Hi, I’m back.

Maybe you missed me, but you probably liked the break too, everyone loves a break. I had a pretty long, and exhausting spring. I moved, went to California (twice), and was unable to catch the Belleville Three at Coachella where they launched their North American tour (in my defense they played day three). In this time, I switched career paths and managed to make some new friends and see a lot of old ones too.

But as the days grow longer and (thank God) hotter, we are reminded.. summer is coming.

AND WE ARE EXCITED.

Summer means dancing outside instead of in the dark lit club basements which I also have a love for, the summer means afternoons basking in the sun on patio and listening to more tech house than techno. Luckily disco is great any time of the year. Summer means reaching the island and seeing how the magnificent people at Embrace, Footwork,  and Platform have taken a one stage one off party into the absolutely amazing party it is today.  This year’s island parties boast some of my favourite artists- Black Madonna, anyone?

Summer means the new and improved Digital Dreams Festival now rebranded as just Dreams Festival. It’s set to be held on Echo Beach and is now 19+. Honestly, I lost faith in this homegrown tradition, but love the idea of this, let’s hope it pans out.

In my mind, summer kicks off not only with the first island installment, but also with DEMF. No, it’s not what it used to be, but it’s still Detroit and fuck you if you think you’re too good for Detroit. You’re not.

Then there’s other festivals some near- like Osheaga, and some further like Lollapalooza, Dekmantel, and Selectors. All however, have a focus on music, community and dancing. All my favourite things.

Together we’ll look passed the rainy days and get sun burnt sitting on those patios I mentioned earlier. Days will turn to nights too quickly and sure enough labour day will be upon us before another cold winter. But until then, let’s rejoice in the warm weather and all that we have to look forward to- it’s quite a lot.

When I was just a little rookie (I had been to one show- Steve Angello at Mansion in London, ON) my car got broken into. The little punks took my iPod (RIP) and ripped through my CDs, glove compartment, and trunk.

My passenger window was a simple fix, what wasn’t as easily mended was the discomfort in my stomach. The feeling that someone – a stranger – had been in my space. They had sat in my driver’s seat, gone through my pictures, maybe even figured out where I lived through pieces of old mail, and ruined my safe space. I loved my car- I had driven it for over 6 years and I literally would have been lost without it. Now, I felt out an alarming sense of anxiety inside of my car instead of the usual feeling of comfort.

I felt sick to my stomach.

If you’re even remotely involved in the underground house music scene, or pick up a newspaper from time to time, you are aware of the terrible acts of violence that occurred this past year at the BPM Festival. Five people lost their lives. Multiple people were injured and thousands were affected.

It hits home.

This was a festival which was frequented by many Canadians, and Torontonians every year. It’s some people’s DEMF- a can’t miss. This was the attendee’s escape from the tribulations and challenges of everyday life- a crummy job, a sick family member, a tough relationship.  This was their safe space; their dance floor, and it was hijacked and broken into by negativity, and violence. It was obstructed by people that don’t believe in the values of which house music and the underground scene was founded- love, joy, acceptance, and respect.

This wasn’t the first time someone filled with malicious intent and hate broke into on of our spaces. We remember the 49  who were lost, the 53 who were injured, and their families during the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in June. Like the culprits in Mexico, the gunman at Pulse didn’t believe in our morals or respect the space that had been taken over by those just looking to release, be amongst friends, and dance.

I go to festivals. I book trips around festival dates, and love exploring the scene in different cities, countries and continents- this is also why I will never move to Vancouver- they can’t even spell nightlife. As I read through the Facebook posts and the news coverage from Playa del Carmen I couldn’t help but think how it could have been me, or one of my best friends dancing away when the shooting occurred.

It’s like when my car got broken into, except unfortunately on a much grander scale. Like my car, our space had been intruded, it was taken from us. However, it’s important to learn from this terrible tragedy, and with the victims in our hearts (and especially in our feet) we keep dancing. We keep the positive, happy, excitement that fills a room before a headliner goes on. It’s important we keep looking at our best friend when the unexpected opener drops a heater and we still help the other girls in the bathroom when they need an extra hair tie, we look out for the stranger who looks like they need a little water, and we keep respecting each other in our scene. Because this is OUR scene. It’s what we love and despite what others will do to attempt to us to stop. We don’t.

We keep going. We keep dancing.

Peace, Disco and Diet Coke

Love,

Claire

PS. Here are two sets from BPM 2017 to keep you dancing and remember why you love this scene so much.

At the end of the year, it’s easy to make lists.

Lists of how you’ll get your lazy ass to the gym, or how I’ll force feed myself vegetables and oatmeal instead of fries and croissants. It’s easy to make lists of your favourite tracks, albums, artists and TV shows. It’s easy to name off your favourite events or parties of the year, the ones where you stayed too late (too early, whatever), the one where your friend opened for a mega super star, and all the little day trips and festivals in-between. It’s easy to list off adventures to Montreal, New York, Dekmantel, Ibiza, and Detroit- even if it’s just for a trip to The Ham Shoppe.

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It’s easy to write lists. But this isn’t one of them. I don’t believe in comparing one party to the next. Each one was different- different artist, different venue, different people attending. Some of the people at these events were my ride or dies. The ones I talk to daily and love with every bit of my heart. Some people are the ones I’d rather just die, okay false- not die, but they could have passed out for the entire duration of the party and I wouldn’t have cared less.

Either way, they were all perrrrrrfect.

Most of my favourite parties are during the holidays, anyway. Holiday parties usually last a little longer, are a little more wild, and probably a bit more sparkly. I love glitter, and during the holidays glitter is not only welcomed, but encouraged. Plus it adds a little something to Christmas Eve dinner with the parents when they see specks of sparkles on your cheek and chest. There are a few more on your  upper thigh and lower back, but those probably won’t be seen… well, depending on your family, maybe they will.

The holidays aren’t about last calls, but about watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” with your parents on Christmas Eve. It’s about sneaking outside after your parents have gone to bed to smoke some Christmas tree with your little brother, it’s about letting your cousin have the last slice of apple pie and watching the NBA on Christmas Day and timing your Christmas dinner accordingly (hopefully during that blow out Spurs/Bulls game). Sidenote: the Christmas jerseys this year were amazing. Props to the NBA for not putting fucking sleeves on the players, and for the all black with green font for Minnesota- v cool.

So as we look back at 2016 and think about everything that made it special- the Black Madonna being named DJ of the year, the boiler room sets released at Dekmantel, getting on guestlist when you didn’t deserve to get on guest list, the toast Snapchat filter, and lil Yachty, and ignore the dumb shit that we had to suffer through- RIP Bowie, Shawty Lo, the EU, the environment, and America.

So thank you to everyone that made 2016 suck less. Thank you to the creatures I run into at King and Portland at any time of day or night- despite King St being terrible, it is my hood and I love the croissants at Jimmy’s so it ain’t that bad. Thank you to the freaks who stay on the dancefloor past last call and into the early morning. Thank you to the friends who keep me up past my bedtime because who the fuck likes to sleep on a Sunday night anyways.

Here’s to the 52 cans of Diet Coke I received on my birthday.

I love you all.

Smell ya.

Know when to say yes, & then scream it. Know that there will be nights when the best move is to go home and crawl into bed. Know when the party is going to get better, and then stay out later. Know that you deserve it.

What do I mean by this? It means don’t waste your time, money or energy attending a show or event that isn’t exactly what you’re craving.

We’re extremely lucky in Toronto.

There’s a dance music subculture for everyone- disco deviants, the house heads, the techno snobs, the AM Acid listeners and everything in between. I urge you to explore all these subcultures and find the one that fits you and your tastes.

So, after years of attending, hosting, reviewing and promoting parties, this is what I look for.

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Music: What’s being played? Do you like it? Does it make you want to flail around like a madman without any regard for what you look like to others? Is it that can’t eat- can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence world series kind of feeling? If yes, stay.

People: The people at events matter. Look beside you, now look to the other side of you. Are they your friends? Are they smiling? Do they look as excited as you are about being in this space, listening to this music, and being in this moment as you are? If you answer yes, you’re probably with who you were meant to be with.

Price: Yes, I like free/cheap events as much as the next person, but good events cost money. In order to ensure the organizers can continue to throw parties, they have to make back their costs. What does this mean? Pay for a ticket. If you want to support a culture, the first thing you can do without much effort at all is pay for a ticket. This shows more support than you know. Selling tickets in advance help organizers plan a better night for you. So while you may want to message this ex girlfriend or your best friend’s sister’s boyfriend to put your name on list- don’t. If you want to attend an event and see more of those events- pay for it.

Venue: Make it cool, and abstract. There’s so many great spaces and venues in Toronto, but often we get stuck thinking inside the box. I don’t have any time for that- pretend the box doesn’t exist. Then think about where you want to go.

Sound: I want to feel it. I want the sound to be clear, crisp, and bold. if you’re paying money to see an artist, a label showcase, or anything in between and the sound isn’t of the highest quality, I suggest you re-evaluate. Make sure the highs are as noticeable as the mids, and the lows you can feel in your soul. This is good sound. Don’t settle for anything else.

Production: What are the visuals? Are you inspired? I’ve seen shows play old black and white movies, moving shapes and graphics, minimalist videos, lights and everything in between. Sometimes the show is presented in conjunction with an art exhibit or gallery opening- which I’ve always loved. Creativity fosters creativity. It turns the event from a concert, or an art show, to an artistic and creative experience. These are the little extra bits that you’ll remember and tell your friends about a month down the line , when you can’t really remember the full set or have trouble remembering who was there. The extras will remind you why you loved the whole experience.

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These are the factors and characteristics I look for and think about when at an event. These are what I think about when I first contemplate going home. I think about the music, the people, and the space. I ask myself will this event or show ever happen again to this degree. Sometimes, the answer is yes, and you head home. But most of the time, the answer is no, so you put  your phone back in your pocket and surrender your soul to another dance floor.

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fkn rookie

A photo posted by claire mcarthur ✨ (@thatcbear) on

Welcome to the Diet Coke Diaries
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In the spirit of this past weekend’s holiday, I think it’s appropriate to note that there’s a lot to be thankful for when you live in a city like Toronto- no, I’m not talking about the6, the6ix, Tdot. None of that. This is about Toronto.

TORONTO.

You can call the city out for the problems (like the laundry list of Drake inspired nicknames), and we all know them and have heard them a thousand times- the “early” last call, the cover charges, and most of King Street, save a few fav spots– shout out Locals Only and the soon to be Baro (RIP Escobar).

But there’s a lot more to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for the kids in the scene. 

The ones you see on Tuesday nights, the warriors of Thursdays and the ones who ignore that Monday comes after Funday Sunday.  We can be thankful for venues both small and big that accept us as who we are and spit us out at the end of the night with our best friend beside us, both asking each other, if we’ve ever had a better night. This happens almost once a month to me.

I feel lucky that we have something for everyone. We have dark tech, feel good house and trippy acid. I am thankful for everyone that I get to meet and work with in the underground dance music scene in Toronto. The ones I don’t trust at all and the ones I would with my life. I love our scene and I am so grateful to start writing for Press Play, again.

I started writing about dance music like most bloggers – putting up a weekly post on my personal blog with SoundCloud and Youtube links to my favourite tracks of the week. I would post deep house and techno, and probably a hip-hop track or two as well. I loved these songs and I felt it was my civil duty to share it with others. I started writing about shows, doing reviews and interviews with artists once I moved to Toronto in December 2013. The dance music and underground scene swallowed me whole by February and I have no plans on leaving.

I was very happy when my role in the scene grew when the man, the myth , the legend, Mr. Steve Hale asked me to join him and Yung Choe at My Side Project in 2015 and have since been involved in some really dope parties. I believe in investing in something if you truly believe in it and if you want to see something prosper, you have to support it. So this is how I help advance the scene. I throw parties, make bookings, sell tickets, share posts, write content and most recently, I was very fortunate to be asked to write for Press Play.

My monthly column will relate back to our home- Toronto. I’ll be writing about venues you didn’t know you needed to try, upcoming shows you’d be crazy not to miss, and maybe even a trick or two about how to squeeze your GA-self onto guest list. (hint: it’s starts with a cup of coffee and a cookie). All these thoughts and ideas that I`m excited to share with you usually come to me while I’m standing at the bar day dreaming- Diet Coke in hand. These are my diary entries…

So, while I hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving weekend and spent some wholesome time at home, I hope you are all prepared for the winter that is upon us because we all know it’s not about the days getting shorter, but about the nights getting longer.

This past weekend was Movement.

The legendary dance music festival located in Detroit that started as a grassroots idea between friends is now in its sixteenth year (tenth under its current name) and was the biggest it has been- boasting over 141 artists and 6 stages. Movement embodies Detroit- the idea of hustling harder, working for your dreams, achieving them, then dreaming bigger. This was my second year at Movement and although I had been to Hart Plaza last year and followed the sounds of Detroit techno to Old Miami, St. Andrew’s and TV Lounge in the past, I returned feeling equally as overwhelmed as I did last year.

 

Great.

I was staying with a crew of people that were all living, walking, breathing, partying, music encyclopedias. Last year they brought monitors to their hotel room. This year “just” a Bose portable sound-system would “suffice”. They rent out two rooms so that yes, we have more beds, but also so one room can always be the party room. There will always be a party room. That was the first thing I learned in Detroit this year. Well, maybe not the first, but definitely one of the most important.

I knew I wasn’t ready for Movement. but there was no way I could have prepared any better. You simply can’t. Plus it’s a little better when you go in with an open mind.

I went to Movement and subsequently I got schooled in Detroit.

Below are 20 things that Detroit and Movement taught me:

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1. There is always a party room. (as mentioned before). It is also best to bring stuffed animals to the hotel with you (Sharks are best)

2. Kerri Chandler‘s Chicago-house inspired set on the first day as the sun was setting is one of the most under-talked about sets of the weekend. Remember when he dropped this. Yeah, try not to groove to this.

3. Watching Carl Craig close his self curated Detroit Love at the THUMP: Made in Detroit Stage took so much out of me I couldn’t make the Juan Atkins after party. I wasn’t even that upset.

4. It’s a marathon. Not a sprint (but apparently some of my friends can and will sprint a marathon).

5. Choose the AP and stay later. Don’t go home and try be “ready to go” for the next day. The festival starts in the afternoon for a reason.

6. I learned that I stopped loving Art Department a long time ago, and despite catching their last set as Johnny and Kenny, and wanting to love it. I simply could not.

7. The mac and cheese food truck beside The Beatport Stage won best festival food I’ve had in awhile. I got the one with bacon, duh.

8. I learned that the new club Populux may be one of my favourite venues I’ve ever visited, and proves why it is crucial to check out afterparties. While at Populux, mesmerized by pillars with technicolour lights,  I witnessed Robert Hood and Nina Kravitz spin a great Chicago house set and a short but fun set respectively.

7. I loved the DJ spinning on the patio at Populux until 2:30am. I do not know his name. He was however, fantastic.

8. You can and will meet anyone you want if you just wait outside the Westin. I met Danny Brown, Skrillex, Boys Noize, MK, and Nicole Moudaber. I wasn’t even staying there.

9. Cab drivers can be your best friend (shoutout to the man that made three stops on the way home from City Club, yes one stop was American Coney Island) or your worst enemy (shoutout to the man that kicked my friends and I out of a cab for no reason).

10a. Old Miami is best to go to later in the day. Don’t try to beat the rush. You won’t.

10b. Don’t bring a backpack to Old Miami.

11. Techno, especially the hard techno being played at the Underground Stage can be scary. #Scared. But Ben Klock was pretty great.

12.  Let your ears guide you to the stage you want to go to. They are always right.

13. Seeing Joris Voorn should be manadatory.

13. I learned being able to see Voorn and then walk 100m (or whatever that is in feet) to see a memorable set of Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson is something I am very thankful for being able to do.

14. I learned City Club is also when of the most spooky/cool/loud/damp/DGAF venue in Detroit and very possibly North America. I’m sure there are some equally as spooky/cool/loud/damp/DGAF venues in places like Ukraine, Bolivia, Thailand and/or Serbia so I’m not sure I can argue it is the most in the world. I learned Damian Lazarus will blow out the candles that are set up beside the speakers purely using bass.

15. I learned if you start some people up, they’ll never stop… Never stop…. Never stop.

16. The fan is the best festival accessory.

17. Love your crew and stay with your buddy.

18. I learned to give thanks and praise the Detroit techno legends that make a festival like Movement possible.

19. Pray Paxahau can up their own standard next year (this worked last year, although I didn’t think it could).

20. Book your hotel for next year. Actually, this should have been done yesterday.

What did you learn at Movement? Did you also get schooled in Detroit? Don’t worry slugger, there’s always next year. I’ll see you at the THUMP: Made in Detroit Stage.

 

If it hasn’t already, Movement Music Festival should have caught your attention. Brought to you by Paxahau and based in the hometown of techno, Detroit, and boasting a line up of top notch talent, Movement (formally known as DEMF) in my opinion, is the best weekend of the summer. Taking place over the American Memorial Day Weekend, it’s something about the right music, right venue, and the right crowd that makes this festival unlike any other. The crowd is there for the music- plain and simple. Toddlers wear oversized headphones to protect their ears as their parents two step, and The Techno Grandma uses the fence to help balance as she dances the day away.

The after parties turn into day parties which flow perfectly into the next day at the festival. You sleep when you can, but mostly you choose music over sleep. Well, duh.

Last year I cannot stress how great the Carl Cox b2b Loco Dice set was the closing night and with this years line up, I can only assume some equally amazing sets will be played.

The festival begins on Saturday, May 23, but some of the best parties outside of the festival are hosted on the Friday night. My pick? The party at TV Lounge with Bicep, The Black Madonna, (who’s not even playing at the festival)  David Morales, Derek Plaslaiko, Michael Serafini, and Northside 82. Feugo Feugo Feugo. Or the 3Chairs party which will see Rick Wilhite, Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, Kenny Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann, and Josh Milan hit the decks.

Remember, the festival hasn’t even started yet.

The Festival line up?

Movement Line up

I can’t even give you good recommendations because I’m equally as overwhelmed by the line up. How much good music can one listen to in one weekend? Apparently, we’re about to find out.

A few tips? Go to all the stages, but in my opinion having a dope spot for your crew at either The RedBull Stage or the Beatport Stage is the way to go. Try and stay for the entire set of a few artists you haven’t seen before, or maybe even heard of before. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday at the festival, I wouldn’t miss Dixon, Gaiser, TUSKEGEE or KiNK. Saturday night, the parties to choose from are equally as enticing. Carl Craig or Juan Atkins? Disclosure b2b set with Kevin Saunderson b2b Dantiez Saunderson. Yes, a father son duo. I’ve heard good things about Dantiez and when your father is Kevin Saunderson I bet you’re not bad on the decks either.

On Sunday, Bob Moses, Robert Dietz and Loco Dice have all caught my attention. But after the Juan Atkins party, I may not be awake for any opening sets. Well, let’s be realistic.  Sunday night Dirtybird 10 has their showcase at the legendary Fillmore and over at the new venue Populux Nina Kravitz and Robert Hood are headlining трип 2 Detroit.

And at this point, guess what? There’s one more day. Have you eaten enough? Have you slept enough? Have you drank enough water? These are all questions that will come and go in your head as you enter the third day. But with afterparties lasting until 6am, there’s no use in going to bed when the best party of them all starts at 7am Monday morning.

old miami

Old Miami, presented and hosted by Seth Troxler starts early and the line never stops so make your way there early and lay in the grass to recover from the night before. This was easily the best part of my Movement experience last year. It’s like Coda on grass with fresh air. Yes, please.

seth troxler

Finally, Sunday night rolls around and if you’re not exhausted, there’s even more artists ready to make you dance away the final day. Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May are presenting a DJ set. That will be my only focus of that day, and if I’m feeling really ambitious, the Official Movement After Party which will see Mr. Loco Dice playing again alongside Richie Hawtin (TBT to CNTRL tour 2013).

Movement is a magical weekend. You can’t describe it, but it is everything you want in a music festival and with so many Torontonians making their way West this year, I can only imagine it becoming an even better party. Either way, Detroit is waiting, techno is calling and I can’t wait.

I’ll meet you at the Beatport Stage.

Artist: Atapy
Title: Black Bird
Label: Thrill Of It
Release: 13/04
Cat #: TOI006
Tracklisting:
1) Black Bird
2) Ego
3) Geist
4) Triangle

Only a few days ago, Atapy released his newest project, an EP called Black Bird on French label Thrill of It. Atapy is a star producer that has been releasing music since 2010 and has credits on labels like Bedrock and Get Physical. Based out of Bucharest, Romania, Atapy has remixed The xx and worked alongside Noir and Cari Golden. It is clear from Black Bird that Atapy is a name to watch in 2015.

The four song EP starts with the title track. Black Bird is comprised of very crisp and clean house sounds that lend themselves over summery guitar licks that make it an easy listen on your way to work. It definitely sets the stage for the fantastic tracks that are to follow.

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Next up is Ego. This may be my favourite track on the EP.
The dark house sounds, high hats, and synths alike make this a fantastic track. It builds as it ebs to and fro, each time, hardening the beat.

The EP ends with Giest and Triangle. Geist is a perfect techno track with rising pads that make you sink into the groove of the track until you realize you’re doing a two step in your chair. Triangle is more playful and fun but with the originality we’ve come to expect by this point. The dark claps and eerie yet well placed sounds make this a track that encompasses you and demands your attention for it’s entire duration.

Black Bird is a great EP. It showcases Atapy’s diversity but also his dedication to clean sounds that ensure there is not too much going on. The EP is easy to listen to and my only wish is that there were more tracks. However, this only leaves me excited for what’s to come with Atapy in the future.

Check out his latest EP Black Bird below:

It’s been three whole weeks, but I think some people are still recovering. The closing night of Toronto’s legendary nightclub complex, The Guvernment was on January 25th and the sound was curated by none other than Toronto’s favourite people; Manzone and Strong, deadmau5, & Mark Oliver. Since the closing nights, the complaints, cries, and over dramatic reactions has been at an all time high.

And it needs to stop. I know you loved Guvernment. You loved the Co2, the sound system (…. Really? I read this somewhere and was shocked), you loved the crowd, your #Trancefamily and Koolhaus. You loved ripping SkyBar in the summer months and bought early bird tickets for Labour of Love every year. I get it, Guv was special. But so was your superman lunch box and you’re doing just fine without that too. Right?

But was Guv that good?

Why does it seem everyone was so dependent on Guvernment for their go to EDM events? I had some great times there, but it always seemed like a good Guv night was much longer (in so many ways) than you wanted. The lines for the bathrooms were longer, the crowd was also so think it took longer to get back to your crew after visiting the bathroom or the bar, and the #GuvAids lasted much, much longer than you would expect.

10411260_943433732342601_3322661787779433507_nTorontians have some crazy #GuvLuv. A love I’ve never fully understood. Oh of course I’ve had some nights there. I still own the first shirt I ever wore to Guv mostly because it’s still a cool tank, but also because it has some memories attached to it that still make me smile every time I put it on. But I think the love got a little excessive in the final weeks of Guv’s existence, and the measures people went to to ensure they were a part of history.

But don’t you get it? You already are a part of history. Everyone that went to Guv will remember it for different reasons. Some will love and cherish every moment that they spent inside that vault of lost souls. Others will try to push every little thought of entering the building to the back of their mind. But it doesn’t matter because Guv will never die. It will be brought up in conversations for years. People will talk about its residence nights, the closing shows, the Sky Bar sets, and the marathon sets. Guv can never actually close.

I didn’t go to the closing parties. I didn’t even try to get a ticket because at this point in my life, I want to go to Guv as badly as I want to contract Ebola. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic but the allure of the venue is no longer there. I rather go to Coda or some hole in the wall on College. I rather not suffer from GuvAids and I rather not be talked to by no less than eight girls every time I go to the bathroom. Yes, I know you think my hair is cool. Thank you and get out of my way, I have to fix my lipstick.

So yes. Guv is gone and I need you to stop crying/complaining/whining about it. I’d rather you just reminisce over all the times you were there and realized that was exactly where you were supposed to be at that exact moment in time; with the perfect song playing and the perfect people beside you. Guv was not perfect. No nightclub will ever be; but sometimes, the feelings they provide, are perfect.

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Getting signed.

That catch phrase is echoed throughout every corner of the music industry. From the promoters, to the artists, to management, labels and agencies- getting signed is the dream. Once your record is picked up by a label, or once you’re signed to one (if you’re talented enough and work your ass off), it’s like you received the coveted gold star on your homework. You’ve done it.

So let’s take a closer look at some of our favourite labels. Why and how they’re formed and what they are looking for? What makes them sign a record or have a hunch that an artist is going to explode? Do they prefer links to Soundclouds or USBs with direct downloads? With the opportunity social media presents in building your own audience, it is even easier for those who have thought about starting a label to start one. But as I’m sure you’ll quickly learn, this industry is anything but giving, and it’s no walk in the park. The term hustle comes to mind, but it often does.

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So, let me introduce to you Downpour Records, founded by Peter Marrone and Andreas Rizek. Incorporated over two years ago, Downpour started when Peter and Andreas both realized they wanted to start a company and starting a label was always a dream for Andreas. So, slowly but efficiently they got their ducks in order and finally launched Downpour Recordings. When hearing about a musician or listening to a track for the first time, Andreas says he focuses on hearing good songwriting with a solid understanding of songwriting. He looks for professionalism in the artists, “Someone who has their shit together and knows what they want,” he explains.

Downpour was able to release countless singles this year, helping different local artists expand their reach. But with so many releases this past year, what was a favourite? Rizek admits to liking their melodic Smooth Child release the most. Along with any City Kid Soul release, this one would be mine as well.

 

Both Peter and Andreas’ passion for music and releasing quality tracks is evident when listening to their Soundcloud. Every track has that little something special that makes it impossible for you to switch feeds, I find myself endlessly listening to their page, each song giving me exactly what I wanted, even if I didn’t know I needed it.

But what makes Downpour stand out? Besides the quality of the tracks being released, I love Downpour because of their commitment to cultivating art and creativity in Toronto. They held a gallery event back in September showcasing different kids of art, including five writers- one of them being co-founder Peter Marrone. Peter began writing a science fiction series entitled Stories from Space in October of 2008 after developing two character Guyus Grey and his arch nemesis and not knowing what to do with them. After pitching the idea of releasing stories to Andreas on what he described as a late night scotch run, and him loving the idea, Downpour decided to start releasing a short story with each release. Each story is also based on the personality of the artist, and the emotions and thoughts provoked by the track.

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So after working extremely hard in 2014, what can we expect from Downpour in 2015? We can look forward to seeing an E-Book compilation released of all the books and stories published so far. Also, up and coming Toronto producer and one half of the group City Kid Soul, Devin Rattie is set to join the back end of Downpour. We can look forward to a brand new YouTube page and releases from artists from the UK, Mexico and Poland. They plan on releasing a graphic novel to accompany all of the short stories. Finally a sample pack will be available by Cosella and Guyus Grey and a compilation of all the stories will be available on iBook stories internationally.

Downpour saw a lot of success in 2014, and with these ambitious goals and amazing releases planned for 2015, I cannot wait to see what the future holds for Andreas, Peter, and Downpour Recordings.