Aug 15, 2015

DJ Solespin @ Under Pressure International Graffiti Convention 20th Anniversary

August has been a magical month for me over the last few years. 

Prior to Under Pressure being easily the most important DJ set opportunity presented to me for the last 5 years, Sharon Mount-Real was one of those people instrumental to my DJing to begin with.

I had met her in the late 1990s during the Brass Knuckles Crew heyday at Blizzarts on the Main.  Those nights would eventually make me decide that I belonged behind the turntables.

Although I knew she was involved with a local record store at the time, I had converted to CD and our paths seldom crossed. 

By 2010, I realized that if I wanted to chart my own course of DJing in some capacity, I would need to join the ranks of some of my local DJ peers that have spun at Under Pressure.  When I finally decided that I would take the steps to get onto the Under Pressure roster, I asked who I needed to speak for it to it happen.  Sharon Mount-Real was who I have contacted to make Under Pressure happen for me.

She even entertained my idea of scheduling me a slot later than the previous year for as long as I was involved with Under Pressure.  That would have been my marker to measure my personal growth and development as a DJ. 

I always hoped she would be around to see or hear my sets so that she could know what the guy she used to meet outside Blizzarts ended up doing when he was behind turntables. I would look for her and ask a volunteer for her but I would hear she was dealing with matters elsewhere. I came to terms with the fact she was busy but there was a part of me that might have wanted her feedback.

The news of her recent passing was an unexpected and unwanted surprise.  It is also ultimately saddening.  Montreal has lost a pillar of its cultural community. 

I may have never gotten that feedback from her over all of these years but the memories and photos below more than make up for that.

R.I.P. Sharon Mount-Real

Under Pressure is Montreal’s only festival celebrating underground culture, including the elements of graphiti, breakdancing MCing and DJing.

I’ve known this for a long time and have wanted to participate in the culture that has molded and shaped me for decades.

I’ll never forget that August morning when I opened the Montreal Mirror to see my name as one of the first DJs for the 2011 roster.

The magnitude of the moment started to sink in when The Goods’ Andy Williams arrived prior to my set. Williams, among other DJs scheduled for that and most Under Pressure weekends, was an inspiration in making me pursue my DJ dreams despite the setbacks and disappointments of years passed.

I enjoyed DJing for the appreciative people in front of the stage and passersby on the street. Before I knew it, my time was done and I passed the baton to Andy Williams who played great danceable tracks.

After years of attending Under Pressure as a spectator, the many years of hosting The Suite Delight radio show, along with the time spent practicing on turntables, prepared me for that weekend. Life presents us with milestones and that day was one for me.

A heartfelt thank you goes to the organizers for coordinating myself and the other DJs/performers.

A heartfelt thank you goes to Sharon Mount-Real for allowing me the chance to have these memories and moments as a DJ and Montrealer.  My condolences goes out to her family.

I again had the honor of spinning at this year's edition of Under Pressure.
My DJ set this year was scheduled from noon to 1pm on the Sunday afternoon of August 10 near Les Foufounes Electriques (87 St Catherine St, Montreal, QC H2X 1K5).

Enjoy the 8tracks mix from this year's DJ set, the photos as well as the videos taken during this and previous years.  

These are photos taken from my time at Under Pressure.

Under Pressure is truly a family affair.

More footage from the battles as well as additional footage taken during my DJ set can be viewed at the DJ Solespin YouTube channel.  Shout outs to Super StefFlyRightVideos & Alex Menjivar.  

Lastly, I thank Sterling Downey for continuing to make it possible.  

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