DJ FREAKY FLOW and MC FLIPSIDE as part of Silk, at the Living Room (330 Adelaide West), tonight (Thursday, January 17). $15. 416-979-3168.
Toronto-based drum 'n' bass duo DJ Freaky Flow and MC Flipside are ready to operate without a net. Their mix CD follow-up to last year's successful World Domination will be recorded live at the Living Room, with microphones over the dance floor to pick up crowd noise and without a fallback strategy should things go wrong.
"I think we'll record the set as it will be on disc," Freaky Flow explains from his home, "as opposed to recording two hours and choosing the best 70 minutes. That's why we brought MC Flipside on-board -- he travels with me every week, so you can't really get a feel for what I do without him there perpetuating crowd noise.
"I'm a bit of a control freak -- I like to make sure that everything is within my power, so that if something goes wrong it's my fault. So I'm a little nervous. A number of things could go wrong that could cripple what we're doing, some within my control, like totally screwing up a mix, and others totally outside my control, like someone accidentally pushing the stop button while we're recording or someone knocking the turntables and making the needle skip."
The sober-minded DJ is known locally as much for his hiphop-influenced scratching skills as for his astute business sense. He's one of the few to be able to move up to the big leagues without a lengthy production record.
Clothing sponsorships are somewhat rare in dance music, since most promotional material for DJs tends to be faceless. But Freaky Flow and Flipside made some waves when they signed a contract with Modrobes. Some in the scene accused them of selling out.
"I don't think our fans saw it that way, but I think people who already didn't like us thought of it that way -- it was just another way for them to attack us. Anyway, our contract ends on February 1, and while it was a good run, we're not going to continue. We wanted to promote ourselves a little better, enjoyed helping out the company and wanted to help them break into the U.S. market. Plus, we're walking ad space, and if we can sell that ad space to a company whose beliefs and strategies are aligned with ours, then I think it's a good thing."
Moving up from Canadian indie label Stickmen to American rave music giant Moonshine for the new record ruffled a few feathers as well, but the impressive sales figures shut people up pretty quickly. Asking them to do a second mix less than a year after the release of the first shows the label's confidence in their abilities.
"There's positives and negatives to working with a large independent label like Moonshine. They're really well known, specifically among the consumers I'm targeting. It was also a real breakthrough for me to get into the U.S. market, because my previous CD with Stickmen was only available in Canada. They've also got a pretty decent-sized budget for each release.
"The only real downside is that they're putting out 12 to 15 mix CDs a year, so I'm equally prioritized with 15 other artists, whereas with a smaller label like Stickmen I'd be a much higher priority."