Toronto rave culture is slowly turning away from times of the past. Events no longer take place in airplane hangers, hockey arenas, roller rinks or in warehousing spaces. Shuttle buses to venues that are to be announced are things of the past. To enjoy electronic music described as “rave music” you have to know your local promoters, follow their event postings on the internet and scour through flyers handed out at late night events to find what you are looking for. Amongst those postings or flyers you may come across a gem of an event. An event such as Yellow, which was thrown last Saturday by Bring the Bass events.
Bring the Bass events is the brainchild of veteran electronic deejay Lisa Bassett, also known as Lady Bass. Bassett is a hard dance and house deejay from Toronto who has been honing her craft for over a decade. She has shared the decks with some of the top deejays in the world and has frequently travelled across North America dropping her hard dance style of music.
The idea to throw colour themed events began in April of this year when the inaugural green themed party took place. It was followed by a pink themed party where the proceeds of the event were given to support different forms of women’s cancers and this yellow themed party was the third instalment of the series. The colour themed event formula is a simple and effective way to throw events while tying in a theme for the attendees of the party.
As you walk into Nocturne, normally a dark and gothic bar located on Queen Street West, the bright shirts and balloons representing the yellow colour were present. It was nowhere near as yellow as one would expect, but to really pull that off in a venue that normally represents dark events would be difficult. Nonetheless, party goers showed their support, blinding the room with yellow shirts, hats, signs and glow sticks.
Lady Bass herself played the opening time slot in the main room, to ensure she could run her event smoothly throughout the rest of the night. Her fast-paced hard dance style consisted of tunes that would certainly have the crowd jumping if the night was not so young.
In the backroom, Gabbo began the night with an eclectic mix of hardstyle which featured remixes of popular rock tunes such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” as well as some class Metallica. The two deejays started off the night on the right track, and the crowd began to filter into the venue.
After her set Lady Bass took a few minutes to sit down with me for an interview before her event became too jam packed. I asked her about her set, the event, the live internet stream and more.
The interview was conducted outside Nocturne where Lady Bass could watch fans begin to walk into the club, filling it quickly. I asked her how her set went, “It went well. I don’t normally play first these days, but I thought I would give the other deejays a chance to spin behind the decks and have some primetime timeslots while I just kind of take care of business for the event.”
As mentioned above Yellow is the third instalment of a colour themed series of events put together by Lady Bass and Bring the Bass events. Where did the idea for colour themed events come from? “I have to give props to Ken Finch for that one because when I thought of doing events again with Bring the Bass, he said ‘Well why don’t you have a colour theme and then you can just use different colours.’ I thought, you know what, that’s a great idea, because I was trying to think of different ideas, so that’s kind of where it came from.
Ken Finch and Lady Bass were a predominate hard dance combo for a long period of time, playing some of the biggest events Toronto had to offer, while creating their own tracks such as “999” and “Psycho.” Does the duo still play gigs together? “Yeah, we do every once in a while. Not as often anymore because he’s married with a baby. He and his wife are actually in Montreal this weekend. He’s running a marathon. So you can tell our lives are a bit different now, but we’re still friends. We do deejay together here and there.”
With a bright theme based around the colour yellow why did Lady Bass choose a club such as Nocturne, which is known throughout Toronto as more of a black oriented, Goth club? “I love this club. I do events here every couple of months, sometimes I take a month off in between, depending on how the events go. They’re really great. Spencer, the owner is amazing to work with. I just give him a call and say I want to book the club and he’s very flexible. The sound people are good. The sound here is really good. They’re really good with the fans and security, not crazy like some clubs.”
As one takes a look at the bright yellow pieces of Bristol board taped on the walls of the club, which indicate deejay set times, you may notice a very diverse line-up of deejays. From the soulful drum ‘n’ bass sounds of Jocelyn Dee to the hard-pounding dance sounds of Cynex, fans have a taste of everything. Why did Lady Bass choose the line-up she did? “Yeah, I try to keep a little bit across the genres of everything. If you noticed there is hardstyle, hard dance, and some jungle, a little bit of everything. I just try to keep it open for everybody and it seems to attract people every time I do.” Which set was she personally most excited to hear? “Mike Conradi and City and Mixxxy because I haven’t really heard Mike in a while and I haven’t gotten the chance to see City and Mixxxy play live. I’ve only seen their sets on internet (video), as well as some of their recorded sets. They play a bit of everything. They seem to be pretty fun. Fun sets that I have seen on their videos. People seem to be into them. They also have a record label and they do a lot of producing.”
One of the aspects of this show that Bring the Bass provided, uncommon to events such as this, was a live internet broadcast. I asked Lady Bass about it, “This (the show) was being broadcast on video live on http://bringthebass.ca and you can also go and search for Bring the Bass events and it’s also on Facebook. There’s a tab on Facebook, just hit the stream tab. I put it all over the place, embed the code. I’m trying to figure out the sound because someone messaged me. I can watch the chat while I’m deejaying and I noticed that they said, ‘Too bad the sound was abysmal.’ I think the levels mixed with the recording of the microphone and the tiny little webcam are off so I turned it down. Hopefully the sound is okay, put you can definitely watch the video.”
With plenty of people beginning to stream into the club Lady Bass had to get back to the work of running the event, so I asked her if she had any shout-outs, “Just to you. Its great to see you again and I’m happy that you’re back showing up at gigs.”
The event filled up in both rooms as blistering beats of hard dance music filled the ears of music lovers, who danced and enjoyed the impressive deejay sets from numerous deejays. In the back room at midnight DJ City and Miss Mixxxy delivered a massive set of room rattling and heart pounding dub, combined with remixes of old soul classics, grime and garage. The combination of it all may sound odd, but these two deejays had no problem delivering an incredible set to an adoring crowd. The combination of the duo’s energy on the stage mixed with impressive deejaying techniques and a unique sound got the crowd cheering and dancing. The set was at that point the highlight of the night, in my opinion. That was until Mike Conradi took the stage in the main room.
Conradi, a veteran of the club scene who has spun house, hard house and techno for as long as one can remember, did exactly what he has done forever. He absolutely blew the roof off of Nocturne. It almost seemed as if what he was playing never ended. The set felt like it continued on forever and the crowd loved it. The energy flowing through the building was incredible and bodies never stopped moving to the beats delivered by the deejay. From start to finish he was technically sound and delivered precision mixing and great track selection. The hard dance veteran delivered a great performance. I made sure to track Conradi down to get a few words from him about the set and the show in general.
Beads of sweat dripped down his forehead while we found a breezy spot outside of the club to discuss a few things. After complimenting him for destroying the club with a wicked set I asked him how he thought the set went, “It was good. A tough act to follow, with three hard dance acts playing before me and I just tried to get a feel for the room, see what people were vibing to and it worked out well I guess.”
Conradi dropped some banging tracks throughout his one hour set and I asked him to name some, he laughed. “I usually go through a lot of tracks when I play live. I played a couple of original tracks. A couple Rex Manning tracks that I produced with Christian Poulson, the last track I played was “Moaner” by Underworld, my all-time favourite track. It went over well.”
The whole set seemed to go over well with the crowd, who gave Conradi compliments outside of the club during the interview, how did he feel about the crowd? Did he think they were feeling his set? “I think so. It was a bit more of an all ages, “ravey” crowd, which I don’t play too much for anymore. I just wanted to kind of drop some tunes that people were going to get into and hopefully keep the dance floor pumping for the guy after me.”
Conradi has always been a busy guy with the music side of his life, what does his future have in store; does he have any upcoming gigs or projects for people to look forward to? “Next time I’m playing in Toronto is October 9th, it’s a Sunday at The Mod Club, I think it’s a new monthly starting there. It’s more of an old school vibe on a Sunday night. Nothing too hardcore. A big event coming up on November 11th is a TDSK show, my deejay affiliation out of Hamilton, Ontario. It’s their eleven year anniversary, with Reid Speed headlining, Rex Manning doing an extended set and a lot of talented locals. Every year this is the party I look forward to. These guys have been at it, like I said, for eleven years and still going strong.”
The exhausted deejay had to head back home as the night was getting long. I asked him if he had any final shout-outs before his journey home, “Shout-out to my girlfriend Carole, who couldn’t be here tonight, she’s got to work early. You, haven’t seen you in forever. Glad to see you’re keeping well and thanks to Lisa for having me out tonight. It was a great night.”
As Conradi walked his gear to his car, the fans in attendance at Yellow were not done with their night. People continued to enter the club to watch the final acts on the evening. Scartat closed out the show with a mix of intense metal tracks combined with jumpy, all over the place jungle, while DJ Destructo closed out the back room with his brand of hardstyle.
As the final tracks of the night were played and the last call signal was given over the microphone, people began to leave Yellow, the majority with huge smiles on their faces thanks to Lady Bass and Bring the Bass events.
All in all, it was a great night of hard dance music and I wish Bring the Bass nothing but the best with their future colour themed events.