ROLAND DESCHAMPS with JOEL RICHMOND and percussionists DAVIDSON ELIE, OMAR SALVOSA and GUPREET CHANA as part of CREATING VIBES at Roxy Blu (12 Brant) Thursday (October 3) . $12. www.idrum.info
There are two types of DJs.
Some have their sights set on a career of globe-trotting, high-profile gigs and invest their energy in making the right contacts and honing an accessible big-club sound.
Then there are the ones who prefer to be in the background, often making a living through other aspects of the music industry, while DJing at clubs mainly as a form of self expression.
Roland Deschamps is definitely one of the latter, working by day as an artist manager for up-and-coming local hiphop acts like Brassmunk, while spinning adventurous, hot-off-the-presses broken beat and nu-jazz at various events around town.
"I've always done my thing quietly, under the radar," Deschamps admits as he prepares to DJ a fashion show at Mint. "People who know me understand and like what I do, but I hate being in the spotlight. I'd rather someone else get the attention. That's why I'm an artist's manager by trade: it allows me to maintain my privacy, but I'm still there in the middle of it all."
While Deschamps definitely has his own identity as a DJ, even those who have been following him for a while would find it difficult to pin down exactly what he plays.
You might catch him spinning melodic Detroit techno at an afterhours one night. But check him out on a Tuesday at Lava Lounge, in between sets by the Shugga band, and you'll hear vintage soul mixed up with brand new Jazzanova tracks.
At Lincoln on Saturdays with Victor for their Soleil weekly, you'll hear him dropping more house, as well as soulful broken beat. He's also one of the residents of the nu-jazz and broken beat-focused Sessions parties that are about to emerge from a brief hiatus October 11 at a new venue, B-side.
"I like interesting music, music that is going to challenge me. I like playing things for people that they've never heard before, new things that are completely left-of-centre. I'm not the guy to come to if you want what the DJ across the street is playing. I'm into playing records that no one else is buying."
He may be set on keeping his music challenging, but he's not too wrapped up in the underground mythology either.
Many artists working in the margins assume that the music is just too difficult to reach a wider mainstream audience, but Deschamps believes that when those in the know try to maintain a secret clique it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"We need to stop being so underground and reclusive. We need to start putting our faces on the covers of these records, do publicity and get out there and break these records.
"I've got records that are just a white label with a stamp on it -- great records, but I have no idea who made them or where they came from. Some of these records actually have legs, and could be very accessible.
"The parties have to be more accessible, too, and not just for the cool crowd. The bottom line is that if you want something new, here it is."