DJ Q/A with Jackie Spade

October 29, 2013 in DJs, Words by Mark Vicente

After living in New York for many years I decided to move back home to Montreal. Jackie Spade was one of the first DJs I got to meet. I am so happy she took some time to reconnect and contribute to my DJ Blog. Here’s what she had to say about DJing.


Mark Vicente:Who are your influences as a DJ and Producer?
Jackie Spade:John Roberts, Steven Campodonico,Avatism, Coeter one and from way back, Carlo Lio. Honestly, a lot of the people closer to me who are incredibly talented artists have influenced me greatly as well, you all know who you are.

Mark Vicente:At what moment did you know that DJing and Producing would be your career?
Jackie Spade:There was one Morning in Montreal a few years ago after my night at Circus Afterhours, which was 3-9am, I thought to myself, man, it’s so cold, I’m so tired….why do I do this to myself? And I thought about it for a second, the night, the crowd, the vibe, the love, the music, everything. I smiled, to myself, walking down the street. I couldn’t stop smiling. I got a feeling that I can hardly describe, A very happy, whole, reassuring, eureka kind of feeling ( I was completely sober by the way, haha). So I thought to myself, aha. THAT is why I do this to myself. That feeling is worth much more than sleep ever will be, and I can’t wait to do it again!

Mark Vicente:Why is club culture important in today’s society?
Jackie Spade:That’s a very loaded question because there are different definitions of Club culture, especially with the rise of “EDM culture”, which means something quite different from what I see as club culture. I see it as a community where you aren’t judged, it really IS all about the music and the vibe, and the real relationships you make within it. It is important because it moves people, it gives people a chance to do and feel and wear what they want and connect in ways that might not have been possible in daytime/every day life.

Mark Vicente:What kind of experience can people expect from a Jackie Spade party?
Jackie Spade:I like to take people on a journey through different genres of house and techno. You can expect music that will keep you bouncing, but not tire you out within an hour. Also expect a more personal experience, I like to be as close to the crowd as possible and look up at them often to interact!

Mark Vicente: You’ve lived in Montreal and now are in Toronto. What do you love about Toronto and miss about Montreal?
Jackie Spade:What I love about Toronto is the universal culture where you work hard and play hard. it makes the playing feel more rewarding and at some venues/events you really feel that “let loose” vibe. What I miss about Montreal is the tighter knit community. Some of the best times I have had are in a basement or DJing just with friends, creating a dance floor in a bedroom. I haven’t found a whole lot of that in Toronto yet.

Mark Vicente:In the last year what are you most proud of?
Jackie Spade:I have to say I am most proud of my new project “Tides”. It is a very personal collection of sets that came out of me when I was in different moods on different days. I think it shows my growth as an artist, and my diversity in terms of music.

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DJ Q/A: Cajjmere Wray

September 27, 2013 in DJs, Words by Mark Vicente


I have been such a huge fan of this guy’s productions for years now so I am so happy to share this Q/A I had with Cajjmere Wray.

Cajjmere Wray stirs the mix along with many house styles including big room, top 40 remix, progressive and elec-tribal. He has been able to set himself apart successfully from many other DJ’s through his productions, and by being able to manipulate any crowd into a frenzy which is definitely part of what makes him a very rare talent.

Here is what Cajjmere Wray ahd to say about his craft:

Mark Vicente: Which DJs continue to inspire/influence you?
Cajjmere Wray:Though he is no longer with us, my friend and colleague, the late DJ/Artist/Producer Peter Rauhofer was, and still is a big inspiration to not only myself, but also to countless others in the industry. He brought a certain quality to the table that could never be matched, nor should it ever try to be matched. Even though he still inspires me with the knowledge he taught me over the years, I do bring much of myself into productions to make them my own. Other talents that continue to influence me are Danny Tenaglia, Hardwell, Nicole Moudaber and Miss Jennifer to name only a few.

Mark Vicente: What do you like about Producing and what do you like about DJing?
Cajjmere Wray:The thing I love most about production is that it allows me to freely express myself through the music and bring something fresh to the dance floor. I cannot stand ‘cookie cutter music’, it drives me fucking bonkers, lol. For example, most of what’s on the current house charts all have a similar layout in the production format, and they don’t offer much of a variety to DJ’s who want something more from a track than to sound exactly like the song they JUST played! I love DJ’ing because it gives me the opportunity to kinda use the dance floor in an experimental fashion, by using it to test out my new and upcoming releases. Many times I play things that drive a floor crazy and not one person in the room will know it’s my production. That alone secretly gives me an enormous high.

Mark Vicente: Why is nightlife important in today’s society?
Cajjmere Wray:I believe that nightlife will always maintain a certain level of importance in greater society, because it gives people the opportunity to escape the everyday mundane nature of their lives. We as a people cannot survive strictly on clockwork habits in the office and the occasional family gathering. Hitting a club with friends allows for the chaos in your subconscious to come alive. For some it can turn violent, but for most it’s just a drunken night out on the town, dancing your ass off and enjoying GOOD quality music, (if you know where to find it…*hint hint* LOL!).

Mark Vicente: What experience can people expect from a Cajjmere Wray party?
Cajjmere Wray:Coming to one of my events is like waking up on Christmas morning. You never know exactly what you’ll get from under the tree, but you KNOW you are gonna love it because Santa wouldn’t mess with you….right? *wink* I just like to pay homage to DJ’s and artists from all walks of life and give them their time through the speakers. Many times I will think my set was absolute shit, yet tons of people will come up to me at the end of the party raging about it, and the following week triple numbers of people will show up, lol. I think my humble nature is what keeps me grounded and keeps my events honest and in good fun.

Mark Vicente: As a DJ/Producer, where do you see yourself in five years?
Cajjmere Wray:The future can be a great thing or an ugly thing, and it really comes down to what you put into it, to help make it what it could possibly be. I’d like to say my future will be stunning and great, yet with the demise of the music industry always hanging in the balance, it’s a tough card to call. I think as long as people keep an open mind and continue to love music, and the majority still don’t mind opening up their wallets to support who they want to hear on their iPod’s, myself and a few others should be okay. An important bit of advice I always give on the future of production in music, is that it’s no longer about the money, you have to really love what you do in order to keep yourself going from day to day, and I do love it.

Mark Vicente: What elements create an amazing night?
Cajjmere Wray:An amazing night can incorporate many elements, and I am seeing that people want more, more, more! The bigger the better (as I’ve been told). So that’s why we tend to see more of these big party productions being put on now (ie: EDC Vegas, Matinee, Sensation etc etc..), because people want something bright and flashy to look at along with the music. It’s sad however that some of parties deliver AMAZING visuals, and lack serious luster in the quality of music on deck. I don’t always think of myself as anything great on the decks, but I do have a good sense of what IS great, and a few talents I’ve heard play at these festivals honestly made me shake my head in question. I’m all for the big flashy productions because indeed they do bring the excitement of a party to another level, and if that’s what people want in current times then why not pump it as hard as you can go?

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Q/A with Oren Nizri

July 4, 2013 in DJs, Events, Words by Mark Vicente


Oren Nizri is the resident DJ at The Manor Complex, one of the biggest and most successful clubs in South Florida. During the past few years Oren Nizri had very successful shows from Coast to Coast; and has toured internationally throughout Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Canada, Central America, Europe, Asia, Israel and Australia. Oren Nizri has also headlined major LGBT events including The White Party and Winter Party Festival in Miami as well as major festival Hell & Heaven 2011 – one of Brazil’s most attended annual music conferences. Other major international festivals include Sounds Festival in Lima (Peru) , Summer Sounds Festival in Mexico, Gay Prides in Canada, Fall Festival in Argentina, Black Party in London, Winter Music Conference and ULTRA in Miami.

Oren Nizri will be at Appollon, Montreal on Saturday July 6th as part of Inferno Canada Men
Check out what he has to say about DJing!

Mark Vicente: Who would you say are your DJ influences/Inspiration?

Oren Nizri: I grew up on the classic house sound of the 90′s , so the list is endless. Just to name a few Danny Tenaglia, Roger Sanchez ,Masters at Work, Grant Nelson, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles etc

Mark Vicente: At one point did you know that your passion for DJing would also become your career?
Oren Nizri: I wanted to be a movie director as a kid but that idea didn’t last for long. At the age of 16 I really got into music when house music exploded globally – in the mid 90′s – I got so hooked. That’s the first time i ever thought of just and idea to become a DJ but not too seriously and then little by little i knew that’s what i really wanted to do.

Mark Vicente: Why do you think Nightlife/Club Culture is important in Society?
Oren Nizri: For so many reasons but I think one of the main reason is that the whole club culture has always been a way to escape. People work hard all week and when the weekend come, all they wanna do is go out and escape for few hours.. get lost in the magic of the lights the music, not worry about anything just pure fun.

Mark Vicente: What’s one thing you’d like people to know about the Art of DJing
Oren Nizri:It’s not as easy as it looks .There’s a lot of hard work into it in every aspect and it never ends. Every night is like a brand new start. The crowd’s mood and vibes are changing from gig to gig and you always have to be 2 steps ahead. Most importantly, a good DJ should be able to adapt, to entertain and to deliver every time. Every performance is never the same and that makes our work fun but also challenging.

Mark Vicente: What kind of experience can people expect from an Oren Nizri set?
Oren Nizri:I really believe in a journey, a concept that seems to get lost this days. I’m all about taking you to a magical ride of quality house music that is very driven and energetic. I describe my music style like a mixture of sexy and uplifting euro big room house music. If my style sounds exciting to you, I promise you a night you wont forget.

Mark Vicente: How would you describe the perfect party?
Oren Nizri: High production, amazing sounds system and creative themes and visuals, always make for a great experience. I love parties where everyone comes together for the experience and the music. There are a lot of parties like that in Israel, and the energy is just out of control.

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Q/A with DJ Superstar Tom Stephan

June 27, 2013 in DJs, Events, Words by Mark Vicente


Tom Stephan (aka Superchumbo) is an International DJ with a reputation for sexy, percussive beats. His monthly party DISH at East Bloc continues to rock London, England and he frequently makes his way across the pond for big events like WMC, Black and Blue, Pride and Divers-Cite. Check out what he has to say about his passion for the Art of DJing.

Mark Vicente: what are the qualities of a great Dj?
Tom Stephan: When a dj really loves what they’re playing, you can hear it. Also think it’s so important to be flexible and interactive with the room. Deciding what to play ahead of time might be a helpful guide, but you’ve got to go with the flow or you’re just a mix cd!

Mark Vicente: why is club life/nightlife important in society?
Tom Stephan: I think it’s about escape- the music, the lights, the atmosphere all help to create the fantasy. It’s a place where you can be who you want to be (like Tony in Saturday Night Fever!) It’s also about connection- a shared communal experience. Being in the middle of the dance floor when an entire room of people emotionally reacts to a song is a very powerful experience!

Mark Vicente: what techniques or rituals do you use to keep from being overwhelmed or stressed from the Dj lifestyle?
Tom Stephan: I’m sober!

Mark Vicente: what is one unexpected gift you received from being a Dj
Tom Stephan: Travel. I grew up in a small town of 15,000 people, and I remember arguing with my French teacher about why I should bother to learn another language. I never imagined I would have the chance to see so much of the world, and I’m immensely grateful that I have.

Mark Vicente: what elements of djing continue to inspire you
Tom Stephan: Technology. I have always found technology inspiring and was always looking for new ways to manipulate music. Playing on Traktor now is mindblowing- compared to trying to do live loops with a Jam Man. (Anybody who knows what I mean will know what I’m talking about!)

And most importantly music! I have yet to become bored. There’s ALWAYS new music out there that gets me moving, excites me when I dj, and inspires me to create more myself.

Mark Vicente: what can people expect to experience from a Tom Stephan/ Superchumbo party?
Tom Stephan: Lots of drums and drama- and hopefully a sense that I’m loving every minute!!

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DJ Q/A with Erez Ben Ishay

June 22, 2013 in DJs, Events, Words by Mark Vicente

Erez Ben Ishay is one of the hottest Djs in the Gay Circuit Scene right now. Currently on tour with his Grindr show, Erez Ben Ishay will be hitting Appollon tonight in Montreal and will be at FLY in Toronto for Pride the following week. Here’s what he had to say about being a DJ:

MV: What/Who inspired you to become a DJ?
Erez Ben Ishay: Peter Rauhofer of course. I can’t forget the day I saw an article about his first Live@Roxy cd and I didn’t know him back then but something told me I should buy it. That’s what made me fall in love with circuit music.

MV: Can you remember the gig/moment that propelled you from local DJ to International DJ?
Erez Ben Ishay: My first international gig was in one of the best clubs in world! The Week, São Paulo, so I can say for sure it was the point in my career that changed everything.

MV: What is the importance of Club Culture in society?
Erez Ben Ishay: First of all, I think that anything that related to music is important to society. But for me it’s the option to have a place to run from all your daily problems and to have few hours of pure fun with your self and with your friends.

MV: What kind of experience can people expect from an Erez Ben Ishay Party?
Erez Ben Ishay: First people can expect to have updated beats; I’m always in search-mode because I get bored quickly from playing the same tracks. And secondly in today’s gay market you can see lots of Djs playing the same commercial shit and I can’t handle it anymore so that’s why I try to keep the commercial aspect to a minimum as much as possible.

MV: To date, what are you most proud of in your DJ career?
Erez Ben Ishay: I think the fact that I’m the only Israeli DJ that, in almost 4 years has done gigs in more than 40 cities around the world is enough to be of proud no? :)

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DJ Q/A with PHI

June 9, 2013 in DJs, Words by Mark Vicente

PHIPatrick Haggart, goes by the name PHI and is an electronic music producer and founder of PHI Sounds Record Label and PHI Sounds EDU that specializes in music production, in particular, Ableton. Check him out on his links below! Here’s what PHI had to say:

What inspires you about being a DJ / Producer?

What inspires me most about music production in the 21st century is that as an individual, I now have access to tools to fully express myself musically, utilizing the sounds and instruments of the past; yet I am free to create totally new sound textures never heard before. I don’t have to necessarily rely on band members or cultivate an entire orchestra to write and produce music. Although I do appreciate the quality of real instruments and the human element of live recorded instrumental sound, and strive to bring those elements into my music; I’m not limited by it. It’s exciting that I can sit down and quite literally transcribe the music and sounds of my imagination into a song in a matter of hours or days, with little more than headphones and laptop.

Of course after a lot of fine tuning, mixing, mastering and feedback on my work, DJing takes that solitary creative expression of music production to whole other realm, where I am freed up to draw in an audience and share the sounds that I hope will move them. The performer in me, is fascinated with creating a space where dancers can collab with me to create a profound, fun, sexy, healing experience.

What role does club culture have in society?

Club culture is one of the breeding grounds for catharsis. After long days, weeks or stressful lives, I find music venues are places where people go to let go. The club is a place where the rules change from your day to day life. I understand it’s not always like that, but it can be fun to submerge yourself in a totally different sensory environment, and just have fun for a while….Dance, flirt, loose yourself in the music. Personally, I find music can be quite a catalyst for healing, so its quite interesting to see all the different ways we incorporate music into our lives, and even make a ritual out of it socially.

What are the criteria for a great party night?

A good gender balance, great mix of diverse people with good vibes, and great music. Personally a great party for me is when the music is thoughtfully weaved together, moves with the changing moods of the people present and tells a bit of a story. A good DJ set has a beginning, middle and end. Terrible DJ sets tend to focus on each song. Totally pro DJs (in my mind) have a consistency and can with ease move you from one state to another, whether its from relaxed to hype or from hype back to social. I like when an overall theme or storyline binds the whole set together.

What is something amazing about Ableton that most people might not know?

Ooh! If only you knew! Take my Ableton Mastery Program to find out! Ableton is a high quality ‘swiss-army-knife’ of music production (made in Germany). Ableton is a bit of a playground where you can create your own instrument to perform music in your own unique way. In the studio, Ableton has enabled me to add a step in the creative process that was lacking in other softwares. I can use it like a sketch pad in “session view”. It allows me to compose, riffs, beats, rhythms, and melodies; composing a song piece by piece without having to decide right away which piece is going to have to fit where in the overall structure of the song. I can pull together the song structure later on in the process. It’s a non-linear music making game changer in that regard.

Also if you really want to go down the rabbit hole and be a geek about it (I highly recommend you do) explore the integration with MAX/msp programming language. MAX/msp has opened up Ableton to pure infinite potentiality, it allows you to create any instruments you desire, add whatever effects you desire and literally change how Ableton works to fit your own personal needs. It’s somewhat of an ‘open-source’ software.

Why are production schools like PHI Sounds EDU so important to up and coming DJs?

It’s important in today’s music industry to have well-rounded knowledge and not just an aesthetic appreciation of music. Quality performance depends on a thorough grasp of the music your presenting and your instruments. With the increase in access to music and music technology, there is definitely a need for more education. Thorough musical instruction and knowledge of your tools, gives music producers a greater range for self expression. When it comes to music production, you don’t want to be thinking about how you’re going to do something, you need to be able to just play it down. I’ve been building PHI Sounds EDU to share the skills needed to do just that.

I enjoying offering a comprehensive understanding of music to fellow musicians and producers, plus I learn so much as a teacher sharing what I know.

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Etchy, Sketchy visions….

December 30, 2012 in Words by Mark Vicente

I’ve called this DJ Blog Night Vision and on the last night before 2013 I’m thinking about my future. Not a future like a dream, a “someday, maybe” but a goal, something that I want to see manifest in time and space. People get scared of goals because once you turn a dream into a goal then it becomes “real” or “important”. People start asking you, “how’s that project coming along? Are you reaching your goals?” With a goal there comes a risk of not succeeding, of failing. With a dream you can always say, “well,it was just a dream anyway.”

Night Life, it seems, is for the young. It’s a youth driven culture. It thrives on young people understanding the importance of letting off steam, buying booze and gyrating to dope beats. So what of those individuals like me who find a calling in Night Life and club music? What does the future look like for us?

In my heart I want to believe that the future is truly that blank canvas waiting for me to paint my masterpiece. Maybe the future is more like an etch-a-sketch: something I am designing with lines that go this way and that with the true possibility that it might not work out and I simply shake myself clean and start fresh.

I have to trust and have faith that there is a beautiful future in DJing. I don’t know where it will lead. In my ideal world my goals would be much clearer. But one thing is certain; as long as I am expanding, contributing and sharing myself with people, DJing has something to teach me. There is still so much to learn.

Big Primpin’: all about the fun

December 14, 2012 in Words by Mark Vicente

Sometimes a night out doesn’t require a shiny new outfit, expensive tickets to the newest after hours or a big international DJ superstar. It’s a particular combination of sorts, the perfect mixture of quality and quantity both in style and music, laced with a hint of irony that can create an enjoyable evening. Big Primpin’ has mastered this party-brew for years now. It’s laid-back, non-pretentious approach feels like you’ve arrived fashionably late to your best friend’s house party just when things are getting wild.

Why does BP work?

People Dress Up Or dress down…or wear whatever the hell they want.

You run into friends you didn’t expect to see…and then they introduce you to their friends. It’s fun, unexpected and a perfect way to touch base while waiting in line at coat check. So it’s not exactly the ideal situation for a heart-to-heart. Who cares? Sometimes the most meaningful conversations can happen in the span of an Aaliyah song.

Strangers are pretty

….and they’re not afraid to have a conversation…or have their picture taken…or maybe even kiss you or grope you on the dance floor. We only live once people. Now’s not the time to be a wallflower!

Your good friends go there …and you don’t see them as much as you’d like and you love them and want to hang with them and be drunk and messy with them because they’ve been with you through much worse.

It’s in the Music… So you can’t remember the name of the DJ and maybe they didn’t blend their beats all the time like a “true professional”. Who gives a sh*t. Just keep playing Destiny’s Child, Eminem, Mya, Solange, Nicki and all that dirty soca…

===NIGHT VISION=== welcome to my Website/Blog

December 7, 2012 in Words by Mark Vicente

Of course I wanted to create a website so people could find me on the web, hear my mixes and find a way to book my DJ services. But I also wanted a forum to explore some really simple ideas and questions:

- what exactly is Night Life? What is its purpose?

- Why is it important to have a Night Life? What is the role of a DJ?

- What is the relation between Day Life and Night Life? Between Music and Dancer? Between Dancer and Club space?

- What makes a vibrant and diverse Club scene and community?

I’m hoping to use this weekly blog as a means to inquire about these (and other) questions. I’ve been going to clubs since I was seventeen. I can remember vividly my first experience going to a Rave that my friend Brendan took me to. I remember being immersed in darkness and shooting lights and music with bass that made my ribcage rattle and skin vibrate.

This love affair with Night Life has led me to this point. And more than ever I am so curious about this need for people to congregate and move in rhythm together to beats that are at the same time both ancient and futuristic. I am so fascinated by this desire to dress up or cloak ourselves and sneak out into the night to go dancing.

I think there’s something necessary about having a healthy Night Life. Whether it’s meeting cool people or going to a great restaurant. Night Life is a way for us to connect in a way that it very different from our daily lives. We approach people differently, we say things differently.

With the amount of energy, effort and seriousness we put in our daily lives, ask yourself, “Is it really important to my growth and development to have a Night Life?”