Brandon Sek

Call & Response: Brandon Sek

DJ/blogger Brandon Sek might not yet be on the mainstream radar but his electronic music blog Curb Crawlers (CC) is quickly becoming one of the best spots to go for what's good in the underground. CC is full of under-the-radar tracks, remixes and exclusive mixes.

Brandon has been DJing for years and he really knows what he's doing. His musical knowledge is obvious with one visit to his blog, but he's also great at building a DJ set. With Curb Crawlers' notoriety, his DJ profile is on the rise. He's one of the residents at a very cool new weekly called ARCADE which launches tonight at the Mod Club.

I spoke with Brandon about his blog, his approach to DJing and I got the inside scoop on his 2009 picks.

blogTO: When did you start Curb Crawlers and what was your original inspiration?

Brandon Sek: I managed another blog called Subtrac that mirrored some of the Dubstep events I was promoting some years back. The style was similar to Curb Crawlers in that it included some music, mixes and event info although it was entirely focused on Dubstep. I started Curb Crawlers to discuss all sorts of music that I was feeling in March of 2007.

You seem very dedicated to being ahead of the curve when it comes to the underground. Is it getting easier now that Curb Crawlers is getting "famous"?

I don't think I take collecting new music and learning about new sounds any more seriously than other DJs and compared to some other pages on the net, CC is still very much a small fry. We do have a small but loyal following and because of that, the site receives a lot of mail containing some cool music. A great example is this new artist out of Bristol named Julio Bashmore. I don't think I would have ever heard his music if the page didn't exist.

I saw your "stop blogging my shit" post. What's the story there?

I found that photo on a design site. Some designer was making a statement saying that as much as he enjoys the love he receives from having his design work re-posted on blogs, it doesn't pay him. To me, that photo is the design equivalent of someone sending a music blog a song called "Stop blogging my music for free, I'm hungry and need money."

I really dislike seeing some blogs give away full high quality versions of artists' music. Most of what's posted on CC is a reduced bit rate version of the original and DJs downloading the files are always encouraged to go out and buy the full quality copies if they don't want to look silly playing live. There's a fine line between being a fan of an artist and wanting to share their music with others and being respectful of their work that some pages don't seem to understand.

How does a track make it into your DJ sets? What do you look for as a DJ?

I play whatever I like, really. Regardless of genre or artist, I enjoy songs with solid fundamentals, a deep bassline, tight sounding drums, a specific attitude etc...

I liked the recorded set you posted from your gig at Rolly's Garage. Do you prefer longer DJ sets like that where you can slowly build things up?

That set was done with Andrew Ross (of Nacho Lovers) and we had a blast doing it! I think it's important to build up a night like that. It helps a lot in setting the pace for the rest of the night. I'm not sure about you but hearing a balls-out pedal-to-the-metal set at 10:30 while a room is filling up seams like a bit of a waste.

Your 2008 best of list was great. What's on your 2009 list so far?

I absolutely loved Stimming's album on Diynamic. The Kenton Slash Demon single on Tartelet was really cool as was FaltyDL's LP on PlanetMu. I'm also really excited about an unsigned artist from Toronto called Ultragamma. He's making some really amazing hip hop-styled beats and should be someone to watch in the new year.

How did you hook up with the new Arcade weekly?

I've worked with Embrace on a few events before and they asked me to come on board as a DJ for this new series of Fridays. I really like the eclectic position they're taking with the night. They have a great lineup of locals and internationals lined up so expect some great shows.

What will you be spinning this Friday?

I'll be opening the night so I'll probably play a bit deep. I haven't really thought what exactly I'll play yet. Usually, I'll wait to the last second to pull records.

What do you like best about living in Toronto?

A decent Falafel.

What do you like best about your neighbourhood?

I live in the Junction. Although it's a bit further west than I'd like, it's really funky here and I love the area. There's some great pubs and restaurants, cool galleries, speciality shops and its quiet sleepy vibe is very charming.

Did the shitty weather this summer get you down?

Yea, what's up with that!??

What song are you listening to RIGHT NOW?

Omar S - Motion

Embrace presents: Arcade Fridays Launch
Feat. Milano, Barletta, Nasty Nav, Brandon Sek
Friday, September 4
Mod Club Theatre
722 College Street
Doors 10pm
Cover $10

Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with artists/DJs/tastemakers from or playing in Toronto. Photo courtesy of Curb Crawlers.

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