Call & Response: Nasty Nav

As far as I'm concerned, Toronto DJ/remixer/promoter/label, bar and record shop owner Nasty Nav deserves the key to the city. He's been dropping some of the best local DJ sets for about a decade now, he co-owns Play De Record and just over a year ago (along with business partner Chris Harper) he opened Wrongbar - my favourite place to shake my booty in the city.

A couple years ago, Nav started his own label - Nastymix Records. He's got his hands in everything!

Nav spins at Wrongbar Saturday night. I talked to him about the highs and lows of being a bar owner, and the best events he's hosted at Wrongbar so far. He gave me some solid hangover advice.

blogTO: Over a year after opening Wrongbar, how do you like being a club owner?

Nasty Nav: It's definitely a lot more work and responsibility than I had bargained for. I am a very hands-on kind of person, so I am really involved with pretty much every little aspect of the place. Honestly, sometimes I really miss the good ol' days of just showing up to the club, DJing, running up my bar tab, getting wasted and having fun, but other days I really value the learning experience. At the end of the day I get to be around music 24/7, drink, dance, and meet lots of awesome people for a living. I'm definitely living a dream, but not one that comes without having to bust my ass to realize it.

I heard you've had some issues with the neighbours re: noise complaints. What sound adjustments have you had to make to appease them? Is the issue fully resolved now?

The first thing I did when I set out to open the club, was blow all of my budget on the sound system, and soundproof glass and insulation for the front of the building. When we first opened, we received loads of noise complaints, but after installing more sound proofing and a vestibule at the entry way, the complaints have definitely decreased. As our regulars are well aware, we also have a somewhat whimsical door person system at the entrance whereby only one door is opened at a time in order to reduce the amount of sound leaking into the street. A lot of time I think it's really the loud crowds and late night revelry in the streets that upsets our neighbors, but regardless, at the end of the day we don't want to upset or compromise anyone's lifestyle.

What are your three favourite events you've had so far at Wrongbar?

It's impossible to pick just three, so here are some that come to mind:

Crystal Castles Live. They sold out two nights and the place was on fire. Amazing.

Holy Fuck Live. The band did a benefit for Earthroots with us. They sounded amazing on our system.

Crookers DJ Set. The A/C broke at the club on this night and Phra and Bot probably lost ten pounds each, but every time I've seen them since they still joke abut it. It was literally raining in the club. People were losing their minds with excitement.

Fucked Up Live. We need more hardcore shows at the club. Period.

Glass Candy Live. They've played the club a few times, but the last time Johnny Jewel came in 3 hours before the show and outfitted the club with all this handmade decor he did. Glitter and graffiti, and loads of purple and white balloons. I've never seen an artist personally take so much time and care to create a vibe for one of their shows. Johnny is the man.

Finally, I will never forget the infamous Monotonix show. After playing for a mere yet frenetic 10 minutes in the club, the crazy Israelis threw their drum kit into the audience and lead the entire club out into the street where they proceeded drum, scream, chant and stop traffic. Six police cruisers arrived just as Ami Shalev scaled my neighbors storefront and dove into the crowd below. Needless to say I had a lot of explaining to do...

You also have your own label now. What are your goals with that?

I've put out three Nastymix releases so far. Bird Peterson, Cobra Krames and the Thunderheist Jerk It EP. I don't really have any goals for the label. It's just something I do for fun and so that I won't ever regret not starting a record label.

What are your top five tracks to spin right now?

These aren't my top five, but they are in my bag a lot lately:

Lauren Flax ft SIA "You've Changed" (Original Mix)
Mr Oizo "Gay Dentist" (JFK Edit)
Beni "My Heart Sees You" (Orginal Mix)
Lioness "You're my Heart" (Mansion Remix)
Little Boots "Stuck on Repeat" (Fake Blood Remix)

What can people expect to see/hear/feel this Saturday at Wrongbar?

Saturdays are all about a rotating lineup of my friends and great local DJ's with the occasional international guest that we absolutely can't say no to. This Saturday I'll be joined by Violca (one half of Toronto production outfit Mansion) and DJ Medley who holds down his slamming Stranglove weekly amongst other nights around the city. It's all about good party music to rock the crowd, but with a measure of breaking underground stuff to keep people scratching their heads and wanting more at the end of the night! We have some great international guests coming over the next couple of months including Surkin on May 2, and the return of Fake Blood during NXNE.

Why do I always get a hangover the morning after I drink lots of those Stiegl tallboy cans at your bar???

You just need to sneak out a traveler for breakfast. Stiegl goes down great with bacon and eggs!

DJ Medley, DJ Violca, Nasty Nav, hosted by Pink Mafia
Saturday, April 18
1279 Queen Street West
Doors 10pm
Cover $5 before midnight, RSVP for free guestlist: guestlist@wrongbar.com

Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with artists/DJs/club owners from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Carlos Weisz.

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