CDJ regional competition. Credit: Geordy Carson.
Volunteering can lead to rich opportunities and experiences. When the National Music Centre presented us with the opportunity to relay the dirt behind the hype, we were excited to attend the Canadian DJ Show May 4 at the BMO Centre, an event that attracted an assortment of industry players, bedroom and seasoned DJ's/producers, and supporters of Calgary's electronic music scene. It was a chance to pick up on the current nightlife industry trends. Exhibitors displayed their newest production lines for 2014, featuring the latest technology of lights, sound, and equipment geared toward the craft of DJing and production on various levels. Borderline intimidating and flashy to the average onlooker, this event was geared toward staying current with the ever-changing trend of products and services offered in what popular media has labelled 'EDM', or Electronic Dance Music. It was exciting to look at from all angles, while speaker systems pushed decibels competing for attention at the majority of booths throughout the day.
The main event that attracted most attendees was the DMC Regional Competition held at the Electro-Voice Mainstage on the concourse. What started out as eight competitors battling for the title of Regional Turntablist Champion was cut down to six competitors due to a few technical difficulties on stage. A laptop stand was knocked over for the first competitor, Jimmi Riggz (Calgary) from what seemed to be too much low end supplied by the main speaker system. The National Director of DMC Canada and host Amir Handan granted another chance at showcasing Jimmi his six minutes of scratching, flaring, crabbing, beat juggling and beat matching—in turn earning his second place finish in the competition. DJ All Good from Nanaimo, BC, featured a set with precise cuts and a solid funk backbone and proudly took home third place, but it was Calgary's own Dustin Def who scratched some of his own productions to take home first place and proved why he should represent at The DMC National Competition in Toronto later this year.
This year's CDJ regional winners. Credit: Geordy Carson.
Rounding off the Canadian DJ Show, we were able to sit in on a Question and Answer session with legendary DJ and producer, Tommie Sunshine. His 20 plus years in the industry provided great insight for all in attendance, covering such topics as what the future of electronic music may hold, pitfalls to avoid for producers and DJ's, and some humorous stories of touring throughout North America. Dressed in his customary hippie garb and characteristic sunglasses, it was a treat to hear the veteran recount valuable wisdom upon those wishing to make their mark in the local dance music scene.
Q & A with legendary DJ and producer Tommie Sunshine. Credit: Geordy Carson.
Calgary's thriving electronic music culture continues to expand and evolve as fast as it can keep up with the latest changes in equipment platforms on the market. Hosting a show of this calibre in Western Canada was an important event—it gave the public a chance to understand the changes that impact performers and producers alike. The technology involved in producing and performing electronic music isn't for the faint of heart—it requires some deep research into the best platform suited for its user. The CDJ Show provided nothing less than a wide variety of options for people committed to fostering the local music landscape and showcased talent that keeps the essence of culture alive.
– Geordy Carson & Kym Butler