Born in Montréal, Canada in the late 60s.I asked for my first record as a birthday gift when I was 5 - Neil Diamond's "Gold" album.Childhood years spent touring the southern Ontario corridor (Cobourg, Cornwall and finally Brockville, pop. 20,000) in my stepfather's quest for gainful employment, and I probably spent much more time parked in front of his stereo system than I did with my nose in a textbook. My best friend (Professor Euan Reavie, University of Minnesota, who still DJs and produces as POA) and I started out in the mid-80s with successful high school dances and house parties, procuring the latest New Wave, Synthp-pop, Chicago House and other underground fare by way of train rides to equally cool and cosmopolitain Montreal or Toronto. I carried on with 3 nights/week at the campus pub when I moved to Toronto in the late 80s to go to university for Fine Arts - again, more time spent behind the decks than studying...An academic suspension and a burning want to continue DJing got me into mobile work, but I quickly tired of playing off record pools with a narrow scope and limited selections. Finally given the boot when I spent a liberating Monday evening dropping tracks by the likes of Nitzer Ebb and Public Enemy at a sports bar on the fringes of the city's suburban sprawl.Spent most of the 90s with residencies at various alternative nightclubs in Toronto, including The Lizard Lounge (still ranks as one of my favourite spaces to dance and play in), Work (owners of the Silver Crown, one of T.O.'s most notorious New Wave clubs in the 80s) and Northbound Leather's long running Fetish Night. Also often played well into the a.m. in the after-hours scene, but somehow missed the rather groundbreaking early 90s portion of Toronto's rave era. Started attending parties around '96 and became a regular at the much vaunted Industry Nightclub, but still didn't 'get it' until 1998, when a lineup which included the likes of Neil Landstrumm, Marco Carola and Traxx blew the lid off my prior perceptions of dance music. That Pandora's Box opened up a whole new world to me - I changed my DJ name to HarmoniKa (an amalgamation of 'Harmony' and 'Kaos' - gettit?), and began flogging demos, leading to a residency at Toronto's Destiny Fridays, gigs at rave institutions such as The E-Space, Area 51, and the annual Om Festival, travel to packed halls and warehouses in Canada's western provinces and culminating in an 1100 person "successful on an enjoyment level" party that also happened to be an unmitigated financial disaster (with it later being revealed to me that my partner, who handled the finances, was schizophrenic). Somehow emerged from all this relatively unscathed, and thanks to an ex who'd moved away, extended my reach to the other side of the planet. I spent nearly 3 years living in the Philippines, with about 2 months of that spent traveling the country playing for Manila's Groove Nation production team (responsible for bringing the likes of Ken Ishi, Derrick May and Laurent Garnier to the Philippines), and another 8 spent at Kemistry and K8, two of the city's best afterhours offerings during the early 00s. The remainder of those three years was spent trying to maintain my sanity, as my money, employment opportunities and confidence in myself all sank to the bottom of the proverbial trough. I returned to Canada in 2003, sans my turntables, mixer and the 700 records and 500 CDs I took over with me, essentially collapsed like a poorly arranged house of cards and spent the next several years learning to right myself. Meditation, yoga, bodywork, running, attention to diet and wise counsel from those who'd gone before me all played a part in getting me back behind the decks, which started up again in 2007 and which also happened to be around the time I met my eventual girlfriend and wife-to-be (we've been married five years). I decided to put HarmoniKa to rest and adopted the name WestsideWax, fitting both the urban setting in which I live and my medium of choice. Started a small, home-based DJ school in 2008, mentoring students of all ages in the subtleties of the craft that go well beyond mere beatmatching.Currently honing dirty, 3-turntable sets that showcase nearly 3 decades behind the wheels of steel and some modestly deep crates from a collection that only saw rebuilding within the last few years. Infrequently throwing, attending and playing at small, underground parties, as I feel that most of the city's mainstream nightlife has gone stagnant and there are no large warehouse/hangar space parties or festivals similar to those held in Europe (or even the city of my birth, just a province away) at which you can hear that big room sound I'm so fond of. At the moment, my end goal is to reconnect with the same scene that made me fall in love with what I do in the first place. Doesn't matter if it's a house party, a barbeque, a warehouse gig, a nightclub, whatever...as long as it's REAL.Real like me.Real like you.
P.S.: I'm also an awesome shiatsu therapist and yoga teacher!
Comments by WestsideWax
@westsidewax: For those who might still be interested, it's the "Robert Gabi's" mix from the 12" release on Illuminated: http://www.discogs.com/DAF-Brothers/release/174628
I so miss being able to experience nights like this. Stellar work, Melvin.
@shtrd1460: It isn't - Mix Gabi is on the original 12", which I already own.
Stunning remix of "Brothers" - anyone know who produced it?