Call & Response: Sta
Toronto-based DJ/producer Stu Freen (aka Sta) seems to be on the fast track to international acclaim. Almost a year ago, the Queens University graduate shared a remix he made for the theme song of "In Living Colour" - the hilarious 90's comedy show that launched the careers of Jim Carrey, The Wayans brothers and, uh, Jennifer Lopez.
Sta's remix went over well with the blog crowd and it caught the attention of UK breaks legend Adam Freeland. Now the track is being released worldwide via Freeland's Marine Parade label on January 28. I spoke to Sta about the show that inspired his remix, the crappy TTC schedule and about how much fun everyone is going to have at his record release party at the Drake Underground this Saturday.
Keep reading for the complete interview.
blogTO: Why is your production name "Sta"?
Sta: Back in High School I played in a rock band and we entered ourselves in a battle of the bands. We met with the organizers who were a German guy and a French woman. They asked me what my name was, I said "Stu" and they said "Sta?!? What kind of name is Sta?" I told them: "No, it's Stu, Stu Freen". They went "Sta? Sta Free?". No joke, this went on for 5 minutes. Sure enough they printed up backstage passes and everything that all said "Sta Free". It kind of stuck I guess.
What made you want to remix the "In Living Colour" theme song?
Some songs just need to be remixed. Really though, I just liked the hook so I went to town on it.
Do you still watch the reruns? What was your favourite skit?
Actually I don't even have cable right now - it's sad. I always liked the skit where Jim Carrey is a butch female aerobics instructor who talks in a deep voice and spits on the floor.
How did your remix end up on Annie Nightingale's BBC Radio 1 program?
I'm lucky enough to be on a label that's got some great connections and is willing to put money into promoting their stuff. Marine Parade is Adam Freeland's label and he kind of wrote the book on breaks music. So, they're doing all sorts of behind the scenes stuff like mailing out promo copies to big DJs who actually listen because of MP's track record.
How did you hook up with Adam Freeland?
Same way anyone else has heard about me - blogs and Myspace. Adam grabbed a rough version of "In Living Colour" off a blog and really liked it, so he contacted me over Myspace. I met up with him the last time he came through Toronto and that's basically it. We decided to work together and now the record's coming out!
What do you like best about living in Toronto?
Everything's available to you within a half-hour trip: great food, music, shops, etc. It's got a great vibe.
What do you like least about living in Toronto?
The subway closes before last call. What's up with that?
What do you hope happens in 2008?
I hope other artists keep it fresh regarding music production. Blog House or whatever you want to call it is sounding a bit stale lately, people need to put more imagination into it.
Are you working on a second release yet?
Definitely. Working on it right now, actually. It's still in the early stages but it's going to be less sample-heavy and have more live instrumentation in it.
What can people expect at your record release party?
I'm gonna wave around copies of my record while the other guys scream over the mic and trainwreck records. Haha - no, I don't know. We're going to play great music, drop some new and unreleased stuff and have a dance party until they kick us out. NROTB are coming in from Montreal who never disapoint, and Stop Die Resuscitate has been added the bill which just sweetens the deal even more. They're starting at 9:30 and we'll get the DJs on at about 10:30.
"In Living Colour" Record Release Party
Featuring Sta, Nu Ravers on the Block, Special Guests, Stop Die Resuscitate (video premiere)
Saturday, January 26
The Drake Underground
1150 Queen Street West
9pm, $5 at door
Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with artists from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Harrison Smith.
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