I love techno as much as the next guy. I love techno as much the guy next to me too, who keeps comparing the moment at main stage in Sandbox festival in El Gouna to Berghain. Rather odd comment comparing a pre-world war Berlin industrial power plant turned gay-friendly night club to an elite Arab beach resort destination. Maybe he was talking about the three day non-stop partying thing. Listening to Techno for three days non-stop, as you can imagine, can get a little monotonic.
Just as my new Techno friend/fiend was reeling from the 62nd cursory drop of the set, I received a whatsapp.
"Head to second stage! Now!"
"Excellent," I'm thinking, "I'm done with this 1992-1993 minimal Detroit techno! Time to listen to some 1993-1995 minimal Detroit techno!" It was far from it. I was pleasantly surprised arriving to the 'sandbox stage to see a maniacal viking looking gentleman with lollipop headphones jumping about behind the decks like a possessed dandy, dropping the funkiest, freshest disco and house tunes this side of the Red Sea. He must be mad! Does he not know this crowd of raving rabble rousers! Was that an Aretha Franklin track!? It was. And the crowd, they loved every second of it; there were people swinging, jiving, hoola hooping, wooping and and there was more movement and energy there than I'd seen in the festival till that point. Cries of Disco Jesssusss! were heard as he rolled cigarettes, joked with the front row, and danced like crazy. It was a hell of a performance, and definitely a highlight for many who attended Sandbox. I was curious to find out more about the Canadian Dane on stage two.
So, how do you feel your set at Sandbox went?
Hey hey! Yes it was a blast, people dancing and smiling faces. What more can you ask for, really?
What did you think of the festival overall and how did it compare to other international festivals you've been to?
The Festival was top notch, really. Everything from the sound, stages, and music, even right down to the infrastructure. Plus, the Red Sea! Amazing! I don't think there's any comparing to do, it certainly stacks up!
Did you manage to catch any of the Egyptian performers, if so who stood out for you?
I definitely did, Zeina stood out for me, super great set and even slapped in a few Canadian jams from the Cobblestone Jazz outfit. Was really happy to hear that!
So, tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up and how did you get into this business?
Well, I grew up in a city called Edmonton, in Canada. Was a great place to grow up, had a lot of support there through family and work. Was lucky enough to start working in one of the local record shops, Foosh, and that's something I'll always cherish. Proud to call it home. But really just started going to parties in high school, fell for it all, and got the itch, bought some turntables and everything went from there.
How would you describe your sound and how did you end up in that direction?
That's difficult to say, Not sure if I really have one. Really, just play things I like to hear and make me move. Being a record store bum allowed me to buy a lot of records I normally wouldn't [have] on a budget and it helped me attempt to grow a diverse collection of music. I'm pretty all over the place. Common ground is boom boom boom boom to be honest.
Your set was filled with lyrics, do you feel it's something people kind of a yearn a bit more for these days?
Not necessarily, I feel you still hear a lot of song-based music around. It is a nice change when things have been going in the darker direction for some time on a stage. Breath of fresh air, I suppose, but can also go the other way as well. But, I guess it can be easier to connect to a song when there are lyrics that one can relate to. You've recently moved to Berlin. How's that going for you? And do you feel like Disco-inclined House is making more of a name for itself in the city?
It's been quite the experience so far, very good though. Just missing one piece of the puzzle, someone's still back home but on her way out soon and then it's time to get settled. And, to be honest, I'm not really sure, haven't been there long enough to tell if disco is making a resurgence. Don't know if it ever even left, or made it there in the first place. Ha. Berlin is still fresh to me, which makes it exciting.What's up with the lollipop headphones? I think most in the crowd probably thought you were giving someone a call on a vintage telephone. If you were to contact anyone from the past, who would it be and what would you chat about?
Something I just prefer. My hair gets caught in headphones usually, and I don't like to be shackled to the mixer either. I tend to dance around all arms up boogie. But, geez, what segue to a funny question. Ron Murphy, from the D, perhaps, I listened to an interview with him years and years ago and it made a big impact on me. His views on music and personality was admirable and seemed like he'd be a treat to talk to.What are some of the record labels that you think are doing well right now?
I mean, there's loads. Music From Memory has been a big fave of mine for the last while, and then there are tons of Canadian Labels doing great things too! Normals Welcome, ASL Singles, Pacific Rhythm, Mood Hut, SOBO, Heart to Heart, Waterpark, Red Motorbike, and more. Loads of Canadians doing great things!What are your go to tracks these days that never leave your set?
Ponzu Island - Super Koto is getting some pretty heavy rinsing these days.When you want to go out and have some fun, what do you go to listen to?
It's all mood, really, if I want to dance, then you find it. If I want to relax, I usually like to find some nice jazz night or something. But who knows, everyday is a new feeling.Have you got into production?
Yup, certainly, hoping to get some original stuff out soon!You founded a record label - Common Edit - tell us about it, its ethos and any future plans?
Really, it was just a label started to hand out some records and throw a party. Music sharing and caring. Chops for the bedroom and it kinda just grew into it's own thing. Sort of happened naturally and now it's moving on to it's 12th release. Big one up next, tunes from Eddie C, The Mole, and a big one from Cooper Saver and Project Pablo. Expect it is in the fall! Mastered and ready to go, just about to hit the press.Any cool destinations/gigs coming up that you're excited about?
Heh to be honest, Sandbox was a big one for me, first time in Egypt, first time in Africa, for that matter. But up next, I'm in London at Village Underground. The club is amazing and I haven't been to London since I was 14. Long time, excited to see how the place has changed.
Photo courtesy of CairoZoom.