TOMMIE SUNSHINE with FELIX & GANI and BARBI at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), Saturday (August 5). $10 before 11:30 pm. 416-913-3488. Rating: NNNNN
Tommie Sunshine has started living up to his name.
Chatting as he wanders around Brooklyn photographing graffiti, Sunshine exudes optimism, excitement and almost Zen-like contentment. Though some of it might be due to his new-found love of sobriety, this is also the same guy who, back in 2002, was the only DJ in NYC who went on record to say he thought 9/11 had had a positive effect on nightlife.
Looking back, you can sort of see how those events might've played a role in dance music's move toward edgier, rock-informed sounds, as partiers looked for something more reflective of the current state of the world than the dot-com-boom-fuelled apathetic decadance that previously ruled the clubs.
"I'd be kidding if I said things aren't infinitely worse now than they were then in terms of what's going on in the world and with America," he begins, "and I think the music does reflect that. But I also think the music should reflect it even more. I feel like there's this big shift about to happen, and I can't wait. I'm a fan of revolution, and I think historically, war has been a great time for art."
Sunshine's upcoming full-length debut, he says, will likely be somewhat political, but more along the lines of the politics of personal freedom than in-your-face "fuck Bush!" rants.
Not that he shies away from expressing his opinions -- something that's become even more pronounced since he cleaned up.
"Sobriety has given me absolute honesty. When you're high, you get used to lying all the time, making up excuses for being late or being too hungover to get out of bed. I'm completely frank now, and some people don't like that."
If there was ever a time for him to not worry about making people uncomfortable, this would be it. Sunshine's career as a remixer and DJ has continued to explode since he rocketed to an international level with his 2002 electro-glam-house collaboration with Felix Da Housecat.
His name has since become inextricably entwined with that crossover between rock and dance music, although if he had his way we'd stop trying to find a name for it and just accept it as another incarnation of house.
"There's music I like and there's music I don't like," he states, "but it's all art. The great thing is that there's no right way or wrong way to do it -- it's not like being an accountant, where there actually is a proper way to do someone's taxes."