Toronto DJs are bringing back a lockdown nightlife staple
During lockdowns, nightlife in Toronto pretty much ceased to exist but for those who missed partying, there was another option where you could be safe and have fun from the comfort of your home.
Virtual DJ sets, parties and raves were everywhere between 2020 to 2021. From Club Quarantine to House of Yes in New York, nightlife found a new life online.
These parties blew up to the point where big artists names like Charli XCX and Lady Gaga performed over Zoom and Twitch, the two live video platforms where most of them took place.
Once late-2021 came rolling in, restrictions were lifted and IRL (in real life) parties came back. Virtual ones began to slowly dissolve.
For many people, virtual parties and events became a relic from the lockdown days.
But for some people the party has continued online.
For DJ and artists Edward, also know as Feral Bats, performing online via Twitch has become a staple in their life. Streaming on nights where they play their tracks for hours, Edward has found a love for performing online.
"It's a low pressure way to DJ, you're in your bedroom, a little bit less social anxiety," said Edward. "It can be this activating experience, having people in the privacy of their own homes...with not much distractions focusing on the visuals and actual music."
Edward would meet new people through these streams, experimenting with new sounds and engaging with their audience.
During lockdowns, Edward picked up DJing and focused on expanding their knowledge of music theory. Through teaching themselves how to spin, they would soon begin to play in person events as a member of the collective Dollhouse.
Edward says these virtual parties and events offer more options for creative expression and they can also bring in new people who may not be able to access IRL spaces.
And for this reason, Edward has kept them going.
Feral Snow Moon is an online rave that will be streamed on Twitch on Feb., 6. It will showcase sets from DJs Curaga, Ard1n and Cherry Chip and also feature artists Melty, Tomu, Momoneydafeifei and Norman Yellow.
The 4-hour event is more than just a 'party', it will be a visual experience of experimental audio and visual sets.
"We're planning it around the full moon, and this one is called the snow moon," said Edward.
Edward plans to continue these virtual events based on the cycles of the moon. Snow Moon is a North American Indigenous name for the February full moon.
Edward isn't the only DJ planning to continue hosting virtual events.
Artist Lisa M., also known as Nezu, and Sofa of the collective Conejo Beat have been hosting parties virtually since 2020.
This main difference with the parties hosted by Conejo Beat are that they're always hosted through multimedia video game platform Second Life. Attendees have the option to create their own avatars and usually join rooms as pre-recorded DJ sets are played.
"Conejo Beat is part of a larger project started in 2020, which is an online community where a bunch of artists and friends hangout," Lisa told blogTO. "We express ourselves through avatars...for a lot of us who are queer and neurodivergent this is a little safe haven."
Much like Twitch, Second Life offers a space that doesn't have the same limitations as real life nightclubs and venues, and has the potential to allow for more expression.
"You have these modes of expression that really are never going to be mainstream, but that's okay, it's always going to be this weird little pocket," said Lisa. "It's super niche but I think it's pretty beautiful."
House of Yes
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