MIKE SHANNON with ALGORITHM, MATHEW JONSON, THE UNCUT, PANTIKI, ALI BLACK, JASON HODGES and TYLER KERR as part of Pixelate's one-year anniversary, Saturday (February 22), at the House of Props (55 St. Lawrence). $12 advance, more at the door. Pixelateevent@sympatico.ca
MIKE SHANNON at Glide's six-year anniversary
Veteran Montreal-based Toronto expat Mike Shannon gracefully accepts techno's move toward becoming an established genre. He admits that his recently released album, Slight Of Hand, synthesizes various sub-genres, and that he's not trying to radically change music.
"A lot of the mysticism around techno is gone. At one point no one really knew how these sounds were being made," Shannon explains from his Montreal apartment. "Now anyone can download some program and put together something pretty close to those classic techno anthems. The same thing has happened with DJing as well. The first time you heard a techno DJ, you were blown away because you didn't understand what was happening. A lot of the magic has been lost because so many people have turntables now."
But even the most jaded partier can't help but be a bit awed watching him mix seamlessly on three turntables. While we here in Toronto are used to seeing local DJs work this kind of magic regularly, in much of the world the standards are much more relaxed.
"Toronto has always had a focus on the technical side of DJing. I think it might have something to do with hiphop starting in North America, and the emphasis that was placed on the show. A lot of the DJs over in Europe who play similar music to me are simply selecting the music and not really composing anything new with the mixing. Sometimes I get comments that my stuff is a little too flashy, but for me it makes it more interesting, more of a performance rather than just playing someone else's music."
Along with rocking crowds at huge festivals and clubs across Europe, running his Cynosure record label and playing artsy cultural events in Montreal, Shannon has just finished a tour of South America.
"It's still a very fresh scene, but people have a really developed sense of what's good. Every time anyone played anything remotely cheesy, they'd get booed and people would throw things at them. Deep Dish were playing in a club in Buenos Aires, and they dropped some cheesy Latino remixes thinking they'd go over well, but the crowd actually started throwing beer bottles at them. After I heard about that I started thinking about bringing a hockey helmet with me, just in case."