DJ FREEDOM, a.k.a. Amanda Lachapelle, is a natural when it comes to pleasing a crowd as a top-billed DJ. Whether it's performing at a massive rave or at one of her many club residencies, her tough and soulful style of drum and bass keeps the crowds moving with smooth mixing and emotionally charged sets.

She has toured the US, Canada and Europe extensively for the METRO BREAKS compilations, playing such notable venues as the Viper Room (LA), Flex Club (Vienna), and with the Women on Wax crew (Detroit).

She released her first mix-cd compilation last year featuring all exclusive tracks from Germany, USA and Canada including her track "Chamber", on which she collaborated with members of Germany’s Basswerk label, The Green Man + Kingz. The CD, entitled METRO BREAKS - NXT LEVEL was mixed from vinyl and dubplates in Dallas Texas where she was living at the time.

Now safely and firmly planted in Toronto again, Freedom has hooked up again with DJ Chocolate to revive the CHICKS DIG IT Monday nights at Temple. She can also be found spinning weekly on Thursdays at The Rivoli and monthly at Nasa. She recently appeared on U8TV for the second time, and has also performed on international tv station Muchmusic's 'Electric Circus' show.

Tough and soulful drum 'n' bass

Turbo Niteclub - Toronto Tokyo Bar - Montreal Liquid Sky - Cologne Germany Basswerk Sessions @ Gebalde 9 - Cologne Germany Six Pack - Cologne Germany I Sing The Body Electric @ University Konstanz Germany Club Douala - Ravensberg Germany The Roxy - Ulm Germany Club Evolution - Luxembourg City The Elevator - Luxembourg City Klangsalon - Klagenfurt Austria The Rhiz - Vienna Austria (Oct 1998, Aug 1999) Flex - Vienna Austria (Oct 1998, Aug 1999) Stadtwerkstat - Linz Austria Looneez - Delft Holland Doornroosje - Nijmegan Holland Effenar - Eindhoven Holland The Greenhouse Effect - Amsterdam Holland Viper Room - Los Angeles, CA Justice League - San Francisco, CA Sonar - Vancouver, BC Jungle Phever - Dallas, TX

Here's what the critics have to say:

Knowledge Magazine UK
Various - Metro Breaks Nxt Level (Nice & Smooth)
Mixed from exclusive dubs, and featuring tracks from Canada, America, Germany and the UK, this third volume in the Metro Breaks series is quite an upfront affair. And it's pretty damn good too, as DJ Freedom mixes up a tight blend of tuff funk licks, raw techno stompers and dangerously dirty roll-outs. None of your household names, but there's flava in this.

Klublife CD Reviews
Damned Straight! It's nice to see Toronto artists' continued efforts to stake their claim as the jungle capital of North America, a loyal massive since the beginning, just ask any UK jungle DJ. What makes this all the more sweeter is that it's sister DJ Freedom aka Amanda Lachapelle representing a cast of mostly Toronto producers along with a few tracks from Dallas (where she currently lives) and one from England. The third in the Metro Breaks compilation series, Freedom unleashes a monsoon of a mix including her newest release "Chamber", a collaboration with members of Germany's Basswerk label. This mix puts her in the league of drum 'n' bass giants, right next to DJ Rap, Storm and The Angel.

Exclaim! Reviews
NXT Level is quite a bit different than the usual Nice and Smooth session. The NXT Level is about beats, rollers and a sort of dark soul type of drum & bass. Mixed expertly by Toronto's DJ Freedom, this is the next step in the Nice and Smooth releases. "If I Had A Dollar" spats about an acid-y bass line and the drum sample is off time just by a bit, making you listen just a bit harder to appreciate the tune. "Expand" is a weird conflict of a hard biting bass line and jazzy horn and organ riffs that I like a lot. "Hand Over Fist" is a track full of deadly rollers; it's almost like German drum and bass producer Panacea's work. The Green Man remix of "Illegal" is a smooth tune, mixed with low down funk and smooth bass lines. The album has its share of dark tunes, but there's always a bit of jazz influence, such as Nemesis' "Liquid Bass." The artists on the NXT Level are definitely maturing with every release. The production is definitely tighter than on past Metro breaks releases and more original. In the fast forward world of drum & bass, where a novel sound is the difference between musical obscurity and popularity, it's a pleasure to listen to this album.
Venk Chandran

To The Next Level DJ Amanda 'Freedom' Lachapelle hasn't cut home ties - Toronto Star
by Ben Rayner
Expat Toronto drum 'n' bass DJ Amanda 'Freedom' Lachapelle might have vacated Canada for Big Steer Country to get some much-needed distance from the local scene, but she hasn't cut her ties completely. Since moving to Dallas a year ago, in fact, Lachappele somehow found time amidst trying to establish a DJ-ing prescence in her adopted home and taking a startup role in two seperate businesses to curate the third installment in nice+smooth's Metro Breaks series of Toronto-centric drum 'n' bass compilations.

Metro Breaks: NXT Level maintains the tradition established by its predecessors of showcasing unheralded breakbeat explorations culled from the active, but enderexposed underground. This time, though, the Metro BReaks net was cast a little wider, taking in contributions from electronic artists based in London, Cologneand not surprisingly, Dallas to compliment a solid T-dot sampling. And, unlike the previous two discs, NXT LEVEL features all the tracks stitched together from dubplates on two turntables by Freedom herself. Getting all the contributions in hand was one thing, but "throwing them together in an organized manner" proved slightly more challenging than assemnbling a regular DJ set, says Lachapelle on the line from Dallas, since she - succeeding Kinder Atom's Gerald Belanger as Metro Breaks' overseer - was pulling from just a 15-track menu.

Drum 'n' bass flavours represented on NXT LEVEL range from loose, skittishly funky outings by Texan Milad Nazeri and Toronto's Classic Man to slightly spacier, densely percussive tracks by London's Amorphia and Lucien Palermo, to the more ominous, industrialized sounds of Dallas' HandOverFist and Clynt B and a thunderous trans-Atlantic collaboration between Freedom and Cologne's Green Man & Kingz. Lachapelle also shifts gears towards the end of the disc, winding things down with a couple of chilled out downtempo gems by Toronto's LAL and Aureola. "I didn't ask for any paricular style - I just let the artists do what they're doing" she says. Depite all the headaches and the stylistic mismatches, Lachappelle has come up with a mix that flows remarkably well.

Tonight's METRO BREAKS NXT LEVEL CD-release party at NASA Dance Pub will feature a live performance by contributor Nemesis, featuring Demonbass, and a DJ set from Belanger. But it'll be at least the spring before Lachapelle considers a move back home. "I needed to get out of Toronto - to much politics, too much bullsh-," says Lachapelle, who co-founded a drum 'n' bass club and a clothing store after her move south. Production work nevertheless holds more of an allure than DJ-ing these days for Freedom. Encouraging, since "The Chamber" - her formidable Metro Breaks track, is one of the disc's standouts.

Beats Per Week
by Denise Benson
The Metro Breaks crew take things to The NXT Level, with a mix cd by the same name. Jungle fans will want to check DJ Freedom's selections as she weaves her way through the edgy mix.

Taking It To The NXT Level: Toronto Drum'N'Bass Label Making Waves In The Electronic Music Scene
by Dave McDonald
The rolling basslines and the ripping of the snare in a rave or nightclub is a sirens song for some of us; it appeals to us on a purely emotional level, touching and reaching out to our most primal thoughts. The drum'n'bass scene in North America is formidable. With a huge representation of talent in cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, drum'n'bass has emerged as a musical movement across the continent… but one undeniable fact is that Toronto has established itself as perhaps the most prominent and diverse locale for this unique and intoxicating form of music. Nice and Smooth, a Toronto record label, is a perfect example of this trend, and have proved it again with their most recent release, "Metro Breaks : NXT Level".

Run by Gerald Belanger (a.k.a DJ Gerald), Nice and Smooth is "an underground digital facility and record label, home-base to Metrobreaks, Kinder Atom, Lazer Caps and DJ Gerald". Since 1996, they have established themselves to promote a sound ahead of its time, as is proven by their latest release. The emergence of drum'n'bass in the music world has given a new means for comparison; considering the uniqueness of the sound, Metro Breaks has taken this sound to yet another level.

Third in the series behind Metro Breaks and Metro Breaks 99, and mixed by the well-known DJ Freedom, NXT Level has taken unique dubplates from Canada, the US, UK, and Germany to bring one intense compilation as the latest release from the Nice & Smooth label. The sound is a far cry from the typical techstep, hardstep and ragga sound heard at raves and clubs in Toronto. The sound from this CD is a more intelligent, mature sound that most would be hard pressed to find in a public venue. The CD is packed with a wide variety of tunes, ranging from the pulsating basslines of "Chamber", to the almost hypnotic flow of "The Surface". Combining conventional rolling bass, along with an almost jazzy beat complete with the odd guitar riff. This is not only a sound you can dance to, but one you can read a book to, drive down the highway, or just sit with friends and relax with. The mixing is seamless by DJ Freedom, leading each track smoothly into the next without missing a beat, leaving the listener with a clean, original sound.

The emergence of drum'n'bass in the music world has given a new means for comparison; considering the uniqueness of the sound, Metro Breaks has taken this sound to yet another level. In a form of music where change is in its very nature, Nice and Smooth has put together an album that takes over its listener from beginning to end. If Nice and Smooth continues to produce this caliber of compilation on a regular basis, they will become a main player in the North American drum'n'bass scene. Watch out London; Toronto has established itself as a centerpiece for the drum'n'bass movement.
reprinted from

photography by Steve Carty

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