2017 is off to a great start after another successful night at the Anza Club! It’s shaping up to be a busy DJ year ;)
The Trance scene in Vancouver had a rough ride through 2016. Never known as a haven for the genre, the city still has a small but loyal following, focused mainly in the Vancouver Trance Family (VTF). After last year’s few-and-far-between series of ‘usual suspects’ bookings, and a locals night where Trance was nowhere to be heard, something had to change. A few of us decided to begin organizing that change, and eventually, a new VTF night was born:
No international headliner, no mix of genres. Just Trance music all night long. We weren’t sure if many people would be interested, but in the end, MIA was packed for most of the night. Nearly 400 people came through the door. We couldn’t have been happier.
I was especially excited to play as Causeway, my first ever gig at a VTF event! I had the closing slot, from 1:45am until 3:00am, and it was a great time.
There will be more Spectrum events in the future, and with The Residency beginning to book more out of town acts, 2017 is already beginning to deliver the Trance goods back to Vancouver.
Thinking back on my ‘big year’ of travel feels like remembering a vivid dream. At times clear, but otherwise foggy. It can seem like it was just yesterday, or a lifetime ago. I’m often glad for the extensive photo journal I kept along the way. Without it, I would have forgotten places, names, and countless other details by now. There are cities, landscapes, trinkets, food. More importantly, interesting people and great friends. What I always notice the most, however, are the changes I see in myself. A photo of me from August of 2013 shows one person, and a shot from August of 2014 shows someone else entirely. Since being back home, I’ve wondered if a younger me would have gotten as much out of that trip as I did at thirty two. I doubt it.
*Insert cliche about how travel changes you here*
Well, just like stereotypes, cliches exist for a reason. Though in this case, I’m not sure anyone can change unless they’re open to it in the first place. Many people are desperate for a transformational travel experience. Others stubbornly cling to their ‘home’ selves. I didn’t try for either, yet somehow accomplished both. Not that it was easy.
I still think of that year as the best of my life so far. It was also the worst. There were amazing new friendships and romance. There was also prolonged loneliness and heartbreak. I visited incredible cities and landscapes, and was stimulated by fresh experiences and knowledge. None of that is constant. There were also entire days spent alone on trains or buses. Entire nights in airports. Times when I couldn’t escape from myself, or find a big enough distraction. Places I hated but was stuck in. Days where all I’d want was an actual friend to talk to.
The Fall after I came home, I had an idea to create an emotional journal of my ‘big year’ using my favourite genre of dance music: Trance. I’d listened to a lot of it during my trip, and certain tracks had taken on new and powerful meanings for me. It took several months, but I was eventually able to string them together into a set. It’s still the most narrative set I’ve done, and a year and a half after recording it, I still give it a listen every once and a while. Every track, every lyric, and every mix and key change are deliberately chosen to tell the story back to myself. I’ve shared it with a few close friends, but have only decided to post it online now. If you give it a listen, I’d love to know what you think…
Trying to come up with a Trance alias for DJing has been an exercise in prolonged frustration. Alexander Hamilton has become so associated with Soundproof and Techno, that even having Trance on the Mixcloud page seems jarring and awkward. There have been a few name ideas over the last couple of years. I even went so far as to create online accounts for some of them. Ultimately, they just didn’t feel right. I mentioned the struggle to a friend recently and after listening to a couple of my Trance sets, he came up with ‘Causeway’ straight off the bat. I’m pretty happy with it, so it’s finally time to get back to posting Trance sets. For now, I’ve uploaded my existing favourites, but expect some new material soon.
It already feels like it’s been ages since the last Soundproof event, so I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s time to go searching for some new Techno!
The daytime event for Trancemission 18 was such a huge success, many people hoped it would be something Soundproof could do often, at least while the weather is nice. ‘Parkproof’ has begun. This edition may be the last one for 2015, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it return next Spring once every month or two. It’s great to be able to hang out with the Soundproof family in a more casual setting. Many people have families now and bring their kids. The music is relaxed, and this time, there was even a movie!
A ball pit on a bus. A bouncy castle. ‘Ghostbusters’ on a big outdoor screen. Popcorn and candy. Even little ‘Stay Puft’ marshmallows! Soundproof sure knows how to throw a party.
It wouldn’t be Summer without Trancemission, even if it is going to be in the city. We found out nearly two weeks ago that the outdoor camping spot we wanted to use for this year’s party is now inaccessible. The road leading there has been closed by the Province due to the forest fires. Not only does that road lead directly to one of the fire sites, but conditions are so dry that it does seem safer to just stop people from camping in the area entirely.
It was incredibly disappointing to learn that we wouldn’t be able to have our annual outdoor party, but after putting despair aside and doing a lot of work, the Soundproof crew has pulled together and organized three events over the weekend: an indoor party on Friday night, an outdoor event on Saturday afternoon, and a Saturday night ‘main event’ at an indoor venue that can stay open until Sunday morning. It may not be the full Trancemission experience, but I know it’s still going to be an amazing time.
I’m playing on Saturday night at 3:30am, and I’m still having fun lining up some dark, intense Techno for the occasion. It’s going to be wonderful to see the Soundproof family again, and I hope as many of them turn up as we expect. One thing I’m sure of: I’ll need the extra recovery day on Monday. I’m glad I booked it off work.
A couple of weeks ago Soundproof was back at The Anza Club for our first event of 2015. What a great night! It’s always great to see the family again, especially after quite a long break. People must have been looking forward to it, because we hit capacity before midnight! Here’s my closing set, from 1:15am – 2:00am. I think it turned out alright.
Soundproof will be back at the Anza on June 6th.
New Year’s Eve was a fun one for me. I was one of about 25 DJs to play at an all night, multi-room party put on by Vancouver Arts & Leisure and Some Kind Of Music Blog in their new warehouse space. The turnout was overwhelming, and apart from the wait to get in, everything went perfectly! It was also my first DJ gig outside of Soundproof, and though I didn’t have much prep time, I think it went pretty well. Here’s the recording of my set: