WLP Editorial

Local Love

Local Love

Brent Hayward

April 14th, 2014


As my birthday weekend approaches, I can’t help but reflect on years past. I am grateful for being able to do what I love to do on a daily basis.

This Saturday, I will play a rare 7 hour open to close extended set at Ryze to celebrate my birthday. “One DJ” playing open to close doesn’t happen often in our city. It’s a rarity that for various reasons, gets lost in the shuffle.

I want to share the top ten local DJ’s that have influenced me since I first touched a Turntable back in 1995.  Many of these names I consider my peers and friends. Some I don’t know outside of a friendly nod and handshake, yet their music did more than speak volumes to me.. Without further ado:

 10. Mark Scaife

Remember Breathe Fridays at System Soundbar? Mark was a guy I would go for over an international any day, his sets were that good. His name became synonymous with that venue.

Mark was rinsing true Progressive house sets weekly when Prog was THE sound of that time.

 9. Ramy vs. David

I spun many weekly residencies alongside brothers Ramy & David Sellouk from 2004-2007 under the ZRF banner. Ramy & David made their claim to fame as residents at Fluid when that space was THE place to be.

Meshing a combination of deep, vocal and peak hour club favourites, R&D had the soon to be “bottle service crowd” eating out of the palms of their hands.

 8. Matt C 

RPM resident Matt C was an integral part of Toronto’s underground in the 90’s. I was too young to experience him on a weekly basis back then. However after seeing his name on countless rave flyers, I became familiar of his work as a DJ through mixed tapes and CD’s. He became part owner of Industry and was a staple of the Saturday nights. One of the first DJ’s that exposed me to what underground house music was.

 7. Peter & Tyrone

I first came to know Peter and Tyrone buying my records from Traxx back in the late 90’s. I would watch as DJ’s would gravitate to them for advice on what they thought was hot and relevant.

They propelled the same energy into the DJ booth. It wasn’t long before I got to see the duo in action as they played as residents at Tonic on Wednesdays and at Industry on Saturdays. The 83 West Label honcho’s had the deep house sound down pat…

6. Deko-Ze

Deko-Ze made it impossible not to dance when he was in control of the decks, and his energy was always (and still remains) second to none. Deko-ze will go down in my books as one of if not THE biggest crowd pleaser in Toronto. PERIOD.
He has the ability to read a room and adjust on the fly like no other.. He was also the first guy I witnessed live playing on multiple decks, and for a young kid looking to soak it all in, it was mesmerizing at the time.

 5. Addy

Addy not only played a sound that become known to be “his own” for many years, it became a sound that was known as “Toronto’s own”..

His sets at Zone were some of the most talked about in the city. He has reinvented himself throughout the years. I have a feeling more reinventions are to come in the form of production as well.

4. Manzone & Strong

Joe and Fab have had one of the most successful runs in Toronto as 2 of the go to staples of our underground fabric for 20 years. They have played as residents in every major venue our city has built. From watching Manzone Rip euro classics at such venues as LA Hollywood & Palazzo, to Club 108 on Thursdays live on Energy 108, this is where I first was put on notice.

From there it was Meow, Fluid, and The Drink that was home to 2 guys the helped mould and shape what I was playing at the time. Versatility has been the key that has kept these 2 in the Toronto spotlight for so many years.

3. Carlo Lio

Carlo started as a TO local, which is why he’s on this list!  Every show you went to Carlo had fans and friends screaming in unison, and all for good reason. From humble beginnings to humble successes, nothing changed him.

Musically he had that ear and was able to carve out a sound that propelled him into his productions and eventually his label. One word describes Carlo in his rise to current times…PASSION. He beams this in his sets and in his music…

 2. Nathan Barato

Every time I hear Nathan,  it’s an experience that changes and gets better. The mark of a DJ’s DJ. Not only does he have a “sound” all to his own, it’s a sound that continues to be polished into something very special.

Every DJ I speak to that plays one of his tracks all says the same thing “Barato is delivering HARD with the goods” It’s safe to say that these trends are going to continue, and in doing so, the sky’s the limit for one of the nicest guys in the business

1. Mark Oliver

Partying in the Guverment main room from the late 90’s and early 2000’s, was responsible for my growth as DJ. I spent so many Saturday nights immersed in Mark Oliver’s musical vortex that it was impossible not to be influenced. He catered to all sounds, and to this day, I think it’s safe to say there are countless DJ’s who feel the same way. Mark is a pillar of the Toronto scene Oliver introduced Acid House to our city, he played records no one else had. Often times people would come for Mark over whomever was playing because he would keep the energy going hours after the headliner got off. So many timeless classics were heard for the first time played by him.

The fact that he is still going after all these years shows that his longevity is a direct correlation to his skills. I’ll put it to you like this…if there was a DJ Hall of Fame for Toronto talent, Mark Oliver would be a first ballot inductee.

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