Artists in Residence: Linus Booth of Jokers of the Scene
Linus Booth, aka DJ Booth, is one half of Jokers of the Scene, a Canadian techno and electronic DJ and production duo based in Toronto. Jokers’ developed out of a monthly party in Ottawa called Disorganised, which Linus and Chris Macintyre (Jokers’ other half) started with Ian Swain of Bonjay.
The Disorganised residency endured for seven plus years, across three different venues, until Jokers’ touring schedule made it difficult to continue the club night any longer. Since that time, the guys have gone on to create some of the liveliest dance music and remixes around, with distinctly perplexing beats that marvel both body and mind.
Linus, who is fresh off the heels of Jokers’ recent US tour, took some time to talk to Cultivora about making music in his favorite cities, and his latest residency, Legoblocks, which recently made a venue switch from Unlovable to Bambi’s in Toronto.
Can you tell me the genesis story of your current Legoblocks residency?
One of the things I had wanted to do when I moved was to start a small night that a bigger center like Toronto could support during the week. Formed alongside Brandon Sek and Christian Azari, we started out almost two years ago at Unlovable, and it has been going strong ever since. It's generally myself and a featured guest each month, and we are about to make a move to Bambi's for the July edition.
What makes your residency unique? How do you differentiate Legoblocks from other residencies and events happening in Toronto?
At this point there is no definition to what Legoblocks is musically. And with a continued focus on featuring a wide variety of guests, I'm hoping to broaden people's perceptions of the night even more. I'm also involved in another monthly event called F*ck Dance, Let's D*ink with several other DJs at The Redlight—the title basically sums of the theme of the night. I’m looking forward to the next one, as we're hosting a Canada Day edition complete with an afternoon BBQ!
Do you have any interest in starting a residency in another city?
If someone had approached us in the past, I'd be game. But at this point there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish the current projects I'm involved with for me to pursue something new.
How would you describe the Toronto music scene to a visiting tourist?
Smaller than they think.
You’ve lived in Ottawa and currently reside in Toronto, can any of you see yourself living in and/or creating music in another city?
We've been lucky enough to travel all over, and have extended stays in Berlin and LA. In a perfect world, with a balance between inspirations, living and creating in Toronto, Berlin and LA would be ideal.
How do you organize your Legoblocks sets?
I guess the only way I prepare for the evening is deciding whether I'm going to play an all vinyl or all digital set, and that usually depends on the guest. The rest unravels itself depending on what the guest may be playing and how many people are in the room.
How is the music curation for your residency different from the music you create with Jokers of the Scene? Does your Legoblocks selection differ from your tour selection/set?
For me, the main reason I wanted to start another night was to share something different from what Jokers do. Jokers' sets are predominantly inspired by a larger club setting whereas the Legoblocks’ vibe tends to be more experimental, and generally rawer as there is less of a focus on the dance floor.
What would you say are the most notable differences between playing in Toronto and playing festivals and club shows in other cities?
Playing elsewhere you tend to be spoiled, as you're generally the featured artist, so crowds and promoters (re)act accordingly. Whereas Toronto is great for taking things into your own hands and making things happen. You can't rely on others to do that for you here no matter how much you travel and play worldwide.
What are the benefits of maintaining a residency? What freedoms has it allowed you?
It's all about balancing what we do on the road with our alter egos. It keeps both sides inspired and interesting.
If you were to describe the general tone of the night as a color, what color would it be?
What direction do you hope to see your residency take?
The goal for the night is to essentially serve as the perfect opportunity for other musician and DJ friends to share the music they love when they're not on the road playing what they are known for.
Is the venue important to the integrity of your night, in terms of the sound, size, space, and neighborhood?
Having something small so it always feels like a party; and predominantly in a residential neighborhood is ideal. We didn't want it to be a hassle for people to go to. Something you could pop into on your way home and somewhere that you could be easily convinced into going out to as it was close to home. Great sound is always ideal, although that can be tough in the more residential parts of town.
What are the best post-Legoblocks food options in the neighborhood?
None. With the amount of new restaurants in the area, I'm still amazed that there is not one good 24 hour spot yet. Hmmmm....
Can you name one travel essential (or luxury) that you must pack when you're going on tour?
A charcoal toothbrush.
If you are in Toronto on July 2nd, be sure to check out the next Legoblocks at Bambi’s.
1265 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 0A4
+ 1 (647) 351-1100
And on June 30th Jokers of the Scene will be playing a DJ set at the Digital Dreams Music Festival, which takes place at the Flats at Molson Ampitheatre in Toronto.
The Flats at Molson Ampitheatre
909 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Toronto, ON M6K 3B9
+ 1 (416) 260-5600
But in the meantime, have a listen to this Blank Capsule Pre Party Jamz” mixtape. Blank Capsule is a collaborative live band project that includes Jokers of the Scene and Vitamins4u.