While Mood Hut, Pacific Rhythm and Pender Street Steppers have done much to put dance music in Western Canada on the map, they, and the wider region, owe a lot to Dane. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, his longstanding work as a promoter, venue manager, label head (for Common Edit) and DJ has helped helped influence and nurture much of the positive energy emanating from the Canadian Riveria and its surrounding regions. Given this connection, it makes his impending move to new pastures in Berlin all the more significant. Before the next giant leap and, with Common Edit 011 hitting the shops, we had a chat about some Canadian connections, accompanying an hour mix.
Hi Dane, how’s things been keeping in Alberta over the winter?
Super dupes really! Very busy, loads of work with 9910 and actually prepping for a move overseas to Berlin in April. Life’s pretty funny!
First our usual ice-breaker, what’s your first musical memory?
That’s a toughie! I guess the big one that really sticks in mind is my first time going to a party. A place called Therapy Afterhours, my second home for a couple of years, actually the first place I ever played as well. But I was 15 and a bunch of friends and I had crammed ourselves into my bud Tyler’s car. I was laying down on the floor of the back seat as we rolled around Downtown Edmonton trying to find the place. I was totally unaware of what was going on as everyone was yelling at Tyler who was completely lost. Finally we stopped and you could hear the thump thump thump thump coming from the club. Kinda figured we were there, popped my head up and sure enough – party time! Still clear as day in my brain.
Much is made of Vancouver being the heart of Western Canada’s dance music renaissance, but what of the other cities in BC and Alberta – Calgary, Victoria and your home town of Edmonton? For those not familiar with the latter ones, why should they be paying more attention?
Because stuff is poppin out West! I mean everything from artists and labels, things are happening all over the place. Edmonton alone is home to Common Edit obviously but Normals Welcome and Heart To Heart as well in terms of labels releasing actual records. Two of my fave labels, let alone the fact they’re from my home town. Artist wise the list really goes on, Vancouver obviously has the upper hand but over the last few years all of the West has been steppin up.
Aside from it inspiring the name of your label, what would you say the most significant impact your time DJing at Common has made on the path you’ve taken as a DJ?
Big question really, The Common has shaped my path in more ways than I can actually comprehend. The ownership, Kyla Kaziel, Rob Clarke and Justin Der have been my best friends and biggest supporters over the past ten or 11 years even going back to when I was 15 years old. They helped me pay for pressings, given me a place to play and quite literally practice the act of DJing for a very long time. As well as their passion for community and giving me the opportunity to play the music I know and love without any reservations. They even owned the record store I worked in for over 10 years as well. Without any doubt that situation was extremely fortunate, endless time off, no morning shifts and allowed me to continue to pursue everything I’m doing today. I have a lot of love for the three of them and the businesses they’ve built. Edmonton and myself wouldn’t be the same without them. For real.
In the basement below, you’ve been running 99ten for over a year now. How are you finding life as a venue owner?
I’ve actually just been the General Manager and Talent Buyer but things have been amazing. It was a crucial learning experience for myself I feel. Taught me a ton about the actual business of things and forced me to learn more about sound systems, lighting and decor. Was super cool, plus being around music non stop for work and play is never a bad thing. Met loads of new pals and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge.
Do you find having a permanent base has compounded the sense of community you’ve been creating over the years in Western Canada with Common Edit and the parties you host and play at?
Absolutely! It taught me a lot and truly it’s one of the most important things. Community no matter where you are is crucial to the city and the people who live there. We push one another and help one another by our actions, parties we throw and play. I grew up in the age of the record store and I’m very thankful for that. At least for DJing I always thought it was the pillar of the community, where you learn from people who’ve been around already. But as I mentioned previously about the move, it has also made me the person I am now and nurtured me onto new paths in life. So now it’s time to go and try and build another. Exciting stuff!
Focussing on the art of the edit now, you’ve spoken before about what makes a perfect edit, but what about spotting a good sample. When you’re rifling through bargain bins and deep crates, what characteristics are you subconsciously listening out for to grab your ear? The bassline? Strings? Powerful vocals?
More often then not, its that groove baby! Diggin for that bar or two that make you move. But really it don’t matter what, just something that pops and that you want to listen over and over to. Loop that!
Has there been an edit out this year that’s so simply and effective you were kicking youself for not thinking of it yourself?
Huh, not really to be honest, I like to think of it more as “great, someone did this, now the world doesn’t have to…… add to cart”
Broadening the scope to your collection as a whole, do you think you could pinpoint a vintage year among it all? If so, can you pick three that would illustrate that year.
Not really actually. My taste is pretty broad and I’ve never really fixated on a time specifically 😉 I’ve been digging a lot of 80’s jams of late. Active Force’s ‘Cold Blooded Lover’ has been high on my list as well as a Brazilian jam by the Electric Boogies called ‘Break Mandrake’. ‘Flying High’ by Cloud One is an all time fave as well.
What was the last deep conversation you had that had a direct impact on your music?
Yikes, haven’t had too many of those lately.
What new / young talent should we be keeping an eye on at the moment?
Well not sure about new / young but new to me is Kejeblos. His remix on Phantom Island for Volt-Face blew my mind and I couldn’t be more excited to hear Khotin’s new ambient joint come out. Full album and it’s my shit!
Which new Canadian labels are exciting you?
Hasn’t been too many new as of late, really it’s just the crews putting out solid stuff consistently, Khotin’s got a new self released thing going on called “Waterpark” Normals Welcome, Heart To Heart, Pacific Rhythm, Mood Hut, ASL Singles, SOBO, and actually might have something new cooking myself sometime later this year with my pal Elan aka ESB/Elka from Vancouver
Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us?
Normally I’d look to do something a little more eclectic for you guys but since this was for Common Edit I figured I’d keep it in the same zone. Really just playing songs here but the first few tunes are kinda where it all started for me with Common Edit. Crew right there. A joint of Khotin and mine on Eddie C’s Red Motorbike label and then a couple tunes from the OG Canadian 7″ edit label. 7 Inches Of Love, with a couple cuts from Eddie and our man Koosh. The business really!
And finally, what else have you got coming up on the horizon for the rest of 2017?
Biggest news I guess is there’s a fresh new Common Edit that’s just been mastered. 12″ with a tune from Cooper Saver & Patrick Holland and then on the flip, CE regulars Eddie C and El Molito. It’s super hot. Should be going to press real soon! Then loads of fun really. Moving to Berlin in a few weeks and then the journey begins, got some shows when I land in Rotterdam, Berlin and Cairo and then I should have some time to settle in and figure life out. Get this new project off the ground and get down to it really. See you out there friends! High fives!