Toronto based producer/DJ, Stephane Deschenes better known as Damn Kids broke onto the scene earlier this year with some massive releases on Provoke Records along with his 'My Last Mix Ever' series and notable remixes for Mark Knight and Pleasurekraft. Recently included in Red Bull Toronto's Music Styles Infographic List, Damn Kids' wide array of multi-faceted productions do not look to be slowing down anytime soon. His latest remix of Notize's, 'Worth The Pain' is a mellower jam than the other ones.
We caught up with Stephane to get the dish on what's been happening in his life nowadays.
I’ve been following your releases since the last time we chatted. Real great stuff, but what’s intriguing are the titles of your tracks like, ‘Ussu’, ‘Otombo’ etc. what do these words mean? Is there any special significance behind them or are you just concocting your own language?
A lot of them are really vague references to my last name. Deschenes means “of the oaks” in french so a lot of the names are references to oak trees. I play around with the words to get some really cool sounding names.
Tell us about the Toronto Music Styles Infographic that you were charted on? How does it feel to be included on this list? What does that mean to you?
Its really rad to be recognized by Toronto and Red Bull. I was put on the list with so many artists I look up to, so to be grouped with them is a really big honor.
Who are some turntablists you look up to? I might be wrong but currently, the whole art doesn’t seem to have as much leverage and popularity as it once did, is it different in Toronto? Are a lot of people over there still into it?
DJ wise, I look up to guys like A-trak, TJR, and Laidback Luke. Those guys have very unique feelings to their sets, and on top of playing big records, they really display how much of an art form DJing can be.
Have you watched the recent Russell Peters bit on DJs? Turns out he used to be a turntablist back in the day.
I haven’t!! I’ll have to check that out. Russell Peters OG.
What’s Toronto’s nightlife like? Isn’t the drinking age over there like 19? Do you have any cool stories that you’d like to share?
Inconsistent (mostly due to weather), but there's a really good community of artists and fans of electronic music. The drinking age is 18&19 in Canada, depending on where you live, so it really helps getting more people into clubs. Its always awesome being somewhere for a show and seeing guys you look unto in the scene there, as well to just hang out like everyone else.
Let’s talk about Provoke Records. It’s been your home for a lot of releases you’ve put out recently, how has the label been instrumental in your development as an artist? Any new tracks or artist on the label that you’re really into?
I’ve been with Provoke since day one. They were the first guys to hit me up about my music, and now we’re all family. All of the new stuff has been awesome and I love the diversity. Anything can come out on Provoke and it makes sense.
Your recent remix of Notize is a lot mellower than your usual high-octane stuff. Judging by all the productions you put out there is clearly a high level of range and variety in there, do you think you’ve found a certain sound you want to keep to or do you want to keep switching it up?
The remix is did for Notize just made sense to go that way to me. I wanted to do something really mellow for summer that you could just play in your car or something. I’d rather make lots of different kinds of music, instead of just club stuff or whatever. I just want to make music, whatever genre it ends up being doesn’t matter to me.
A burgeoning producer like yourself, obviously knows that the importance of social media as a DJ, especially these days. So many of these guys are doing over the top PR stunts to get people’s attention. What are your thoughts on all of this?
There’s two sides of it in my mind. It’s awesome how accessible artists are to their fans, you can interact on so many social platforms that you can always stay in touch which is amazing. The downside is, if you don’t have a big enough social reach no one cares on the business side. Promoters and Agents look at artists social reach, and if you don’t have enough fans they won’t book you or sign you which is BS to me. A lot of artists get screwed over by guys with less talent, because they are more popular on twitter or something.
What are your thoughts on ghost producing? Have you ever ghost produced for any artist or has anyone produced for you?
If you have good ideas and you have someone get it down for you and help you finish them, I think that's OK. If you have someone secretly making all your music for you then that's just dumb and you are a fake. I’ve helped people with ideas but I don’t think I’d ever make a full song for someone, yeah there's money in it but I’d rather have artistic integrity than a big cheque.
Any new releases coming up soon?
I’m currently working on tons of new music, but I want to really step up my game before I put anything new out. I want all my new music to take my sound to the next level, so I’m taking a bit more time with this stuff. Expect lots of new music in 2014!!