Internet Dance Party

F--- The Internet, Monthly at Clinton's

The internet is dead. Long live the internet.

So many of us have very mixed feelings about web 2.0; blogs vs, newspapers, social networking sites vs. actual socializing. In the case of the new Friday dance night at Clinton's, it's all about a time before Napster, MP3's and iPods. It's about music from a bygone era.

Personally I don't deal with CD's anymore; truth is I never really liked them. Those cracked jewel cases, scratched disks, tiny album art...never really my thing. I buy records with MP3 codes attached now. You get a large, beautiful LP that sounds great, and you also get the album digitally so you can take it around with you on your phone or iPod. Hopefully it's this kind of creative compromise we're all working towards, a mix of old and new technology in our lives that utilizes the best attributes of both.

Kind of like a sibling to the already successful 1960's themed 'Shake a Tail' night at Clinton's, 'FUCKtheINTERNET' will feature retro, new wave and disco; basically a bit of everything from 1975 to 1995. It's currently a once a month thing at Clinton's but it should be expanding to a weekly event in the new year. Of course the irony of writing about an event like this on the internet isn't lost on me; it's part of that collision of old and new technology I was talking about.

'FUCKtheINTERNET' is DJ'd by TeeCush (AKA Tony Cushman.) I asked him a couple questions about the club scene in Toronto and the technology behind disc jockeying these days.

Tell me about how you came up with the concept for'FUCKtheINTERNET?'

I was at this concert at the Rivoli this summer and the crowd was particularly extroverted/wasted. Every time the band would try to say something on the mic, several drunk dudes would get up the nerve to yell something ridiculous that really didn't need to be said. It was actually pretty entertaining. Towards the end of the set, the lead singer was giving a shout-out to the techie that designed their website and - out of nowhere - some guy in the back yells 'FUCK THE INTERNET!!!'. This hilarious moment inspired the name of our event.

The crowd that we are attracting - artsy types in their 20s - are part of the last generation that can still remember a time before the Internet. The tracks [that we play] - New Wave, Old School Hip-Hop, 90s Dance - are a celebration of the pre-internet era, but the name also speaks to the ambivalent relationship we each have with the Internet.

What are some signature artists/songs we're going to hear regularly at 'FTI'?

Run DMC, Annie Lennox, and Marky Mark Wahlberg...if you come at the right time, you may even hear some Bow Wow Wow. 'It's Raining Men' will also be played at some point, but you may be in the washroom at that time.

What do you think is lacking in the Toronto club/dance scene right now?

There are huge dance parties happening all over the city, but I feel like a lot of them tend to have a pretty impersonal vibe. There are always places [in Toronto] to see top-notch DJs, but a lot of those venues also have escalators, which is a turn-off.

What 'Fuck the Internet' is striving to create is a communal environment where the dancers (guests) are as much a part of the show as the DJs. I feel like this lack of affectation is hard to find in downtown dance parties.

As a DJ how has new technology effected the trade? Does anyone use CD's or LP's anymore?

These days, most DJs (myself included) are playing on purely digital set-ups with laptops and controllers, or have hybrid rigs with time-code vinyl to manipulate MP3s on traditional decks.

I think that these technological advancements have eroded the mystique behind DJing. The music is more accessible than ever and there are less hardware barriers to getting started. This means more kids can get into spinning, which is very cool.

Do you think people appreciate the artistry of it less because of all the laptops and mixing programs?

I think that, if anything, mixing now has the potential to be more sophisticated and expressive than ever. While tech advances have made it easier to perform basic mixing, they have also allowed for more complex sonic manipulation that never used to be possible. For example, while beat-matching can be done automatically with some software, this function has allowed room for the DJ to experiment with more advanced functions like loops and effects, that were not viable on traditional mixers. The pool of music that the DJ can draw from has also radically expanded. Since DJs can now store thousands of tracks on their laptops, they have the potential for more spontaneity in their song selection. So, from a creative standpoint, the shift to digital has offered DJs more creative freedom in their mixing - which is really what it's all about.

Fuck the Internet, though. I mean it.


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