Assembling a best-of compilation CD to mark the DNH label's 100th-release milestone seemed easy enough to label boss Nick Holder. Then the popular local DJ/producer had to decide which of his favourite 12-inch club joints had to be left off the single-disc Trackheadz (DNH) set due to the format's time constraints. Instead of a matter of weeks, it wound up taking close to a year for it to actually surface.
While the Trackheadz CD showcases the surprising diversity of deep house music that Holder has put out in the last couple of years -- from D'Pac & Yoga's funky Brazilian Groove to Sirus's slow-rolling Clouds -- a few of Holder's own club classics, notably Samba Freak and Summer Daze, are conspicuously absent from the mix.
Evidently the legal wrangle with Pat Metheny's publisher over his sample use of Slip Away made Holder more cautious about the track selection.
"I've had enough trouble in the past with sampling," chuckles Holder uneasily, "so I decided it was best to leave off the tracks with obvious samples. People who want the songs can still get them, they just aren't on the Trackheadz disc."
Of course, Holder hasn't been spending all his time on Trackheadz. He's just followed up his hot dub reggae slammer, Rockers Delight, with another Sirus collabo, The Elements Of Mood Vol. 3, featuring the future floor filler Bossa 2 in addition to the Guided By Voices Vol. 2 and Place Of Dawn EPs with tracks produced by Noel Nanton.
Grab the vinyl while you can since Holder is saying that nothing he's releasing on 12-inch will appear on his forthcoming album, due in March. Since Holder has been seen picking up Boards of Canada and Cinematic Orchestra discs lately, expect to hear something completely different.
"I think I've done just about everything I can do in house -- the disco loop thing, the jazz thing, the Latin thing, the Afro thing, etc . It's time for something new.
"There's going to be some hiphop on the new album, definitely some downtempo tracks (around 90 bpm) with vocals sorta like Boards of Canada doing R&B. It'll be all over the place."
At the moment Holder is keeping a tight lid on the next shit, so anyone going to see him spin at Element on New Year's Eve can rest assured that he'll deliver the soulful house favourites for which he's loved.
"This year I had five offers to play out-of-town gigs, from Montreal to Denmark, but I wanted to stay in Toronto. It's so depressing to be someplace with a clubful of strangers on New Year's Eve.
"Three years ago I did a New Year's gig in Belfast where these IRA thugs started slamming on the doors and busting windows. Everyone in the place was high or drunk and just started freaking out. It was total chaos. After that, I decided it's best to stay close to home for New Year's Eve."
NICK HOLDER with Angel & CulleN, Amtrak & Dante, Ruby jay and ben murko & matt lunnen at Element (553 Queen West), New Year's Eve (Tuesday, December 31). $30, advance $25. 416-359-1919.