Food, Gifts, House Music, Japan, Okinawa, Osaka, restaurants, Travel

Return to Japan!

#10yearslater

I remember being interviewed after applying for this teaching job and not knowing what to expect….they asked me where I wanted to work and I told them straight away Tokyo. They weren’t sure that I’d like Tokyo because it was expensive and overcrowded. Okay. I knew I wanted to be some place where the nightlife was amazing and where I’d never have a shortage of stuff to do BUT I knew then that Osaka’s where I wanted to be.

The interviewer showed me a map and pointed out the distances between cities and showed some of the main attractions of each major city. He made mention that all if not most of Osaka’s comedians, musicians, artists and entertainers came from there and I knew that was the better option. He had lived in that city he told me that they had a MASSIVE Tower Records store and that I could walk right in and lounge there like a Chapters/Indigo or Barnes & Noble. I read up about Osaka but none of the textbook info got my attention as much as the recruiter did that day!

When I returned to Toronto I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to go back and wasn’t too sure if I’d visit again. Ten years was the perfect time!

2006-2016

Special thanks to Sojourner Travel (8A-1444 Dupont St in Toronto) for the research! So many very different things I experienced the first time while I lived there. My StepMom came with me…..we had some awesome memories together. The trip to Japan was something we tried to plan for years BUT 2016 was the perfect time!!!

Finding Your Flight

This trip took a few months to plan. I started looking at flights in July for October. The air carrier options provided by the travel agent were China Eastern, Air Canada, Air China, ANA or Korean Air. Some of the rates were EXCELLENT. But after checking and browsing I saw the layovers were a day or more. China Eastern had a whole day stay so I looked into roaming the streets once we arrived to see what it was like in China but (in order to stay a day or more in China a visa is required.) Air Canada was the best option. The 13 hour flight went from Toronto–Tokyo-Osaka. Instead of booking additional travel from Toronto I decided to book within Japan. It’s so much cheaper and a little more accessible. I asked one of my good friends within Japan (Hey,Kina Jackson!Thanks so much!) and she recommended Vanilla Air and Peach Air ! Vanilla Air didn’t go to many places that I wanted and I didn’t see Okinawa on the list. The prices on Peach Air are amazing! Depending on the day,prices range anywhere from $100-$250 roundtrip! Naha, the capital city is quite small so the airport is tiny and the flights are infrequent. If you are interested in booking on Peach Air-be mindful about the way you book when you select the day of the week, location and times-the website is a little tricky.

I looked at my itinerary and realized that it was the same month and week I had left Toronto 13 years prior. (insert nostalgia here.) I really hoped I’d be able to see friends that I had contacted in such a short time. I saw so much shit I didn’t notice the first time around so it was like visiting a brand new place. There were English speaking support staff EVERYWHERE and at every info desk!! I was so concerned about my limited Japanese….I didn’t have to use it as much and when I did-I forgot how much I remembered!! Props to Google Translate for assisting us in areas where people don’t talk to tourists as much!

Japan Airlines

 

Our flight arrived into Haneda (Tokyo) Airport and after an hour we got a flight connection to Osaka (Hitami) Airport! The connecting flight was quick and the food was awesome (choice between Japanese or Western cuisine).

Book Your Accommodations From Home
At the time of the trip I forgot that Air BNBs were not legal in Japan. The Japanese government is reviewing their decision to have the business operate legally within the country. Be prepared to call ahead once you arrive to your city in Japan. The addresses listed on the website booking aren’t the same once you arrive and Taxi Drivers are not too helpful when they can’t find the address you listed. Call your Host to be sure that the address listed is the one you will be staying at. It helps you save time.

I went back to the old office building I used to work in (Downtown Namba, Osaka. The (Nova) office is no longer there but the building is still there. Lots of hustle and bustle at the OCAT (Osaka City Air Terminal). In #10years Osaka has become busier, more densely populated and more tourist friendly! The underground walkways (Shotengui) are filled with flags from all over the world. This wasn’t the case before.

Osaka is one of those cities where there is ALWAYS something going on and there is ALWAYS somewhere to eat.

We visited an awesome Indian Restaurant that I used to frequent with friends. Whenever we wanted a very heavy and spicy portion of food we used to go to Asiyana. Surprisingly, Asiyana was still open! It’s not that the restaurant wasn’t good it’s that foreign food restaurants don’t always stay open for long. Asiyana doesn’t cater to the Japanese palate.It’s spicy, flavourful and authentic.

asiyana-restaurant

The Balls……

Osaka is known for it’s Tako-Yaki balls. They are battered and crepe textured with bits of Octopus, shrimp and a parsely like seasoning. In that crepy textured batter they put puffed rice, green onions, chopped octopus. This batter is poured into circular shaped grills, oiled so they don’t stick and they are rotated as they cook with little skewers. After they are removed  and drizzled with Teriyaki Sauce and fish flakes.It tastes amazing! It’s had been a long time since I had them.

 

Mobile Phone Rental/Pocket Wi-Fi

Most Air BNBs should have pocket wi-fi units. IF it does- it’s great and saves you money and time. The pocket wi-fi can be carried around the city with and you can hook your mobile phones to it to browse the net or use Google Maps. Pocket wi-fis look like old Nokia flip phones and must be charged daily. Not all airports have rental kiosks/booths so one of the first things to do is find a kiosk or station in the city. I used my phone quite a bit to find buildings, shrines, shopping malls and restaurants. My bill when I returned was HUGE! Your phone carrier may not have a great international plan especially for a country like Japan. Japanese phone carriers Docomo,Vodafone,Sofbank all have centres to set up your SIM cards and phone rentals. Find the best for the duration of your stay. I wish I knew……

Okinawa Was a Last Minute Add-On

I found some amazing Air BNBs all over the island but settled for an apartment on the main road in Naha, Wakasa-Dori Wakasa (若桜町, Wakasa-chō)  has everything on it food shops, 24 Hour Conbinis (convenience stores), clubs, the post office (where you can use your international ATM card for withdrawals) and many, many clubs, Karaoke Bars.

Downtown Okinawa

Naha Port is One Straight Path (Everyone told us to go straight)

This main road runs straight through from the highway from the airport to Naha Port. Naha Port can be reached on foot in less than 15 mins. All the Ferry boats that travel to the smaller beaches and islands near Naha leave 3 times a day! Passengers can choose whether they’d like to stay overnight for a few nights or return the same day with a Travel and Tourism board of Naha. There are money booths that look like ATMS where you can check for the exchange rate for whatever currency you have and exchange it for Japanese Yen! It’s such a lifesaver-you get the exact rate for whichever country’s currency you need!

Spending a whole day there felt like a whole weekend! What can I say about it? It’s beautiful! I’m not sure why I never visited there when I lived there. It’s pretty breathtaking. It’s an island next to an island.  The ferry boat takes about an hour and 45 minutes and it’s a comfortable ride on a fully equipped mini cruise liner. The cost is about $60 CDN with a television and luxury seating. You can sit indoors (AC) and outdoors (AIR). Going from the urban city to the Tropics on one island is amazing! When the Ferry boat arrives you find your seat, secure your day bag and go to sleep or enjoy the sun!

Tokashiku Village

Shuttle vans and taxi drivers are waiting for guests to drive you to one of the 8-10 beaches across the coast. It’s not a long ride but depending how much time you have it’s an amazing experience to visit at least more than two!We stopped at the first beach and there were at least 10 people on the beach.

 

 

The Food is Amazing

My favourite restaurant was an Okinawan style place. The special thing about Okinawa is it’s island location, history and close proximity to Taiwan. The food is AMAZING. Spicy,full of variety and unique from the usual Japanese cuisine! So tasty I went there twice! Each set of tables in the restaurant were like mini Izakayas (Gastropub) with curtains (small food pubs). What an incredible culinary adventure! Look at the food! We headed over to Kokusaidori (国際通り, Kokusaidōri, literally “International Road”) All souvenirs are there! Every souvenir that you can find signature to Okinawa is on this street. You have to walk up and down the street to compare prices. You’ll find sea salt products; cakes, cookies, chopsticks,Blue Seal Ice Cream German Bundt Style Cake and all kinds of tropical destination clothing. One of Okinawa’s gifts to Japan is the Okinawan Sweet potato or ‘Imo’-it’s one of the tastiest things EVER! There are samples of those cookies EVERYWHERE!

 

 

Records/Vinyl

I set out to check out the nightlife and I was pleasantly surprised. Shocked even. Most if not all venues look like dive bars from the outside and hold at least 200+ people. While walking down Wakasa St. I stumbled on the area’s ONLY record shop. It’s cute! Naminoue Record Shop is well equipped with all genre CDs and vinyl with new shipments arriving everyday. They run most of the city’s block parties, street festivals and club nights. I went to most of their events all weekend while  I was there. Local and international talent come through all month. I was shocked and excited to sift through their selections. I went straight for their Japanese artists and production section and found VERY good stuff! I’m mostly interested in Japan only releases! The place is pretty chill with all kinds of people passing through. I returned twice to pick up goodies. The shop was a lot smaller than King Kong in Osaka but the selection was very unique. I picked up a few mix CDS of really great DJs from other cities in Japan! They are excellent at promoting their local artists around town, in other parts of Japan and to tourists…..there’s a little photography display and artwork with t-shirts; all kinds of stuff! There’s a little DJ booth for live DJs to play out the hottest tunes! One of the highlights of my vacation! I went to a great party- the guest DJ Moochy Juzu (Crosspoint Japan/Juno Records) played the stuff I loved. Four all you SOulFul and Deep House heads. He played Josh Milan, Osunlade, Vikter Duplaix and added in his own production which was interesting. It’s Tribal House but from a more Okinawan and Traditional Japanese sound. I was surprised. IT was very unique and to hear a set that spoke to Japanese Heads was refereshing. Here’s his SoundCloud if you wanted to check it out. He’s an excellent DJ/Producer!!

naminoue logo

Department Store Shopping

Visiting department stores in Japan is quite an experience. When you’ve been to one of them in Japan, you’ll never look at them the same again! It is a fully loaded one stop shop. They’ve got prepared food in the basement. All kinds of foods! All Flagship store brands are definitely available all over Japan! The best and most inexpensive things to look for are cosmetics, Body Care tools,perfume and face care!  Make sure that the day you go around any of these shops-make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes and dedicate a whole day or more to look around. These department stores are enormous! One of the biggest Department Stores in the City (Yodobashi Camera) has the most products and best prices in the city! The recliner section is filled with people taking naps and ‘trying’ out the merchandise!

massage chair tokyu hands

Tourists get tax discounts at some stores and either the taxes are taken off ahead of time-and you’re given your taxes back in cash. Goods are re-packaged and prepared for your departure. If a store chain doesn’t offer the tax breaks right away, you will be given a map to locate a city tax centre. This is done so it’s easier to clear customs at the airport.There are tax-free stations at most large retailers where you can claim your taxes on some purchases. At those stations associates check them and pre-wrap them for your trip and a clearance form is stapled to your passport.  It’s a great system!

IMG_5968.JPG

 

I could go on about my trip BUT definitely it’s a country worth visiting. #10yearslater it’s still growing and still as fascinating as it was then. It’s great to visit again when you’re no longer a resident. You notice things more. Late October is an amazing time to visit. The weather is fabulous! It’s like July. Pack light, pack Summer stuff. Pack a few great sweaters and don’t forget to stay hydrated. Eat as much as you want! You’ll do a lot of walking! Have a great time!

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

House Music Series-Local-Installment 8-Ticky Ty & Miz Megs Make an Awesome Team! (Toronto)

No matter where we are there’s always a starting point…..these ladies here revisited memory lane to talk about how they started doing what they’re doing today!

Before the official interview I spoke to Ticky Ty and for some odd reason- I discovered some interesting facts. For those of you who actually know me I’d lived in Japan for a bit and after talking for a bit I learnt that she also lived there! She worked at a local franchise club/bar Sam and Dave’s. They had many locations all across the city and country and I too worked at that same location many years ago. She had lived in Fukuoka/Osaka and I lived in Osaka. Two really happening places in the Kyushu and Kansai areas- this was an awesome surprise!

Cool facts about Miz Megs:

o She met Ticky Ty at Andy Poolhall;she booked her for an all girl DJ line-up

o She just found out about the term ‘New Jack Swing’ this year! She’s loved it long time.

Some cool facts about Ticky Ty:

o Used to listen to Happy Hardcore and Chill out. Did you?

o She started with a 2 channel Stanton Mixer and Battle Mixer Turntables

What struck my interest was the energy they had behind the decks. I wondered what it would be like to talk with them. I’d been to their shows a few times-Li’lys, CODA and Geary Lane. You see, sometimes it’s not so much what they play or how they play…it’s the passion they put into what they do. It shows. They keep the crowd going. I’d seen them spin separately and finally side by side at Love Buzz this past July! They absolutely make a great team. They took a bit of time to chat about how they got started. I’m truly inspired. I asked them what keeps the passion for music going and eventually we talked about how it all started …..

Me: What’s you earliest connection to music?

Megs: I remember being 6 years old, listening to Dance music, pushing the couch aside and watching my reflection in the TV while my parents played cards with their friends. I just loved Pop-you know, Debbie Gibson and Paula Abdul. I would turn on the Pirate Radio Sessions (Energy 108) and listen to Chris Sheppard! (I think everyone started with that.) I also danced Ballet from ages 3-16, that was very similar to Ticky Ty!

Ticky Ty: I started dance at Toronto Dance Theatre at 3 years old. All my early music connections were dance-related. ‘I went back to visit almost 24 years later and the same pianist and drummer was still there. Rhythm came naturally to me.

One thing I loved about talking with them is that they followed each others’ cues. You can see how connected they are. It’s then that I understood that these two had one of the foundational pieces that demonstrated a deep interest in music at such an early age.

Me:Which music era speaks to you the most? For me, I really Iike the 70s……

Miz Megs: 90s Euro and New Jack Swing. ‘I never knew there was a term for it until this summer’ I offered Blackstreet as the more well known groups that was known for this style in the 90s. She spent some time on Youtube listening to songs to see more groups. She never knew there was a term for it until this summer.

Ticky Ty: She says ‘Guys don’t laugh at me, but I really love the 20s. She mentioned the movie Chicago. And the truth is the 20s sound has been sampled quite a bit in Dance music. She is hilarious because she adds ‘ I probably wouldn’t do to well in that era or even be alive then. ‘I still really like Jazz and Swing.’

Me:When did you realize you were into House?

Miz Megs: Dancing at home and thinking I was in a club….’I wanted to be a GO-Go dancer’ and Ticky cheers her on and says ‘It’s not too late girl it’s not too late’ This was the interview highlight.lol

Ticky Ty: ‘For me it would be with an old friend of mine, we used to steal her older sister’s Happy Hardcore CDS and pick raspberries in the backyard and zone out.

Me:How did you both meet? Andy Pool Hall! They were both booked for an all girl Dj line up and Flipside/Andy suggested she ask Ticky for that night. Meg booked Ticky. ‘Thanks Flipside!!’

Me: Who do you wanna work with? Any production yet? ‘We’d love to work with Duro. ‘I had a song out with Jerome….We’ve worked with Flipside. Internationally they’d love to work with Chus and Ceballos and Channo.

Me: What kinda music are you both listening to right now?

Ticky Ty:‘Stuff comin out of Brazil… Groove to Light and all that dirty and hard stuff.(Okay!!!???lol) Megs-‘ Luciano is my all-time favourite but lately I have been especially inspired by Loco Dice. I love that hip hop flavor he adds to his sets.

Me:The one thing that comes to mind ladies; in the industry doing your thing spinning- Meeting people at the party, meeting people in and around the scene. What’s it like? You know, doing business?

They break it down to two trains of thought:

You get the ‘Wow, chicks that’s hot… let’s watch it OR ‘Oh mi gawd chicks;they’re probably gonna suck’…’You get a little bit of both. It’s either you don’t get the same sort of initial responses as with a guy. You’re either a chick or you’re a commodity. Or you suck. ‘You have to prove yourself past those barriers. Every. Fucking.Time. Which is fine-because every time we do it-we show what we can do…..’

Me: You ladies take what some would consider very sexy photos…..what’s up with that? They (the pics)look good by the way…

I got in shit for that a few weeks ago…..Meg said ‘someone called them out for showing side boob and abs’ they were told that on TRC….. that no one would be attending their gig because they actively/purposely used their bodies to sexually try to get a gig’. Their comment got destroyed by people defending us because they are just press PHOTOS and anyone who has actually seen us in person knows we usually wear baggy clothes and are so not like that. The guy eventually apologized. <<<interesting, yes.

Me: Wasn’t the gig already got?

Miz Megs/Ticky Ty: Yes! We didn’t make the flyer. A group discussion ensued and one of our fans supporters told the person where to go….fans are awesome that way!

Me: Where can we find you ladies?

Miz Megs/Ticky Ty:Nest, CZ (Comfort Zone) and various parties across Toronto or in cities out-of-town.

What do you both like about Dj’ing? Meg-‘The music and getting to be a part of something that has to do with the music you love….‘Just being there to dance. And creating a new sound with what you love.’

Ticky Ty:‘I love the connection I have with everybody. It’s really intense. You can almost feel the energy of this group of that people or that group of people. As long as you let go you get into a meditative thing. You can just feel it. Everyone moves as one. Not over thinking it. It’s really nice to be the catalyst of something like that. Spurring a movement, its healing for me and so many others.You can go to an underground party and a CEO of Microsoft can be dancing beside someone homeless. And it doesn’t matter. No one cares what you do in the daytime. No one asks.’ What do you do in the daytime?’ Meg says ‘I hate when people ask that’ they both agree. ‘Shut your face we’re dancing right now.’

It’s a challenge for the music/entertainment scene to really delve into current issues and/or politics but very necessary so I asked anyway:

In light of everything that has happened in the last week. (Orlando shooting) How do you feel about it as a musician/artist/House enthusiast?

Ticky Ty:I wanted to take it back to pride month because the House scene did come from the Black Gay Scene. She played the night and remarked at how special it was to spin for so many.’There are no cultural and sexual boundaries. We don’t give a shit about that stuff. We’re blessed to be part of an Underground Community that embraces everything. No cops standing around at the outdoor party. No one is being searched at the door. People are enjoying the music…..it’s such a gift….……The vibe is really connected. You can’t fake it. It’s visceral. You either don’t like it  or you totally enjoy it.And beats is their gift to us.Entertainment people don’t really like to make comments about political shit but they did! So much has happened since then…..

We’re half way through the year what’s in store for 2017? At the same time they answer: Production! That’s the next step, albums will happen once we tour and produce more!!!

Alright ladies, DO YOUR THANGS! You can find them on most social platforms! @DjTickyTy @MizMegs

Thanks so much ladies!! You both rock!

 

 

 

 

 

Biography, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, women & entrepreneurship

House Music Series -Typical Cat…everything bass. turntables only-LOCAL-Installment 6 (Toronto)

 

Typical Cat

It’s amazing to have a blast from the past……a lady I met about 7-8 years ago we talked about turntables and vinyl. We stayed in touch. Look at what she’s up to now…..

Who are you? DJ Typical Cat

What’s Her Story?

As far back as she could remember her Dad was a drummer. He collected records. Her aunt was a country music singer. ‘When I was younger I was listening to House Music and stuff…I’d turn on the radio and I would just feel it in my heart…stuff like Electric Circus or Much Dance…you know that kinda shit?’ When she first heard something she liked she says, ‘I felt it in my chest, I felt it in my heart…. in high school about grade 8 or 9, Freaky Flow was the first guy I heard of when it came to Jungle or Drum N Bass. In high school I heard his ‘World Domination’ album  and it got me hooked. I heard Nelly Furtado on a track with the drums and bass and I wanted to understand this type of music more. So I got into guys like Andy C, Dj Craze, Dj Hype. I’d always loved this music without knowing what it was. I wanted to know about it and I started to go to raves by myself and I just knew that I wanted to DJ and I was just there for that.

About her first gig…. Her very first event and it was bigger than she expected. This was one of  her very first BIG events at Velvet Underground. ‘I was nervous as hell but I had fun with it and opening up for Plastician was a huge deal for me because he was a DJ, I looked up to in so many ways.’ She noticed that people loved what she was doing. She mentioned that this is something that women go through. She remarked that women should be confident especially when wanting to pursue a thing like Dj’ing. Some people will like that. Focus on the positives.

About raves….I wasn’t going to party and do drugs. I would just watch what the DJ was doing- I just knew that I wanted to DJ.

What did you do the first time around? In grade 9 my mom asked me if I wanted to sign up for-those program books for summer classes. And right away I was like I’ll take that! Then in grade 11 when I had enough money, I bought tables!

How were those classes? What did you learn? ‘I took that class and actually Oscar ‘DJ Grouch’ was the first person to teach me how to use a turntable. He taught me VERY basic stuff-he taught me motions like scratching and stuff, not cuts but feeling it out with drums and using levels. He was an awesome connect because he’s pretty big in the city. Knowing him made me feel like I was on the right path. He wasn’t just some guy turned DJ. He was part of the scene, he was a great teacher. He would even give me records. I started with Hip hop and I went from that to Jungle.

 What kind of music do you like? ‘My heart’s with Drum N Bass. I love listening to the radio. I love top 40. I love funk. I love listening to things I’ve never heard. My sound right now is Bass.’ She plays unreleased dubs straight from producers-I love things that are brand new!

How’d you find your style?  It was a journey. It’s taken her a few years to know her musical taste. She plays a more Housier Bass style now but for awhile she went through a Jackin’ House style even. But really, mostly ‘I need that Heavy Bass…I think I found my sound at Plastician-it has the same BPM as House’ (Yes, it does.)

Working with Alan Lam-what’s that like? Her partnership with Alan Lam (Stranjah) didn’t just happen, It came after some time. ‘He’s got a wikked business sense and very passionate about his work. I’ve thrown parties with him and I know there’s a huge following. Regardless of that-I love this music! She is grateful for her crew because they know what they are talking about. They are pioneers of Jungle. It makes her feel confident.  When they’ve produced tracks he asks her opinion. She never questions his decisions when putting together events or tracks. She recalls her first ever event headlined party with Demuir which was a huge success.

About Vinyl and Serato ‘I really need to learn not to carry records everywhere that I spent so much money on. I went switched to Serato. It’s the next best thing. It’s like faking records. So now I just stick with Serato. It’s funny cuz I feel like I’m stuck in the past with all of this. People are all up on their shit with CDJs and all that. There are USBs wherever you go. Something about the CDJs are just not my thing….I’m a record and turntable person…it’s not the same feel. I need to feel it. People now know that if they’re booking me I won’t show up without turntables….I made it that way.’ She doesn’t care that it’s a hassle. ‘People have told me I wasn’t gonna make it anywhere because I insist on turntables. So many people say it’s not industry standard.’ She thanks and shouts out club owners who come through with turntables.

About Old Skool tunes…. Some old heads have said that they’ve heard some parts of her mixes/sets. They listen to her mixes and they say that the samples or funk records are from back in their B-Boy days…..’If I hear it and I like it and it’s usually from an older genre’.

Vocals? No vocals? ‘I like some singing but not too much of it. It must be subtle….not too overdone. It’s hard when you have a set with too many vocals. Actually, it’s just not my style. Sometimes I like vocals every 2 or 3 tunes. I usually like vocals at the beginning of my mixes because it draws attention to the crowd.’

How do you prep for a gig? ‘You overcome your nerves. Even if the bar is empty I used to get nervous but like always I’m still riding off of it. The rush you get from it is amazing. You break walls after the first gig. You reach out to people you don’t even know. People tell me they’ve downloaded my shit and bump it in their car. And I’m thinking…. I did that just for me….I’m still riding off the gig I did 2 nights ago’ lol

Your Mom and Cousin were at your last gig…..

She told her Mom to wear black to fit in. She thought it was everything that her Mom felt it would be. I talked to her about what my mother said also. It was something out of a movie. ‘I didn’t think my cousin was gonna stick around but she stayed ’til the end of the show!’ She remembers how her mom used to yell at her because all she would hear is Bass shaking the entire house and she’d tell her to stop. Shockingly she kinda yells out ‘Now she’s coming to my parties?!!!! It was very weird. I haven’t even heard her opinion yet. I’m so scared. I don’t even think she has an opinion it was just something for her to experience in the moment. It was amazing. My mom would ask me back in the day about the Bass shaking the walls. I think my mom was very proud of me.’

Cat, who do you wanna work with? She wants to work with anyone specifically with the people who throw Promise parties. She wants to bring her sound to Costa Rica. She sees herself in Europe. (Anywhere in the UK) and many of the people she works with are always touring there. We talked about the Underground and how our scene is quite different from across the pond. For example how progressive and genre flexible the musical tastes are.

Any advice to those in the creative field who want to venture into production, promotion, Dj’ing anything related to the industry/scene? (As a woman to the ladies out there what would you say?) Throughout our talk she kept referring to the old her…’. I was so concerned what others thought about the music I played-now I don’t give a shit’….You don’t always have to play for everybody else just play for yourself. The people who like it will enjoy it….!

How about people who have an original skill/sound….We talked about upcoming female producer Wondagurl she comments ‘I can guarantee you she’s doing shit she loves. I’m not big time nothing but I’m just doing it cuz I love it. I wasn’t ready for it before. I’m ready now. And all the things I’ve always wanted are coming to me. I love this music!’

Cat emphasizes….‘I can’t stress enough…you need to stop caring what other people think of you. Just do it. Reach out to whatever connection you have-because not everyone has them-and if you know even one person that’s into the same thing as you or if you know one person that you’ve looked up to, reach out to them’. She’s reached out to people from across the world on Facebook alone…. ‘It’s that easy, some are flattered and will do everything they can to help you. Take the plunge and just ask. She realizes that she’s the only person holding her back and if it’s meant to be it’ll come’.

Typical Cat spins next at Round Venue in Kensington Market, August 25th 2016

 

Thanks, Cat!

Check out her set Typical Cat – Live @ Rumpshakers Present AMIT + COMPA – July 2nd, 2016 on SoundCloud!

Vinyl Rainbow

 

 

 

 

805 Studio, CDR Toronto, DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Reflections, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto

CDR Toronto- Local Music Series – June 16 2016-Part 2 (cdr-projects.com)

CDR (Create, Define, Release) – The night of ideas and tracks in the making at 805 Studio

CDR Cover Banner June 2016

I decided to re-cap the first CDR event of 2016. CDR thrives on genre differences and a lot of that was played a few weeks ago.  Musical differences are what CDR is all about.

The idea is for all participants to hear other sounds and maybe connect each other to the musicality of sound. CDR speaks to collaboration. The last session has seen a steady progression in participants reaching out mostly on the night of the event. Gavin mentioned that it was great to see extra layers of music people coming out of the word works.

‘We’re starting to see a bit of an organic development. There were a larger number of listeners. People are bringing in gangs of friends who are also interested in making music….It’s a discovery for everyone’

Some of the submissions are spontaneous and most were last minute. Gavin and Ramon specifically sent a shout out to Peter Delorum from Kingston, Ontario. He submitted a wikked track ‘Iliad’. He drove from Kingston, Ontario! CDR Toronto had an amazing Akai software giveaway. (Just one of the few reasons why it’s a great place to be!) The reason is to empower good production people and increase the potential to make great music!

The Dego event in April really helped CDR expand their reach! One of two mandates is to promote CDR artists at other clubs/events followed by the other to create a visual understanding of other artists’ creative process.

CDR continues to focus on supporting local Toronto/Canadian-based artists. Gavin believes that Canadians are poor at self promotion. Events like these are a great way to get your musical projects out there. Ramon shouts out DJ Gareth (Snafu 76) who is always ready and attended all 3 CDRs and as always the team is excited to see more new faces.  Special thanks to Elizabeth Da Costa for allowing CDR to run events at her community arts building! (805 Studio) It’s an amazing space which personifies CDR-be sure to check out the next event on June 16th! Have your submissions ready!

 

Establishments, Food, Movers & Shakers, restaurants, Toronto

Are You a Foodie? Do You Wanna Be a Foodie?

Zomato Spoon

As big and small as we are here in Toronto, we’ve got plenty of food places across the city to choose from. We’ve also got tons of foodies looking for the hottest spot to taste the best dishes and experience the latest fads in food. Zomato is a great way to explore in a more organized fashion without have to rely solely on ‘criticisms’ or ‘service’ to gauge excellence.

Zomato, rhymes with Tomato and is a place where foodies and palates collide.Last year,they launched in Toronto with some mixed reviews. Some were saying their concept was interesting while others were saying it would be stiff competition against other competitors like Yelp or Urbanspoon! Welp, Zomato recently acquired Urbanspoon so the foodie industry just got a little more connected! I say it’s a refreshing addition to what already exists.The app and site is styled a little differently than what one would expect. They initially established overseas and have created a more ‘customized to Toronto’ feel to their website.

You can link your Facebook or Google+ accounts to the site so that people who know you can familiarize themselves with your culinary pursuits. Zomato is organized like a Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr micro site-it has a news feed so users can see what others are talking about when they visit food establishments.With an up-to-date and lively account, friends and other Zomato users are likely to follow you! I don’t know…I think that Torontonians tend to judge or gauge the excellence of a brand,service,event or cuisine by the customer service and ambiance. Zomato encourages you to taste the food above and beyond that.

Zomato strives to please the true foodie or make a true foodie out of an otherwise critical individual. Zomato invaded Toronto last Summer and took a few months to gather all of the info to create the site that is up representing T.Dot for food. What I do like is that they  brought many of the site’s features to Toronto and have showcased the Toronto food selection landscape in a way that should make us proud!

There are swankier food places across the city but I bet you didn’t know that the foodies in Toronto/GTA could talk about and display that hole-in-the-wall-24-hour grease spoon as the best place on Earth to eat after the club,concert or party! lol. Zomato wants to ‘ensure that every meal, for all our users,is a great experience’.

Each member is awarded points contributions to Zomato and depending how often they eat out and how often food critiquing is shared, members can judge if you are who they’d like to follow! Who knows? One of the listed restaurants could be your next date spot OR where your next hot meal is coming from!

Not only is the forum great for foodies to demo their photo taking and filtering skills-it’s also a meeting point for foodies or wannabe foodies! (no pun)

zomato cropped

Reviews don’t have to be super long or super detailed there. Pictures help a lot and Smartphones can make food pictures look mouth watering. Interaction is minimal but sharing is caring here! Want to know where you can find Zomato? On Twitter, Facebook, online and mobile! You’ll never see or talk about food the same again!

DJ Culture & Music, Establishments, events, House Music, Knowledge, Movers & Shakers, Music, promoters, Social Media, theshineprjct, Toronto, Travel

House Music Series – Toronto LOCAL -The Boxing Loft Social Club – Installment 4 – A Commitment to Excellence (Original article no misquotes here) :D

*Please be mindful, there may be multiple versions of the article posted elsewhere. This is THE original article. There are many House DJs,artists,promoters all over Toronto. Be sure to check HERE. No one is above anyone else. No one is more supported than anyone else. The House Community should be a place where many people can showcase their work,make people move and most importantly show the world what we have here. (Not divisive in nature.) I would never support one movement,genre,sound,crew,mixer,club-over the other. I would never post anything that suggested that either. It’s highly unfortunate that more interviews couldn’t be successfully completed throughout the city…..oh well 👍🏾

The language used in the other versions were NOT the words spoken or recorded during the interview. Please check for misquotes and re-structured sentences and phrasing. Fact check for accurate info. I repeat there are so many people who contribute to the scene all over the city. As I started this section, my intention wasn’t to say one thing was better than another.

I’ve got many friends who visit this city and don’t know where to go if they want to hear good sounds and many are not aware that Toronto has a burgeoning House or Techno scene. We had an amazing interview, Emile. This is NOT what was said. No loss in translation. (Names of artists, hosts, promoters or venues might be preferential to the individual expressing that in the interview but if anyone has ever quoted anything sounding very odd-know that it is edited before it is posted here.)

(Emile, please don’t misquote our discussion, that’s not what was said.)* 

TBL_logo1

From a gig as paralegal to event party planner to disciplined athlete turned boxing instructor and now accomplished business man-Emile Awe Reed is one focused individual seeking excellence.

I’d been to Loft SC a few times…I wondered who was behind  its open concept. I chatted with Emile via Skype a little over a week ago and talked about it quite a bit….

How House Music has influenced his life: Music has always been a part of his life. He was in the choir at school. He attended North Western State University and was a member of their Choir. He grew up listening to Nana Maskari, Harry Belafonte among very many unique artists. He grew up listening to Classic Rock and loved bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin. He still hadn’t embraced House by then yet but by the 80s and 90s  (the most influential era in my House Music opinion) and really got into Reggae.

He notes that it was not until one of the longest running Toronto parties (Twilight Zone) that created the connection. He started attending events in (2004).
During a difficult time in his life he truly embraced House. He eventually met DJ Gene King who always mentioned the importance of an ‘open mind’.They are now business partners! Look out for UDM (Underground Dance Music) parties they throw twice a year!

House Music IS Just So Cool: He opened The Boxing Loft Social Club. House music’s sole purpose at the Boxing Club serves as a pace-setter for boxing technique (shadowboxing) and foot technique. ‘Boxing still uses rhythm just like dance….. Reed tells me with conviction,’most of the House I hear, I love…if you want to be a good boxer, you’ve got to be good at everything-a complete fighter…this is why I fight to music’.

Unlike many…..I had no idea ‘The Boxing Loft’ was an actual boxing gym! As a brand marketing pro-star I thought it was a well-crafted brand image that simply brought people together-along with a prop stage boxing ring (silly me)! With ‘Inspired Gatherings’ happening frequently, ‘Social Club’ is exactly what it is. There are arts focused events, boxing instruction and dance party events all happening within those four walls! The social component never ends!

Reed started running events at 199 Queen St. E in 2004 and ran into snags with liquor permits for locations and capacity violations. It made sense to find a permanent home for events and voilà: The Boxing Loft was born! Growing up he watched Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and learnt that during their time social clubs were VERY popular. People with similar interests gathered to socialize and grow their memberships. This is what the future will look like at the Boxing Loft!

The Way Emile Sees It: Reed has a way he does business with co-organizers in the scene. ‘I’m always gonna be upfront and real with people…I’m a new cat, I’m still learning….I like to work with anyone who is willing to learn, you need others in order to attain wealth….With more people there’s power…I’m a business person first….You have to be respectful…It’s not just about me’. <<<shine’s thing too!

Misquoted elsewhere. Working With the Local Toronto House Behind-the-scenes promo people: If it wasn’t for my team, I wouldn’t be here without hosts and promoters. (if I didn’t mention you, I apologize) I removed the names because it seemed to cause issue. You are the ones that enable my name to get out there. I appreciate that they have helped me brand The Boxing Loft. Even though I’m the boss-I don’t stand alone…..I’d be nowhere if the DJs didnt play in my space.

shine’s words added here>>>SO MANY AMAZING KEY PLAYERS THAT MAKE UP THE CITY’s scene-I WISH IT WAS AN EVEN BIGGER SCENE with a unified platform to bring more people from overseas to (Toronto). Absolutely no shade. 

DJs as Artists:How Does That Work? (Misquoted section)<<<click here

DJs should be validated as artists. I have an idea of how DJs should play. This is how/why I choose who plays at The Boxing Loft. DJs like Yogi,Stan Zeff, Zepherin Saint,Ian Friday, Josh Milan, Joe Rizla. DJs of THAT calibre-this is how I choose. I try to keep the DJ guest choices at a certain level…..you know that standard…..As an athlete I strive to be the best, same as the DJs. I have to make sure I shine so the DJ shines and the underground’ll shine. I want The Boxing Loft to act like an advocate for House Music. <<<<<<<(there are many groups, that are very good, that sound good and have large, medium or small followings all over Toronto-it doesn’t make anyone better or worse.)

What to expect at The Boxing Loft:

No drugs allowed inside (it’s a sports venue and creative space too!)

Make sure as you enter TBL you can somehow relate to what you’re taking in (art/music/sport)

Come in with an open mind

You will always be treated well

It’s a place with an incredible vibe

You too can box or dance at The Boxing Loft Social Club….For events visit Twitter @TheBoxingLoftSC  or their website http://theboxingloft.com/

*Please be mindful, there may be multiple versions of the article posted elsewhere. This is the original article. There are many House DJs,artists,promoters all over Toronto. Be sure to fact check HERE. No one is above anyone else.All key players as a WHOLE contribute in many ways. People visiting Toronto internationally should be able to visit many venues to party safely during their stay here. Please check for misquotes. Fact check for real info. All media outlets are used as informative vehicles for change and to build legacy. The section of this blog was intended to bring all types of people to Toronto to embrace all genres of House. This article was not intended to be divisive in nature. I enjoy House music. And this section is all about it.Don’t take offense until you know what you’re reading is TRUE. Don’t misquote or force something that wasn’t said. (Updated in 2018-had no idea this was altered elsewhere!)

-shine

Establishments, events, House Music, Movers & Shakers, Music, Toronto

House Music Series Toronto LOCAL – Summer 2014 – Installment 2 – Bunda Lounge: The Meeting Place to Dance

Bunda Logo

 

Bunda Lounge has hosted some fabulous DJs in the last FOUR years! Bunda just celebrated its fourth year this year!  I always wondered where the club name came from. It has a ring to it. Ivan explained, “It’s a slang word for a ladies’ derriere…..I won’t go into anymore details”LOL. Apparently this is the slang used in a few countries (Angola,Brazil,Haiti)! It’s quite a catchy name with staying power just like the transformational steps it took to start this joint……

I sat down last week to talk to owner Ivan Fialho of Toronto’s Bunda Lounge. I had an awesome conversation all about one of the hottest homes of the ‘international house’ scene in our city.

shine:Congratulations on celebrating 4 years! I had no idea. It takes a lot of dedication to keep something going let alone a business…What started Bunda?

Ivan:My involvement in music started this. I came to Toronto at 14 and began helping my brother with his music thing. He used to DJ and spin at different places and I’d carry his records. After he threw in the towel-I started spinning out at parties (specifically African music, Zouk & Kizomba etc.)

shine:What type of place did you want Bunda to be? What’s the best thing about running events here?

Ivan:All elements of Bunda including the music featured here, the acts that play here are reflective of my musical background. It’s not by chance but by design!I specifically wanted to focus on my (Angolan) roots music- the kinds of music I grew up dancing to with my Mother. As a child she would force me to dance with her and as I got older I learned to like and really appreciate this music! Bunda was born out of  wanting to move  forward without having to move from venue to venue. I wanted a place where my musical tastes could have a unique exposition of culture.

shine: Bunda’s location-Why Dundas/Ossington?

Ivan: When I first got to this neighbourhood, no one was here! I knew this area was gonna be a bustling area. This area was initially 90% Portuguese and 10% Vietnamese. Now the area caters to all kinds of people bringing business to the area! People here are open to all kinds of foods, music and services!

shine: Last Summer Bunda Lounge was quite the hotspot, EVERY WEEKEND….you  collaborated  with United Soul/Groove Institute extensively last year; what’s in store this year?

Ivan: The partnership continues this year! It’s been quiet the last few weeks because of this year’s World Cup and the games brought some good business lol. We’ve got some big acts lined up for  the next 5 months. Some of the big acts from last year are returning and of course, we will always continue to work with local talent.

shine: What was the best event you’ve held at Bunda Lounge?

Ivan: Hands down, the Boddhi Satva party! That party was on of the ones that stood out. He took us on a journey! The vibe that night was incredible. He showcased all kinds of real good music. He told a story! (I totally agree with him about this.)

shine: What’s the future of Bunda Lounge and the Bunda Lounge brand?

Ivan: Bunda Lounge is here to stay. We’re gonna keep going. We’ll continue to showcase what Bunda does best. With whatever you do understand that you can’t please everyone but you’ve gotta try. When I started I didn’t know anyone-no one knew about this venue. Now,I take time to build solid relationships with the establishments around Bunda and others in the industry. I’m creating a sort of Bunda Renaissance.

The Lounge is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays every week! They are open occasionally during the day for games/matches on TV (World Cup). For folks who don’t know, Toronto is a PATIO city!There’s a patio outside where you can grab a few drinks and chill. Bunda is available on Sundays for private events. They’ve got a Hump Wednesday night coming up. Thursdays and Fridays usually have some dope house nights and Saturdays are usually the best nights around!

Ivan still spins in the city and will be playing at this year’s Festival Kompa Zouk Toronto – The festivities run from July 26th to August 4th 2014. More things to do in Toronto! Check it out here: http://www.fkzo.ca/events.html

This Saturday Groove Institute is back with legendary locals Dino + Terry this Sat July 19th at Bunda! It’s always a dope party! For locals, see you there! For out-of-towners and international visitors to Toronto, it’s truly a one-of-a-kind party! If you’re visiting Toronto find Bunda on Twitter @BundaLoungeTO or Facebook!

 

July 19th bunda

  -shine