GREMLINZ , STRANJAH , MUTT , ASPECT , RUMBLETON and DJ APOCOLYPSE at the Down One Lounge (49 Front), tonight (Thursday, March 31). $5. www.versionrecordings.com. Rating: NNNNN
There's renewed vitality in Toronto's drum 'n' bass scene - more parties, more people and, finally, more local producers making a name for themselves worldwide.
In particular, legendary label Metalheadz has signed a bunch of up-and-coming locals and is about to release a compilation of material from the Americas that contains more Canadian tunes than anything else.
This interest in T.O. sounds didn't come easily, though, as Gremlinz (Gabe Au-Navioz) and Stranjah (Alan Lam) explain.
"Stranjah was making tunes for his label, Version, but the European distributor didn't think they worked on the dance floor," Au-Navioz recalls.
"They wanted tunes that were in the style that was hot at the moment," Lam says, "and that wasn't what I was about.
"To me, this couldn't be right - the tunes were sick, and I trust my taste in music," Au-Navioz interjects. "I ended up getting in touch with (Metalheadz co-founder) Doc Scott and sent him some of Stranjah's tunes, and the very next day I get a message back from him. He wanted to take, like, four or five of them for his label, 31 Records."
Scott passed the Stranjah tracks to some of the other UK bigwigs, including his fellow Metalheadz co-founder and d'n'b legend Goldie.
"Goldie ended up coming to play at System Soundbar, and we'd just finished a tune together that Marcus Visionary set to play. Goldie heard it and freaked out - he rewound the tune and everything. He says to Marcus, 'I have to meet this guy,' and Marcus says, 'He's right behind you,'" Au-Navioz recalls with obvious excitement.
Their production work as a team has since been picked up by some of the biggest UK labels. Seeing an opportunity to share their good fortune, they started passing local demos on to their new UK family.
"There's no point holding anyone back," Au-Navioz says. "When they signed us, they thought we were the only people doing good drum 'n' bass in Toronto. Then we kept sending them stuff our friends' stuff and they started signing all of them, which at the end of the day is good - it makes people take the whole city more seriously."