LUKE FAIR with DEEP DISH, DANNY HOWELLS, ANDY C, BAD BOY BILL, INFECTED MUSHROOM, ARMIN VAN BUUREN and more, Sunday (September 1) at the Guvernment (132 Queen's Quay East). $20 advance, more at the door. 416-869-0045.
The first thing you notice when you get Luke Fair on the phone is his complete and utter lack of arrogance.
Many young DJs who have ascended rapidly toward the upper echelons of dance-music royalty act like they think they invented the art of mixing records. Instead, Fair speaks of his quickly accelerating career with a sense of bewilderment and gratitude. He's remarkably humble without being unaware of his own talents.
Recently signed to progressive house icons Deep Dish's booking agency, the Toronto-based DJ has graduated over the past year to playing regular international gigs alongside established superstars.
When asked about these experiences, his response suggests that he's a little overwhelmed now that he's started to get an idea of just how much of a buzz has developed around him worldwide.
"When you're just playing around Toronto and making tracks, you know that your music is getting out there, but you can't get any perspective on how you're being seen. Other than reading postings on the Web, you don't really know who knows who you are and who's actually listening to your music.
"I find more people know what I'm up to abroad than in Toronto, which is actually great and takes a lot of pressure off me when I'm playing here."
The highlight of the year for Fair was being invited to play at the Miami Music Conference for British superstar DJ John Digweed's Bedrock party.
"It was the first night at my first conference. I had no idea what time I was playing but figured I was going to play for an hour at the start or something. I get there and Digweed says I'm going on at 3 am -- right after him! I've never been more nervous in my life. I mean, how do you follow that?
"He was really into it, fortunately, and I ended up playing till around 5:30."
Fair's career took a sudden upswing when he took it upon himself to circulate a bootleg remix of U2's Silver And Gold to several of the top DJs in the progressive house world.
Not expecting much of his unsolicited demo, he couldn't have been more surprised when he found out that many of these DJs were playing it out enthusiastically. When he eventually pressed up a very limited-run white-label vinyl version and sent it out to all the likely suspects, it ended up getting played and charted by such heavyweights as Danny Tenaglia, Deep Dish, Pete Tong and John Digweed.
Both Digweed and Deep Dish signed him to their labels on the strength of the first CDR, suddenly validating all the work he'd done since his days warming up the early crowd for Matt C at Industry.
"All these people, they were the DJs I used to go out and party to. I put them on a huge pedestal and never imagined working for them. And then all of a sudden I'm getting e-mails from them.
"I think a lot of people in Canada don't realize that they can just mail their stuff to these guys. So many people are scared to send it out or don't think they're ready, or they don't see Canada as a big enough name in dance music."