Photo Courtesy Of: Alexandra Schaus
As the summer comes to an end, one Toronto DJ decided to take a shot a something the city’s bass community would agree we need. His views on the bass scene in Toronto are simple, it’s amazing, but we really don't a have a bass specific festival. While we have good local companies representing, our festival scene has been hit-and-miss. Local DJ; Barz, has put together a 24- Hour Digital Music Festival, titled “Unaffiliated”. The event is created by DJ’s for the people and he’s teamed up with other 24 other local DJs from from all over Toronto and the GTA. We’re sure this festival will please all lovers of Bass music so we sat down with Barz for an interview to get an insight into who he is and why he’s running the stream:
What drove you to create this live stream festival & make it 24-hours long?
Putting on the the live stream came from two things, one makes a lot of sense and the other one is a little bit silly. The big thing I saw a lot over the summer was people on various online forums saying, “oh man I wish we had a dedicated bass festival”. While Quebec has Valhalla Toronto has largely been dry of a bass-heavy festival. Theres been bass acts booked at other festivals but always in a mixture with other stuff. We used to have festivals like WEMF, but that was before my time so I can’t really speak on that. I was just thinking about how good the bass scene has been to me and i just wanted to give back. I don't have all the means to run a huge festival, but I do have access to a good studio space that we can live stream from and everyone now a days has the internet.
The second reason was I had just broke up with my girlfriend, so I needed something to put my time and energy into to get over the breakup. I’d been talking about doing these streams, so I said why not? I’ll just do this live stream, and then I thought might as well go big or go home so I decided to go 24 hours with it.
Do you feel bass music is misrepresented in Toronto in terms of larger festivals?
A little bit, it’d be nice to see local Bass artists to getting booked at the bass tents and stages at the bigger festivals. Garden of Eden does this very well, as does EverAfter. I think TBC (Toronto Bass Community) is involved with both of those. Those festivals have a good and solid representation of locals from the bass scene. However the other festivals we’ve had haven’t really thrown any support to the local bass guys. A prime example of this was Digital Dreams. A DJ by the name of Charlie Darker had to cancel and I thought to my self, “this would be a perfect time to book one of the rising bass acts”. Then they ended up booking a local DJ/Producer who’s mostly known to produce house music (Cosella). He’s an amazing act but I feel that that was really a good chance to showcase one of the many upcoming talents we have within the bass scene.
Now outside of the festivals the bass scene in Toronto is getting better and better ever since I’ve become involved. I think in the last two years things have started to open up. You have more shows happening, a lot of young guys coming up, and they’re making the older guys stay good, you know. So theres that but I do think it can get better, and I definitely think it will get better!
That leads into our next question perfectly, where would you like to see the local bass scene, as well as the major bass scene go?
Well i mean the major bass scene always has two facets to it, you always have you mainstream stuff and your underground stuff. Theres always going to be guys into the heavy dubstep, and stuff like Drum n’ Bass will never die. Drum n’ Bass is like an eternal fixture in music now, and then you always have new stuff like Trap, Future Bass etc. coming out of the woodwork Personally I'm going to stick to the local level, because I don’t think I'm in a space to talk about the international scene as much.
On a local level theres two things. One thing I’d really like to see is people supporting the locals bass scene, as much as they support guys coming in from out of town. Like Low Frequency, those do well because they do a good job on the promotional side, and theres quite a few DJs on the bill. You get a bill of 10 DJ’s and they each bring a few friends they can pull a crowd, add a few walk-ins and boom you have an event. But theres just so many nights where there are amazing Bass DJ’s & Producers, like 4 or 5 of them, and theres maybe 10 people there. You get some really fantastic guys on some of these too, so I’d like to see a bit more support. I understand big artists are exciting, but some of these guys are really just as good or better than those guys. So I’d like to see people give these guys a chance and support the scene a little more. Aside from that i’d just like to see a few more show’s. All of our promotion companies are doing amazing, but I feel like our shows are still a bit spread out, when compared to other cities.
Photo Courtesy of: Toronto Bass Community
Why Choose to name the festival “Unaffiliated”, is it to highlight the unsigned talent?
Yeah that wasn’t actually my original thought, because some of these guys are signed to record companies. I wasn’t really trying to make a big statement with this. I just wanted to have a 24-hour party and share it with everyone. I’m not really a promoter, I’m just pretty good at organizing stuff. I chose unaffiliated because I wasn't going to bring in any outside promoters, sponsors, just 24 DJ’S running this for 24-hours. That way they could just promote it how ever they want to and who they wanted to as well as play whatever music they want to play. This way it’s for the community, by the community.
Is Unaffiliated going to be a reoccurring event, and will it be mostly Bass music?
It’ll definitely say on the “bassier” side of things. I mean when I “curated” the event, I tried to look at all the different avenues of the bass scene. Anything i could think of,s tuff like Future bass; I have a couple guys playing Grime and Garage, even bass house. Of course things like DnB, Dubstep, Trap - but i tried to include some different stuff as well. That being said, if I were to do another one…it would still be bass music based. Eagerly because that’s been my thing since I started DJing, and from a branding perspective it’d be really weird to just jump and do a techno show right after. I don’t know if I’ll do another one, we”ll see how this one goes really. If it does go well I’d love to do another one, the planning was a lot of work but i don't think it was anything I couldn't handle. We’ll just see if people like it and maybe we’ll do another next year, or in six months? I don't know, I just wanted to throw a party with a bunch of friends really.
Whats do you feel your next move will be, seeing as this is one of the coolest ideas we’ve seen happen on a local level?
Yeah well next for me…hmmm…that a very good question. I think it ties back into the last question, if this goes well we’ll see what happens. If it doesn't go well I’ll hide for a few months till it all blows over *we both laugh*. I’m not really sure to be honest, if it goes well then maybe I’ll do some smaller streams around this brand, and lead up to another big one? My real two end goals as far as this kind of thing goes are owning a venue and starting a physical festival. Those things are both ventures I’d like to do in the future, but thats the very far future at this point. Aside form that I’ll continue DJ’ing and doing my thing around the city. In the short term I’ll be sleeping a lot to recover from throwing a 24-hour party!
Be sure to catch the live stream of the Unaffiliated on Twitch September 2nd. We’ll be updating this post with the link when the festival airs @ 12PM! We’d also like to thank DJ Barz and we know all of the other DJ’s involved are going to kill it. Keep it locked into VIOL-ENT for the latest in news, music, and more!