Prophecy is a DJ club night that occurs in the front room of Nocturne on the last Friday of every month. Two DJs take turns spinning from a long list of genres including goth, postpunk, deathrock, industrial, and other dark stuff.
The regular DJ pairing is Mistress McCutchan and The Wasteland. There are also guest DJs rotated into the mix once in a while, like Batty von Bats, Vadim Kristopher, and at September 30th’s night, Uriel.
Mistress McCutchan expands, “the Wasteland spins a great complement of things next to what I spin. I tend to dig into goth and postpunk, and deathrock, or whatever you want to call it these days. We can make up genres, right? We both are really interested in spotlighting new music, too, because it’s surprising how much that’s new that is really danceable and delightfully dark and good that needs some air time. The night always ends in Prince, because we both really love Prince, and I when I DJ’d at Contempt from 2005-2007, I used to end every set with the song, Purple Rain. There is a pretty high contingent of gothy types who actually really love Prince, and it was the ‘yes, it’s 4am, it’s over, go home’ song.”
“The overall vibe we wanted to create with Prophecy is something dark, occult-tinged, and still dancey, since the city is chock full of EBM and retro nights. I’m excited to have various guests come in, too, like Vadim Kristopher of The Shyness of Strangers did a set while I was out of town, and my friend DJ Uriel is coming in from Montreal to play on September 30th. He is one of my favorite DJs and he has excellent taste. I’d love to be able to bring out other friends who pull out the deep cuts and interesting music or things I haven’t heard in ages. I love being surprised by people’s choices of songs, and the greatest compliment is when I see people Shazam-ing what I’m playing or coming up to ask ‘what is this?’ because they love it and need to know more.”
Regarding what subgenres he plays, The Wasteland says, “to tell the truth, I hate the idea of subgenres. I think that we have gotten to the point that we don’t give things a chance based on the label someone else has ascribed to it. I feel like we miss a lot of things in life this way, and most certainly do in music. That said, I go for a feel or a sound when I DJ and ignore what niche it might be a part of. Sometimes it works out for me, sometimes it doesn’t, but I get to play all music I love and not something to fill time based on a label.”
The History of Prophecy
Two NYC expats came together to make this event happen, with a little help from their friends.
Mistress McCutchan explains, “I started DJing in Canada with a couple of one-off events, like the Wicked Winter mini-DJ tour I did with my friend Mark Splatter, a couple of Batcave parties, and at Nevermore. One night, I was lamenting not DJing regularly and another friend, Batty Von Bats, had a solution and suggested I could do something in the front room at Nocturne with another expat from NYC, The Wasteland. That’s how Prophecy got created. Then we ended up having a meeting at Java and sorting the details.”
The Wasteland expands, “When I first moved here or within a few months there was a party at a friends place. He introduced Mistress McCutchan and I, and to paraphrase that it was, ‘[you’re] both Americans and DJs from the same part of the States, be friends now.’ But it was a party and we got distracted by people we knew better than each other.”
“Then about two years later Batty Von Bats put us in a Facebook group chat with plans to introduce us formally. We sat down about a week later at Java for a chat. We got to talking about music and the idea started to come together pretty organically. We compared relative experiences to each other from being in the NYC and surrounding area scenes at a similar time. We missed that club nights had multiple DJs ensuring you heard a good variety of music all night long. We decided we wanted to try and bring that back with an event that would eventually become Prophecy.”
Like mentioned before, both of these DJs come from NYC. How did they end up doing this shared event in Toronto? In each case the DJ made a life journey that brought them here.
The Wasteland tells us his story, “I started in 1998 or 1999 in a little hole in the wall bar called Sphere on Long Island. The story is a bit of a hero tale I guess as I was very interested in learning how to DJ, and had only just begun fiddling with equipment. Anyway, I’m hanging out one night and my friend was in the booth and I had stopped in to say hi. He turns to me, literally slaps me on the shoulder and says, ‘Tag, you’re up, I need to lie down.’ For the next hour he yelled at me songs to play, and sometimes I listened, eventually he passed out. Since then I’ve DJ’d on and off under various names in NYC proper, Connecticut, and Texas while I lived in those states, and finally here in Toronto.”
Mistress McCutchan starts her story explaining, “I’ve always been very interested music. I started making mix tapes when I was very young and very tuned in to music, from the roller rink to MTV (120 Minutes) to the local hardcore matinees.”
“My first official DJ gig was in December of 1997 at Mother in New York City. I threw a dark ethereal event there called The Snow Ball with my then DJ partner, Carlos. Carlos helped me get started and let me practice DJing at WNYU, the radio station at the University of New York, where he ran a weekly dark ambient and ethereal show called Theatrumaetherum. We DJ’d together frequently while we were roommates on the Lower East Side, or would be alternating guests at Click’n’Drag, long before he became a part of Interpol.”
“While living in NYC, I played music at Mother, CBGB’s, 313 Gallery, The Limelight, Webster Hall, and The Remote Lounge, which was home to the monthly Contempt parties, a beloved community stronghold.”
“I started coming to Toronto as a tourist by 2000 and I loved Toronto, very nearly at first sight. This city really called to me. Queen Street back then was a such a delight, from all the vegetarian food that could be had, and browsing through Siren, Heretic, House of Ill Repute just doors away from each other. Kensington Market is a bohemian dream, too. The city felt so comfortable to me. As I dug deeper, I’ve found a lot of really creative and special things in Toronto. There were so many options for club nights, and walking from Velvet Underground to the Bovine to Savage Garden was easy, and then checking out nights at Big Bop and The Anarchist’s Cocktail was a lot of fun. I felt at home straight away and knew I needed to live here. In 2008, I became a landed immigrant here.”
“While coming to Toronto from New York sounded bizarre to Canadians, Toronto is such a livable city and there is so much creativity here, and lots of talented musicians. As the largest Canadian city, there’s so much to do.”
“While events and parties come and go, it’s a challenge. Social media can create a lot of white noise, so being a blip on someone’s radar isn’t always so easy, big acts can whisper through town if it’s not well promoted. I’m not out to club nights as often as I’d like to be because time and money don’t always work in my favor. I’m usually at home working on various projects or just exhausted from what’s typical in a week for me (hint: it’s a pretty action-packed week with a day job work and my tribal bellydance troupe, and the ten other things going on). You’re only as good as your last project, and I tend to be a pretty busy kid because otherwise I’d be so bored.”
There’s something humble sounding about the front room at Nocturne, but the space has been upgraded since Prophecy’s inception. And yet, quite a bit of what works was already there.
The Wasteland explains, “I like the potential. The front room there was always a little too dark for my tastes, it felt questionable. But the lights where always there, just never really plugged in. I usually show up about two hours before doors to get the lighting right, then we add Mistress McCutchan’s strings of lights, and move the benches and tables to make little booths so it’s a more social atmosphere. Most [of] the base elements are there. The speakers are pretty new, and a lot cleaner sounding than in the past so that helps too, besides I know there’s some plans about upgrades for the future.”
“We both have a lot of fun, with the music and working together, so we want to see the party grow. That can mean a lot of things, but I know that’s the focus,” The Wasteland muses.
I can foresee what’s in the immediate future of this event, though. As I tipped off from the get-go, the next Prophecy from this interview happened on the last Friday of September, which was the 30th, in the Nocturne front room, while Rage, a stompy dance party with DI Auger plays in the main room. A $5 cover gets you into both events. Next up is October 28th with a special guest joining from New York City, DJ Derek Rush of Compactor and Dream Into Dust.
photographs : Batty von Bats