Jan 25 2021
How were you first inspired to DJ and/or make music?
I would say Hip Hop was my very first source of inspiration to DJing and the process of making music. I say this because I was mesmerized by how DJs could control or create a feeling in the room at any given point in time.
From a production perspective, the intricacies of pulling multiple sounds to tell a story or support a particular message were equally fascinating. Growing up in a West Indian home (my heritage is Trinidadian), my Dad and Mom ran the gambit of sounds from Classical to Jazz, Funk, RnB, Reggae, Soca, and even some 70s Rock with some Soul thrown in for equal measure. It wasn’t unusual to feel like our home was the “party spot” every other weekend with my Dad dropping these sounds through custom speakers and tweeters.
Full circle, I was hearing a lot of the samples from old records in 90s Hip Hop from the selections my Dad would play when I was a kid. A profound stroll down memory lane. And if that wasn’t happening, there would be the monotony of listening to him play classical music on his guitar or running scales on the Hammond B3 with its massive rotating speaker for what felt like hours on end. Summing these items up made for great ear training and a passionate need to play or make music.
How did you first get involved with The Comfort Zone?
I was lucky to have witnessed an early morning set by The Junkies with the low ceilings and sweaty walls. It definitely left an impression of what the underground looked and felt like. I was there late Sunday night in the wee hours of Monday morning. I laugh when I think about that moment I saw someone showering and getting ready to head to work Monday morning while the beats were still banging.
What's your favourite aspect of The Comfort Zone?
It’s definitely the bare-bones aesthetic and the people all uniformed around the music and nothing else.
How would you define your sound?
I define it as a sound with no barriers that is somewhat sample heavy with a mix of musicality and an ever-presence of soul. So whether I’m doing deep soulful house, techno, tech house, or jackin’, it’s coming with a soul element.
Which DJs and/or producers have influenced you?
From a production perspective, I have a strong admiration for Mr. G, Harry Romero, Nathan Barato, Carlo Lio, Valentino (The Junkies), Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak, J Dilla, and Madlib.
When it comes to DJing, Derrick Carter, Mark Farina, DJ Sneak, Honey Dijon, Diz Washington. It’s messed up that they’re all from Chicago, but it is what it is.
What's the biggest event you've ever played?
Nothing quite compares to playing Elrow Barcelona. It’s literally, an all-day carnival with loads of people and good vibes - especially when you finish your set and the CEO demands that you hang out for drinks! Swing around the corner from the main room (where I played), you feel like you have been teleported to a beach party. The DJ sees me and I hear my track, “Rawness - Beat 3” already in the mix. Such a great day and vibe!
What's the highlight of your music career to date?
This actually happened recently where I had the opportunity to do a label showcase for my label Purveyor Underground on Beatport’s Twitch. We were able to stream with over 18+ hours and featured DJs/producers who inspired me to stop working a 9 to 5 and create the label while doing music full time. I was able to have guys like Nathan Barato, Valentino (The Junkies), Carlo Lio, Mark Farina, Phil Weeks, along with a new generation of talent all keen on putting forward our raw aesthetic of Tech House and Funky/Jackin House beats.
A close second is a remix I did for Cassius, which has yet to come out due to the pandemic, but it’s coming.
What do you think the electronic music scene could do with or without right now to help push it forward?
The scene could definitely do without streaming paying artists next to nothing for their content and then handing them an ego-stroking summary of “performance” from their platforms like it’s some sort of value. It’s quite disheartening and also creates divisiveness when we lean on those performance summaries as some sort of value when, in reality, is further diluting the artists’ content and value. I would never throw shade at artists for being proud of the summaries, but I would much rather they see the negative impact it has and demand more.
We can definitely do with more support of the independence side of things when artists decide to bundle their content to see more of the money flowing back to them. This is not cut out for every artist and, as a result, labels can still thrive and not feel threatened when artists ask for their masters and subsequent take down of release.
What's your strangest experience while DJing?
DJing is a trip sometimes. I was playing on the Rawthentic Stage at Toronto’s Electric Island Festival and reaching the peak of the set. I guess the vibes were so good that someone had perfectly timed to throw her pants at me when the drop hit. LOL! I have this on video somewhere...funny moment.
Which tracks never leave your record box?
DJ Sneak - Santero’s Groove
Demuir - Ode to Chicago/High. Alive. And Dirty
Derrick Carter - Where You At?
Matthew Dear - Little People (Sascha Dive Remix)
Rick Wade - Prime Time
Mr. G - Day After B
What's next for you in the near future?
Continuing with the building of my platforms and my Purveyor Underground imprint. We will be introducing a vinyl component to the label with some stellar releases lined up. I’m convinced ownership of masters is critical along with the consistent collection of publishing. Patreon, in particular, has been a great enabler because I control 100% of the content that people subscribe to as high as $1000 (USD)+ so I know there is value in it and this will continue.
What are your hidden talents that most people don't know about?
I’m a feracious reader. I read about 2 to 4 books a month.
What will you do after answering these questions?
I’ll get back to some emails, schedule some 1:1 production meetings, schedule a time for the delivery of my second CDJ3000, and make beats.