STA with NU RAVERS ON THE BLOCK, STOP DIE RESUSCITATE and special surprise guests at the Drake Hotel Underground (1150 Queen West), Saturday (January 26). $5. 416-531-5042. Rating: NNNNN
Unless you’re combing the blogs or DJing electro, chances are you haven’t heard of the city’s newest breakout producer, Sta. He just started produ-cing tracks about a year ago while going to school in Kingston and has only been in Toronto since September. But already he’s being courted by the big names in dance music and flown around the world – based solely on Internet fame.
“I didn’t really know about the whole blog thing until my tracks started getting passed around on them,” admits the cheerful young producer.
“Originally, I’d put a Beyoncé remix on Oink (a now-defunct file-sharing site currently embroiled in legal issues) and some guy who was looking for electro remixes of Beyoncé found it and posted it on his blog. Then some bigger bloggers read his and put it on theirs, and it just kept getting passed around.
“It was so weird being at home and going to school, not really knowing how it was doing, and then finding out that DJs were trading it and that it was being played in Australia and France.
“It’s strange, because it started happening all over North America at the same time, so I ended up playing in Atlanta, L.A. and Montreal before I played any parties in Toronto or Kingston.”
Homemade bootleg remixes are a great way to make a quick name for yourself these days, but Sta quickly realized that writing his own tracks would carry him further. About six months ago he leaked a track called In Living Colour on the Internet, and it spread like wildfire, eventually finding its way into breakbeat icon Adam Freeland’s hands, who snapped it up for his label, Marine Parade, making this Sta’s first single to be released as an actual physical record.
Freeland wasn’t the only big beat producer from the rave era to take notice of the dirty electro grooves Sta’s been churning out. Recently, the Crystal Method commissioned a remix from him that ended up on their album, a major coup for an unknown artist whose sound is more at home in underground indie-dance circles.
“A lot of these big beat guys from the 90s have actually kept up with new music and are really pumped about what’s happening now. They’re all pretty up on it actually. The Crystal Method guys have a radio show that’s all new music, not big beat tracks from 1999.”
With this kind of career path becoming more the norm than the exception, it’s no surprise that labels are scared. If an artist can get well-paying gigs, massive hype and commissioned remixes without any support, it doesn’t leave much for them to do.
“I think it’s great that anyone can make music now and get it out to the world through the Internet. I know a few newer artists who’ve had label offers but don’t see the point of paying someone else to put it up on Beatport (a massive pay-per-download dance music site) when they can just do it themselves.”