Industry crowd, photo by Idalina Leandro
When you talk to veterans of Toronto’s underground dance music circles, there are two historic venues that are regularly described as “legendary.” The first is the Twilight Zone, which effectively introduced house music to the city in the 1980s. The second is Industry, which operated from 1996 to 2000, and represented a turning point for Toronto after-hours nightlife.
Owned by Matt Casselman (aka DJ Matt C), Mario Jukica (aka DJ Mario J), Gavin “Gerbz” Bryan, and Daniel Bellavance, the King Street West space had the capacity for approximately 1,000 partiers, which provided the stability needed to start booking big name international DJs. While the superstars of the European circuit made appearances there, including Carl Cox, Daft Punk, and Roni Size, it was the club’s close links to the regional scenes of Chicago, Detroit, and New York that helped shape its identity.
Perhaps most importantly, it created an opportunity for the various fragmented scenes to finally come together, uniting the gay community, the house music crowd, and the ravers under one roof. THUMP spoke to some of the key players to help uncover the true story of Industry.
Matt Casselman, photo by Idalina Leandro
The Industry founders first met at Buzz, a Saturday night afterhours club, which would later became the infamous Comfort Zone. While many partiers from the era believed the move to the King Street West location was spurred by a 1996 shooting, the real reasons were less dramatic.
Matt Casselman The End happened to be in town, and was already coming to the party, so I hit him up and asked if he could jump in for an hour until Tenaglia got there. Tenaglia didn’t even get on until four in the morning on that last night, but no one seemed to give a shit. No one was going anywhere and he ended up playing until 7 PM that night.
All interviews conducted separately and edited for clarity.
Idalina Leandro is currently working on a documentary about Industry, see more of her work here.
Benjamin Boles is on Twitter.
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