dj gerald belanger live in Braunschweig

Gerald Belanger: Biography

Gerald Belanger has been active in the electronic music scene since 1990, fusing his love for experimental sounds with his passion for dance music. DJ'ing extensively at festivals and clubs throughout North America, Europe and now Japan, Belanger has been infecting audiences with a highly charged blend of futuristic house, broken beats, drum 'n' bass and eclectic freestyle grooves.

Through his various labels and associations around the world, Belanger has been responsible for the release of over 100 records and CD's. The label he founded in 1991, DEATH OF VINYL eNTERTAINMENT (DOVe), was one of the most influential Canadian labels of the time, serving up compact discs and records of obscure musical genres such as 'Techno' and 'Ambient-Dub' to an appreciative world. DOVe released 37 titles between 91-95, providing an outlet for many international groups at the beginnings of their careers. On the international level he started 2 overseas divisions, DOV Germany (licensed to the HYPERIUM label - 6 releases from 92-93) and DOV UK (licensed to the NINJA TUNE label - 9 releases from 93-94).

gerald belangerAs 1994 rolled around Belanger began to phase out the labelwork, and concentrated his efforts towards opening one of the city's first all electronic vinyl/cd shops called MODULATIONS. Located on Queen Street in downtown Toronto, it created a true alternative to the bootleg mix-tape rave culture dominating at the time.

In 1996 he closed down the shop to pursue a life of studio work, and his enthusiasm returned for creating and producing music. Along with close friends and KINDER ATOM bandmates Christopher Drost and Heiki Sillaste, they opened up the NICE+SMOOTH recording facility in 1997.

He then negotiated a worldwide deal for all the studio's output which led to 16 cd's and records released through LA's HYPNOTIC label (Amercian home to Kraftwerk, Future Sound Of London, etc..), a relationship which ended in 2001. Now completely independant, nice+smooth ultramedia has morphed into it's own label, studio, commercial production agency, clothing line and design house.

Kinder Atom's biggest commercial success to date was with Grammy award winning reggae vocalist Michael Rose on the worldwide smash single "Illegal". The Green Man remix on Basswerk records also became an international mega-hit, and was featured in a May 2005 episode of tv's CSI Miami.

Another chart-topper from Kinder Atom was a remix they produced for Canadian rap star Snow and his track "Boom Boom Boogie" in 1998, released by Warner Brothers in Japan and the USA. Recently, Kinder Atom have worked with Jamaican via London singer Musical Sniper (from UB40's Oracabessa Records), and chanteuse Genvieve Marchessau (formerly with BMG). On the ambient/chillout front, Kinder Atom have co-written and produced groundbreaking crossover albums with Vancouver's DEAD VOICES ON AIR, as well as England's RAPOON.

Kinder Atom will be releasing a new album in 2006, check for updates.

Belanger has also been producing a weekly radio mix-show since 1990, Unfortunate Sonic Casualties on Toronto station CKLN-FM, providing an outlet for the electronic underground community to network and communicate through music and action.

quotes and notes

gerald belanger
“…a signal to the future."
David Wisdom, Nightlines, CBC Stereo Jan. 18 1991

“…cleverly predicts the healthy future of music."
Music From The Empty Quarter, UK 1992

“ …Toronto’s keeper of the electronic music flame.”
Now Magazine, Canada 1994

“…the Canadian mad scientist”
DJ Magazine, UK - 1994

“…known for inciting dance frenzies”
LA Weekly, Los Angeles USA 1998

“…DJ, producer, co-head of the nice+smooth label and general pillar of the city's electronic scene.”
EYE Weekly, Toronto Canada 2002

“The Death Of Vinyl is a Military Operation.”
Gerald Belanger speaking to Brent Bambury on CBC’s Brave New Waves, Canada, 1991.

“Certain dance clubs today are filled with a generation of post-ravers who have tapped into the positive energy and irresistable force of the global techno/house music movement. We don't want to stop dancing or lose the vibe of our scene, even though we've outgrown the glowsticks, drugs and fun-fur pants.”
Gerald Belanger as featured in Elm Street Magazine, Canada, 2001.

gerald belanger

DJ GERALD: Discography

Full length albums:

Atomika, CD - Hypnotic Records 1996
Super Nice Hippy Pants, 2xCD - Hypnotic Records/nice+smooth 1997
Live at Soundsphere CDR (100 copies) - nice+smooth 1998
MMM! CD - nice+smooth 2000
MMM! 2xCD - Hypnotic Records/nice+smooth 2001
Soft Hand Feel, cd+dvd - nice+smooth 2006

Collaboration albums:

Dead Voices On Air "How Hollow Heart" CD - Invisible Records 1997
Kinder Atom vs. Rapoon CD - Klanggalerie, Austria 2000
Kinder Atom vs Rapoon: Heart Beatz CD - Klanggalerie, Austria (upcoming 2006)

12" singles:

Slinky/Slurpy - Hypnotic Records/nice+smooth 1998
Illegal 12" (with Michael Rose) - Basswerk Records 1999
ReMMMixes 12" - nice+smooth 2001
Slonice 12" ep - nice+smooth 2004
Eagle Sprouts 12" - nice+smooth 2006

Also disguised as Virex and King Fahtie for the Ambient Rituals series.

Compilation Appearances:
* = mixed by Belanger

*Death Of Vinyl - 1991
*DOV Revolutions / Luddite CD 144 (Ninja Tune)- 1994
1994 *Ambient Rituals - Music For Soul Braiding - 1995
*Ambient Rituals 2 - Trip Into Dub - 1996
*Acid/Elektro Genetiks - 1996
Into The Mix - 1997
Hypnotic Sounds - 1997
Sci-Fi Cafe - 1997
Ultimate Drum 'N Bass - 1997
*Metro Breaks - Selected Drum n' Bass From Toronto - 1998
Technicians Of Electronica (3 CD) - 1998
Groove-FM - The Hypnotic Mix - 1998
*Metro Breaks 99 – Deeper Drum and Bass From Darkest Toronto - 1999
Better Living Through Circuitry Movie Soundtrack - 2001
This Is Drum and Bass - 2001
Chillout Zone - 2002
A compilation of deep, tech house and down tempo - 2002
*Nice One - 2002
*Oscillate - 2002
Slonice - 2004
Sitta Vol.1 - 2004
Breezy Beats & Sunny Breaks - 2005

Remixes + Collaborations:
Kraftwelt "Deranged" - Hypnotic Records, USA 1996
Snow "Boom Boom Boogie" - Warner Brothers, Japan 1997
Dead Voices On Air "How Hollow Heart" - Invisible Records, 1997
Dead Voices On Air "Drumme+Basse" - Invisible Records, 1997
Leahy "The Opening" - Virgin Records, Canada 1997 (unreleased)



July 4th, 2005
World Expo in Aichi, Japan
Multimedia presentation and DJ set @ the Canadian Pavillion
Part of the Canadian Electronic Music Mission at Expo 2005.
Read the International Trade Canada Press Release: English French
AEmusic Press Release: Japanese (.doc file)

July 9th, 2005
DJ set at Club Loop in Tokyo, Japan
Virgo Vibes #66 with resident DJ's SHIBATA, NEEMURA, SHIMA


DJ GERALD JULY 12-19 2003 in Germany & Switzerland

Sat July 12 - Zurich
Liquid Nights @ Moods im Schiffbau
plus mad b [], alex [], mc stb []

Click here for Mute's photo archive from the event.
Mon July 14 - Konstanz
Relaxed Clubbing @ Rheinterrasse

Wed July 16 - Dusseldorf
WednesdayBreaks @ Unique Club
with mc my-t (combination records),

Sat July 19 - Braunschweig
Summer Festival @ The Braunschweig School of Art
with dj Sci

dj gerald belanger live@liquid nights in zurich


Unique - Dusseldorf Germany
Fuckparade 2000 @ Maria am ostbahnhof - Berlin Germany
The Motor Ship Stubnitz - Lubeck (July 2000) Germany
Meanie Bar - Hamburg Germany
Yokomonos - Hamburg Germany
Drei d. @ Hafenklang - Hamburg Germany
Le Fonque - Stuttgart Germany
Club Cwitzerland - Stuttgart Germany
Liquid Sky - Cologne Germany
Basswerk Sessions @ Gebalde 9 - Cologne (Aug '99 + Aug 2001) Germany
Six Pack - Cologne Germany
Popkomm 2001 @ Jugendpark - Cologne Germany
I Sing The Body Electric @ University Konstanz Germany
I Sing The Body Electric @ Spiegalhalle, Konstanz Germany
Rheinterrasse Relaxed Clubbing - (2001, 2003) Konstanz Germany
Club Douala - Ravensberg (Aug '99, July 2000 + July 2001) Germany
The Roxy - Ulm Germany
Big Days Out Open Air Festival - Ulm Germany
Mahatma - nme click session - Ulm Germany
School Of Art - Braunschweig Germany
Brain Club - Braunschweig Germany
Vibration @ Halle 101 - Speyer (Mannheim) Germany
Club Evolution - Luxembourg City
The Elevator - Luxembourg City
Klangsalon - Klagenfurt Austria
Moods im Schiffbau w/ Mute - Zurich Switzerland
Bad Bonn Kilbi Open Air Festival
- Duedingen Switzerland
Club Mokka - Thun Switzerland (Aug 2000, July 2001)
Jungleparade 2001 @ Echo - Basel Switzerland
The Rhiz - Vienna Austria (Oct '98, '99, Aug 2000, July 2001)
Flex - Vienna Austria (Oct 1998, Aug 1999 + Aug 2000)
Stadtwerkstat - Linz Austria
Offensheim Open Air Festival - Linz Austria
Different Cities @ Theatro - Graz Austria
Looneez - Delft Holland
Doornroosje - Nijmegan Holland
Effenar - Eindhoven Holland
The Greenhouse Effect - Amsterdam Holland
Absinthe - Amsterdam Holland
The Motor Ship Stubnitz - Rotterdam (Aug 2001) Holland

Viper Room - Los Angeles, CA
Magic Wednesdays - Los Angeles, CA
Raveolympia - Los Angeles, CA
Transmission Theatre - San Francisco, CA
Justice League - San Francisco, CA
McGreggors - Monterey, CA
Beat Box - Seattle, WA
Kid Mohair - Seattle, WA
Sonar - Vancouver, BC

Utopia - Las Vegas, NV
Rock Island - Denver, CO
Club 101 - El Paso, TX
The Curtain Club - Dallas, TX
Jumble Tribe - Dallas, TX
Ambient Gangstas - Dallas, TX
Jungle Phever - Dallas, TX
The Red Room - Austin. TX

Event promoters: OM (Sumkidz), Promise, Flux, Alien Visitation, Alien Influx, Harvest Festival, Transcendence, Destiny, pHryl, Syrous, Next Junction, World Electronic Music Festival, and clubs such as The Guvernment, Industry, Power, Apothecary, Weave, Fez Batik, B-Side, Area 51, Audiowerks, Blue Agave, Gypsy Co-Op, Southern Po Boys, as well as weekly on CKLN-FM and various one-offs throughout the glorious city of Toronto.


Back to bass
Oscillate compilation pushes Toronto drum 'n' bass back on the upswing BY RYAN WATSON (eye magazine Nov 22, 2002)

"Toronto drum 'n' bass is in a state of constant fluctuation," according to Gerald Belanger, DJ, producer, co-head of the nice+smooth label and general pillar of the city's electronic scene. "People come and go, passing through the scene all the time; some move on to other sounds or other locations, but there's still a core of producers and DJs who keep things afloat."

With scant few releases making a dent in the culture, drum 'n' bass has fallen off the radar, although reports of its demise have been exaggerated. If drum 'n' bass were a corporation, this dip in stock might prompt panic to run through its brass and perhaps encourage a few swan dives out of high-rises. But when you're talking music, it's OK, even healthy, to go underground. Look at disco, which resurfaced as house in the mid-'80s and never looked back. Hell, even look at heavy metal, another genre that feels the need for speed (albeit with more hair and thinner pants). Metal is the prime example of a network of fans supporting a genre without mass exposure or support of the intelligentsia. Sure, the glory days of drum 'n' bass -- the initial burst of momentum in the mid-'90s and the subsequent crossover success of stars like Goldie and Roni Size -- may be gone, but the true believers remain.

"Maybe D+B isn't so popular in the media," says Belanger, "but the interest is still there and it's as active as it ever was. And the music's as good as it's been in a long time and it's getting better. There are still big parties and all-ages events, but not in the kind of numbers there used to be." The scene has undergone a downsizing recently, but the drop-off in visibility isn't strictly due to a mass abandonment of interest in the form itself. A number of factors contributed to the scene's contraction, most notably the increased legalities and red tape involved in throwing large parties and the novelty of the rave wearing off as the audience matures. The latter cause is cited by both Belanger and fellow core member of the scene Marcus Visionary (DJ, producer, promoter) as influencing drum 'n' bass' current direction, both musically and logistically.

"As a city, Toronto's climaxed as far as raving goes," says Marcus, "and now it's moving more toward the clubs. I know a lot of the key players are starting to market it toward a 19-plus audience to lose that whole rave stigma that's attached to it. And to aid in that, it follows to promote a more mature sound of drum 'n' bass. I've been playing a lot of funky, soulful kind of D&B that's not so hard-edged. There's a whole faction of producers now who fit into a middle ground that's not too hard and not too LTJ Bukem. I think drum 'n' bass has finally found its groove, a groove that will be more palatable to an older audience."

"There was a lull for a while," says Belanger. "A lot of people were saying that there wasn't a lot of good music coming out a couple years ago. It was a monotonous kind of sound, and this new soulful style may be a backlash against that, and the crowds are responsive to it."

The newly released nice+smooth compilation, Oscillate (the fourth installment of the Metro Breaks series, now under a different name), bears out the claim that Toronto D&B is headed for such a middle ground, presenting a more soulful side of drum 'n' bass residing somewhere between the machine-gun thump of London hardcore and Bukem's D&B-lite. Rather than a definitive overview -- there's no representation from local imprints like Furious Records and Vinyl Syndicate, Moonshine main man Freaky Flow or other producers who contribute to the diversity of Toronto's drum 'n' bass sound -- Oscillate offers a finely focussed microcosm of the local scene.

On a global level, contemporary outfits like Bad Company (no, not that Bad Company), and Belanger fave Fauna Flash, continue to churn out inspired drum 'n' bass, providing international fuel for scenes like our own. And the events, radio shows, websites and, of course, a core of devoted fans provide a firm bedrock of support for drum 'n' bass to thrive. The signs of life are there if you look.

BY BENJAMIN BOLES (NOW magazine Nov 22, 2002)

Gerald Belanger has a lot on his plate right now. In addition to hosting his weekly radio show, Unfortunate Sonic Casualties, on CKLN, he DJs at local events as well as at European clubs and festivals. He still finds time to run eclectic local record label Nice and Smooth and writes and produces music with Kinder Atom. Nice and Smooth has also had the good fortune to have recently signed Chicago house legend Roy Davis Jr. to a worldwide deal. His most recent venture has been to set up the sub-label Oscillate to focus on the local drum 'n' bass scene.
Oscillate's first release is a self-titled compilation of mainly local talent, ranging from established Toronto legends like DJ Marcus and Dave Whalen's Visionary project to relative unknowns like Subrythm. The overall quality of the production is top notch, but what really impresses is the diversity of the d 'n' b. From the jazzy bossa-nova-influenced rhythms of Sol Azul to the dark, brooding beats of Otis & Toxic, all the major offshoots of the genre are represented.

>Although Belanger's DJ style generally straddles many electronic genres, the success of the Metro Breaks series that preceded Oscillate has meant that he sometimes plays ambassador for Toronto's d 'n' b scene. "As often as I can, I get booked to play freestyle," explains Belanger over coffee. "That's been the style on my show for the 12 years at CKLN and the three years before that on another station. There's always a certain type of vibe, whether it's drum and bass or electro or whatever -- it's a deep, psychedelic sound.

Belanger has been running electronic music labels since 91, when he founded the now-defunct DOV label. He's seen the industry change and evolve several times but has been struck by how much music is being distributed electronically these days.

"We get a lot of traffic through our digital distribution partner, Emusic. We've distributed a lot more music through the Internet than through selling CDs. Emusic is a pay site, so when people download it there we actually get money. If a lot of people download a song, we can make much more money with that than if we manufactured a 12-inch record. "We still make records and sell them to DJs, but it's a money-losing proposition from the beginning."

Unfortunately, many of the MP3s of Nice and Smooth releases floating around the Internet are easily available through file-sharing networks that don't reimburse the company for its work. "People under a certain age don't believe in buying music any more. Our stuff was all over Napster when it was up. Now it's all over Soulseek and Kazaa. I guess in a sense it's good that there are easily half a million people somewhere with an MP3 of ours on their computer."

gbtjungle cover story Jan. 2002

"Grade six, we had this really wacky music teacher who brought in a movie about Moog synthesizers," he began, describing one of his earliest encounters with electronic music. "I remember watching them play these crazy knobs and buttons and twiddles and things and I thought wow that's really future music." From as far back as he could remember Belanger was always interested in the future, so this experience really hit home for him. When this same teacher brought in an actual synthesizer player, Belanger was even more amazed. "This old guy came in and he had something like a sampler, except it ran ," explained Belanger. "He was playing little tape loops of an airplane taking off on his keyboard, and I was completely blown away [that] you could reproduce reality like that." After this initial experience, Belanger said he gained wider exposure to all types of early electronic music from early hip hop and electro, to techno by pioneers like Derrick May, by tuning in to CKLN. These days the tables have turned and he is the one broadcasting his music for the masses to hear. But back then, it was shows like "Ron Nelson's Fantastic Voyage" and "Dave's Dance Music that caught his ear.

Then came the late '80s and New Wave Pop. From there Belanger was hooked. "I used to go out to all night parties in the '80s at a place called Twilight Zone where they'd play electronic music all night . . . and told our parents we were sleeping over at each others' houses, you know, pre-rave days but essentially the same thing," he said, describing a scenario many may remember from when they were young once too. After he started college, Belanger began frequenting the legendary 23 Hop. "This was like '88/'89 and they were doing weekend parties so I started to go," said Belanger. At that time jungle was, only beginning its evolution and other sounds were dominating the speakers. "Back then the biggest thing was acid music, right, acid house," Belanger recalled, recounting with a smile his first meeting with Alex Paterson (of The Orb), brought in for a performance at "The Hop" by the infamous Chris Sheppard. Although he had been attending the warehouse parties down in the Front St. and Spadina Ave. district, only after the first Nitrous event did the word rave figure into the equation. "There'd always been warehouse parties going on," he said, explaining that these events were predominantly house music. "I think it wasn't until the rave thing, companies like Nitrous or Kemistry, that I first heard breakbeats."

With such a strong interest in the future and the evolving forms of electronic music, it is no surprise that Belanger was drawn to producing it. "I went to Sheridan college and took an audio engineering course and started to learn the basics of midi and digital music," he said. "They had some pieces of gear we could play with, and that really caught my interest." In 1991 Belanger founded his first record label: Death of Vinyl Entertainment. With his label he didn't want to limit himself to releasing just one type of music. Instead, the label released some ambient, dub, down tempo, techno, house and even early breakbeat tracks. Belanger was trying to find tracks and release music that crossed a lot of borders. "In terms of music getting out there I think we were really successful," said Belanger, also explaining some of the problems his label and other independents faced with distribution at the time. "You have to think," he said "this is before internet and all that went mainstream - before e-mail - so sending out new release information to a couple thousand people was really difficult. You had to send post cards or you had to do a lot more radio. "We used to mail out 500 promos of our records across the world just to get the records heard. Then you'd hope people would mail in catalogue requests. I mean, it was a lot more like having a home mail order thing because that's where most of the records were selling." One of the label's biggest successes came in 1993/1994 with a number of releases in England with Ninja Tune. "People really liked them and Ninja Tune really branched out into the techno world after releasing our records," explained Belanger.

After this Belanger decided to fold the label and move on to something else, opening his own record shop at the corner of Queen St. and John St. called Modulations, the store was located right next to the renowned Xstatic. For Belanger, running the store was a way of reconnecting with the Toronto electronic music scene. "I had been so immersed in releasing records in Germany and in England, and distributing records all around the world that I sort of completely ignored what was happening in Toronto," he explained. In the early '90s Jungle was just starting to gain popularity in Toronto. And although Belanger confessed he did not really understand the music at the time, he was selling a lot of it in his shop. "We were one of the first stores to really carry a lot of jungle, and we were selling more jungle in that store than anything else," he said, describing how he'd let Slip n' Slide run through his release sheets and do most of the ordering. "I remember having so many copies of Helicopter just fly through the store . . . and Renegade Snares." Belanger credits 4Hero for finally opening his eyes to what jungle was about, as well as an invitation to one of the first Syrous events. Just playing the music in my store never did it justice," he said. "It wasn't until you heard 10k of sound behind those basslines that it made any sense at all, and when you saw people completely losing their minds to tracks, which you never had seen before at raves." With a new found appreciation for jungle and a strong interest in making electronic music, it was inevitable Belanger would start producing it.

In 1996, shortly after closing the shop, Belanger set up a new studio with three other friends/business partners, together forming Kinder Atom. To date, Kinder Atom's biggest achievement was a track called "Illegal" done with Michael Rose from Black Uhuru. The crew released it on a compilation, Metro Breaks '99. The remix from Basswerk in Germany did really well for us," explained Belanger. "It was a huge hit all over in Europe and got our name out there a lot, which was great." Although Kinder Atom has released many different styles of music from electro to techno, they have done a lot of work with drum and bass. After a couple of years we shared out half the studio with Dave Whalen and Marcus from Visionary, just when they were starting out," said Belanger, explaining how he learned a lot from them about producing drum and bass. "That's what got me interested in putting together the first compilations I did on the new label." The new label shared its name with the new studio: Nice and Smooth.

While sharing the studio with Visionary, Belanger met many Toronto producers making drum and bass who had no outlet for their songs. This was another reason he decided to release the first Metro Breaks compilation. He wanted to represent the diversity of the Toronto scene by showcasing the work of a variety of under-exposed Toronto artists. The first two compilations came out in 1998 and 1999, and were released on both double vinyl and unmixed CDs. However, while Belanger was touring with DJ Freedom in Germany, the two decided it would be a good idea to release the third installment of Metro Breaks as a mixed CD, with tracks by Toronto, German and some American producers Freedom knew from Dallas, Texas. Currently at work on the next two Metro Breaks releases, Belanger has changed the format once again. "One is all German, featuring 30 tracks from different artists in Germany," he explained. "It's going to be a double CD mixed by one of my favourite crews in Germany . . . the NME Click." This crew has not released any material of their own, but Belanger believes any person who has seen their live show would know why they are mixing the CD. "They were just the most (raw), out of control crew I've ever played with," he said, describing his experience seeing them perform live. "It was the first time I'd seen DJs stage diving at a jungle show." The other Metro Breaks project will be a CD mixed by Belanger himself. Although this CD will definitely have a Toronto focus, Belanger is receiving submissions from around the world. So far, submissions have included a CD from Hungary and a tape from India. In speaking with Belanger, his love for all forms of experimental and electronic music is clear. "When I hear this great music that is under-exposed, that needs better recognition I feel obligated to get out there and work it," he explained as we sat in the CKLN FM studio finishing up the interview. It's never been for a financial gain," he said, admitting they've always lost money on music industry projects. 'It's totally out of passion for and love of the music, and also it's love for subculture." As we were wrapping things up, Belanger showed me some new releases he would be showcasing on the radio that evening. Right away the enthusiasm he had for sharing this music with his listeners became apparent, and one could begin to understood why he is still involved in the electronic music scene so many years after hearing that Moog synthesizer for the first time.

eye weekly- 05.11.00

DJ PROFILE Beginning in 1990 with his Unfortunate Sonic Casualties show on CKLN, DJ, musician and label owner Gerald Belanger has compiled a résumé a mile long. Licensing over 30 records, including Toronto's first drum 'n' bass collection, Metro Breaks, in 1998, and a host of remixes, collaborations and compilation appearances with his group Kinder Atom, Belanger has been astoundingly productive.

And he shows no sign of slowing down, with Kinder Atom's new album MMM! and reMMMixes companion vinyl just out, plus two more full-lengths slated for release within the year: Kinder Atom vs. Rapoon and the rarities collection Kinder Atom vs. the World.

"Techno has always been about the DIY aesthetic, taken from the punk movement," he says. "It keeps a ceiling on sales, but it also keeps your freedom to do what you want -- you don't need anyone else's approval."

While Friday's MMM! release party at Fez Batik marks Kinder Atom's first live performance in two years, Belanger has kept active with DJ tours that have taken him throughout Europe and North America and made him an ambassador for his hometown's scene.

"Toronto techno is very inspirational for me," he says. "It's on par with anything. When I play in Europe, I'm always waving the flag, talking about everyone here, and people are always mentioning names of local bands, labels and DJs to me. They're much more hip to what we do than what Americans do." --


INTERVIEW... cover story interview dec 99

So what's new with your label Nice+Smooth?

We're on a good roll, the last few albums have been getting us re-introduced to the European market again. Metro Breaks 99 is the first record we tried to distribute independently since leaving Caroline and getting distribution these days is a real challenge. FUSION 3 in Montreal has been great, but we're still shopping for the rest of the world.

How's the response been on the latest Metro Breaks '99 compilation?

Pretty unbelievable actually, it appeals to so many tastes that it's hard not to like a few tracks on it. I hear so much throwaway drum and bass, I always try to collect actual unique songs for my compilations, and people appreciate the diversity.

Tell me how did you link up with Michael Rose?

Michael has family in Toronto who arranged it, and he came by the studio the day after a Bamboo gig. He really digs the vibe of drum and bass, he picked it up instantly and is eager to do more, which is already in the works... The Green Man remix of "Illegal" has blown up all over Germany, Michael has always been big there.

You have toured this compilation around the world, how did everything go, crowd response etc...?

People in Europe are really receptive to Canadian music, but the drum and bass scene is dwindling in most of the clubs, but of course the people who still go are more into it than ever. Amanda [freedom, my tour partner] always devastates the crowd, leaving me room to take the sounds to the extreme spectrums. Some of the crowds are wild, usually in the smaller cities, whereas in the bigger cities the people are more subdued.

Any crazy stories?

Oww, so hard....summer 97 I did a 35 day US bus tour alongside a Swedish techno band, those guys were really uninspiring, and were so unbelievably nieve and were experiencing severe culture shock in America. The bus had no air conditioning and we barrelled through the desert in the crazy heat for weeks. The driver was an original riot grrrrl punk musician who was doing this on the side to make a couple of bucks - she taught me more about punk and rock and roll road trips in that month than I had learned my whole life.

Best gig?

Another really hard one. Either the Jumbletribe renegade outdoor parties in Dallas or club Utopia in Las Vegas. America's so fucking weird sometimes. Some of my favorite gigs are when I'm spinning in someone's living room and people are dancing on the furniture. Private parties are the reason I DJ. The big gigs are to get money to buy records to play at the little ones.

Any opinions in regards to the recent crack down in mix tapes in Canada?

I'm surprised it didn't happen 7-8 years ago. Everyone who made money from it should be lucky they were able to do it for so long. I was never down with mixtapes that didn't have comprehensive track listings.

Are you spinning on new years eve, if so where?

No way! My bunker out of town is already fully prepared!

So you've been active in the electronic music industry for 10 years, what do you see happening in the next 10 years of dnb / jungle music?

I hope everyone making drum and bass will just keep freaking out farther and farther. Traditional commercial radio will be meaningless in determining what people listen to, so the music will be everywhere as a normal part of our culture. It slowly is being accepted as part of the whole music scene, not alienated to a specific audience anymore.

Tell me about your weekly radio program "Unfortunate Sonic Casualties" on CKLN-FM 88, can our readers outside of Toronto listen to it online?

Yeah yeah, it isn't archived, so check it in real time at every Wednesday at midnight EST. The show is primarily a new release showcase in all styles of electronic music, with listings around 1am for upcoming parties and events. I have featured interviews with many major 'event' promoters in town as well as the dj's, trying to give listeners a better look behind the curtains of the scene.

Is your music available for online purchase / download?

We are nestled nicely in the archives of, I've posted 51 songs there available for MP3 download at a buck a song. They have a zillion tracks there from almost all the big UK drum and bass labels, as well as other genres, so I'm quite proud to be there alongside them all.

What's in the future for you and Nice + Smooth?

We have a a blitz of new albums coming in the new year, the 3rd Kinder Atom CD, as well as a mix-cd from Freedom. Then I'm taking a few months off in the summer to record in Holland and play a few gigs, and then we'll take things slowly. I'm mostly interested in making new stuff, I'm so inspired by all the amazing music coming out these days, its a real paradise in the record stores lately.

gerald b
For more information please contact: nice+smooth