TEKLIFE in Vancouver: Side A

For some reading this word will result in no feelings, other than possible confusion. For others, this word brings back strong memories of past events; moving your feet to the that Chicago beat.

March 28, 2014 Vancouver, or at least the juke junkies, were expecting DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, two of the four founding members of the Chicago based record label Teklife.

Arriving at the venue, fellow VibeUps writer Paxcat and I were discouraged when our undercity informer. . . informed us that Rashad had not made it past customs.

We had not expected this. Confusion set in slightly as we attempted to reconcile the facts into our plan. We had come for Rashad and Spinn, would Spinn even want to participate when his co-headliner/compatriot was denied access?

We didn’t know what to expect.

But, as we entered the subterranean bass station, it became apparent that Spinn was not phased by this tragedy (intense word but accurate). Nothing was going to stop Teklife from making a mark on Vancouver.

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Taal Mala, brought the ground levelling, de-evolotuionizing bass weight (as always) through spinning the progressively progressive future tunes of which we at VibeUps are so keen. The crowd was slightly culled as those unprepared for the low-pitch onslaught found solace in alternative locations with alternative bandwidth and resonance.

Did Taal Mala know how his selektion would affect those contained in this glowing vessel of neon light?

The short answer is yes.

When asked to comment, Taal Mala responded by suggesting that his entire strategy is to play music he likes.

On to the main event:

Dj Spinn, as mentioned above, was lone behind the decks. This did not appear to phase him and so, without his cohort, the rest of the night (approx. 00:30 – 3:00) was his domain. No, this is not a prohibitively long time to play but he had been hired as a duo–to mix back and forth with a like minded individual, a significantly different undertaking; without a second person to pull the (bass)weight, would he falter?


Without a doubt Spinn brought his full force and effort to crowd. And the energy was infectious. So far away from the footwork scene, footwork could be seen as a cypher emerged near the front of the house; a kinetic battle between mutually appreciative participants. Drama?


These battles appeared to be more as a form of trance inducing mysticism than war-mongering; each footworker taking their turn in the assembly line of the dance.

Seeking the full experience, I moved my feet inside this inner circle of movers and shakers. I let the speed and intensity of the music take hold and felt my body move on it’s own. Despite the driving force of the music, the energy of movement was my own and after only a few bars I had to step out for a breather. As I watched the next participant explore the workings of their feet, I could feel the undulating bass moving my chest. I am certain that, had I let it, the bass would have taken care of my respiratory necessities automatically. This force rejuvenated my body and soul all the while my mind was reassembled through the observation of the subsequent footwork devotees. This cycle occurred an uncountable number of times. In hindsight, I suspect that, given the opportunity this is a ceremony that could continue until the end of time.

Alas, as all thing, the end came. With roughly 15 devout remaining in the session, Dj Spinn humbly thanked those who stayed to the end. The lights came on, the bass was done, and slowly we funnelled up the stairs and back to reality. The night, now at significantly less beats per minute, was crisp and ethereal.

The experience? Over.

Until, Spinn emerged. Still bright and excited, he elucidated the definition of footwork:

With nothing left to accomplish, I proceeded to a dark room to rest my well (foot)worked soles.