FRED EVERYTHING with DJ GRYPHON , HALI , RICH HOPE and DON SIZZLE at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), Saturday (September 3). $10 before midnight, more after. 416-913-3488. Rating: NNNNN
Dance music is a notoriously hype-fuelled industry, so it's refreshing to see a DJ succeed based on actual skill instead of being propelled to the headlining slots simply by having a hot single that fits in with the current hip trend.
Montreal-based DJ/producer Fred Everything (aka Fred Blais) has been quietly plugging away at the funky and soulful side of house for over a decade, building a huge catalogue of releases and DJing consistently solid sets all over the world.
Of course, these days when you think of Montreal dance music you cite the electro-house sound or the minimal techno scene, but that hasn't interfered with his progress at all.
"The DJ side of my life is really big these days, bigger than it's ever been. I still go to the record shop every Friday to check out the new releases. I took this August off, but otherwise it's been non-stop all year."
A regular at the best European clubs, he plays all over the world, from Rio to Dubai.
Somewhere amidst the constant touring, he's found time to launch his own label, Lazy Days, which just put out its first release, Friday, a collaboration between Blais and Australian deep house band 20for7, which features a scorching dirty and techy remix by Trentemoller, who's got a big buzz behind him these days.
It was that Trentemoller mix that caused the project to be dropped by the label that had originally promised to release it, prompting Blais to release it himself. It's worked out well for him; the track has already been licensed to three compilations.
With his busy DJ schedule, the label launch and an upcoming mix CD on Om Records, Blais has had to drastically cut back his remix work in favour of working on his third full-length album. His last artist album, Light Of Day, was very well received by the press and made more than a few best-of lists by the end of the year.
As Blais explains, you have to take a different approach to a full album than to a single, a concept that too many producers have overlooked.
"For an album, you work more toward projects that will have a longer life, that aren't as disposable. Singles are more about what's exciting right now. So many dance albums have just been collections of singles, with all the long drum intros, and they don't really work.
"Unfortunately, it's scared off some listeners from house albums."