Taffi Louis has been called “a mastermind… leading the charge, twisting notions of past and present musical genres into new possibilities. He’s been DJ’ing for audiences in Seattle, San Francisco, Victoria, Toronto, and steadily building a unique reputation in Vancouver’s music scene, defying simple categorization and reaching further. From his earliest gigs introducing the city’s gay nightlife to then-burgeoning electroclash and nu-disco movements, to headlining club nights locally and abroad, his sets are portraits of the audience and the moment. There is no “typical” DJ set by Taffi Louis. Each one unfolds and tells its own story.
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Where are you based?: Vancouver, BC
B40: Why do you play music?
Taffi: I feel like I have a responsibility or like I’m doing some kind of relief work, sometimes. A lot of DJs go after biggest, loudest response from the lowest common denominator, who expect only exactly what they want to hear. I think it’s such a wasted opportunity. When I see a DJ fist-pumping or doing a Jesus pose, I’m already so underwhelmed by what they’re actually playing, I just see it as a cue to tell people when to be excited about something instead of fostering a genuine response from people. The only things missing are APPLAUSE signs and laugh tracks.
My first DJ gig came somewhat by surprise, after telling the manager at a leather bar they could do so much more to create the atmosphere they seemed to be going for, if they’d just get music that actually sounded edgy and seductive instead of cookie-cutter and bubble gum, also bearing in mind that their clientele weren’t “club people” and had more affinity with disco and new wave than, say, Tiesto and “Sandstorm”. Pretty soon, I was invited to “bring some music to play”, and that became a weekly gig for the next several years, where I practically had carte blanche to play whatever. Even I was surprised to see how well that room responded to electroclash fixtures like Vitalic, Tiga, and Miss Kittin & The Hacker, but they seemed to tap into that audience’s new wave nostalgia with a kinkier, modern edge. This mix for Bottom Forty directly ties into that, as it was recorded as a response to hearing these spaces slip back into circuit/top-40 mindsets that I find totally removed from anything sexual at all. My gonads played a big role in recording this mix.
To sum up: I like exploring music and people’s responses, moment-by-moment, and there are so many overlooked possibilities – one size does NOT fit all.
B40: What do you see as your role in the music world going into the future?
Taffi: There are some huge gaps in Vancouver’s nightlife, especially in its gay scene. But I’m also shifting focus towards more music-based ideas and not defining them so much by a particular scene … TRUCKERDISCO events are an example of that. I’ve been able to work with some amazing, talented people more and more, and I’ll be building on that in the New Year.
Also: Production! I’ve dipped my toe into remixing and posted a few edits online recently. There’s a lot more happening in those areas.
B40: Favorite label or artist from the past year?
Taffi: IN FLAGRANTI and Codek Records have a long-standing special place in my heart. But in this past year, hands-down, LA ROYALE / YESCO (see also Moon Runner, Chemistry, Mijo, among other projects) and his label, Electrique Music. There’s a consistency to this wave of electronic music exploding in Mexico City (among other places), with a ridiculously fat bass, dark and nasty tone but also an honest, playful quality that I find really refreshing and inventive.
B40: What are you looking forward to most this year?
Taffi: This year’s almost over! In 2014, I’m looking forward to the miracle solution to the Fukushima disaster.
1) The Hacker- Enter
2) David Shaw & The Beat- No More White Horses
3) Daniel Baldelli & DJ Rocca- Complotto Geometrico (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
4) Dynamicron- Leave No Trace
5) Panama Disco Lights- Mood (Gameboyz Remix)
6) David Shaw & The Beat- Trance In Mexico
7) Ajello- Sabrer (Hannulelauri Basement Mix)
8) Drop Out Orchestra- Hell Bent For Leather
9) Michael Mayer- Mantasy
10) Altair Nouveau- Space Fortress (Sneak-Thief’s Time Travel Mix)
11) Golden Bug- El Dorado (Gameboyz Remix)
12) Depeche Mode- Behind The Wheel (Vince Clarke Remix
13) Delirium Beer Gut- Delirium Tremolo (wmw-Barfod Edit)
14) Justus Kohncke- Homogen
15) Yello- Lost Again (Alkalino Maxim edit)
16) Shout Out Out Out- Forever Indebted