Interview with Shane Percy
I first met Shane Percy at a friend's house, when we all sat down to play some obscure German boardgames with translations printed off the net. I had no idea he was one of the most successful club DJs in Toronto, nor did I know just how many projects he's dipped his fingers into. As the founder of Grapefruit and Poof, he's been spinning retro, pop, and electro for years at places like Fly and Goodhandy's. While his parties are huge hits in the club scene amongst the gay community, there's always room to grow. I got to ask him a few questions earlier this week about what's coming up, and what Toronto can expect from him in the future. He was also kind enough to offer to put 4 names on the guest list for Grapefruit this Friday for the adventurous.
BlogTO: For the uninitiated, tell us what Grapefruit and Poof are all about.
Shane Percy: Well Grapefruit is where it all started for me, back in 2002. Basically, I'm a music nerd and I wanted to start a night that focused on a specific kind of popular music. Grapefruit is a very upbeat dance/ pop party, that blurs lines of genre and sort of has a big house party feel to it. It has a very strong retro component but I always hesitate to describe it as a retro night, because in the purest sense, it's not. We just love pop music from every decade. 60's girl groups to 70's disco, 80's pop/dance to 90's pop/house and newer European pop -- which is criminally ignored in North America. Disco, pop, retro, early house classics...all of this music finds a home at Grapefruit. Poof is a new night, a collaboration between me and DJ Aural, and the focus of Poof is for the slightly harder edged electro pop and new vocal electro-house tracks. A harder sort of fun.
BTO: What can the party goers expect when they walk through the club's doors?
SP: Well Grapefruit is insane, we have this crazy loyal crowd who are so up for it. There's a great energy and very little attitude. I think by playing pop and classics, pretenses sort of evaporate and people just really get into it. Poof is so new, I am not sure how to best answer that, but it's a very sex-positive club. Anything goes, and we encourage it!
BTO: Do you know what Donnarama and Miss C will be wearing on Friday?
SP: I am usually just as surprised as everyone else. Generally we confer on what kind of show I'd like and they're amazing, they go with it and turn out the funniest drag shit I have ever seen. Most of it winds up on YouTube.
BTO: I'd imagine that anyone into retro dance, pop and electro would have a good time at Grapefruit and Poof, even though it's mostly a gay crowd in attendance. What would you say to those who love the music, but aren't sure of whether or not they'd have a good time?
SP: Well I kind of prefaced this in the earlier question, but when you're playing the kind of music we are, pretenses vanish in a way and people just get into it. The thing is, because we're playing such accessible music, it's not hard for people to relate and let loose. Straight people should know that they are welcome, and in fact we get lots of straight people coming out to enjoy the music which is great to see. I always think the best parties are the ones where all kinds of people turn up for it. Even though I'm gay, if I was in a roomful of only gay men, I think it would be a lot less interesting.
BTO: Your events have been running for years now, and Grapefruit itself is consistently packed with a long lineup of eager would-be attendees. What else is out there for you to conquer?
SP: Well it's great to see so many people coming out after 4 years, and that's something I'm really proud of, so I guess on some level I'm connecting with people and providing them with a good night out, which is an amazing feeling. Sometimes when spinning, I just get a moment when I look at the dance floor and think "Holy shit!" I still get that excitement, which is brilliant. I think if a DJ doesn't have that, it's time to quit. As long as people are connecting to what I am doing, I'm not stopping... it's way too much fun. For 2007 I'll be focusing on new opportunities to spin electro and house. I get typecast as a "retro DJ" a lot, which is frustrating to a degree, so I'll be spreading my wings a bit musically.
Big thanks to Shane for taking time from his busy schedule for the interview. Grapefruit happens the second Friday of every month including this Friday, December 8, at Fly (located at 8 Gloucester east of Yonge. 416-410-5426). Cover is 5$ between 9:30-10:30, 10$ thereafter. Poof happens the last Sunday of every month, but will be making an early appearance this time on December 17 at Goodhandy's (120 Church St., south of Queen. 416-760-6556). Cover is 5$ all night.
GET ON THE GUEST LIST THIS FRIDAY: The first two people to email ryan[at]blogto[dot]com with the answer to the following question will get their name plus one on the guest list (go to the short line): What's Madonna's full birth name, and in what city was she born in?
Shane will be also "spreading his wings" on the following dates:
Wed Dec 13- Battling Boys at Goodhandy's (120 Church St) 10pm
Thu Dec 28- Lush Life at Voglie (on Church St) 10pm.
Sun Dec 31- New Years Eve at Buddies In Bad Times with DJ's Shane Percy & K-Tel
Photos courtesy of Shane Percy
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