Unlike the early days, when electronic music drew a niche crowd to underground raves and nightclubs, EDM today has grown to attract crowds of a diverse background across the world to massive festivals with numbers in the tens to hundreds of thousands.

We wanted the inside scoop on electronic music from a first-hand perspective, so Mediaplanet caught up with Toronto-based electronic DJ Dabin to learn more about EDM, Toronto’s music scene, and how you can best prepare for the upcoming festival season.


MP Where did you grow up? How did you get into making music?

DJ Dabin: I grew up in Toronto. My parents enrolled me for music lessons and into arts school at a young age. While I've been making music for as long as I can remember, I got into producing music in my first year of university after some friends introduced me to electronic music. 

MP What or who lead you into the electronic music scene? 

DJD: My friend submitted a song that I was working on to Kannibalen Records (i.e. a record label in Montreal), because they were releasing their first compilation album and were seeking new artists. They heard my song and wanted to discuss signing me and furthering my career in the electronic music scene. 

MP Name an artist (or a few) you look up to. Is there anything about their music that you try to incorporate into your own?

DJD: Although he doesn't really fall into the "electronic music" genre, I really look up to Woodkid. His music is so cinematic and moving and evokes such powerful imagery.

MP What genre of electronic music do you classify yourself as? What's unique about the music you make? 

DJD: It's hard to pick a specific genre, because I really enjoy experimenting in different genres. Whether it's dubstep, future bass, or trap, I try to take the aspects that I like from each style and incorporate it into my own music. Likewise, I make a point of adding live instruments in my productions as well as my live performances. 

MP On your iPod, what is the hottest summer track that you can't stop listening to? Tell me why it's fire. 

DJD: Kaytranada - You're the One feat. Syd. Every element of the track just falls into place so perfectly, it's hard not to bob your head as you listen.

MP: How would you describe Toronto's music scene compared to other cities you've performed in?

DJD: Toronto is so diverse that you can find fans of every genre of music here. However, in my experience, I find that people are reticent when it comes to actually exploring the talent within those genres, especially with talent born in Toronto for some reason. There is so much brilliance in the underground scene here that gets overshadowed by the major headliners. I hope that we can exercise the musical curiosity to explore and support our eclectic and dynamic music scene. 

MP: Talk to me about the growth of electronic dance music worldwide.

DJD: It’s been great to see this music that I love grow a little more with each passing day, week and month. In a way, I feel blessed to have started my career as an EDM producer when I did as it’s allowed me to find my niche just as the genre has started to grow.

MP: Do you think EDM is a growing scene in Toronto? 

DJD: I believe the EDM scene is still growing in Toronto. While it hasn't exploded like it has in the United States, I still believe that there is room to grow. I would love to see more support for underground acts/events as the abundance of major headliners tend to deter more casual fans from actually going out and exploring what the underground scene has to offer. 

MP: Where do you see the future of electronic music going?

DJD: I think there is still a lot of room to grow, especially in the live aspect. I'm seeing a lot of artists become more creative in terms of their live performances, whether it's incorporating live instruments or utilizing unique lighting/visuals. I'm excited to see how artists progress and adapt. And that includes myself!

MP: Any advice for Canadians as festival season approaches?

DJD: Wear earplugs. Hearing loss is no joke. Oh that and to stay hydrated! 

MP: If you could sum up the Canadian music scene in one word, what would it be?

DJD: Eclectic.