(originally published August 14 07)

There are few natural highs in life, but one of them without doubt is building up to, during, and coming off a performance. Luckily for some talented people in our province, they get that adrenalin rush every weekend. St. John’s is especially known for being a party capital of Canada; George Street containing the most clubs, bars, and pubs per capita than anywhere else in North America. This new special to The Current will profile some of the dj`s that help create that world famous atmosphere. Over the next four issues the paper will profile three local talents to look at djing and club culture through their perspectives. Hopefully the series will not only catch the attention of the dj’s and club culture fans, but also nix the thought that djing equals, “just playing records.”

I got my break while living in London, UK in 2004 after chatting with a guy at a club called Thirst in SoHo. Turned out he was the talent agent for the club and asked me to play for him. He ended up letting me spin there for the rest of the summer until I moved back home. Having been a dj for just about four years or so now, there’s been a variety of questions from people when they discover my hobby turned career interest. Some assume vinyl is obsolete now; others just figure nothings changed, that dj’s and records are forever linked. Then there’s the folks who think it’s just playing one song after another but there’s no knack or talent involved.

One thing’s sure, there must be an underlying passion or fixation with what djing is. It’s all about the sound and the atmosphere. Every night and crowd is different. There’s usually the regulars that come out and become familiar welcomed smiles in the various clubs, but each set or performance will always have a different beginning, middle, and end. When you’re the dj there’s an immediate relationship with the crowd and no matter what you’re feeling you still have to perform, because whatever you feel is going to come out in the song choice. It’s a balance; but with practise, skill, and the right people, it can make a Friday, Saturday (or even Sunday morning) explosive.

I’ve always had an interest in music and sound in general. Somewhat ironic given I was born almost deaf, with my hearing restored over 16 annual operations. Think the movie, It’s All Gone Pete Tong, only backwards and without the drugs. And if you haven’t seen that flick, it’s highly recommended. It shows what beat matching is and puts you in the dj’s mix and perspective right in the middle of the world’s biggest party ground: Ibiza, Spain. Home to clubs like Pacha, Cream, and Amnesia. Sadly, I’ve never been; though I did get to go to Heaven in London and gig in an old theatre myself – not quite the same.

If you’re left wondering what beat matching is all about or whether vinyl or cd’s are used nowadays, don’t panic. Chatting with local dj’s Mike Taylor, Rob Maye, and Leo Van Ulden will help clear the air and come with some interesting stories. Everything from their most memorable gigs and favourite moments to talking about their own sound and styles. Find out what it’s like in the life of a local dj!

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