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Local DJ puts himself in audience's dancing shoes

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/6/2012 (1834 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeggers will get to hear the newest Joe Silva tracks this weekend, finished or not.

The veteran Winnipeg DJ/producer will perform an hour of original material at the third annual Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (MEME), including new songs in various stages of completion that will be mixed in with finished compositions to see how the crowd reacts.

Joe Silva plays twice during MEME, which gets underway tonight.

Joe Silva plays twice during MEME, which gets underway tonight.

"It's exciting to me to play the newest thing I'm working on, even if it's not finished. As long as the rhythmic section is complete and grooving, people will be dancing. And that's the goal for me: to get people dancing," he says.

Silva has been hitting his mark for more than 20 years in Winnipeg and cities around the world. The 47-year-old specializes in tech-house with a soulful, funky edge, designed to get the party started and people moving.

He is also an in-demand soundtrack composer for films and commercials and does remixes for artists in a variety of genres.

But creating and performing his own music is what's filling the majority of his time these days, he says.

"I still enjoy doing composing work, but ultimately, I'm working on someone else's dream. Lately I've been doing more work as Joe Silva the artist as opposed to Joe Silva the composer.

"I just got an iPad a couple of days ago and I'm using it to control Logic (DJ software) now so I can sit in the back of the room on my futon and control things. I have four speakers around me I can turn up and it feels like I'm in a nightclub, so I know how the audience feels."

Some of his recent activity includes the single Spam being released on Italian label TechnoMafia Records; an EP as part of the duo Tonepushers with Ali Khan; and the soundtrack for the 2012 fringe festival show Trashbot Apocalypse: A Love Story.

This weekend he will perform twice at MEME. He plays a solo set Friday in the Winnipeg Art Gallery's main room at 11 p.m. and again Sunday afternoon at 9 p.m. with Tonepushers, a long-standing musical collaboration that had been shelved since the early 2000s but was resurrected at last year's MEME for their live debut. Earlier this month the duo played a showcase set at MUTEK in Montreal, the electronic festival MEME has based itself on.

"I think MEME is an important aspect of our culture; it's celebrating electronic music in the city and bringing people downtown to hear music," Silva says. "It gives local artists like Ali, myself and others a chance to showcase what we do. When it's unknown, there's the element of fear of the unknown. We want people to know it's great music -- it's not over-commercialized. It's made with a lot of love."

The four-day event, which kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday, features performances from more than 50 DJs and producers. The majority hail from Winnipeg, but many out-of-town guests will be featured, including London, England's Pearson Sound; San Francisco's Ghosts on Tape; Anenon from Los Angeles; Berlin's Deadbeat; L.A.'s John Tejada; and one-time Skinny Puppy member Phil Western from Vancouver.

Free shows in Old Market Square take place Friday to Sunday on the Cube stage, with post-Cube events at the Winnipeg Art Gallery Friday and the Manitoba Museum on Saturday (see the sidebar for the complete lineup).

Last year MEME attracted an estimated 10,000 people to the indoor and outdoor events.

"We were really happy with last year but realized the transition from the Cube to the after-parties needed to be cleaner, so we really wanted to step up the after-parties this year," says Nathan Zahn, one of the festival's organizers.

Both the WAG and Manitoba Museum will feature multi-room formats with different styles of music, ranging from dance-happy techno and house to more downtempo ambient music.

Interactive projections and visuals created by Onion Union will be on display throughout the weekend.

"They're really flexible spaces and we're really happy to finally be able to deliver our product in a way that says, 'Yes, it's a party, but it's not a bar night,'" Zahn says.

In addition to the shows, there is a screening of the documentary Electronic Awakening tonight at Cinematheque, a full-day audio workshop Saturday; and a two-night VJ workshop. Complete information about the workshops is located at memetic.ca .

This year MEME has teamed up with Red Bull Music Academy to help with funding to bring in some out-of-town DJs on Sunday. The early part of the day will be devoted to ambient chill-out music, Zahn says.

"Last year we had families out there and people were swaying and hula-hooping. It was really great to see that," he says.


MEME schedule

Events at The Cube are free and all ages. Post-Cube events are 18-plus. Weekend passes for opening night and post-Cube parties are $72.20 at Ticketpro.ca.



Boa Lounge (177 Lombard Ave.), 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Beezkneez, Donovan, Chris Chill Phaze M & Nathan Zahn

Admission $15



The Cube at Old Market Square, 4:30-11 p.m.

Famine, Rick Logic, the Shake, Mikhail, Phil Western


After The Cube Party

Winnipeg Art Gallery, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Main room: Submit, Joe Silva, Deadbeat, John Tejada, Adham Shaikh

Skylight room: FmSea, Beauchamp, Aaron Bragger, Nikki Volan, JNL, Gus

Penthouse Room: Footwerk, Owen Reynolds, Alphagroove, Dave Rad, Mika

Rooftop: The Seed Organization, Co-Wrekt & Friends

Tickets: $49.50 at Ticketpro.ca



The Cube, Noon to 11:30 p.m.

Theo Tzu, Phantohms, Smooths @ Shael, Kasm, Mike Jasper, Jereme Oliver, Fishead, Phaze M, Nathan Zahn, Adham Shaikh, Arthur Oskan


After The Cube Party, Manitoba Museum, 10 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Main room: Alex Ridley, Ali Khan, Billy Dalessandro, My Favourite Robot & James Teej

Bass room: Whupass, The Seed Organization, Marcus Visionary, Vilify, Ill Type

Tickets: $30.50 at Ticketpro.ca



The Cube, Noon to 11:30 p.m.

Yoga at The Cube, Justin Kace, Anenon, Billy Dalessandro, Labyrinth Experience, Chris Komus, Ghosts On Tape, James Teej, Tonepushers, Pearson Sound


For exact set times and other information check out memetic.ca.


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