Canada’s Melodic Sweetheart, Syd Woz
WORDS BY : NIKOLE GUZMAN
Over the last decade, Vancouver has been recognized as one of the most dynamic dance music scenes not only in North America but around the world. With a hub of prominent labels like Pacific Rhythm, Mood Hut, and 1080p all stemming from within the city limits, the coastal city in British Columbia has earned a reputation for bringing a unique sound and ethos to the electronic dance music community at large.
In an industry traditionally recognized as a boy’s club, Vancouver has also given rise to a slew of prominent and respected female DJs, arguably more so than anywhere else. Female artists like Yu Su, regularfantasy, and D. Tiffany have all contributed to the unparalleled after-hours scene- Syd Woz is the latest to emerge from the deep blue.
How’d you get into DJing?
I discovered the underground music scene pretty early on. I’ve always had a lot of respect for DJs but I never really saw it as a viable career for myself; it also felt daunting to start out on my own. A couple of years ago, I was at a party where I met my friend, Sophie, who DJs as D. Tiffany. We were with some other people connecting over music and Sophie asked me if I had ever thought about DJing myself and offered to teach me to use CDJs. I couldn’t really believe it the next day; it was cool that she was down to teach someone she barely knew a skill she already had. So, after a night of working the door at The Cobalt, I went over and we stayed up all night messing with her equipment. It was a lot of fun to be able to do that with another female and just shoot the shit with music.
Let’s talk about Switch.
My friends and I sometimes DJ together and named ourselves Switch. I used to live in the suburbs but started becoming more interested in the city because I was going out to a lot of random after-hours house parties and shows. I was at a NYE party with my friend waiting for someone named “Maddie” who literally showed up at the stroke of midnight. Coincidentally, Maddie roommate just so happened to be moving out so I moved in and met Ang soon afterward.
You also have your show on No Fun Radio with Switch, right? How’s that?
It’s good- we’ve been the show for about a year. We used to play simultaneously but now we have different schedules so it’s usually one of us and sometimes a guest. Lately, I haven’t been too on top of it because it’s on a Saturday and so sometimes I’ll go on air and just be like, “tune in to hear hungover girl.” But I’m getting back into it. I normally try to center my show around a certain vibe or theme.
What has had the most influence on your music taste?
I feel like my friends have had the most influence on my taste in music, also, just going out to parties in Vancouver, in general. When Maddie and I lived together we would both just find songs and show each other, and through that, my taste progressed. I used to be more into disco and vocal house, the more funky stuff, but now I feel like my horizons are broadening. I’m going to more shows and starting to feel a connection to more techno and electro.
So are you DJing full-time?
I’ve been playing a lot of shows and making most of my money that way, but I also work in costuming. However, It’d be cool to make a living completely from DJing.
How‘s Vancouver? Is it expensive?
Yeah, it’s pretty expensive here. I think a lot of creatives end up moving out of Vancouver because it just gets too expensive to maintain a stable lifestyle while working on artistic endeavors. A lot of people end up moving to Montreal because it’s considerably cheaper; I’ve never been but I’ve heard the scene is also a lot better there. I’m still enjoying Vancouver for now though.
Tell me about the parties you throw in Vancouver.
My friend Olivia, who goes by regularfantasy, and I started our party series called Dance Emporium. It’s pretty funny for us because we really wanted to go overboard with the “store theme” and have a big sandwich board somewhere, maybe hanging from the ceiling, and even some shopping carts. We also planned to get grocery store uniforms for all of the DJs to wear. We’ll see how it goes, but it’d be fun to get really into it. We just had Bianca Lexis from LA at our last one and she absolutely crushed it.
Then there’s this sort of community studio space called Deep Blue– it has a lot of different rooms where everyone either rents individually or shares. I share a room with 5 other people. A lot of people do music production so we have CDJs and turntables in there and kinda throw gatherings there.
So what’s next for you?
Well, I just played in New York, that was really fun. I’m visiting Europe for the first time and playing shows in Berlin and London but hoping to book more. With the new year I just want to play more shows, especially internationally, and then maybe even start working on making original music.
Would definitely listen to your original stuff. Would you want to release an EP?
Totally. I’d love to start working on that. I have the same feeling that I talked about with DJing though, it’s just sort of daunting. I don’t really know where to start but it’s something I definitely want to do.