Back in the game

July 20, 2015 in Words by Mark Vicente

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What can I say: it’s been an amazing, overwhelming and challenging six months since I moved to Amsterdam. Change is not an easy. Something that surprised me was the culture shock. Even now after six months I am still getting used to the rhythm of life here. Things can be a bit deceiving. For instance the population is smaller than Montreal but the tourist traffic makes it sometimes feel much denser than it actual is. Also the beautiful bridges and canals can sometimes mask how fast paced and international Amsterdam truly is. Relaxed and vibrant. Friendly but frank, Amsterdam is very much a city of contradictions.

For months, DJing has been a faint thought in my mind. Just getting myself adjusted and getting my work papers took some time. It felt important to me to just sit out, get benched and find my feet. I also spent the first few months in Beginner’s Dutch class which was heel moielijk!

With DJing I felt a new sense of uncertainty. Montreal DJ scene was about connections and constant networking. Without a DJ support system in place I wasn’t sure how to make my way here. Like most things in life there’s not really a road map when it comes to this career.

Three weeks ago a call with a friend gave me the boost to hit the pavement. I needed to get out of my way, get out of my excuses, stop waiting for things to “feel perfect” and just go out there and look for work again. The first gay bar I went to booked me right after listening to my demo mix.

Getting back in the game gives me a bit of the jitters. But my years of cultivating experience in Montreal helps temper those doubtful voices somewhat. Amsterdam is the beginning of a new DJ chapter. With all its amazing venues, clubs and bars I am excited to share some DJ Mark Vicente with the city I now call home.

to dj or not to dj…?

October 2, 2014 in Words by Mark Vicente

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Recently I went to Amsterdam for two weeks to help my partner get settled. Most of you who are close to me know by now that he found a teaching position at the University so talks about me moving were already in the works over the summer. I will be joining him in January.

Creatively there is a lot of excitement about the possibilities of a city like Amsterdam. Amsterdam has a fantastic DJ community (Amsterdam Dance Event is just around the corner) and the city is a major hub for club-life all over Europe. As a DJ this is a dream come true. But still I suffer from this crippling doubt that is often hard to shake.

I am a huge fan of Jerry Seinfeld’s show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and in an episode where Tina Fey is sharing how she never did many stand-up gigs, Jerry says to her, “there is a bit of a brutality that you have to have. I would venture to say that you are missing that piece.” I feel I can relate.

Before I left for my trip to Amsterdam I did a gig where at the end of the night someone came up to me and said, “you are the worst DJ.” Sure the person was probably a little drunk and of course I should take those things with a grain of salt but every now and then, when the defences are low, the doubt takes hold. I remember packing my gear and slinking away afterward. I felt so humiliated.

There is so much to love about DJing. On a good night there is magic on that dance floor. I see it, I feel it. But I wonder sometimes if I have a thick enough skin for it. I’m trying, but it’s hard.

I stepped away from this website for a long time because I didn’t think anyone cared. I am sorry for that. I still have a few DJ Q/A’s that I’m committed to posting before I head to Europe. But come January I hope I can use this time to really think about what it is that I love about DJing and what I truly have to offer this profession. It’s unclear where this will all lead. And maybe that’s okay. I just hope that wherever I end up, and whatever I end up doing, there will be music…and dancing.

DJ Q/A: Rich & Kiss

March 29, 2014 in DJs, Events, images, Words by Mark Vicente

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Let this DJ Duo help you groove your way into Spring. Rich & Kiss will be manning the decks tonight at Peopl. Not to be missed! Here’s what they had to say about the Art of DJing

Mark Vicente: How would you describe the Rich & Kiss sound?
Rich & Kiss: Deep. Uplifting. And hopefully arousing. There are many different factors to consider when playing a set: your mood, the crowd, the venue. All things considered, we generally have a soulful spice that’s buttered up with heavy undertones.

Mark Vicente: As a duo, how do you guys like to share the deck duties?
Rich & Kiss: We pretty much duke it out for playing time but having 4 hands helps with things like sound effects. It offers room for versatility so we’re incorporating a few other cool plug-ins like the Maschine.

Mark Vicente: Why is Club Culture an important aspect of society?
Rich & Kiss: It brings people together. No matter what race, religion, sex, etc. None of that matters any more. Everyone is together for one simple reason: the music. It’s so healthy.

Mark Vicente: What has been your proudest moment as DJs so far?
Rich & Kiss: Cliche as it sounds, we’re having so much fun that it makes everything pretty awesome. That being said, our residency at Peopl is something that we love.

Mark Vicente: What is the perfect party experience?
Rich & Kiss: Having a great sound system, a full venue (but not overly-packed) where EVERYONE is dancing and loving our shit. Gets us high.

Mark Vicente: What would be your dream city/club/festival to play for and why?
Rich & Kiss: There’s so many gold-standard venues, like Space in Ibiza, that are a backbone for the culture. We’d be privileged to be added to the list of performers. But in all honesty, we think things will keep changing – venues, events, themes. The scene is so dynamic and getting so integrated with modern society that innovation is inevitable – not exclusively for the sound. It should create some colourful dynamics and we want to contribute and share with everyone.

check out Rich & Kiss tonight at Peopl:
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https://www.facebook.com/events/1481103802110045/

Follow Rich & Kiss:
https://www.facebook.com/richandkiss
https://www.mixcloud.com/rich_and_kiss/

DJ Q/A: Scott James

March 17, 2014 in DJs, images, Words by Mark Vicente

Scott James is one of those Montreal DJs who has been steadily growing in the scene for many years now. As Resident at Circus Afterhours and with many productions under his belt with several labels, this dude has shown staying power, talent and charisma. He’s opened for big names like Benny Bennasi but still rides a Bixi bike to work on occasion which I think is pretty bad-ass.

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Mark Vicente: How did you get into DJing?
Scott James: When I was a student at McGill a buddy of mine had a DJ set up at his place. One day I was just playing around with it and thought, “hey this is pretty cool.” It took me about four months to save money and buy my own gear but when I did I was hooked.

Mark Vicente: Why is Club Culture important in society?
Scott James: I think going out and clubbing is such an important way of learning to connect with people. It’s a place to practice being out there, making new friends, new connections and flirting. If you think about it, most successful people are people who know how to engage, express ideas and network. I think Clubbing can really help with that.

Mark Vicente:What do you like about the Electronic Music Scene in Montreal?
Scott James: There are just so many parties and really good DJs. Anything you want to experience is happening here whether it’s a big name DJ, a cool Event or an awesome After Hours. It’s all here year round.

Mark Vicente: What are you most proud of as a DJ?
Scott James: One career highlight would playing in front of ten thousand people at Escapade in Ottawa. I also had a request from a fan in Sri Lanka who liked my productions and was playing them out in the clubs out there. He was doing a benefit for a friend who needed heart surgery and wanted me to give his friend a shout out over the internet which I gladly did. It’s really touching to see how my music is impacting people around the world.

Mark Vicente: What kind of advice would you give to young DJs who are starting out?
Scott James: Definitely to treat DJing like a startup. This is your business and your brand. Also to be patient and keep your eye on the bigger picture. I’ve been growing steadily because I am persistent and I continue playing the game.

Mark Vicente: In two words how would you describe the Scott James sound/experience?
Scott James: Fucking exciting.

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Follow Scott James:

https://www.scottjames.ca
Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/djscottjames?fref=ts
Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/djscottjames

DJ Q/A with Heidy. P

March 8, 2014 in DJs, Events, images, Words by Mark Vicente

I’m so excited that the THUMP crew gets to throw a party with this cool cat this Saturday at The Royal Phoenix. Here’s what she had to say about DJing.1607098_424393124362624_2013711726_n

Mark Vicente: What inspired you to become a DJ?
Heidy.P: I became a dj because of radio. It all started with this radio show I was hosting on CISM 89,3FM, Ce soir on danse. I was 19 years old then and did the show for 7 years. Not long after starting hosting it, a friend asked me to be a guest dj at a night he was doing at Saphir. I agreed and ended up liking it a lot. Soon after, I convinced Korova owner (back then it was Jose…remember when korova had a dragon head behind the bar?) to give me a weekly on Sundays, Week-ends never end. My music taste changed a lot throughout the yeas and I slowly shifted from a more post-punk/indie sound to house and techno.

Mark Vicente:Why do you think Club Culture is important in today’s society?
Heidy.P:I think club culture is important in a society cause people tend to be more open minded in nightlife. It can be a way to change people pre-conceived idea and let them explore their creativity.

Mark Vicente:Describe your perfect party
Heidy.P:A perfect party relies on a good soundsystem. If you have enough bass the rest should follow. Also having an open minded crowd that is there for the music and not just to do drugs is an important factor. I’m also into discovering new spaces. There was a Resident advisor mini documentary about the club culture in Paris and the promoter was explaining how finding the perfect spot was part of the thrill. He’d take a scooter trip to find perfect places a little outside Paris. I really hope to be able to do that at some point; drag Montrealers outside of their comfort zone (Plateau/Mile-end) and throw parties in warehouses, unusual buildings or even remote fields or lakes…

Mark Vicente:what is one of you proudest moments as a DJ
Heidy.P:Last Saturday at Montreal en Lumières was a moving experience. I got to DJ for 4 hours in front of 10 000 people at Place-des-Arts. It was freaking cold but most of the people at the front stayed for the whole set and danced their asses off. The crowd was way younger than I’m used to (at the front at least) so it was a challenge to keep them enthusiastic for the whole set but it the end I was able to balance my old school house with newer bassy sounds and it worked just fine. It was a rewarding experience.

Mark Vicente:What do you love about the Montreal Electronic Music Scene and what could it improve on?
Heidy.P:I really love what has been happening in the Montreal electronic music scene in the past few years. There are a lot of new players that keep the scene healthy (Forbidden Planet, Booma Collective, Morning Fever, Thump,…) . Now what has to improve is the city’s obsession to shut down after parties and give fines to clubs due to noise complaints. We’ll see how things change with Coderre open to the idea of keeping certain bars open until 6am.

Mark Vicente:What kind of experience can people expect from a night with Heidy Pinet?
Heidy.P:I consider myself equally a host and a dj. I’m in the nightlife for the love of music but also for the love of partying. I like to talk people coming to my shows and I try to make them feel at home. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure everything is perfect and everybody is having a good time. I’m not afraid to drop some classics here and there to make people smile. I’m tryng to make it as fun as possible and I’m not affraid to go from house to techno to disco and mix things around.

Come see Heidy. P at THUMP tonight!

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https://www.facebook.com/events/238135006371488/

Follow Heidy. P!

Facebook:
www.facebook.com/heidyp

Lisbon Lux Records:
https://www.lisbonluxrecords.com/heidy-p

DJ Q/A: B’UGO

January 24, 2014 in DJs, Events, Words by Mark Vicente

B’Ugo will be spinning this Saturday along side heavy hitters Jojo Flores and JaBig for the 15th Anniversary of Therapy at Peopl featuring Julie McKnight. This party is going to bring much needed heat to these cold Montreal nights. Check out what the prolific DJ has to say about his craft.

1488027_625847640806359_1907488035_nMark Vicente: When was the moment you started DJing professionally?
B’Ugo: I was lucky enough to start directly at the club without much practice. That was over 15 years. it kinda just happened. I was able to practice on the job and perfect my technique with each live gig. I then started investing in a set up at home so I could make my own mixes. Back then it was a little harder to get live recordings of yourself at the club… I would give them out in cassettes! Remember those?? LOL

Mark Vicente: Montreal has a vibrant electronic music scene. What do you love about it and what, in your opinion, still needs improvement?
B’Ugo: I love the people. We’re all a little crazy and probably wouldn’t hang out in the daylight. But at night anything goes right? I’ve always been attracted to things that are outside of the norm so the dance music scene was perfect for me. I’ve been lucky enough in my 15 years in the biz to be able to cross the different sub-scenes : 1 week I can be doing a aggressive electro party like Gaybash at Cabaret Underworld and the next a deep house gig with Julie McKnight at Peopl. Throughout that I’ve managed to keep my own signature B’UGO Sound. Everything always needs improvement, but I’m not one to be nostalgic about how things used to me. IMHO when you start talking in the past too much it might be time to think about retiring.

Mark Vicente: Who are the DJs/Producers that inspire you?
B’Ugo: I’m a Danny Tenaglia groupie. He has and continues to inspire me musically to this day. I try never to miss his marathons when he’s in town. I like many others like Carl Cox, Frankie Knuckles, Manny Ward, Junior Vasquez. I also dig more newschool jocks like Nathan Barrato, Carlo Lio and the techno queen herself Nicole Moudaber. I’m into deep and dark shit when I’m on the dancefloor.

Mark Vicente: Describe your perfect Party/Club experience
B’Ugo: I love marathon parties where you stay in at the club for over 12h. Stereo is the best place to do that in Montreal. For it to be perfect there need to be a lil production and not too many Djs playing. some seating is a must and a bar with Alcohol can be a bonus! :D I also dig Beach parties which I’ve been doing latley in Turks and Caicos. Going back this summer for another one.

Mark Vicente: What are you most proud of as a DJ?
B’Ugo: I’m still here doing what I live. I’m obsessed with it and very lucky I get to play out as much as I do.

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Follow B’Ugo:

www.bugo.dj
www.twitter.com/djbugo
instagram @djbugo
www.facebook.com/djbugo
www.soundcloud.com/djbugo
www.mixcloud.com/bugomusic

Dj Q/A Jojo Flores

January 21, 2014 in DJs, Words by Mark Vicente

I have such respect for this DJ. He’s hard working, passionate, dedicated to his craft and is just an all around cool person. His party Therapy, celebrates it’s 15th Anniversary at Peopl this Saturday. Check out what the Montreal Ambassador for all things House had to say about his Art.

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Mark Vicente: What was the moment you knew DJing and Producing would be your career?
Jojo Flores: The moment was when I realized I was able to buy records, pay rent, and put food on the table with my DJ salary. I started DJing as a hobby in 1983. In 1993 I decided to make djing a full time project. I had a Thursday & Saturday night residency at Montreal’s legendary Di Salvio’s. 5 years later I started traveling the world.

Mark Vicente: Why is Club Culture a vital part of society?
Jojo Flores: It’s still a great way to meet socially, and an important way to discover new music and artists.

Mark Vicente: What are your thoughts on the Montreal Electronic Scene/Community?
Jojo Flores: The scene in Montreal is vibrant and I think it’s definitely one of the best in North America. Montreal produces amazing international artists (DJs, Producers, and Vocalists). Not to mention Montreal hosts respected festivals such as Mutek, Piknic Electronik, and Igloofest.

Mark Vicente: What kind of experience can people expect from a night with Jojo Flores?
Jojo Flores: Strictly positive vibes. A journey through different shades of electronic music, with different shades of Peopl.

Mark Vicente: What kind of advice would you give to a new DJ looking to graduate from the bedroom into the clubs?
Jojo Flores: Respect the art of DJing, respect the music you play, keep your sound consistent, and promote yourself to the fullest (social media, mix tapes, business cards, etc…)

Mark Vicente: Share one of your proudest moments as a DJ
Jojo Flores: One of the proudest moments is when I played in the Philippines. A major TV network booked me for a festival in Boracay. It was my first time back home since I moved to Canada; 28 years later.

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Fifteen Years of Therapy this Saturday
https://www.facebook.com/events/423185517784059/

Listen to Jojo Flores:
https://soundcloud.com/jojoflores

Follow Jojo Flores:
http://www.jojoflores.com
http://facebook.com/jojo.flores
http://twitter.com/djjojoflores

Q/A Craig Dominic

December 24, 2013 in DJs, Events, Words by Mark Vicente

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Craig Dominic just celebrated his sixth year as resident DJ at Crews/Tango and I am very happy that I get an opportunity to DJ alongside him this Friday for College Night. Here is what he had to say about the Art of DJing.

DJ Mark Vicente: When did you know DJing was a passion you wanted to pursue?
Craig Dominic: I realized I loved DJ’ing even before I started. I just never admitted it to myself. I DJ’d (cue’d tracks) in highschool and always spent my time listening to, giving my opinion on, sharing music with everyone else. It was just a matter of time I guess.

DJ Mark Vicente: Who are the DJs/Producers that continue to inspire you?
Craig Dominic: R&B is my first love so the top producers for me give R&B beats.
Even though he’s not so present anymore, Babyface has always been my number one producer.
I have loved Timbaland, Rich Harrison and Rodney Jerkins over the years.
Otherwise I am a huge fan of Dave Aude, Calvin Harris, Avicii right now.

DJ Mark Vicente: Why is Club Culture important in Society?
Craig Dominic:Club culture in general is overlooked as a drunken fantasy life but today it’s where the majority of social interaction outside of work happens. It’s in some ways one of the last great equalizers we have. People of different status, finances, careers, lives etc all find themselves in the same clubs intersecting.

DJ Mark Vicente: How would describe your perfect Party Night Out?
Craig Dominic: My perfect night out is a night filled with R&B music. I’m going on 35 and if anyone plays me R&B from the 90s you’ve basically made my night. I don’t need to drink much, just give me three songs in a row I want to dance to and I’m warmed up.

DJ Mark Vicente: In the past year, what is your proudest moment as a DJ/Producer?
Craig Dominic: My proudest moment as a DJ the last year would be my sets over Toronto Pride 2013. Without getting into it this was the hardest year I’ve ever had on this planet and the epicenter of it all was in June of this year. That I was able to still go out there and play maybe the best I have this year on such a grand scale makes me proud.

I will be spinning with Craig Dominic this Friday for a Special College Night at Church in Church

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Follow Craig Dominic on Soundcloud!
https://soundcloud.com/craigdominic

Why I’m not going out tonight

November 23, 2013 in Words by Mark Vicente

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It’s Saturday night, my boyfriend is away in New York and I’m not DJing. The perfect opportunity to go out, network, check out what’s going on in the city right?

The thing is I have been feeling so burnt out lately that for the first time in a long time I feel like I just want to use this time not just to relax, but to honestly reflect and think about what my vision is for my life. I mean seriously, what do I really want out of being a DJ? What’s the next step for me?

It’s something I don’t think a lot of DJs talk about so from now on I hope to use this platform to just be honest about this DJ journey that I am on. Because half the time I am either feeling lost or caught up in so much noise and negative thoughts and doubts.

There is so much for me to learn about being a DJ. And the one thing I am having the hardest time letting go of is being a perfectionist. I have this notion that if I could just be perfect, be cool and look good, no one can question my talent or abilities and I’d have the confidence to play anywhere. But the truth is perfection is just the armour I wear to keep me from looking bad. I don’t want to look stupid so I hide.

It’s inevitable that the next stage in expanding my DJ career is to make music. But because my identity is so attached to being perfect I don’t want to begin anything unless it sounds perfect until I have the right tools, or I’ve studied all the right material. It’s crazy because even if I did all that I still wouldn’t know it all and be smart enough. I still wouldn’t have the “right” software, the right cables, the right speakers. It’s this never ending cycle of “not enough” to keep me in this fog so that I don’t do the one thing that will really make a difference: fail.

I need to fail. I need to fail a lot. And because I have such an aversion to failing I would rather bitch and moan or worse day dream about the day I will become a successful international DJ than to actually do the work of making music, which will probably suck a lot before it gets a whole lot better. What a challenge it is to get back to this beginner’s mind and to just have fun failing.

So I’m not going out tonight. Going out will just be another diversion to keep me from doing some real work like reading the Ableton manual and turning on the software and pressing buttons and just fucking up a lot. I’m on chapter 4 of the manual and already I’m lost in a language I don’t understand (yet).

I have to have faith that it will get better, that it will get easier. And I want to keep writing about this journey because I was to be transparent about it with all of you. I don’t know what it means to be a cool DJ who understands all the gadgets and has all the answers. I think as I move forward the best thing for me to keep in mind is that my true passion is to create a space for people to dance and be themselves and have fun.

I’m turning a corner. But something tells me it’s gonna get ugly before it gets better. But I’m ready to fail and I’m ready to let go of trying to be a “cool” DJ. It’s time to just be me. I’m enough.

“Stop Watching TV” my Q/A with NOTV

November 12, 2013 in DJs, images, Words by Mark Vicente

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I am super stoked that I got Julian Prince of the collective known as NOTV to participate in a Q/A for me. I greatly respect his sound and creativity, not to mention his Restaurant/Bar Lounge that he co-owns, Joverse, is one of the hottest places to go in Old Montreal. Here’s what he had to say about the art of DJing and Producing.

Mark Vicente: How did NOTV get created?
Julian Prince/ NOTV: Sean and I have known each other since we were 14. I started djing at 16 when Sean picked up a guitar and started composing songs. I met Amine at Cherry much later, on my wednesday night weekly party called “The Other People’s Secret Weekend”. He had just arrived from Paris, was tired of that city and was looking for a new home. We became instant friends. He came by my studio and we made a track called The Fun Maker and a bootleg of Country from Empire of the Sun. Working with him was very organic and seemed natural from the first kick. Six months later we convinced Sean to join us and had him and his guitarist come by the studio to jam. We recorded the vocals without telling Sean and made a track with it called Inside and Out…he was part of NOTV without knowing it. He had no choice but to join us.

Mark Vicente: What are the pro’s of working I a collective
NOTV: People often say three is a bad number. It’s the animal law that two people naturally teams up on one. for this project to move forward, we came up with the rule that majority wins right from the beginning. Everyone brings their best to the project. Sean is the crazy scientist, he comes up with new ways to treat the sound and sings, Amine is the tweaker, he’s got more patience and a good ear, I’ve got the experience so I’m the architect, I polish the tunes, structure the djing and co-write the songs with Sean.

Mark Vicente: why is club culture important in society?
NOTV:Because it’s a place where everyone in society can have fun together without giving importance to the background, the color, the sexual orientation, the job, the money in the bank account…all people care about is dancing and having a good time. Club music makes that possible.

Mark Vicente: what kind of experience can people expect when going to a NOTV event?
NOTV: We’re high energy. You can hear the passion through the speakers. We play alot of our songs, we can dj, sing, play the instruments…anyway get ready, we may surprise you!

Mark Vicente: what has been the proudest/ exciting/ craziest moment of NOTV so far?
NOTV: Nic Warren closing all his sets of summer 2013 with our remix of From Loving You from Gone Deville.

Mark Vicente: what kind of advice or encouragement would you give to up and coming producers?
NOTV: Don’t waste your time watching TV. Music is now democratic. Everyone can make music without having a 100k studio. Don’t go to school for this, school yourself. Youtube is the best teacher. It really comes down to how many dedicated hours you put in and how much you want it. 10% talent, the rest is work.

Follow NOTV!:

Facebook:
http://facebook.com/officialnotv

Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/notv-offical