Hard and Soul Four-Year Anniversary with JMK Sunday (December 16) at the Living Room (330 Adelaide West). $5-$12. 416-468-9916.
Ask any local house DJ or promoter who's emerged in the past five years what first got him or her into the music, and chances are he/she'll mention DJ trio JMK and the soulful Family Tree warehouse parties they used to throw in the mid-90s.
The reunited team of Kenny Glasgow, Mike Sitchon and Jeremy Beckman are lounging around Glasgow's studio, getting reacquainted and reminiscing about their misspent youth.
"It's kind of weird hearing people talk about wanting to go to these parties again," Beckman says.
"Well, that was bound to happen," interrupts Glasgow. "Everything always comes full circle. Everything starts out small, expands and becomes commercial, then blows up to a point where all the people that were in it from the beginning are, like, 'There's nothing in it for me any more.' So it regresses back to what it was -- small, tight parties."
"And a new generation comes up," finishes Sitchon.
"You even get some old heads coming out," adds Glasgow, "because that's what they really want to see."
"Last night felt pretty good, though," says Beckman, referring to the Play Records bash last week. "I was surprised. I didn't know anybody there, there were a lot of new faces, but it was comfortable. I walked in there and it was, like, 'This is how it was.'"
The trio spend much of the afternoon remembering the disasters and highlights of the two years of parties they threw together, initially as an alternative to the seedy, money-driven after-hours events of the time.
"This is how we got started," Sitchon explains. "We got tired of the crappy sound systems, the risk of trusting your night to someone who had to use a brick to get into the venue."
"We tried to legitimize as much as we could and in some ways ended up commercializing the whole warehouse scene," adds Glasgow, "because we were getting numbers that no one, absolutely no one, was getting."
"Remember Mowat Street?" asks Beckman. "There were, like, 800 people!" Glasgow exclaims.
"It was the second week of February," remembers Sitchon, "there was a snowstorm outside and the lineup went on forever."
"I honestly think that was what inspired clubs like Industry," interrupts Beckman.
Legal after-hours clubs pulled in the audience that used to search for warehouse parties every weekend, contributing to the end of the Family Tree parties. Glasgow ended up going over to the techno scene, Beckman lost interest and went back to school, and Sitchon continued as a house DJ.
They're excited about DJing as a team again but don't expect it to be an ongoing thing.
"Well, not necessarily ongoing," says Glasgow, "but every now and then...."
"It's how we get together" explains Beckman.
"And it's a good way to keep in touch," finishes Sitchon.