Otherland dance series to shake up Toronto party scene
OTHERLAND is the newest dance party series in Toronto, but it arrives with a reputation already laid out ahead of it. This past winter, Mansion provided the next best thing to a cure for seasonal affective disorder in the form of their two month-long Foundry series, which brought everyone from balearic pioneer DJ Harvey to Swedish techno duo Skudge to our frozen turf with some of the best late-night dance parties this city has seen in recent memories.
In the wake of Foundry, OTHERLAND is Mansion's new year-long series that pulls inspiration from other worldwide rave utopias such as London's Fabric and Corsica Studios, Berlin's fabled Panorama Bar and Stattbad, Brooklyn's Output, and Rex Club in Paris. Promoter Konrad Droeske describes all these locales as "places that have managed to create and maintain a special vibe for years, and in some cases decades", citing longevity and sustainability as key ingredients to successful club nights.
While Foundry focused on merging unconventional spaces with innovative artists, Droeske admits realities of Toronto's by-laws have made parties in "raw spaces" increasingly difficult as events grow. Still, many of the components that made Foundry successful will still remain intact - sound quality, artist curation, design, local talent, art installations, and an absolutely necessary no harassment policy all other clubs in Toronto should be taking notes from. "These are all concepts that can also come together in to a more traditional environment" Droeske tells me.
Headlining the first OTHERLAND on Friday July 25th is Detroit flagship techno act Model 500, (Juan Atkins, Underground Resistance's Mike Banks and DJ Skurge & Metroplex's Mark Taylor). The collaborative project cemented Atkins' reputation as the "godfather of techno", and took the quartet on worldwide tours. They'll be joined by Canadian innovators including Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan (DJ set), and local fixtures Kevin McPhee and Gingy.
Headlining with Model 500 is the latest in a long line of Detroit-imported techno acts that Mansion has focused on, following previous innovates like Andrés and Omar-S. "It's not so much that we have a focus on Detroit pioneers" Droeske admits, "but that we love the idea of bringing together originators with their up-and-coming counterparts. Especially those that owe much of their existing work to those who essentially created the genre. The dynamic is always fascinating."
OTHERLAND will be aiming to restructure the space of its 567 Queen Street West venue Tattoo (not the Tattoo Rock Parlour of old), by bringing in a Mansion-approved sound tech to figure out ways we can augment and properly tune the room prior to the show. "We've also spent the last couple weeks working on the design and construction of an installation specific to the series" Droeske says, adding lighting and visuals will be specifically tailored to the artists' styles.
"We're making use of both rooms. We really like the idea of creating several distinct vibes in a complex." As a year-long series, OTHERLAND's roster of shows will be continuously unveiled. "As we start to roll out the full line-ups, we hope people will notice we've made a point of booking talented local labels and collectives in the second room that will add something unique," Droeske states, "yet compatible to the overall music experience."
Below, find a few educational tools that will prepare you for this Friday at Tattoo.
Cybotron - Clear
Simian Mobile Disco & Bicep - Sacrifice
Iron Galaxy - Attention Seeker
Parris Mitchell Project - All Night Long
Joey Beltram - Energy Flash
Paul Johnson - Hear The Music
Grab tickets to OTHERLAND over here or at Soundscapes, Play De Record, and Rotate This.
Photo of Model 500 by Fumiaki Sakurai via higher-frequency.com. Foundry photo by Alejandro Santiago.