Aug 12 2021
I have been a trained modern dancer since the age of 3. I have grown up understanding how to critically and viscerally listen to music. Through dance I was trained to be conscious of how certain kinds of sounds can interact with your body in certain ways. It's just a second nature thing for me now but I've always been really in tune with that on and off the dance floor.
I bought my first set of turntables in 2004/2005 while I was still in high school (2 American Audio HDT 4.5 high torque turntables and a Stanton 2 channel battle mixer)...which I still have to this day!
During my high school victory lap, I had a co-op placement at CIUT 89.5FM (best radio in the city btw) where they eventually let me have my very own show on Saturday mornings from 6am-9am where I would play all the fun records I had discovered from the weekend before through digging sessions at Play De Record /Kopps/Sonic Boom/etc.
The name Ticky Ty comes from a silly story. I was living with my friend who was making waves in the underground Hip Hop scene in Toronto at the time. This was around the time I was practicing beat matching in the basement and in private for friends. One night she brought me to the El Mocambo and it was towards the end of the night, everybody is packing up and this dude comes up to her and was like "who's your cute friendddd???" She says "that's Tracy!" (fact 4.1. - My non-DJ name lol) and he was a bit lit, so his response was "huh?? Ticky Ty wha???" So...from that moment on, that was it: Ticky Ty = "Tracy" stuttered. Thanks random drunk dude at the ElMo!
First gig out was at this no longer existent place on College Street called LOL Lounge...lol. It was small, but so much fun because only your close friends would be able to fit in there so it was a great starting place to just play for your supportive hyped up friends without too much pressure.
I actually had my first international gig before I ever played at Zone. At 19 years old I was a flair bartender (like Tom Cruise in Cocktail) and got the opportunity to get flown over to Japan to work there at one of their specialty bars. During my interview I told them that the only way I would leave Toronto and my radio show is if they could promise me that I would have a DJ night over there. They said yes. So I jumped over there for a couple of insane years and did renegade gigs around Osaka when I wasn't bartending.
First gig at CZ was a crazy one. This goes back to 2009ish, They used to have this DJ contest at the Silver Dollar and my friend got me a slot to try out. I had only been there as a dance floor warrior up until that point so I was a super nervous. I had an amazing group of friends (my Muzik girls!) who were my unofficial go-go dancers...so when I got up there, we put on a show and tore the roof off! And...I won! So after that I was put on rotation upstairs for Silver Dollar Sundays with Quim and Chris Ink until they just eventually moved us all downstairs...and the rest is history!
Favourite thing about DJing: I have this thing where I love to deeply appreciate music...like really just get lost into it...and when I see someone else share that same appreciation it makes my soul smile. Side note...I've got this thing where I'm always trying to obsessively share music with people...like..."crazy ex" style multiple message shares where its gotten to the point where some of my friends have just started ghosting my messages because they get so bombarded and overwhelmed with random music I find lol (they still love me but like I said...it's a lot of music messages haha) However...as a DJ, I get to do my neurotic music sharing face-to-face and see that reaction instantaneously. So just being able to geek out obsessively about music publicly and not get ghosted I would say is a bonus.
Least favourite thing about DJing: I'll always hear people talk about "oh ya, did u go to that show because this happened and this event I saw this and this concert and etc.." to where my reply usually is "nope didn't see it", product of being a career DJ. I (very fortunately) am usually at my own gigs on event days/weekends. As someone who loves experiencing all kinds of music and is a sucker for wanderlust, it is a tricky balance to be a career DJ and still go experience other shows too! That being said, the experiences I have at my own gigs are ones I would never trade for anything.
The first time I stepped into CZ was in 2004. It was one night after work at this bar. My co-worker's saw how much I loved the music when we would play it at the bar so they decided one day that "I was ready"...we closed down, then went to this awesome place called Boa until 5am or so...then straight to Spadina and College. That night changed my life. That night made me want to be a DJ. That night made me understand why I always felt something was missing at "meat market" venues. Electro was topping the playlists back then and Zone only had actual turntables. My favourite memory was this one time where Deko-ze was spinning and he would get so sweaty that a bead of sweat would get on the record and the bass would cut out...which just made us all lose our minds even more. The energy of the underground has gone in waves as has the music. The energy I'm seeing these days however, seems to have had an entire rejuvenation period! Old school people have had a break and are now ready to come back with a vengeance, new faces became of age this last year but were never able to go out so now are taking it in as massively as possible, there is so much making up for lost time and just raw appreciation of things that were maybe taken for granted before. Whatever and why'ever it is, it's amazing and inspiring. I'm super grateful to have had a life where I've been able to experience a scene like this.