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Currie returns to the Jungle

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Tommy’s brings house home Saturdays with Off the Hook

By Kara-Leah Grant

It is fitting that one of the finest house DJs that Whistler has produced is returning to the bar where he began his DJ career to launch his new night, Off the Hook.

Milton Currie, who worked his way up from doorman at Tommy Africa’s, to opening DJ for Sunday night’s Soul Kitchen to headlining his own nights, has spent the last 12 months working at the Savage Beagle. Eventually the inherent incompatibility between the music he loves to play and the music the Beagle needed for its particular crowd led to a parting of the ways.

"I had to play mellower music which isn’t my style – I play more up tempo house. I think I was hired for my reputation as a local DJ rather than the specific music I played," says Currie over a leisurely lunch at the Brasserie.

"The Beagle crowd is wrong for my type of music, it’s not a young crowd and younger people are more into dance music. Plus you don’t experience the closeness and the energy of the crowd with the way the Beagle is set up."

That won’t be a problem at Tommy Africa’s, where the DJ’s prominence to the dance floor encourages communication between the two – something Currie likes to capitalize on.

"At Tommy’s, you’re right with the dance floor, which helps because as a good DJ, when you can tell people aren’t into the track, you have to be versatile and you have to be quick. I can drop a record and two minutes later have another record on, instead of waiting for the song to play out," says Currie. "That’s what makes a good DJ, you can spot the crowd reaction and think, ‘oh gee, I think I’m kind of killing it here’ and then put on a different song to change it and correct the situation."

It’s that ability to transcend his own ego and respond to the crowd’s reaction that sets Currie apart from other DJs. Listen to one of Currie’s sets and it’s clear the solid grounding he’s received working at the Beagle four nights a week has paid off. His mixing is innovative and tight, but most important of all, the sound he creates demands you dance. It’s the type of sound that will work perfectly on a Saturday night in Tommy’s – the younger crowd will love it and the local following Currie has developed over the years will make it the place to hang out for good house music.

"I put a lot of energy and emotion into my DJing and people dancing can feel that," says Currie. "I’m giving them my outlook on things, my flare, my style and when people react to it, it is so rewarding."

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