Through the magic of the internets the elusive Sean L recently stumbled across our site and made an appearance on Facebook. So what happened to one of Toronto’s founding rave DJs? Was he exiled from Canada or is he a fugitive? Held up in a Turkish prison or just enjoying life back in the UK? 15 years later he settles the score.
Your departure has been explained by a 23 Hop deportation rumor. Any truth to it?
Ha ha, rumour and mystery make every story more interesting, but there is some truth to it. I did not get deported but I did get arrested for selling alcohol without a liquor license, I was a given a summons to appear in court but I never showed up for the trial. You summed up why I left in your bio of me, I was still getting a few gigs but not enough to support myself financially and had no day job.
It was time to go home, I had been partying hard and needed to go back to Merseyside and get my head together. There is always some sadness when you say goodbye to friends especially when you have had such good times, but I needed to go home and glad I left when I did.
Are 23 Hop memories bitter sweet then? Tell us some memorable BSC moments?
Not bitter sweet at all, just great memories and loads of them, as a club it was similar to Liverpool’s Underground club and the Hacienda, with minimal decor just a few lights and a bank of fuck off speakers. Nothing would be cleaned for weeks so if you sat down anywhere you got covered in crap. The mural of Che at the top of the stairs was perfectly apt it was “ Viva La Revolution”. Like the other clubs I mentioned though it was nothing without up for it punters keen to embrace something new.
Malik X was an awesome force, a great DJ and the best MC I have ever heard, I remember Dr No dropping in ce ce penniston and grooving round the booth, Malik was buzzing on the mic rapping about Neil’s whig out, the whole club was laughing, those 2 really fed off each other.
I can listen to the hardest techno styles but for me Mark played the best sets and in my opinion is as good a deck fiddler as there is with a character of rare quality. It was always good fun in the Booth and there was a good camaraderie amongst the BSC, I will always love those guys!! Dropping stuff like The Orb, huge pulsating brain and hearing cheering from the dance floor and getting love from the punters was a fantastic feeling.
Where have you been since and what have you been up to these days?
I moved back to my hometown of Southport and have lived here since, no place like home I guess. These days I’m driving trucks for a living, I swapped the Technics wheels of steel for Scania’s, it pays the mortgage.
How did you end up in Toronto and get linked up with the BSC?
A story of fate and luck. Unemployed in Thatcher’s Britain I left for Canada, I did not know if I would stay for a month or whatever but I had family there and decent contacts for some construction work.
I had only been over a few weeks staying up in North York and bored one Saturday night I headed downtown, Billy no mates. Fate had me walking down Richmond St off the beaten track, next thing 3 rum looking cunts are walking toward me, I was worried they would beat me up and mug me.
Anthony Donnelly, John Angus and Danny Henry, great guys all 3. They dragged me up to 23 Hop where Mark Oliver was playing all the right tunes but the place was empty. Anthony and John though had a clear plan and brimmed with enthusiasm. The name Exodus was decided and Mark, Malik and Dr No were going to DJ and they were going to promote the thing properly.
I had brought some scouse house favourites with me and had done a few club nights and illegal parties back home so I begged them to put me on the bill and they gave me a chance, within 2 weeks they had 318 crammed and rocking!!
Malik came up with the Boomin System Collective name declaring the 4 members, that and the loyalty of Exodus kept me on the bill.
Malik quite often mentioned on air that you were “stuck in a little hut”?
I was flag man on the Gerrard St Bridge over the DVP reconstruction, they did it in sections so the streetcar route could continue but the road was closed to cars, I did that 12 hours a night sat in the hut listening to my walkman, trying to keep warm in your delightful winter weather. Money was really good though, Union Job.
What became of your record collection?
I took a flight case full with me and left the rest, not sure what became of them but I hope someone had some use of them.
Did your DJ career continue when you left Canada?
No I hung up the headphones when I left at least professionally. I have played a few parties in friends houses and still like to play with the old tunes every now and again with virtual DJ.
What’s your all time favourite top 23 Hop anthem?
Mark’s Coco Steel and Lovebomb, Feel It.
Few of mine, A Homeboy, A Hippie and A Funky Dread, Total Confusion (heavenly mix), Orbital Chime, LFO and The Orb, A huge pulsating brain, a copy given to me by Terence.
Had you heard your Clash of the Techno set before visiting this site? Comments?
Love the website, the fact it was 20 years ago I guess is why I hit the search button. A very comprehensive account into the birth of Toronto’s rave scene, well done!!
No not heard the recording of the broadcast before, some decent tunes on there, I managed to press the wrong button though and had a few minutes of dead air while the Dr and Malik figured out my mistake.
Do you have any recordings or evidence of your time in Toronto?
Yeah there are some tapes about, some photos and the flyers and Sean L is on t’interweb thingy now.
What other memories can you share about Toronto parties that followed Exodus?
Loads of good parties, but don’t forget Exodus still had a few more great events. The Chemistry parties were good and led the way to the bigger warehouse events, Pleasure Force stands out too especially the first with Andy Carroll and New Atlantic as I helped arrange that part. Destiny, Phaze and Better Days got it goin on too. Summertime was great in Toronto with an abundance of great events
Toronto misses you, would you consider coming back for a “Boomin’ Reunion”?
Wow, nice of you to say that. I miss Toronto and the friends I had there. I think I should gain entry ok. It would be nice to see everyone and listen to Shuggy again and the other good DJs, party like the old days, I really never meant to leave it this long but I have never got round to it.
Anyway thanks for getting in touch, Respect to the Toronto Massive.
Cherish the Special moments in your life,
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Photo courtesy of Frank Scuglia, Phaze 1993