STARTING FROM SCRATCH 15th ANNIVERSARY with DIVINE BROWN , GLENN LEWIS , COURT JESTER , SOUNDQUEST , SPEX and more, Saturday (November 5), at the York Event Theatre (101 Eglinton East). $30. 416-378-3278, www.startingfro mscratch.com. Rating: NNNNN
DJ Starting from Scratch already had a strong rep as a club DJ before he signed up with Flow 93.5, but it's his daily mix shows that have propelled him to the extraordinary status he now enjoys. The funny thing is, he almost didn't take the gig, a decision that not only would have changed his fortunes drastically, but also the identity of the radio station. "I've been with Flow since the first day, but radio was never really an interest of mine before. I was just into playing in the clubs," Scratch says as we sit in Flow's lounge. "I was still living at home, making good money and didn't think I needed it. I didn't really understand what it can do."
"Farley Flex called, asking me to do a mix tape for him. I never did mix tapes, so already I was like, 'Arggh.' Then they wanted me to come in and audition in person, which I couldn't understand, and at that point I kind of butted heads with the program director. I actually ended up walking out on them. Eventually, they talked me into it, and now I'm hooked. I can't imagine not doing radio."
Commercial radio all over North America has mostly come to depend on playlists rather than DJs, which some feel has raised a generation of listeners who go out expecting to hear the same 20 songs they heard all week on the radio. Say what you will about Flow, but it has to be credited for devoting air time to DJ-focused mix shows. It's very rare to find a commercial radio station that will give carte blanche to a DJ to play whatever he or she wants, an opportunity Scratch is more than grateful for.
"When I talk to radio DJs in the States who do mix shows, they get handed 10 records, and those are the 10 records they're allowed to play in their hour. You can't stray from that. I couldn't do that - it's like robot DJing."