By Jonathan Crane
CALGARY – Although veteran Calgary DJ Tito Rodriguez, better known as Titus1, now prefers small intimate venues and casual jams with friends, his summer schedule resembles an artist at the centre of the EDM’s tooth and nail DJ circuit.
Between the last week of June and the end of September Rodriguez’s datebook contains four new singles, local appearances alongside artists like Sub Focus and Bonnie X Clyde, and a spot on the lineup of Exodus Festival in Las Vegas.
It’s what fans have come to expect from Rodriguez, a fixture in the local scene for almost two decades. He’s upheld his reputation as being one of the most well traveled DJs in Calgary.
This year he’s already performed in Los Angeles’ historic Avalon Nightclub. Following Vegas he’s slated to play Amsterdam’s ADE festival in October.
Rodriguez’s longevity and continued international appeal is courtesy of his ability to rapidly adapt to EDM’s emerging audiences, while retaining a staunch old-school focus on the value of innovative productions.
“I feel like with everything how it’s gone, the main [DJ] circuit is all about ticket selling, it’s about all these business mechanics, it’s like we’ve forgotten the whole culture behind it almost,” says Rodriguez.
Rodriguez began DJing in an era when he would routinely burn up to 100 CDs at a time with his demo to increase his public profile. This same drive is still with him, reminding him to never be complacent.
“I need to start actually taking more risks because it’s easy to fashion around something, fashion around a certain scene or sound,” says Rodriguez.
This is why he’s never been tied down to one specific genre. According to him, longevity at his level requires constant change.
“I try to listen to a lot of different things, I try to watch where it’s going,” says Rodriguez. “It’s like a surfer, you’re trying to watch a certain wave or watch for a change.”
True to his words, his four summer releases are a mosaic of genres that have come to define EDM recently. There are hints of future house, riddim, and big room on his August releases “Sky Is Falling” and “Weird Science.” His July releases, meanwhile, see two of his earlier tracks receive a bass-intensive makeover for the modern world.
According to Rodriguez, the landscape changes at the upper levels of the EDM world are now more fervent than ever before.
“Back in the day I used to go to vinyl stores and you’d spend time on it, you’d spend 20 bucks on a song and now it’s so disposable,” says Rodriguez. “There was a song of the week back in the day, a song of the month, now it’s like the song of hour.”
Despite pressures to conform to the latest trend, Rodriguez believes there’s value in going for a more rogue sound.
“I find there’s two different types of producers,” says Rodriguez. “There’s production where it’s almost a rat race, then there’s other production where you stand out so unique, someone like Depeche Mode, where you’re so focused and funnelled into your one sound, and so different from everyone else, that you draw that herd, you have that connection, you have that unique place in someone’s memories.”
Titus1 will DJ at the Electric Summer Nights Party on July 7 [Calgary], and at the Bonnie X Clyde show at the Marquee Beer Market & Stage on August 19 [Calgary]Bonnie X Clyde, Electric Summer Nights Party, Marquee Beer Market & Stage, Titus1