Bwana: Toronto-born, Berlin-based DJ/Producer Brings Underground Buzz to Canada

Friday 28th, April 2017 / 18:43
By Jamie McNamara

Bwana offers a progressive take on techno.
Photo by Brana Lalin and Jonathan Micay


CALGARY – With releases on labels like Will Saul’s Aus Music, Dusky’s 17 Steps and Fort Romeau’s Cin Cin, Toronto-born, Berlin-based DJ and producer Bwana may just be the most exciting young name in dance music at the moment. Electronic Beats named him one of “10 DJs Who Will Definitely Break Through in 2017” and one look at his already impressive resume makes it easy to understand why.

Two years after making the move from his hometown Toronto to techno mecca Berlin, the 26-year-old producer born Nathan Micay has found himself with a handful of new releases. He’s been making regular appearances at legendary clubs like Berghain and fabric, and developed a fitness-training program for DJs and music industry friends that strive for a body by Bwana.

Over Skype from Berlin, Micay (who is possibly the first DJ to have a protein shake made for him during a Boiler Room set) talks about his multidisciplinary lifestyle and his recent foray into the personal training racket.

“[Bodies by Bwana] is very comical. It started as a joke, but it’s gotten to the point now that it actually takes up a lot of my time,” he says, acknowledging the absurdity of the situation.

“I just keep going with it. I’m going to go with it until I literally can’t find the time to do it anymore.”

Luckily for us, Micay’s focus is still on his music and his newly released Three Way Is The Hard Way EP is proof. It’s an EP of tracks that sit firmly in the “trance revival” that most techno producers would shy away from.

“It’s definitely pretty breakbeats-ish. I’ve been getting into that lately, but it’s certainly not going to be a thing that I linger on,” says Micay in a nonchalant manner that indicates the unwillingness to be grouped into the neat categories genre revivals offer.

While Three Way Is The Hard Way basks in nostalgia, it still feels forward thinking and genre defiant, something that Bwana has become known for.

“I think dance music in general right now is looking towards the past in like every respect,” Micay explains.

“Dance music in itself is going through a repetition of the ‘90s with the sort of superstar DJ era. Maybe there’s some sort of synchronicity between not only the music, but also the sort of ethos of it.”

Unlike some of the underground dance communities staunch futurists, Micay doesn’t see cyclical trends as a negative.

“Even myself in the last year I’ve found so much good music through labels like Dark Entries, Minimal Wave, and guys like Young Marco reissuing all these tracks. That is timeless and if people can sort of take those elements mixed with modern technology and accessibility to workstations, who knows what they’ll come up with? I think that’s pretty much how I’ve done my career up to this point.”


You can catch Bwana May 4 at The Hifi Club (Calgary).