I first discovered Michael De Courcey Babb in early 1999, but my best memory of him takes place in Guelph during the summer of 2000. I forget the name of the party now, but the venue was a hockey arena. It came as no surprise that the main room wasn’t generating an uplifting or spiritual vibe. I just wandered off to a corner and sat down with my head against my knees. I don’t know how much time passed, but eventually somebody tapped my shoulder. It was a genuinely concerned raver boy. He told me about another room, a loft, that was playing good house music. It was all ages, so I allowed him to lead me there.

The loft carried an entirely different atmosphere. I gravitated naturally to the left speaker, and turned to thank raver boy, but he was gone. The bass was a steady, throbbing heartbeat. I sat on the speaker and looked at the DJ. It was Deko-Ze. He was behind the decks, topless and soaked in sweat. He bounced with every kick as it left the speakers. I started to bounce. The entire room was bouncing. There was an energy wave that was simultaneously smacking every one of us in the chest at the exact same time. I climbed down from the speaker to dance. As one track faded and another phased in, my ears were greeted by the most beautiful voice. It sang “I know you want me, but caution inspires. Your tamed indifference won’t challenge me… could it, could it be? Love is what you deny me”. That’s right! Deko-Ze dropped Delerium’s Heaven’s Earth, and I’m pretty sure that the rest of Guelph experienced an earthquake at that moment! I was so overwhelmed with joy, so lost in the moment that all the stress of the first half of the night just disappeared. I had only one remaining problem: Where the heck did I stash my shoes?

To this day, the only vinyl that I own is Delerium’s Heaven’s Earth. I owe Deko-Ze the credit for introducing me to one of my all-time favourite tracks! When a DJ can step up to the deck and literally turn a party into one of the best memories of someone’s raving career, he is literally a master of the EDM scene. Lucky for newbies, Deko-Ze is still a DJ all these years later! Hearts for Deko-Ze! Deko-Ze for Mayor!

Lindsey Lou EDM TOR

An interview with Deko-Ze, Fall 2013, by Lindsey Lou

1. How many years have you been a DJ? Where?
20 years. I got my start in a gay bar in Saskatoon called Numbers. From there me, my partner, and two close friends established Plastic Puppet Motive and became one of Western Canada’s most renowned promotion crews.

2. What genre(s) do you DJ? Who/What drew you to this genre?
I like a mix of chuggin’ tech house, rollin’ tribal, fist clenching techno, racing progressive and ass shakin’ funky house. I have always enjoyed a mix of sounds and styles depending on the time, place, crowd and my own mood.

3. If you could choose to relive one year of your DJ career, what year would that be? Why?
Hmmm…Maybe 1996. Vinyl was still our currency, the PLUR motto (Peace, Love, Unity & Respect) still meant something, it was fun going to the record store, checking out the latest tracks and talking to the other DJs and promoters who came in, I could still listen to some of the radio shows that influenced me (New House Culture on Saskatoon’s College radio station and Brave New Waves on CBC) and DJs were booked because of their talent, not because of how many Facebook or Twitter friends they had.

4. What is your earliest musical memory?
It is when my dad would come home from work with a new record for me. It started with the Disney Disco Duck record, a Winnie The Pooh one, then soca and calypso records and then some soul and funk.

5. Give ONE example of something that is unquestionably “raver”.
1997 – rushing on a pill at 6AM (because One pill could actually did the job back then), wearing bright orange fun fur pants, with a soother in your mouth and punching your fists in the air as Tiesto drops Prodigy’s “Out Of Space”.

6. What do you feel has been your greatest achievement in the electronic music scene?
Maintaining and continuing to build my career this long in such a unstable scene.

7. Name ONE key feature/quality/element that the electronic music culture cannot exist without.
People who want and Need to dance!

8. Name ONE key feature/quality/element that a DJ cannot exist without.
People who want and Need to dance!

9. If you could be any other producer for 1 year, who would you be? Why?
One producer? Damn… It will be a tough decision between these peeps as they are incredible producers: Chus & Ceballos, William Orbit, DJ Misjah, David Penn, Gamble & Huff, Bjork, Hertz, Trevor Horn, Stuart Price, Yello, and Deadmau5…

10. Who is your favourite non-EDM musician?
Hmmmm….It is a toss-up between the entire Motown catalogue, Fleetwood Mac, Sade, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and The Supremes.

11. Where in the world would the ultimate EDM party be hosted?
Mars. Nex level shit!

12. What has been the WORST contribution to electronic music?
Paris Hilton and Paulie D

13. Do you read/have a subscription to a music based magazine?
No because I like going into a gear store or book store and grabbing a copy of Computer Music and Future Music. I did have a subscription for MixMag and DJ a while back.

14. What drives a DJ?
Damn good music and the rush of seeing a sea of people dancing like fiends in unison to a sick tune – especially if that tune is your own.

15. If you had to pick one genre of electronic music to be destroyed, what genre would that be?
That is an incriminating question and one that will likely bite me on the ass at some point. When you see me quietly storm off the dance floor in disgust then you will have your answer. 🙂

Deko-Ze’s Biography

Long a leading force in the Canadian scene, Deko-ze rose to notoriety as co-owner of PPM (Plastic Puppet Motive), one of Western Canada’s most revered promotion teams.

For years he has been labeled “Canada’s hardest working DJ”, frequently playing gigs – big and small – and has held residencies in clubs across the country for more than 20 years. Building on his international profile, Deko-ze has numerous gigs in the USA, UK, Germany, Taiwan and Mexico under his belt.

On the production front, he has several singles, remixes and compilation cds on a variety of labels including Deported, Hotboxdigital, KULT, Coraza, Tactical, Hi-Bias, Play Digital and Natura Viva. He and fellow co-conspirator, Jerome Robins, are also on the verge of launching their own label, Jungle Funk!

Deko-ze has always believed in spreading the vibe – most evident in the “Techno Prisoners” and “Technopolis” radio / internet shows he co-produced for several years; being an active member of the prestigious Balance Record pool and currently in the King Of Clubs promo release pool based in London UK, Total Promo Service and ZipDJ based in Toronto; his long running, insightful, hilarious and scandalous “Fiends, Mischief & Mayhem” column that ran inTRIBE and Scenester magazine; and also as an avid buyer at Toronto’s Release Records and Eastern Bloc!

In a scene now overly segmented, Deko-ze is increasingly distinctive. Although categorized as a House DJ, he is recognized for his ability to fuse music of multiple genres (deep, funky, tech and pumpin’ house; tribal; progressive; techno). His energetic and charismatic stage presence, engaging personality, strong technical skills, and original approach to programming have uniquely cultivated a huge following in both the gay and straight scenes.

Simply put, everybody loves Deko-ze.

Here is a small selection of clubs that Deko-Ze has performed at:

Guvernment, Industry, Fly, System, Footwork, Element, 5ive (Toronto), Utopia, Bleu, Circus (US), Nectar, (ARENA) (Mexico), H1, Toy, Muzikpark, Flair, Trodler (Germany), 2nd Floor (Taipei)

Check out a Deko-Ze Mix: