The Toronto Island has had a long history of music festivals, from Toronto’s first Love Ins with the Mariposa folk Festival in the late 60s to most recently Virgin Music Fest in 2009, but the island’s been relatively quiet since. By some strokes of luck and organization, Electric Island was born as a four part summer music series, perhaps dreamt up by the city’s tourism board, to compete with Montreal’s Picnic Electronique?
Regardless, Platform events has stepped up to the plate along with Embrace, and Footwork night club to bring Toronto’s techno-heads a Victoria day to remember with a handful of locals and the larger than life Seth Troxler. Platform’s Jeremy K is here to tell us all about it.
Tell me a bit about Platform.
We’ve been doing events since 2006. Our first was with Adam Beyer at 99 Sudbury on Halloween. We’ve been ramping up our shows every year, and it seems to be every weekend now. Our original goals was to bring bigger acts to the city and create a platform for local up and coming DJs to get in front of a bigger audience, and I think that we’ve achieved that. Electric Island is a vision we’ve had for a while, and the evolution of that original Platform dream because this is a really big stage that people are going to get in front of. Also, we will never repeat any DJs on the line-ups so it will give lots of opportunity for locals.
How did Electric Island come about?
Platform has done an event on this weekend for the last five years and this year we were looking at other options that were available to us. Last year we did the WKD Beach party at Sugar Beach, we do annual community events at Cherry Beach and we also do an annual Bohemian Yacht Club cruise party in Miami during the WMC. This year, we’re working with Embrace and Footwork nightclub to bring it together. Embrace has worked with the city through shows at Fort York, also affiliated with the city, so we decided to jump on the island to do something different this time.
The Toronto Island hasn’t been used for events like this since the Virgin Music Festival in 2009. How did this become available?
I’m not sure why the city was open to us doing it on the island. I know the city doesn’t like people to use other parks due to noise complaints, and some sites on the island aren’t available because the noise could affect the new condo developments, but the Olympic Island site is a little further away, and it’s really set up for events. They have things like onsite washrooms there even. We’re smaller than the Virgin Fest but we’ll have a licensed area. People are welcome to bring blankets and chill on other parts of the park. Some people were talking about bringing badminton gear even to play and that’s totally cool by us, although since we’re licensed, you can’t bring in any outside drinks. But we do want people to come out and enjoy the parks and the island.
I see you have a tasty menu set up for the event.
Yeah, Sliced (650 Bay St.) is going to do the food. The menu looks amazing with a wide variety of stuff from sirloin burgers ($7.00), fish tacos ($8.00), fries ($4.00), to watermelon wedges ($2.00) and handmade fruit popsicles ($3). Their food is all fresh and local, and at the end of the day their food is donated to the Daily Bread food bank. They’re going to bring a grill to make things more like a picnic. People have been asking if they can bring food, and we’re not saying no, but it’s not necessary for people to bring their own.
Tell us about the Electric Island Series.
We’re doing this for the love of it and it’s grown more organically than past events, now that it’s an official event. I think that the passion will translate over, although we don’t have as many acts as some other huge festivals, I don’t think it matters. I think the vibe will be just as good or even better. We’re trying to keep the cost low ($17.50) and make it accessible to everyone but still book some solid names. Since we’re doing four of these, we definitely want people to come back and realize that we’re making an effort to be sustainable.
So what will make the Island so electric on Monday?
Well we have a number of different visuals that we’ll be installing. One artist present will be Christian Skjødt; he’s a VJ who will be doing a back projected visual once it gets dark. He’ll be doing visuals behind the DJ for the last two hours. Lumatronic is a crew that does LED lighting for events like Harvest Festival, Alien Influx etc. They have an LED that’s timed to the music. The whole place will really get electric and light up the whole park.
What kind of sound system will you be using?
We’re really lucky that Sennheiser’s come on board with Moog Audio and they’ve donated this brand new K-Array sound system with a new flat speaker technology. They look like they’re from space and they’re amazing. I saw them in Miami ant a venue called The Villa. I’m really happy that we can use it, it’s also very easy to transport since they fold together and they do go up to 12,000 Watts of bass! We’re so excited that they’re loaning this to us.
How did you get Seth Troxler as a headliner?
He was our headliner for our first Bohemian Yacht Club cruise in Miami, and it was the same year they recorded that video of him with the boat hat on YouTube, hehe. He’s definitely a character with a larger than life personality, and the best selection of music. Caller No. 7 is one of my favourite tracks. When you’re booking a stage show, it’s good to have a guy like that. It’s really cool that he’s kicking off two inaugural events in a row. We’ve also got Nitin (No. 19), My Favourite Robot (My Favourite Robot Records), Nathan Barato (Roots and Wings), Jonathan Rosa (Hot Fingers), and a special guest that we can’t announce yet.
Can you drop any hints?
Nope! But it will be announced later in the weekend.
Damn, ok. How do you feel about the growth in Toronto’s techno scene?
It’s bigger than it’s ever been in the last decade. We’re starting to see the thousands coming out that we had in the earlier Toronto rave scene. I think it’s just going to get bigger. Electronic music has been turned into pop now. Whether that’s good or bad, nobody knows. It depends on how it’s operated and hopefully the heads of our city will keep making it better rather than turning it into something we all hope it doesn’t become, haha.
Cove Thirtyone gets me thinking of The Little Mermaid - or at least a song that you’re bound to get stuck in your head.
“Under the sea, darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from meee” … and take it from Tommy King, a veteran in clubland since the mid-90s with spots like Exit 2 Eden, X-it, and IT Nightclub. Today he’s fixated on Mediterranean locations like Ibiza, Tel Aviv and Mykonos as his latest source of inspiration.
“I was in Ibiza two years ago with my girlfriend and we stopped by the side of the road to go swimming in this cove. The colours and the water were so magical that I knew my next club in Toronto would have this theme.” In case you weren’t sure, a cove is an underwater cave that reveals itself at low tide, engulfed in water when the moon is at its highest point in the sky.
This description lends itself quite well to Cove Thirtyone’s Mercer St. layout. The ground level has an underwater theme with LA-sourced paper thin jellyfish lamps dangling above the booths, green tinted poured concrete for a watery effect, bubbly water decals on parts of the ceiling, and monitors with jellyfish being played in a loop. The bars are outfitted with a beautiful green, gold and aquamarine onyx counter. As a committed club owner, King knows his interior decorating.
Following the sleek 1940s (preserved by order of the city) stairway leads you up to a beachy area, perhaps the cove at low tide, where all the exotic creatures come out to play in the tide pools. Six months were spent creating the grotto-like walls in the upper area, the stucco of which has been sanded to just the perfect texture to contrast the sheep’s wool pillows outfitting the banquettes in the booth areas. Attractive live-edged wood block stools also line the sitting areas
Cove Thirtyone hopes to attract a passionate and creative crowd that enjoys the limelight and the club life they might have experienced in the Mediterranean. If you’re lucky you might get a pass to come back next time with your entry “covered” (cove-covered. Clever, huh?) or even acquire an exclusive lifetime pass, in the form of a sand dollar-fashioned disc.
- BEERS ON TAP:
- SIGNATURE DRINK:
- The Water Goddess, The Berry Cove, The Campari Treasure
- BAR SNACKS:
- Downstairs: 90s, retro, hiphop, commercial. Upstairs: House (vocal, deep, tribal)
- LIVE MUSIC:
- WHO GOES THERE:
- Fashionably attired Ibiza lovers, overflow from neighboring Maison, Sea Punks (Ok, not really)
- Friday-Saturday 10 pm-3 am.
One celebrity host, four media-industry judges, 10 restaurants, 600 tickets, three winners and 20,000 wings served. Such was the outcome of the Toronto Wing Festival held at 99 Sudbury.
Our host for the evening, celebrity TV chef, Bob Blumer of the Surreal Gourmet, Glutton For Punishment and World’s Weirdest Restaurants, may not have cooked wings on his show before but he admits, he is “a closet wing fanatic,” at least when it comes to a wing fest. Wasting no time, I dove straight in.
Real Sports Bar had real sports wings. I understand why they won last year’s people’s choice award, and why they won it again this time around. Imagine a coconut-breaded shrimp, but with the batter coating a chicken drumstick instead, and then doused in flavours like Thai Sweet Chili, or Go For Gold (golden barbecue sauce and jalapeno). If you buy them at the bar ($14.99) they are a bit pricier than what you would usually pay, but they are a fairly unique experience nonetheless.
While Real Sports had surprisingly no line, their neighbors Right Wing had a steady flow of traffic, which wasn’t the end of the world. There’s something about waiting in line that is probably good for digestion. Available were a standard Medium BBQ and an anything but standard Exorcist wing flavour. I don’t know how many millions of Scoville units were in the sauce, but I was warned, and given a swag bag just for trying them. Luckily I have had my oral cavities scorched by insanely spicey wings before, so my caution paid off. I took a bite, and waited for the rollercoaster ride to begin. A slow peak lead to a 10-minute ordeal of mouth burning, sweats, while I literally hotfooted on the spot to keep myself sane.
Which is close to the position that I found judge and Canadian media personality, Nobu Adilman of the Food Network’s hit show Food Jammers. “This is actually my first time judging wings, but I have judged chowder before,” he tells me in all seriousness, eyes slightly tearing up from the insanely hot chili of the Exorcist. “I’m an avid eater of wings, but I found it very challenging to keep my hands clean and judge them properly on the score card.” I empathized deeply, as I was having similar issues with my own note taking.
Without crackers to cleanse his palate with, Adilman was forced to resort to…gasp…. beer! “It felt like I was traveling around the world. Some times I thought I was in Asia, other times I was in the Southern US, or eastern Canada. I felt like some chefs were inspired by architecture or design. Like one of the wings actually looked like a 1970s chesterfield, it had that weird plaid texture on it. The one with plantain chips (from the Tilted Kilt) was quite wild, and one even looked like vomit, but I got excited because I wanted to vomit with it, it was like good vomit. It was super hot and super tasty.”
Perhaps they came from Hey, Meatball’s Rod Bowers, who’s wings took home the best ‘exotic’ category for their take on a Korean sauce smothered in scallions, sweet red pepper paste, and Korean hot peppers. The other offerings were their unique Honey Garlic wings marinated in pickled Ontario garlic, wild ramps (a breed of leek), scallions, bacon, and maple syrup instead of honey, for a real Canadian flavour.
They definitely didn’t come from Hooters, who although took home the best in the classic wings category for their Daytona flavour, were skimpy in size (ironic considering it’s Hooters, right?) had a rubbery consistency (well that rings true at least) and were over all mild in flavour with a low sauce saturation in the meat.
The Pour House servers, Av & Dav’s longstanding Irish institution, were dunking their heavy battered Kinsale County wings in either a tangy Raspberry Chipotle sauce bucket that tasted a bit like a raspberry salad dressing, as well as Chili Lime option. Special mentions also must be given toWhistler’s Grille, who boldly went with the underdog dry spice rub, a preparation that tends to give way to a homier flavour, but healthier too, as they were baked in the oven and delicately flavoured.
The event is only in it’s toddler years but some of the big chains were stepping up their games with swag bags from Hard Rock Café, who’s wings were actually exceptionally tangy, and were a winner in the classic section in the year before.
The Toronto Wing Festival will be returning next year, in steroidal proportions, upgrading from a few hundred-person event, to one of a few thousand.
Photos by Morris Lum
Public school will be just wrapping up for the summer, so what better reason than to take a little Field Trip courtesy of Arts & Crafts! Field Trip is their upcoming music/food extravaganza that will feature top bands from their roster (Feist, Broken Social Scene, Zeus, Stars, and then some) along side a fresh crop of tasty and insanely creative artisan foods, curated with assistance from the Toronto Underground Market (TUM).
A couple of weekends ago I was invited to an afternoon of boardroom pitches from local vendors, judged by members of Arts & Crafts like partner, Jeffrey Remedios and Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning.
“I’ve been to many music festivals backstage so I’m being catered to in a different way but if you take a look at Harbourfront in the summer you have all the international foods, and I like that stuff so why not bring that concept but with a local farming focus?” Canning told me.
“There’s so much waste at rock festivals, so if we can curate something that supports a local farming movement, and when there’s a local slaughterhouse literally behind the field then why not, rather than having people wolfing down hot dogs and pizza from Pizza Pizza. They do fine on their own.”
Along with 30 or so TUM vendors, you will also see food truck vendors like Caplansky’s, Buster’s Sea Cove, Stuft, and Blue Donkey (more info on these can be found via our new food truck app and theToronto Food Trucks website). Aside from tasty bites, Amsterdam Brewery has even concocted a very special Field Trip brew.
Here’s a taste and feel of what’s to come.
I know it’s a sin to start with dessert but these just have to be mentioned first. The Backyard Kitchenwill be serving deep fried beer batter banana fritters, delicately crispy on the outside, but melt in your mouth creamy in the inside with a sweet vanilla undertone. By far the best fritter of any type my taste buds have commingled. Definitely a must try. They’re also offering a sweet and juicy pulled pork sandwich containing different textures of meat, dosed with hoisin sauce. For vegetarians, they’ve got a tangy and garlicky beet sandwich guaranteed to keep you safe from creeps and vampires with just one bite.
Timeless Food presented a steak Bordelaise which consists of a delicate beef Carpaccio, shoestring frites, croquette made from white bean puree, roasted shallots and “more bone marrow fat than is good for the average human.” It was a delicious contrast of flavours and elements. Crunchy, soft, chewy sweet and salty. Easily the best fries you’ll ever scarf down at a music festival.
Meat Pie Mates. A classic staple in Australian footy and rugger matches, Erynn Mayes has made it her mission to bring the meals to go meat pies to America. The chunky, crusty pucks come filled with traditional beef, butter chicken, and a veg option of Zucchini and Boursin cheese filling. “An instant second wind,” approved Canning.
Grub by Derek Wu has made a number of TUM appearances. Their deep fried taro chips that tasted exactly like hand cut chips wont be served nor will their Me So Horny epically cheesy, garlic, baked oysters, but you will be able to suck on their delightful aloe and blueberry ice pops. And scarf down their tempura corn bites and pineapple bao buns.
The Animal Liberation Kitchen, a vegan operation that clearly aims to emancipate our furry friends, created a Chirashi vegan sushi bowl with delicately vinagered rice, edamame, avocado and carrots on a lettuce leaf bowl. Simple yet surprisingly delicious. Also available will be a slurpable Greek cold gazpacho, peppered with chunks of disintegrating feta cheese and olives, in a tomato slurry. It’s tasty, refreshing and will cool down your body temp so you can get back to the party.
Bricks and Mortar will be offering a tantalizing array of holdable dishes like flank steak and bacon sandwiches, the bacon on bacon slider, sriracha popcorn and duck quesadillas.
Babi & Co. is another must try for those who haven’t made it over to Indonesia, the Asian archipelago, peanut-sauce obsessed country. They’ll be offering their signature Babi on a Bun of sweet braised pork belly on a brioche-like bun, Mie Kuah Kacang, which are thick chewy yellow noodles in a rich peanut sauce with veggies and tofu.
Taking the cake, quite literally, for most creative yet practical kiddy snack was Paleo Bread’s gluten-free (wheat, rice, corn and rice free too since we’re at it) banana bread. Moist and heavy, there’s some good fuel to keep you swaying to the music.
Sweet Sammies Ice Cream Sandwich Co. will be so popular, you might want to skip out on dinner and grab one of these before they’re gone. Small batch gourmet ice cream sandwiches like the Crownie (vanilla bean ice cream between Belgian chocolate brownies) or the Triple C (Belgian chocolate ice cream between chocolate chip cookies) sweetened with ingredients like maple syrup.
Photos by Alejandro Santiago and Brad Freeman
As seen, live, in my spam box!
That’s such an unbelievable moment that you received my e-mail. I do believe it will be a crazy launch for our rapport. I’m Sanilya. I live in a remote land named Azerbaijan. I am a good and reliable girl. If you are free and if you will not ask me to send you nude photographs, then we can install good correspondence and relationships. Please do not write back to this e-mail if you are married. Never ask me for nude pictures.
Summer 1998 was a time in Toronto’s history when our town was a mecca on the North American party map. Hordes of loved-up music fans would flock from all over the continent to experience up to 5,000-strong warehouse parties that fell just short of escaping the mass-media lens. Techno, House, Hardcore and other genres were often lumped together but, more often than not, Jungle/Drum & Bass events stood their own ground, segregated from the typical ‘ravey’ sounds accompanied by beaded necklaces, fun fur phat pants and the soother crowd.
Junglists at the time were more like soldier-like, decked in camo, 90s street wear like Fubu, Phat Farm and an unusual dose of Tommy Hilfiger and Titleist golf apparel. Heavy with rap and reggae samples, the sound spoke more to the urban audience that was tired of commercial hip hop. While Toronto’s glory days have passed, many heroes of the scene are still active like Kenny Ken, Shy FX, Nicky Blackmarket, Andy C, Toronto’s Marcus Visionary, while some like the near-messianic MC Stevie “Hyper” D met with untimely deaths.
Enter Dayv Mattt, street photographer and former non-committed metalhead who, like many, found himself almost by accident at one of these events in 1995. He fell a strong connection and instantly immersed himself in the world of amen breaks, ganja, and the power of Jah! Matt has published his e-book of Toronto memories Rewind: Toronto’s Jungle Scene In The Late 90s as a sort of time capsule. Matt currently resides in Colombo, Sri Lanka where he teaches English, and has also published HIGH STREET LOW STREET: Seoul Street Photography. I recently caught up with him to chat about his latest project.
Toronto’s Drum & Bass scene reached its peak between 1998-2000. What do you think contributed to Toronto being the North American capital for the music?
I didn’t start partying until late 1995, and by that time Toronto was already a really well established scene, and while I agree that the DnB scene reached its peak between 1998-2000, that’s only in terms of the size and frequency of all-ages parties. The only thing that really disappeared from the scene was the all-ages aspect. Top tier DJs and MCs were still brought to Toronto, but they played licensed events to an older crowd.
What did we have to offer that no other city could?
I would argue that Toronto had a lucky mix of people genuinely eager to put on good shows, a population that was open to new forms of music, and a steady supply of people travelling between the UK and Toronto (Dr. No, for example).
What appealed to you about the scene, especially coming from a metal background?
Growing up, I wasn’t ever really into music. Listening to metal was more a product of me just listening to what my neighborhood friends were listening to. I wasn’t passionate about metal at all, though I probably acted like I was. I never went to concerts or shows because I just didn’t think slam dancing and head banging were cool. The angsty violence of that scene didn’t really resonate with me. My first Jungle party in 1995 resonated with me, and from then on I was at home listening to Jungle in a warehouse with other like-minded and often very kind people on the weekend.
What made you focus on the 98-00 period? Was that when you got more involved in photography or is there more to the story?
I started shooting at parties in 1996, but over the years, a significant number of negatives have either been lost or destroyed. There was a fire at my house and what wasn’t destroyed was packed up by the insurance company and brought back later in haphazardly packed boxes. When I finally sorted through everything with the intention of further organizing a giant pile of negatives and prints, it became evident that I was missing a considerable amount of photography. For instance, that color photo of Stevie Hyper D is actually a scan of a print. I don’t have the negative anymore. Negatives and prints for the years in the book are all that survived, I’m afraid. If I had more, I would have increased the scope.
Were you ever nervous about bringing a high-end camera to a party?
No. I never gave bringing my camera a second thought. There was nothing to worry about. Gangbangers didn’t really start appearing until 1999, and even then, they weren’t really causing any problems. Additionally, by that time I was getting pretty bored of techstep and the number of parties I attended decreased significantly.
What were some of your favourite memories from that period?
Like I mention in the book, I didn’t embrace drugs so much at the shows. I’d smoke a few joints, but that was about it. I wanted to be capable of shooting, and so when I’d take breaks and sit on a stack or ledge somewhere, it was remarkable how many people would come up to me and ask me if I was having a good time. Crowds generally looked out for each other, and there was a sense of community. It was awesome, really.
Nevertheless, thinking back, my fondest memories were driving home after parties listening to Jazz. Jazz was an essential component of my end-of-night routine as my ears were seriously ringing after each show. I was a bit of a stack hugger.
Why did you choose to shoot in black and white rather than colour?
I shot some colour, but colour was expensive to develop. I had a darkroom at home, so shooting black and white was more cost effective. I shot because it was fun. I didn’t make many prints, and I didn’t show very many people my work. I just did it because I liked shooting at parties. I loved Jungle, but I didn’t dance and I didn’t really have a big posse of friends who liked Jungle enough to go to parties. The camera gave me a reason to be there.
You say this in the intro of your book: “Today, the kids think raves are Swedish House Mafia concerts at an arena with numbered seating.” What are your thoughts on mass market EDM? Is there something missing?
There is nothing wrong with mass-market dance music; I listen to some of it. I’m not sure anything is missing. They did the math, and having concerts at arenas with numbered seating is the most profitable/cost effective for them. There’s really no better way to keep a crowd of thousands in check than to give everyone an individual seat. The problem is though, that kids, and a lot of adults today, don’t have a clue what the scene WAS like. Their impressions are based on what they see in movies and on TV. What they think is often a terrible stereotype or wrong. REWIND tries to remind those who were there what they’d taken part in, and show those who weren’t what they missed.
The author is currently offering blogTO readers a 25% discount on the purchase of Rewind: Toronto’s Jungle Scene In The Late 90s using the code: “blogTOmassivebigup”.
Photos by Dayv Mattt
Loving this triptych trailer for GTA V. Soulseeking yuppies, versus gangstas versus hillbillies!’
Commissioned by Bud Light Sensation in partnership with Aux.tv, the BPM Thermometer covers various styles of EDM, with coloured glowstick indicators and party fashion sensibilities. Click to expand.
Forza Horizon bridges the gap between car simulator fanatics and EDM festival thrill chasers looking for the next rush. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect marriage of beats and speed, with a multi-channel soundtrack curated by the BBC’s Rob Da Bank, also the organizer of the wildly successful summer-fest Bestival. Tunes were picked for freshness and longevity and have that signature BBC flare like Skrillex’s remix of Avicii’s Levels, or Toronto’s very own Azari & III’s Reckless With Your Love or Scuba’s The Hope, (full tracklisting posted below).
Set in an immersive Colorado environment, the game lets you explore a massive map with various challenges for you to discover along the way with fun elements of car culture like the chance to discover roadsters in abandoned barns, drag racing hot spots, and one of my favourites, an abandoned factory.
While the game came out last fall, they’ve just released a significant free expansion pack called the 1000 Club that adds hundreds of new checklist style challenges to suck you back into the fun. Check out my interview below with Design Director, Ralph Fulton.
It’s interesting what you’ve done in creating an immersive arcade game versus the last iteration of Forza.
I will stop you last there, I wouldn’t call it arcade. It’s come up a lot. Is it an arcade racer, or a simulation racer? We see that as an outdated way of thinking. For us it’s important to see that in arcade games, cars are disposable, cars are weapons. There’s no incentive or reason to keep the little hatchback that you started out with in one of those. In this game, you get to drive a killer Viper which is a reasonably fast machine and then you get into a 95 Kia Cerato which is a sporty little front wheel drive car that is fun to drive but it’s not a super car. And then we give you some cool fast cars that you unlock. You can paint them however you’d like to, you can put more turbos on it, throw in a bigger engine, turn that Cerato into a super car mini monster if you want to.
That’s what Forza does, it allows you to keep the cars that speak to your personality, and then you can take that car all the way to the end if you want to. Ok, I don’t know if the Cerato will ever go head to head with the Hennessey Venom but you can certainly maintain. You don’t throw them away. You collect them, you love them, you share them with your friends and that’s really he difference.
Yes, there are things you love to do in arcade games that you can do in Horizon, like 360s, smash through fences, 180s and get points for all that stuff. And those are fun things to do, and we are letting you do all those things with the same physics that we put in Forza Motorsports 4, and the reason that’s important is because all that is based on real world research. We went and figured out what the flight-wheel mass and travel distances are because we want those cars to be the best interpretation in the virtual world. Horizon is the same way. It should be a new feeling for people that play arcade games. But you should notice that one car is totally different from the last one that you just drove. In the game you go from a 600+ horsepower Viper to the front wheel drive Cerato to a 70 Mustang Boss, to an all wheel drive Subaru STI Evo.
How is the appeal between gamers vs. simulator fans?
Some people ask, ‘why didn’t you make an open world simulator?’ Why do we have this party, skill points etc.? We never set out to make the worlds greatest simulation with Forza 4. We set out to make an immersive car experience that happens to take place on racing circuits.
In this case, Playground Games who developed this game for us with our knowledge, this is their dream game. WE told them to make dream cars on dream roads, at the world’s greatest car and music festival. They chose Colorado because that was a world that gave them the most diversity for roads and it’s conceivably a place where the festival might take place.
What is the Horizon Fest?
Imagine a huge summer music festival and the world’s greatest car festival, that’s what it is. Thousands of people come to celebrate cars, music and have fun drives. The spirit is having fun with your friends, not fierce competition. The music chosen for the game was curated by Rob Da Bank from the BBC. When it came to music, he looked at it from the point of view of what he would put on. It’s the same music you’d hear at a festival but it also has to be the right driving music. Adele doesn’t necessarily work. He also told us where to put the bathrooms would be laid out if safety marshals ever would allow something like this to happen, hahah.
Is there any actual partying in the game?
You don’t get out of the car and dance, party, drink and meet girls but we want you to think that’s what is happening around you. Although you do meet people in the game, there are lots of people around cars, so humans are new to the Forza franchise. It wouldn’t feel real without people.
Is Top Gear involved this time as in past Forza games?
No, but some of the lunacy those guys do was inspired by the game, as you get to do things like race against airplanes and do other stuff.
Did Forza Horizon emerge from Forza 4 as a ‘what do we do next’ concept or somewhere else?
Two years ago, we were all working on Forza 4, and we had this vision of the studio to be a world leader in automotive entertainment. Nobody has that, outside of Top Gear. If we just saw ourselves as guys who make a great racing simulator, then that’s all we’ll ever do. We wanted to bring more people into the fold. There are lots of people who may not be inspired by drag racing, certainly in the states, outside of NASCAAAAR (said with a southern twang). Forza’s not something that makes big news in the states, it’s a nichey sport but people love cars, going fast and playing arcade racers. We feel it’s our job to expand the definition of what Forza is. Forza isn’t just circuit-based track racing, this is where you come if you love cars. We started looking for another developer that would help tell our story in a unique voice, and that’s who Playground Games is. They love cars and they want more people to love cars. This is their interpretation of car passion. We think that’s great because now our fans don’t have to wait 2 years for a great Forza game, they get one year. It wont be a 2012, 13, 14 versions, every year it will be a different experiences but you know it will have that same Forza DNA.
Forza Horizon Soundtrack curated by BBC’s Rob Da Bank
Horizon Bass Arena
Levels (Skrillex Mix) — Avicii
Reckless (With Your Love) — Azari & III
Cinema (Skrillex Remix) — Benny Benassi
Blind Faith (feat. Liam Bailey) — Chase & Status
Hot Mess (feat Elly Jackson) (Duck Sauce Mix) — Chromeo
Encore — Digitalism
The Power (feat. Dizzee Rascal) — DJ Fresh
Silicone Lube — Feed Me
Lies (Alex Metric Remix) — Fenech-Soler
Icarus — Madeon
Show Me A Sign — Modestep
Lick The Rainbow — Mord Fustang
Remanence (Junior Remix) — Mr Magnetik
Me & You — Nero
Reaching Out (Fred Falke Remix) — Nero
Blue Monday — New Order
Language — Porter Robinson
Everyday (Netsky VIP Remix) — Rusko
Somebody to Love (Sigma Remix) — Rusko
The Hope — Scuba
Bass 4 — The Hacker
Illmerica (Extended Version) — Wolfgang Gartner
Need You Now — Cut Copy
Awake — Electric Guest
Walking on a Dream — Empire of the Sun
Iron Deer Dream (Chad Valley Remix) — Fixers
Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls) — Foster The People
Hawaiian Air — Friendly Fires
Hurting Friendly Fires
No Love — Hooray for Earth
Over & Over — Hot Chip
Black, White and Blue — Ladyhawke
Let Me Go — Maverick Sabre
Paddling Out — Miike Snow
Life is Life (Yuksek Remix) — Noah and the Whale
Take A Walk — Passion Pit
1901 — Phoenix
Bom Bom — Sam and the Womp
Disparate Youth — Santigold
Spirit of the Night — Tesla Boy
Pelican — The Maccabees
Punching in a Dream — The Naked & Famous
Aroused — Tom Vek
Something Good Can Work (The Twelves Remix) — Two Door Cinema Club
Yeah Yeah — Willy Moon
R U Mine — Arctic Monkeys
Lonely Boy — Black Keys
The Infected — Four Year Strong
Back of your Neck — Howler
Give It Up — LCD Soundsystem
Bring Em Down — Lostprophets
We Bring An Arsenal — Lostprophets
Teenager — Mona
Animal — Neon Trees
Wildfire, Smoke & Doom — Pulled Apart By Horses
Lazy Eye — Silversun Pickups
Surrender — The Duke Spirit
Away from Here — The Enemy
Had Enough — The Enemy
Hate To Say I Told You — The Hives
She Bangs The Drums — The Stone Roses
Rock n Roll Queen — The Subways
Motoring — TOY
Bug — Wavves
Farewell to the Fairground — White Lies
Bite My Tongue (feat. Oli Sykes) — You Me At Six
Get Away — Yuck
Toronto’s Thorrablot is hosted annually by the Icelandic Canadian Club of Toronto (ICCT), a community group made up of Icelandic bloodliners and Canadian Icelandophiles. Our host for the evening was ICCT president Karen Wallington, hair stylist at Knot Just Dreads, of no Icelandic relation, but has visited the island over 16 times. The evening was started in true Thorrablot tradition with a mini concert by Lindy Vopnfjörð, followed by folk songs, and a Viking re-enactor.
Traditional foods were served like roast lamb, turkey, sugared potatoes and easily the most impressive dish for me, smoked lamb, which looked and tasted almost exactly like a typical deli smoked meat, except for the fatty connective pieces that held a decadent creamy texture. But the real pièce de résistance was the platter of exceptionally traditional foods, with thousand year old heritage cooked for pure winter survival rather than for enjoyment of taste.
Or maybe our tastes have just changed over the eons because mealy oats-based blood pudding (blóðmör) and liver sausage (lifrarpylsa) always seem to be a hard sell. Not to mention hrutspungar (ram’s testes soured in whey) that had a springy Chinese fish ball consistency but tasted like boiled chicken, sourness, with subtle iron undertones. Sheep’s head cheese (sviðasulta) gives you the option of eating a powerful smoked herring without the fear of scale, bones or fish, but there is still the fear, or joy, of potentially getting an eyeball in there too.
And then there’s the hákarl. Anyone who has a penchant for stinky, ripe cheese can identify with these chewy morsels of flesh – think of it as the Stinking Bishop of the meat world, whose smell is arguably more fearsome than its bite. Hákarl is made from the Greenland Shark – you know, the kind that have antifreeze running through their veins, which allow them to swim in subzero temperatures. Like the car fluid, it’s highly toxic. The Vikings used to bury it in the sand for months while the deadly fluids seeped out and the meat was readied by the ground it lay in.
Dessert specialties included sætsúpa, Icelandic compote or fruit soup; the decadent prunes and icing heavy vinarterta cake; mysuostur, a carmelized whey cheese, that reminded me of dulce de leche, with that unforgettable and highly addictive fermented tang; kleinur, little donut bowties; pönnokökur, or pancakes served with jam and skyr, the highly coveted calcium-rich Icelandic yogurt. The evening was accompanied by a silent auction and also a live auction hosted by Canadian fashion icon, Linda Lundstrum.
Canada’s Icelandic community was formed in 1874 when the first wave settled in Kinmount Ontario near Haliburton, lured by so many nations by the prospect of free land and a chance to start over anew. Toronto’s ICCT hosts many cultural film, theatre and music events. Fans of Björk, Sigur Rós, and Gus Gus are always welcome to check them out.
Photos by Kat Rizza