Though the din of dirty bass booming from the basement of the SUB usually signals the weekly Wednesday night Pit party, students were kept humping past humpday last week thanks to CiTR Radio’s third annual Are You That DJ? competition.
CiTR, UBC’s student-run, community-based radio station, put on the event to kick-off their annual Fundrive fundraising campaign. The competition featured a lineup of seven local DJs—Kellenw, Energenn, Roy E Biv, Le Roy (a.k.a Manitoba Touch), Oker Chen (who failed to attend), Lucifah, Christafari and MAWK. Winners were determined by attendee-submitted voting slips, with Energenn taking the top prize, second going to Kellenw and Christafari taking third.
The DJs spun 20-minute sets, offering a sampling of styles that ranged from new disco to dub-step. Their experience levels ranged from bedroom DJs making their debut, to spinsters with up to six years under their belts. In tune with the colourful quality of the competition’s continuum of sound, DJ Roy E Biv named himself after each ban of the rainbow.
“Except the ‘E,’” joked Biv. “That’s for Ecstasy.”
Although Biv took the “green” out of his name, the competition was his first performance. Biv had been practicing in his room for about a year before entering the competition.
“I was so nervous,” said Biv after he finished his old house disco-heavy set. “I’m just happy to play outside of my bedroom.”
Brad Winter, the executive music director at CiTR, says Are You That DJ? provides a chance for up-and-comers to play alongside performers who are already working the club circuit.
“It’s a total bringing-together thing. It’s not really about winning, it’s about coming, doing your thing, and getting heard.”
Manitoba Touch, a veteran of six years, got his start by going to drum and bass parties and warehouse raves. “Something in me wanted to benefit that group of people that enjoy music, and are creating music,” he said. A self-professed “selfish DJ,” Touch does whatever he wants while in the booth.
“I just want to play what I want to play,” said Touch. “Rare house, disco house, circuit music, wave noises….” And from the look of the dancefloor, what he wanted to play is what people wanted to hear. “It’s like trying to create that early warehouse vibe, no holds barred.”
Although CiTR accomplished its fundraising goal of $500 for the night, a few of the DJs expressed a desire to see more people out to community-based events in Vancouver in the future. Touch cited LA, Berlin and New York as examples of cities with enviable underground music scenes.
“People are really into the music there,” Touch stressed. “Vancouver has been trying to catch up, but we don’t have the same history.”
Vancouver might not have an underground scene as eargasmic as LA or New York, but some of the DJs offered up suggestions for how to get on the scene. Manitoba Touch suggested “Jack Your Body,” a moving monthly house disco/nu disco party—“If you can find it.”
For those who want to leave the bass hunting to Basshunter, Winter recommended The Biltmore on Saturday nights for Glory Days, with local DJ My!Gay!Husband!.
Of course, CiTR is always streaming something fresh for students looking for something to let loose to other than The Beat 94.5’s Top 40 loop. As Winter said, “You never know what you’re going to get.”