There is no shortage of food analogies in DJ culture. Studio 54 famously referred to its disco bacchanals as tossed salads. DJs are sometimes referred to as platter masters, often said to be cooking up a mix. DJ booths can easily be compared to kitchens where dancers can feast on beats as they are sliced and diced in real time. For Toronto’s tech-house don Nathan Barato, the metaphors have real roots in his family’s restaurant, Trattoria Giancarlo.
“Legendary Toronto spot, if I do say so myself. The carpaccio makes people wet,” Nathan raves. “I’m HEAAAAVILY influenced by my family and the way they’ve approached their business. There have been a lot of different elements from them that I’ve taken on, but the first thing that comes to mind is their mentality to please the customer and please themselves, too. I try to do the same within my record box: play something that gets the dancers off but also gets me off.”
To that end, Nathan produces his own tracks, remixes others, serves up copious sets at hotspots and festivals around the world, owns a record label (Roots and Wings), is a regular on Jamie Jones and Lee Foss’ Hot Creations imprint, and is one half of the Roaches with Carlo Lio, who is joining him at Escape: Psycho Circus on Halloween weekend, October 27 and 28. “Usually when we go b2b,” he says, “I do my best to match his energy (one of the hardest things to do ever in dance music today), so generally our sets are stoopy loopy rocket bombs directed at people’s centerpieces.” You can lob proof of Nathan’s prowess at your own bits using his wicked Insomniac set, which aims at your hips right out of the gate.
Returning to the food analogy, every DJ has his or her favorite ingredients, some of which may not be obvious or might even be highly guarded secrets. Asked about surprises in his crates that might turn up at Escape or any of his cornucopian sets, Nathan—who is known for his eclectic range—enthusiastically shares, “I have a bunch of random ones in there, but the first one that comes to mind would be ‘World in My Eyes’ by Depeche Mode. Not obscure or odd, but a great record nonetheless.”
Escape: Psycho Circus 2017 takes place Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, CA. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit the official website.