Toronto’s techno community is taking on a new look. It’s not only a mutual aesthetic, or a love of a dark, driving bass—and it isn’t so much a change of direction as it is a fresh start altogether. From sound technicians, to the clubs and bookings, the city’s streets feel anew and techno lovers are enjoying the sound of it. Enter DJ and producer, Cody Hull—aka Weska. The Toronto native, who says he got inspired by nothing less than the greatest “Snowboard Electronic,” just got back from Miami Music Week and has probably had less time to snowboard lately.
“Twelve years ago, I didn’t know what house music was, I knew about ‘electronic music,’” says 24-year-old Weska. “I used to be a huge skier and snowboarder and I would watch all these snowboarding movies where I found so much of my music.” After gaining a greater exposure to artists like Boys Noize and Deadmau5, Weska picked up a pair of Serato-capable turntables and set to work on learning to DJ. “I was immediately hooked by it,” he says. “I couldn’t play in clubs or anything, but I was practicing and getting better then six or seven years later I started producing music.”
After taking electronic-acoustic music composition in university and honing his skills, he decided to increase the intensity. “I put in an hour here and an hour there but I wasn’t putting in 8 hours a day,” he says. “That’s what I do now. Now I’m obsessed with it.” Although he regrets not producing more, earlier in his life, it didn’t take Weska long before he garnered some serious support.
One of Weska’s first releases, his Next Up EP on Metrum Records was quickly picked up by Adam Beyer and subsequently played during Carl Cox’s party at Space Ibiza. “I thought, ‘whoa I make music and people dig it and one of the biggest artists at one of the biggest parties just played it,’” says Weska—it even came on Drumcode Radio.. “One of my friends told me I have to decide if I’m going to go out on a Friday or if I’m going make music.” Weska says he never factored that kind of support coming so early but even with support for his signature dark and bass-heavy flavour, he says he’s got more to offer in the studio.
With influences like Pryda, Mescal Kid and the genius of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker, Weska’s got plenty of ideas. “My stuff is dark, but I try to keep a lot of melodic stuff; drums are fun, but I also like to throw in big happy synths,” he says. Weska also acknowledges the idea that a track’s individuality can get lost in the abyss of bass and drums; “I think synths individualize you more, in comparison with everyone else, there are a lot of drummy tracks but when you have a big synth hook it is more distinguishing.” His all-black aesthetic and modern interpretation of minimalist techno have propelled him to the top of Toronto’s techno ensemble.
Weska’s music has spoken for him thus far, and it’s that attitude and sound that won him a spot on the Octopus Recordings catalogue. The label owned and operated by DJ and producer Sian, has been Weska’s favourite platform of late. “We first met when I opened for him at Coda, I just handed him a USB stick, I didn’t know him at all,” he tells Beyond The Drop. Of the five tracks he handed Sian that evening, the Barcelona-based producer would take two and ask Weska for another—for what would eventually be his debut Black Boots EP on Octopus. “One track was Far Beneath and one was Wildfire and he wanted one more; then about a month later I made Black Boots.” A year later, Weska is an Octopus staple, having represented the label at their showcases from BPM to Movement Detroit.
“BPM it was so fun, it was like a fam-jam, I had never been to a party where I knew so many people,” says Weska of the Octopus Recordings showcase. “There were so many people from Toronto, it was such a cool vibe it felt like a big-house party.”
Reflecting more than half a decade on from Weska’s first gig, at Toronto’s Opera House, he says the memory has almost dissolved; with another EP set to come out on Octopus, he’s been focusing his energy on keeping to his mantra. “I try to keep it all techno, always—just deep, peak time or super hard techno.”
Photos courtesy of Weska