DANCE at the Phoenix – a two-part DJ residency February 19 and 26, 2016.
Let’s face it. Fredericton has never really been known for its DJs and dance culture. While night clubs like BOOM! and The Phoenix have been going strong for years now, the music makers who bring feet to the floor exist largely in the shadows.
Tom Wilson is one Fredericton-based DJ who is committed to creating new opportunities for he and other DJs to perform and entertain with hopes of developing a stronger DJ culture among the city’s diverse musical palate.
“DJ culture is pretty limited in New Brunswick, but there are a bunch of people out there that are making that change,” said Wilson. “Future Productions, who put on the festival, Future Forest, and other events around the province, are continually growing both in patrons and performers.”
“I remember pretending to enjoy indie-rock shows for two years because there was nowhere that played the tunes I’m into.”
Despite having limited performance opportunities, Wilson feels the DJ scene is gaining momentum in Fredericton as music lovers seek new avenues of entertainment outside the usual live band scenario.
“In Fredericton there are limited options,” he said. “I remember pretending to enjoy indie-rock shows for two years because there was nowhere that played the tunes I’m into. That’s probably a major factor in why I decided to start putting on parties, like Techno Sessions in late 2015.”
Wilson is one of the organisers behind DANCE at the Phoenix, a two-part DJ residency planned for February 19 and 26, 2016.
“DANCE at the Phoenix is the brainchild of my good-good friend and regular collaborator Casey Jones,” he said. “We’ve reached out to some headliners with national attention to accentuate the local talent and build a connection with quality dance music and Fredericton.”
The February 19 event will feature headlining DJ Soundsyster who performed as part of the enormous World Pride 2014 event in Toronto. Wilson and Cooltrainer Cody will also be on the bill.
The February 26 event includes music from local DJs Tyler Aliens and Casey Jones alongside headliners Pineo & Loeb from Halifax.
“Pineo & Loeb are currently on tour around the Maritimes and we are honored to have them play as a part of DANCE at the Phoenix. There will be lights, lasers, maybe smoke, but definitely some quality tunes played by some extremely talented individuals,” said Wilson. “We plan on hosting more and more parties like this and hopefully growing and uniting the dance music community not only in Fredericton, but the Maritimes as a whole.”
Quick to shoot down the myth that DJs simply spin records effortlessly or shuffle through their MP3 players, Wilson points out that any DJ has to connect with an audience, the same as with any other type of live performance. If there’s no audience connection, the message and the moment are lost.
“The true test of a DJ is working with the crowd, understanding what they are interested in and building a relationship,” he said. “That way there is spontaneity and improvisation in your mix, and happy accidents that can define an entire night. Not many people notice these elements when they just see you turning knobs, but they do however notice it when they are continuously dancing for four hours straight.”