/// How is the environment for doing underground events in TO. Has it been getting easier, tougher, more complicated ...etc.? ///
There is this constant race between promoters who can find the newest warehouse or out of club location. This has lead to a lot of events either not happening because of some permit or inspection not being done. If the promoter does get the party going they usually don’t go later than 4am before it gets shut down for noise. So it is getting tougher in a way but I think that chance was always there. You just see it more now because everyone apparently needs to throw a “warehouse” event.
/// The Ghost Ship fire in North America effected a lot of regional underground spaces in the states. Was there any effect of this in Toronto? ///
Not really, it’s always been tough to get an out of club or commercial zoned venue to host an all night event.
The turning point was in 2000 when the city basically declared a war on dance music so no city venues could be
used to host events.
/// Besides DJing, your also an artist, promoter, and label manager - what order are your priorities? Which is more satisfying? ///
My label is most important to me because other people rely on it for their exposure. I love Djing but I also love creating music. Promoting is just an extra curricular activity that I do to help other promoter friends out.
/// Which title is much harder or takes more effort: Promoter, DJ, Label owner, or Producer? ///
If you want to make it big with each of these, they all take the same amount of dedication and effort. There is not one that is harder than the other.
/// What trends have you seen in the hard techno arena over the last 5 years? Over the last 10 years? ///
Hard Techno is making a revival and I see more people are taking an interest to it. There is still a lot of
garbage being produced in that area but the artists who always stuck with it are making solid productions. I find hard techno events fun - you can’t stand, chat and sway back a forth like most
/// What hard techno producers have you been impressed by lately? ///
To be honest I don’t really follow a particular producer or Dj because to me there is no consistency. They might have a release that is pure gold and their next one is pure garbage. I find a lot of big name producers who travel a lot are getting lazy with productions.
/// How was Time Warp this year? ///
Time Warp is just an amazing fun time. It’s such a well-organized event and everyone is having a great time. I feel they over sold this year because it was very evident there were a lot more people. For the amount of options you get in regards to artists, you can’t beat the price.
/// Any words of advice for big city techno promoters? ///
Yes, stop using buzzwords likes underground and warehouse in hopes it makes your event more appealing. It doesn’t and if you market it as such and it’s not it makes you look like a liar. Also take the time to make something unique about your brand be it lights or a certain sound system. Too many
promoters blow their budget on the artists and make the event so minimal it’s not memorable. The reason events are talked about down the road isn’t because of the music the headliner played it’s because of details taken by the organizer to make the partygoers pay attention to the whole event.