On a recent installment of Reclaim Your City aired on Rinse France, Toronto native Patrick DSP recovered pieces to the shrapnel that he once left behind smashing sound systems in warehouses and underground parties across his metropolitan belt. The Producer/Mastering Engineer/DJ “reclaimed his city” with a great deal of conviction, in his signature merciless impaling style . In an ironic spin towards his destiny, DSP pulverized European broadcast networks just one week before becoming a permanent resident of Berlin, Germany.
What exactly has been reclaimed? As Toronto’s thriving techno years have yet to redeem what once was in the 90’s, we are left with pensive recollections of a time when the city had a cult-like following for sub-terrane culture. Warehouse spaces decked out with enchanting atmospheres, ears buzzing for two days in a biological attempt to repair hearing loss caused from bass ripping wall systems, rave sludge caked on pants up to the knees; war wounds from a typical weekend properly celebrated. Acid house and techno heads dancing in perfect lines, rows upon rows deep in vast dingy warehouses. Infectious energy spread like wildfire and Patrick DSP was the arsonist, feeding Toronto’s hunger for unadulterated techno with 909 rhythms and a side of acid line obscurities.
The mentality as a whole functioned under a different system, one with passion and devotion. Ardent keep sakes were passed around, everything from handmade hemp necklaces and thought provoking soliloquies written on origami, to vapo-rub massages and journey-led meditations. Engaging in conversation happened naturally and communication flowed freely. A discussion on Plato’s Republic one moment turned into talk on how great the White Doves were at last week’s Good Vibes party the next. Community involvement was key in this wholistic approach and part of the reason why it worked so well was because of outreach programs like TRIP designed to educate on topics less discussed among popular culture- If not slamming down four-to-floor crowd rockers, you would probably find Patrick volunteering at the TRIP booth.
For DSP the real trip all started at Freakshow, 318 Richmond (formerly known as 23 Hop) a legendary downtown Toronto mecca for the alternative underground. It was here that his crave for anomaly began taking form, becoming involved in everything underground from large scale raves to others small enough so as to retain the sense of intimacy that can seem so absent at many electronic music events of the modern day. 28 Gunns Rd, a first time party spot favorite and incubator for many talented DJs in the 90s, was a slaughter house (quite literally). “E Space” was a playing field that hosted animalistic events and DSP was one of the residents responsible for several musical crowd slaughterings at the space. He was also a regular on the roster at the infamous Destiny Fridays. You will find DSP consistently across any serious old schooler’s flyer collection.
Peddling his wares across Toronto’s thriving rave scene in the 90’s, his bass has warbled every staple venue in the city- Ontario Place, RPM/Warehouse/Guvernment, Lime Light, Big Bop, System Soundbar, Palladium (Club 108). Ice areas (The Hershey Centre), roller areas (Scooter’s Roller Arena)- every temple ever visited by ravers religiously. Including 888 Yonge St. Masonic Temple- a six-storey raving sanctuary with great acoustics (which sadly enough became the CTV studios for The Mike Bullard Show). DSP played some of the city’s most memorable larger scale raves during its best times- Ascension, Big Bud, Chocolate, Destiny, and of course what he will sincerely tell you from his heart the most important to him, Gateway, which is where he met for the first time the late Don Berns, who would become Patrick’s mentor and dear friend.
“In addition to his game changing contributions to CFNY, Don was one of the first Canadian rave promoters back in 1991. So it was a great surprise that I met him and saw for myself that he was as friendly in person as on the radio. We quickly became friends and from that moment he became a kind of mentor to me. He made sure that I got a spot, including through airplay on his radio programs and events. He started me off in Mastering. At the same time he gave mountains of hilarious advice. Rest in peace Don. It was an honor to re-master his Dance Into The Light mix for his farewell event. I felt as though I was there in spirit “ (Patrick DSP)
Sadly enough the turn of the millennium brought with it what many would refer to as the death of Toronto’s rave scene. Lucky for Patrick, relinquishing his role in Toronto meant fresh opportunities and the beginning of whole new experiences. In 2004 DSP began to travel regularly back and forth from Toronto to Brazil. Between then and where he finds himself today, a permanent resident in Berlin Germany, DSP has been billed on some of the finest festival rosters the world of electronic music has to offer, including Love Parade and Awakenings.
So what does it mean to reclaim your city? Much more than a witty name for an internationally respected podcast series. To “reclaim your city” as an artist is to assemble its history, and stand before it face-to-face in pride, taking responsibility for your contributions and achievements. When Patrick DSP reclaimed Toronto, he reclaimed its greatest moments in electronic music history. He brought back a nostalgia that we will probably never have the pleasures to experience again. He reclaimed Toronto’s vibe at a time when the music was best.