QUADRASONIC second ANNIVERSARY with DJs JASON PALMA , DINO & TERRY , MIKE K , KID CONGA & ALVARO and a live performance by the Quadrasonic Orchestra with guest vocalists GENEVIEVE and ANTHONY BROWN at Revival (783 College), Friday (February 6). $12 before 11:30 pm, $15 after. www.quadrasonic.com Rating: NNNNN
Things sure have changed for the Castellanos brothers since their days as Latin funk-punk band Project 9. Actually, no they haven't. Back in the Project 9 days they kept themselves busy putting on shows and organizing parties to give all the local teenage bands a place to play in Pickering. Now they organize parties where local DJs can play in Toronto.
Back then they were messing with the conventions of alternative rock by doing Spanish versions of their songs and by blending South and North American influences. Now they mess with the tradition of DJing to allow multiple DJs to play simultaneously, blending rhythms from Latin America with northern hemisphere club sounds.
In Project 9, Ulysses would add performance art spectacle to their show. Now he adds film projection installations to their parties.
Not much has changed in club DJing technique since it first started gaining popularity in the 70s. A few years back, Alvaro Castellanos thought to take things a bit further by connecting eight turntables and getting four DJs to play on them simultaneously. This unique concept, helped along by their relentless promotion, has blossomed into a monthly party that's now entering its second year of drawing capacity crowds.
Eating Indian food with Alvaro, Ulysses and Boris (aka Kid Conga), it's obvious that their enthusiasm is contagious. That's probably why they've consistently drawn crowds to their events. You can't help but feel like you're involved in some way.
"I was the first to drop out of P9 and had started buying records, but only Latin shit," Alvaro recalls. "At that time there wasn't anything like Aki's (Cosmos Records), so you really had to dig to find stuff.
"Remember how we used to do after-parties for P9? That's how I started DJing, because I'd organize the parties. We tried to hire some Latin DJs, but they wanted a lot of money, so I figured I'd do it myself."
"He got addicted, though," Ulysses interjects. "For a while he was sleeping in his hallway and subletting his room so he could buy more vinyl."
Gradually, they all got further into house, building on the boxes of random house tracks that Alvaro had bought from the Starsound record store when it closed. Out of his weekly Mambo Urbano party at the now defunct Octopus Lounge, they created the Mambo Urbano Orchestra, one of the city's first attempts at a live house band. During a break from Mambo Urbano, the seeds of Quadrasonic were planted.
"Initially, I wanted to do the Quadrasonic thing with four bands, but you can't really do that," Alvaro explains. "We decided it would be easier to do it with DJs and to apologize for not being able to do it with bands. We started the Quadrasonic Orchestra to have a live component."
In addition to the monthly Quadrasonic parties, you can also catch Alvaro and Boris Mondays at Bauhaus, which has lasted an unbelievable eight years. Plans are in the works for a record label and a Quadrasonic single as well as a reissue of some of P9's Spanish material and a possible reunion.