Premiere: “Perfection” by Drumcomplex

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On the 16th of August, Düsseldorf’s Drumcomplex graced the decks of Space Ibiza’s covered terrace for Carl Cox’s Last Chapter summer of his Music Is Revolution residency. Before that, the techno duo project played gigs in Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Australia, UAE, India and of course their home country of Germany.

Brothers Daniel and Arnd Reichow divide the Drumcomplex workload, allowing for a perfect balance of work and relax. While Daniel, armed with a sound engineering degree, handles the professional record production output, Arnd takes the project on the road for gigs on the weekend. As a team, they have successfully released on Intec, Bush Records, MB Electronics, Complexed Records and KMS, gaining the support of techno giants like Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, Slam, Paco Osuna, Joseph Capriati, Danny Tenaglia, Marco Carola and The Advent.

This coming October 7th Drumcomplex are poised to step things up with the release of Perfection Is In Imperfection, an eleven-track LP out on Complexed Ltd. The album is inspired by a Japanese philosophy that underscores the appreciation of imperfection, based on the notion that nothing is truly finished, perfect or lasts forever.

Yet, the aptly-named album seems to suggest that the duo find perfection in every imperfection. We had the chance of chatting with Arnd ahead of the release, who also was kind enough to allow us to premiere the second track of the LP entitled “Perfection.”

Your album title Perfection Is In Imperfection is in itself a kind of oxymoron. Can you explain how you came up with it?

Perfection Is In Imperfection is inspired by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi, a concept which focuses on the appreciation of imperfection, things that are simple, rough, or incomplete. Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. I am a spiritual person and thats exactly how I see things, it’s not only music wise.

Is there a track on this album that you consider perfect?

That’s a really good question. When I have to choose one its Aphrodite.

Can techno ever be perfect?

I don’t think so. Techno for me came from punk music, a music which never used to be perfect. When you listen to a vinyl it will never sound “perfect”  — there are always crackles.

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Is there a techno DJ that you consider “perfect,” an act that particularly inspires you in your career?

Yes for sure. There were lots of great artists who inspired me and surprised me with different styles and approaches to music. To name just a few, Speedy J, Chemical Bros, Underworld, Placebo, Metallica… I wasn’t especially into a specific kind of style. I just love energetic artists and performances.

What would be your perfect gig?

I had this perfect gig this summer when i played at Carl Cox’s Music Is Revolution at Space Ibiza. The treatment, the audience, the crew and the atmosphere were absolutely amazing. The level was really high, it’s hard to top this. When I think about what can be my perfect gig, it would be to play on a beach with a lot of friends when the sun rises, laying down some deeper stuff.

Connect with Drumcomplex: RA | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud

Q&A & Global Vibe Radio: Jeff Derringer and Oktave’s 7 Year Anniversary

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Next week Chicago’s Oktave is celebrating 7 years at the forefront of the ever-changing landscape of techno. In an industry that sees clubs open and shut down in the span of a few short years, only a few venues and parties stand the test of time to remain open past the 5 year mark and beyond. The fact that Oktave has done so in a city with heavy focus on house music is but a testament to how well it has been curated over the years.

Oktave originally began in New York City, the child of producer, DJ and event organizer Jeff Derringer. After a year in the Big Apple Jeff moved the party to Chicago, ultimately finding his home at the iconic Smartbar.

Since then, Oktave has been featuring top-tier names in the world of techno, including DVS1, drumcell, Truncate, Perc, Regis, Function, Sigha, Chris Liebing, Slam and many, many more. As a DJ Jeff has allowed his music to speak for him, receiving invitations to play in the Netherlands, England, Georgia, Canada, France, at Movement Detroit, throughout the United States and perhaps most notably at the one and only Berghain in Berlin.

In fact, just a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to witness him play a peak time Sunday morning set at the infamous German club — one of the most unbelievable techno experiences of my life.

Jeff was kind enough to provide us with a one hour exclusive mix for Global Vibe Radio, following which we caught up to discuss Oktave’s milestone 7 Year Anniversary Party and his plans for the coming future.

Q: Seeing you play in Berghain a couple of weeks ago was something else. The energy, the crowd and the music altogether were unreal. Tell us a little about how it feels to be behind the decks there.

A: Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you could be there and experience it with me. Playing at Berghain is a privilege and a huge thrill. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Every time I play there it gets better. I’d say that this last time around was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had behind the DJ booth, period. The audience at Berghain is so educated and they’re willing to go on a ride with you, wherever you want to take them – in fact, that’s the reason they come. You really are free to do what you want, and the staff and techs there are top rate. The Ostgut staff are the most professional and pleasant people I’ve ever worked with in the music industry – they work really hard to make you feel comfortable and welcome in the club and in Berlin. Everything people say is true – as an artist working in techno, there is nothing else like it.

Q: Would you say you play differently there than elsewhere?

A: I’m not sure I’d say I play differently, but definitely more adventurous. Believe it or not, I’m less worried about mistakes at Berghain. The audience there is tolerant and, as I said, educated about techno. I feel free to take risks there, and play tracks I wouldn’t necessarily play elsewhere. The Berghain audience is ready for challenges, and they appreciate it. They don’t really want to hear the set you play at other clubs. They want your Berghain set.

Q: Next week you are celebrating 7 years of Oktave. What does this milestone mean for you as both a party-curator and DJ?

I definitely did not think Oktave would go for 7 years, that’s for sure. When I started it in New York, I had been playing gigs and working in the music business already for a long time, but not in the techno milieu. As far as techno and DJ events went, I really knew very little. So to see that it’s come as far as it has is pretty surreal.

Oktave is the place where I developed as a DJ and as a techno artist. No question, without it I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. It has also allowed me to meet so many great artists I admire. Many of the opportunities I’ve had are a result of the relationships I made and nurtured through this project. It really did put me on the map.

I’ve been very fortunate to work with a lot of great people and clubs through the last 7 years. From National Underground in New York to Smartbar in Chicago and everywhere in between, I’ve been lucky to have the support of clubs and bookers who might not have taken a chance on me in other circumstances. I do not take that for granted.

Q: Can you tell us about your favorite Oktave night in these 7 years?

A: There have been a lot of awesome nights at Oktave, and it’s special when an emerging artist who wasn’t very well known in Chicago (or New York) has a great night and a great reception. It’s especially gratifying when I wasn’t expecting it. Several artists in this respect come to mind: Dasha Rush, Rrose, Paula Temple, Samuli Kemppi and Sigha come to mind here.

That said, the one show that really sticks out to me was something I did in New York back in 2011 – both Cio D’or and Traversable Wormhole played in our tiny little basement dungeon in New York, National Underground. Soon after this show they renovated the club and made it more DJ friendly, but at this show it was still a relative dump. We were using a discarded closet door as a DJ table, held up by cinder blocks. There was no air conditioning and bad ventilation, no lights – it was really, really raw. I liked that to a certain degree but I underestimated how popular the night had become, and how eager people were to see Cio and Adam. The place was ram packed to the point where it felt dangerous, and sweat was pouring from the walls. We had about 150 people crammed down there (capacity was under 100) and no one could move. I had to stand in front of the DJ booth for the entirety of Cio D’or’s set, because people kept bumping into the rickety booth and knocking her control vinyl. I was worried the whole rig would just collapse. It was nuts! But it was super intense, and the crowd was absolutely rocking. Adding to this memory is the fact that Resident Advisor happened to show up and review the event. They gave us a very positive write up, and I think that helped Oktave get to the next level.

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Q: You’ve decided to play all night long this time which I think is amazing. What was the reasoning behind this choice and what can the Smart Bar crowd expect?

A: Jason (the Smartbar talent buyer) approached me with the idea as we were trying to decide who to book for the show. Obviously, I jumped at the chance. I played for 6.5 hours in Montreal earlier this summer, so I’ve done something similar recently, and I’m ready to lay it down all night, for sure.

One of the reasons I really wanted to do this is that Chicago audiences generally only see me in an opening capacity. As the Oktave resident, I almost always open the show, and I play mellower tracks to set up the headliner. When I play in other cities or overseas, I play headlining sets, utilizing different types of tracks that deliver a higher energy than what I normally play in Chicago. I’m excited for the Chicago community to finally see and hear what I do in that light.

Q: Perhaps understandably Chicago is big on house music and, some would agree, lacks a little on the techno front. Why do you think that is?

A: So this is a very loaded question that could probably get me in trouble. I have a great respect for the history of Chicago’s house and techno scenes, and in the city responsible for the birth of house music, it’s definitely understandable that techno can take a back seat to the house community.

I continue, however, to be surprised at the relative lack of tolerance for new, diverse and modern sounds in Chicago. For a city that has such rich musical roots and history, it has always mystified me that the Chicago underground community is so infatuated by and tied to its past. At Smartbar, the majority of artists who sell out the club have been playing there for over 20 years. I’ve seen excellent, cutting edge, internationally successful DJs who are hugely popular all over the world tank at Smartbar. And I mean tank – 30, 40, 50 people in the room. This has not really improved through the years that I’ve been doing Oktave here. Excellent artists are oftentimes ignored in Chicago because there just isn’t the interest or the curiosity about new sounds. It’s a shame. There was a time where I thought I could change that. That time has passed.

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Q: What is your vision with Oktave in the coming years?

A: As my profile as an artist and a DJ continues to improve, Oktave sometimes has to take a back seat to my own needs and schedule. A lot of artists ask me why I continue to do it – I hear a lot of people say I should stop focusing on promoting other artists and work harder on promoting myself. I definitely feel that and I have moved to do less Oktave shows and focus more on my records, gigs etc.

I do plan, however, to continue doing Oktave events and to bring the type of techno I love to Chicago. My personal belief is that someone in my position has a civic responsibility to bring new music to the people in the city where I live. Despite the frustration and the limitations of living here, I still want Oktave to be at least a small part of the fabric of this community.

Q: One last question, is there an act you’ve always wanted to see play Oktave that you just haven’t been able to secure yet? Maybe we can let him know through here.

A: One good thing about having done this for 7 years, I can pretty much get to any artist, especially with Smartbar in the mix. Between the names ‘Smartbar’ and ‘Oktave,’ most techno DJs will at least answer my emails. Regardless, there are always artists who seem to slip through your fingers, or schedules just never work out, or there’s not enough money, or there are political slash immigration reasons they can’t come, that kind of thing. That list is currently headlined by: Surgeon, Shifted, James Ruskin, Blawan, and Voices From the Lake.

Connect with Jeff Derringer: Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | SoundCloud

Humble Beginnings: An Interview with Julius Jetson

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In February 2015 I took my first and only trip to Washington D.C. to visit a close friend. While there, he took me around to check out the city’s vibrant house and techno scene, including two visits to Flash nightclub.

On the first night at the intimate venue I had the pleasure of meeting Julian Ragland, a friend of his and one of the minds behind D.C.’s music community and promoters Nu Androids. It so happens that Nu Androids were hosting Dirtybird artist Kill Frenzy that night and the place was jam packed – an impressive feat for a Wednesday. I have since come to grow tremendous respect for Julian’s work in the D.C. electronic music scene as both an artist and event curator, constantly seeing him push the boundaries from both platforms. Although I never had the chance to see him play live (he produces and spins under the alias Julius Jetson), I have seen the tremendous success and support his productions and performances have received in the electronic music industry.

I recently had the chance to talk with Julian and discuss his past, present and future going forward as both an artist and at the helm of Nu Androids.

Read more

Q&A with Boris – From Airwaves to the Club with Transmissions

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“Believe in Boris” are the words iterated by many who follow the man that has been at the forefront of the New York electronic music scene since the early 90s. Head of Transmit Recordings and producer of the Transmissions broadcast which is aired all across the world, Russian native Boris resides in the top tier of artists that have shaped the club identity. Read more

Q&A: Falling For Deep House with Teenage Mutants

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While his name conjures fond memories of childhood heroes, Teenage Mutants is jet set for the high life in the upcoming year following his recent release titled Fall For You on the Ultra Music/Sony label. The German DJ and producer who hails from Mainz has made the rounds within the deep house scene over the recent years, pushing out releases on independent labels such as Suara, Stil vor Talent, Light my Fire, Kittball, Katermukke and Nervous. Read more

Q&A with Trent Cantrelle – Otherworldly Techno with “Android Bordello” on MOOD

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With over twenty years of experience manning the decks at parties from BPM to Coachella, the New Orleans born and Los Angeles based DJ Trent Cantrelle is something of an unsung legend along with the predecessors of the electronic music scene. Trent has an established presence in both the mainstream and the underground, a feat that only a select and talented few have the power to achieve and to maintain in the current state of affairs.

Trent Cantrelle has pulled the trigger with a hot new release titled Android Bordello EP on Nicole Moudaber’s techno imprint Mood Recordings as a follow up to the serendipitous pre-summer release of his original deeper than thou All of Them EP on DC’s Yoshitoshi Recordings. The support for the release has been overwhelmingly positive, receiving support from A-list DJ’s such as Adam Beyer, Carlo Lio, Jon Rundell, Monika Krause, Joseph Capriati, among many others. Read more

Watch the Video Recap of Sublevel and Subtract’s Golf Course Party

As the summer in California came to a close, we ventured out to an isolated golf course in Malibu for an open air event hosted by Sublevel and Subtract. Guided by musical curators Anton Tumas, Matt Xavier, Tara Brooks, and Doc Martin, the property transformed into a musical oasis in the hills of Malibu, and set a perfect tone for the weeks to follow. We were on the scene capturing the moments and catching up with all the DJ’s in light of the event

Q&A with Marco Faraone – Reaching the “Next Level”

“I know where I am now, but also where I was yesterday. This helps me always; to keep my feet on the ground and be the same person I was before” – Marco Faraone

Appropriately fitting with the title of his new EP on Moon Harbour, Italian producer Marco Faraone has certainly achieved the next level in his artistic career. Since his early influences in Tuscany until now, Marco Faraone has expressed an uncompromising passion for electronic music that has landed him releases on many prestigious labels, as well as world tours at the most respected venues and festivals. As a result, the humble Italian DJ has taken his passion and lifestyle, and turned it into a very special career.

Marco Faraone’s success can be attributed to a multitude of things. He has sculpted and refined his sound with releases on labels such Holic Trax, Get Physical, Sci+Tec, Desolat, Drumcode, and Tenax Recordings, and proves that he is a versatile craftsman in all areas of electronic music. Approaching the music with a remarkable amount of sincerity, it’s only natural that each record label has a special place in the story of Marco’s life. But one label that has had an especially profound impact is Moon Harbour.

His first release on the label came back in 2010, and was a catalyst in the musical momentum that was to follow. “Strange Neighbors was the release that opened the market, and gave me the chance to let the people discover more about me as artist and my music,” states Faraone.

Five years later and we still see the Italian artist releasing fresh and unique tracks for the dance floor. The Next Level EP on Moon Harbour couldn’t represent this statement better. The title track is a chunky slab of tech house goodness with gritty percussions and a resonate lead that entrances the dance floor, while Old But Gold sees Marco Faraone pay homage to the classic house vibes with chopped vocal samples, vinyl spinbacks, and of course a deep percussive workout.

We recently caught up with Marco Faraone to ask about everything from the strange neighbors that influenced his first release on Moon Harbour to his experience and progression in Italy.

Next Level EP is available September 16th on Beatport.

Marco Faraone: Beatport | Soundcloud | Resident Advisor | Facebook 

Q&A with Marco Faraone

Ciao Marco, thanks for taking the time with us! You had your first release on Moon Harbour 5 years ago, correct? Was it the “Strange Neighbors” EP? What was the story behind that? What made your neighbors so strange?!

ahahaha It’s a very funny story. Many people ask me about that title. The track was named that because when I was producing it in my studio at six in the morning, and I was playing the music very loud. I would say VERY, over the limit loud! My neighbors got very mad with me, almost fighting, and from that day they asked me to move my studio somewhere else because they didn’t wanna hear music anymore or jump from the bed during sleep…

Well, they were right, but five years ago I didn’t want to understand that and I just wanted to follow my passion against everything and everybody. So guys, if you have neighbors, be careful if you’re playing music too loud, or they will get mad hehe.

My first Vinyl EP was released in 2008, so two years before. But for sure Strange Neighbors was the release that opened the market, and gave me the chance to let the people discover more about me as artist and my music

How did growing up in Tuscany influence your music?

Well, in Tuscany we always had a nice club scene for many years; clubs that made the history of the Italian club culture such as Tenax in Florence, the club where I’ve been a resident for 3 years. In my opinion, it’s one of the best clubs in the world.

I started DJ-ing when I was very young. I was 14, so since then when I discovered house and techno music, and I was going to the best clubs every week in my area like Tenax, but also KamaKama or FrauMarleen. Clubs like that also created the movement in the past.

I’m curious about your history and experiences in Italy. What were some of the clubs or events you visited early on?

When I started I was visiting all the clubs I just mentioned. I would go to listen and watch the DJs, trying to learn some tricks from them and understand how to do it.

I was still playing hip-hop and drum and bass, then after a while I fell in love with house and techno. I said to myself, “this is the style of music I want to do and to produce in the future”.

I’ll tell you something – at the beginning I was not even thinking about playing outside of my small hometown. It was a dream even to have a chance to play in one of the area’s clubs. I know where I am now, but also where I was yesterday. This helps me always; to keep my feet on the ground and be the same person I was before. Imagine a 14 year old boy, that after more than 10 years realized his dream and started to do what he lives for…music.

I hear that there was a very large progressive/techno community in the early 90’s. Can you tell me a bit about the dance community in the early to mid 90’s in Italy?  

The scene in Italy was very big in the 90’s as I heard. I’m 27 so I’m from ’88, and of course I didn’t have the chance to live and enjoy those years. But from what I heard from some older colleagues the movement was huge! Parties everyday, seven days a week, good vibes and great people. The atmosphere was totally different than it is now, and people were going to LISTEN to the music and not WATCH the DJ! This is the most important thing that is missing. Everyone was playing just vinyl, the only way to play music, so the music research was absolutely more difficult, but at the same time unique for every DJ. Not just downloading the weekly Top 10 and playing it.

Who were some of your musical influences?

For sure Laurent Garnier. He’s for me THE DJ; an artist that is able to play everything with very high class.
What are your thoughts on the house/techno scene in Italy today?

The scene is still one of the best ones in the world. Every week artists from all over the world are coming to play in my country, and are super satisfied. We have so many amazing clubs so we don’t have to envy others very much. The crowd is one of the warmest ever, and I’m very proud of our club scene. The only thing is that we must learn is to collaborate and be more united, and appreciate all the amazing talents we have at home. Unity is strength.

How did your history begin with Moon Harbour?

My history with Moon Harbour became super natural.

Like many unknown producers, I was sending my demos to labels trying to find someone to trust me and my sound. I say that because I also get demos everyday from people and I remember myself when I was doing the same, so I always try to answer everybody.

It’s not amazing when nobody cares or answers you. Me and my friend Arado sent Matthias the track Broken Keyboard released on the Strange Neighbors EP. That was my first step when Matthias told me that he loved the track. Straight after that I was sending him many other demos trying to create a full EP. After a while that happened, and this is how “step by step” we started to collaborate and also be friends.

MAtthias TanzamanHowever it goes, I’ll always say thanks to Matthias for the big opportunity to release that EP. He was one of the first people who supported me and gave me the chance that so many people are dreaming of today. That’s why I’m still working and supporting the label continuously with admiration and respect.

What is your approach when recording a track or EP? Does your method change when you record for various labels?   

Well I don’t really have a scheme in my mind when I start to produce something. It depends on the day – if I’m happy or sad for something. I just get involved with the flow. I go to the studio and do what I feel in that moment.  Every time the result is different and then I collect all the tracks and decide the correct label that can appreciate them.

I’ve been releasing on many different labels such as Moon Harbour, but also Desolat, Drumcode, Be as One, Get Physical, and of course with different kinds of tracks.

When I started I liked to listen to everything and different styles of music, that is how I grew up. So this is also reflected into my sets and my music productions. I love to produce in different ways, and always have different results. Music must always surprise the audience and those who support me.

Do you have a favorite piece of studio gear at the moment?

For sure my new 303.

We’re really enjoying the “Next Level EP”! Can you tell me a little about the title track and Old But Gold?

After five years of work and still having a good relationship with a label and getting supported from the beginning – that for me is reaching the “Next Level”. This is what’s happening with Moon Harbour and all the amazing artists and friends that work together with the label as a family. I’m proud to be part of it.  The EP is coming out with remixes by my friends Matthias Kaden and Santé. I can’t wait!

Old But Gold really has a nice vintage house feel with some driving energy. I love the vinyl spinback samples and the broken vocals. Have you been playing this one?

Yes, the idea was to create something that reminds me of the old school house sound from the 90’s with jam recorded breaks and dirty analog drums. The first time I played it the reaction was crazy, and I decided to send it to Matthias because I thought that Moon Harbour was the perfect platform to release it.

How was XL Day with Marco Carola, Dixon, Philipp, Cole, Tale of Us, and Alex Neri?

It was for sure one of the best parties of the summer. It was amazing to share the stage with these amazing artists on my birthday and with all my best friends. The stage was something incredible, comparable with a super big festival. The people’s vibe was super and Tenax did an amazing production, like always.

What have been some highlights of your summer?

Oh, I had so many good parties this summer. For sure the Drumcode Showcase at the Extrema Outdoor Festival in Belgium, Tenax – Xl Day, El Row in Barcelona, Watergate in Berlin, my first North American Tour visiting Verboten, Stereo Montreal, and Treehouse Miami, the Russia tour, and for sure my event “Marco Faraone & Friends” on August 29 where we played 11 hours on the beach in Catania with 3000 people.

Marco Faraone Open Air

Do you have any plans and projects for the future?

I’ll keep working with the labels who supported me and my music. I’ll also debut my new label in October called “UNCAGE” – a project where I can express my idea of music without limits and restrictions and maybe give a chance to support some new undiscovered talents.

The first released planned is a new EP by myself including two amazing remixes by Radio Slave and Markus Suckut. Keep your ears open for it! 🙂

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20 Years of House in Los Angeles with Sacred Grounds

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Dance culture has evolved at a rapid rate around the world; some countries faster than others, but each rich with their own unique history. Where some cultures have developed a very specific sound, Los Angeles has always been a diverse melting pot of musical ideas and groups. Amidst the musical diversity, however, one thing is certain, and it’s that Los Angeles has and always will have deep roots in the underground rave and house scene.

This Labor Day weekend will mark a very special occasion for the Los Angeles scene too. Sacred Grounds, one of the most influential house music collectives in LA, will be celebrating their twenty-year anniversary with none other than Doc Martin and Mark Farina. The two house veterans are gearing up for a 2 x 6 open format back-to-back, with a few additional surprises for the live set.

In light of this monumental occasion, we sat down with Sacred Grounds founder, Carlos Gdubbs, to get an expansive history lesson on 20 Years of House Music in Los Angeles. From his early foundations in the underground, we move through topics and stories ranging from his first official party to the territorial divide of the 90’s, eventually leading us to where we stand today, 20 years later. Read more

Artist Spotlight: Sydney Blu

Sydney BluToronto, Canada has produced some extraordinary talent when it comes to the underground electronic music scene. Sydney Blu is one of the top female DJ’s in the industry and she has solidified herself as one of the heavy hitters who came up in Toronto nightlife scene. Deadmau5, Carlo Lio, Nathan Barato, Kenny Glasgow and Sydney Blu are just a few of the names that have risen the ranks of top DJ’s while calling Toronto their home. Toronto has provided incredible dance floors for local DJ’s to sharpen their skills at clubs like Coda, The Guvernment (RIP), Film Cafe, X-it, System Soundbar and Comfort Zone (CZ).

We caught up with Sydney Blu to chat about her Canadian roots, musical influences and her latest project, Relentless, which is her first full length EP released on Black Hole Recordings. Sydney Blu’s Relentless is set to launch on July 27th with a huge album release party at Sound Nightclub in Los Angeles for Monday Night Social. Read more