Tell us a little about the early days of your DJ career. What was it like before you became a legendary underground DJ in the eighties?
Because I came from a very humble background in northern Canada, it was a bit of a shock to end up in hi-octane Miami Florida, which is where I moved to after winning a scholarship to attend art school there at the beginning of the 80s. At that time, Miami was a town of rampant drug-cartel activity, and violence was rampant. In fact, it was the murder capital of the US at the time, so this took a lot of getting used to, especially starting out in the nightclub business where a lot of this crime took place.
But in terms of the music and DJ style I would eventually become known for, it was by no means an overnight success. I had a lot of hard work ahead of me. Its not enough just having a good ‘playlist’ — you’ve got to master real skills.
Generally speaking, Miami was a disco/pop latino city and not terrible warm to the ‘alternative/underground’ dance music that I represented — at least not in the beginning. On top of the need to gain an audience for this kind of music, it was a must to first learn the fine art of mixing creatively, as well as the psychological aspects of the trade. This would take about 3 years to fully grasp (well never ‘fully’ actually!). So by the time ’83 came along, I had gained what could be considered a large enough ‘following’ that I was able to headline major dance venues as the main draw of the club.