INDUSTRY CATCH UP || SECRET SOCIETY
(photo cred: ded pixel)
Over four years, Toronto’s Secret Society has grown their community through consistent events (187 weeks straight!), local programming, passion and an intention to unite house music lovers in unique, uplifting and inclusive environments. This Saturday, October 20th, they are teaming up with the Geary Avenue Warehouse Project to celebrate their fourth anniversary with some of the city’s best house music DJs. I caught up with the Secret Society crew to find out more about who they are, how they started, what underground culture means to them, and what's next. Check out our catch up here!
It’s your four year anniversary this weekend (congratulations!) can you tell us who Secret Society is and how it all started?
Thomas: It’s hard to define what Secret Society is because it’s constantly evolving with new members bringing fresh ideas and different perspectives. There’s one common thread between all of us though: our passion for music. People know us for it and they associate the name with quality music programming. I guess you could call us a label, but we hate labels, so we'll do anything to avoid being categorized. This is probably why we would do stuff like bring generators and a club-quality sound system to a beach that is a hazardous journey to get to, even if you’re only carrying a beach towel. And that’s pretty much how it all started. Three guys wanting to build a community around one ideal: the love of house music.
What does ‘underground’ mean to you? What in your opinion makes up underground culture?
MRKG: Underground to me means something different from the norm, something you have to dig a little deeper for, hence 'underground'. The cutting edge. People in underground culture are in a constant search for unique art and experiences.
Matt von Wilde: To me underground is synonymous with community, it goes far beyond its general meaning of a genre of music that isn’t mainstream. Underground culture is decentralized. It’s made up of different crews that work together in harmony to reach the same goal of a damn good event, populated by an amazing assortment of humans and booming sound systems. For me, underground is far beyond the norm.
Sierra: The term 'underground' in the electronic music scene goes hand in hand with safe spaces, in my opinion (although they really should be present everywhere). This scene was founded in the 80’s by LGBTQ+ individuals - particularly those of colour who sought a space to be who they wanted to be, to fuck who they wanted to fuck and to dance how they wanted to dance. Aside from playing music, preserving that freedom and openness that initially drew me to Secret Society is something I am always striving to do. And who better to do so than the only female within our collective?
Ded Pixel: There is a distinct sound, a steady flow to the underground, one that those who congregate around it can easily identify, and one that only those who have the patience and resolve for it can truly decode and appreciate. Patience and understanding comes with time and experience, hence the type of crowd and culture you get at underground shows versus mainstream shows.
(photo cred: ded pixel)
Can you tell us more about the Secret Society community, the weekly Sessions parties and the programming in general?
MRKG: Secret Society is a radically inclusive collective of like-minded individuals, striving to bring quality music and uplifting experiences to Toronto. We also focus on the amazing local talent we have in our beautiful city, giving well-known and up-and-coming talent a platform to express themselves. That is really what Sessions is about for me.
Thomas: We don’t discriminate, and we don’t care about the hype. In fact, we try to avoid the hype. Let your music speak.
MVW: We operate under an “All gratitude, no attitude” principle for the weekly event. Sessions fills a void in the underground community in Toronto by providing a musical and social experience early in the evening from 6-10PM.
Ded Pixel: We continue to support Toronto local underground talent by providing them a respected musical platform to perform. In the four years that we've operated we've only ever booked an international twice. It's not who we are and how we identify as a brand. Anyone that supports locals supports us and our passion for the music.
(photo cred: ded pixel)
What’s next for Secret Society?
MRKG: Continuing with the Sessions model of exposing our Toronto locals. Our 200th episode is coming up in January (it still amazes me how we have gone 187 episodes without missing a week!). We also have a bi-monthly residency at NOIR inside REBEL with the next event on Nov 17th, which we are really excited for.
And of course, our famous beach parties for summer 2019 in June, July and August. There are also plans to expand Sessions to several key cities in North America within the coming year.
MVW: We’re planning bigger, more unique venues with more art, custom stage design by the 4tress and a more immersive experience at our events.
Ded Pixel: Hopefully we can take this brand to other major cities and propagate this formula for supporting local talent that we have found. There is great underground talent everywhere.
Thomas: Secret Society is an entity. It doesn't belong to any single person. There are some of us who have worked for over four years keeping it real. There are also some members who only recently got involved on a deeper level. We're open to new ideas and we’d like to spread our influence because we believe that house music has a very special power to create a community. On the dance floor there’s no separation. We are all one and our hearts beat together.
Many thanks to the Secret Society crew for taking the time to share more of what they’re about here!
For more info about the 4 year anniversary celebration, click here. NB: Be sure to get a ticket online before the event as there won’t be tickets for sale at the door.
(photo cred: james monette of ded agency)