DO NOT PUSH!, Jayemkayem & Freeza Chin take to the tables and talk shop with size? Canada, for our fourth edition of size?sessions — mix #004
Please introduce yourselves, tell us what you do, and what your shoe size is?
DNP - I'm Push, I'm a DJ and amateur TV critic. I'm normally a size 12, but Kanye is a weirdo so I'm a size 13 in Yeezy.
JK - I’m Jayem. I help run ISO Radio alongside Freeza and DO NOT PUSH!, and I also have a label called Bare Selection with Freeza. I have very small and narrow feet and my size is 5 mens. I’ve actually been told I have very small feet for how tall I am.
FC - I’m Freeza Chin, I follow Jayemkayem around everywhere. I am a size 9.
Can you tell us where you grew up and how that influenced your musical style?
DNP - I grew up in Ajax/Pickering. A lot of my friends growing up are kids of Carribean immigrants, so we grew up on a lot of dancehall and soca as well as hip hop and rnb. Canadian music always really resonated with me growing up, so I idolize people like Kardinal Offishall and Nelly Furtado. I also have an older sister who was a teen in the ‘90s, so I experienced a ton of 90’s pop as well — as anyone who has heard one of my sets could probably tell you. 90’s pop encapsulated so many genres from punk, to soul, to euro house, so my love for that era helped me branch my musical taste out to be the extremely open format DJ that I am.
JK – I was born in the UK, spent my childhood in Hong Kong, and then grew up and spent most of my life in Calgary. I would say all of those places influenced my musical style greatly, mostly because I got to see and experience a lot of different things and it made me a very curious person when it comes to many things like food, art, culture, and of course, music. I think Calgary probably seems like the most boring of those places, but I got to experience some of the best DJs and shows of my life while living there thanks to people like Smalltown DJs and the Hifi Club. I also think that being a smaller city, Calgary has an amazing sense of community that has influenced me a lot as well.
FC - Growing up in Markham and Scarborough, I was exposed to and influenced by a lot of Caribbean and electronic music. I started DJing with Jungle/DNB which ended up being the gateway to everything else.
How did you three meet?
DNP - It was actually at Apt 200 that Jayem and I met. She played a crazy set (obviously), and it was when I was starting to really put myself out there as a DJ, so I asked her if she wanted to connect and she was so welcoming. Her, Freeza, and I have been super close ever since.
JK - We all met through DJing. I met Freeza when we played a gig together and I was trying to flex on him with my knowledge of UK grime (which he knows way more about than me). I think the first time we met DO NOT PUSH! was at The Libertine. Right when we met it was such a good vibe between us. I think we all have similar ideas about music and DJing, and we have a lot of the same tastes while also each having our own individual style. I have the most fun when I DJ with Freeza and Push and they are my best friends too.
FC - I was introduced to Jayem through a mutual friend who booked us both to DJ a party. I was very impressed with her knowledge of UK music and we hit it off from there. I met DNP through Jayemkayem.
The past 18 months have been weird to say the least. How have you kept yourselves busy with the inability to play out?
DNP - I started working in film as a set dresser. I really like television and film so I wanted to see how the sausages were made, so to speak. It's been a cool experience to help bring things to life on screen but is a very, very hectic job. I also worked at size? which was a great experience. I still have all the love for all my homies there. I also think I started to appreciate music from a different place after not having to consume so much of it for work. That was a really nice break.
JK – I streamed on Twitch a lot over the pandemic. I honestly feel like that was a lifesaver for me because it really gave me something to occupy my time and energy, and there was a lot to learn with it too. We also continued to run ISO remotely which was super challenging at times. A lot of the time it felt like we were really far away from our original mission of the radio station — which was to not only give music fans something different to listen to, but to create a gathering place for the DJ community in Toronto. Thankfully we pushed through and ISO is still around!
FC - I spend a lot of time at the studio as an engineer and producer. I got to focus on more of my own music and was even able to put some out. I also spent a lot of time working on cool projects with friends that should be coming out soon. Along with that, we ran ISO radio remotely and then from our new physical location. I admittedly also spend a lot of time in Verdansk.
Favourite bar or restaurant in the greater Toronto area?
DNP - Too many bars but to narrow it down, but I gotta go with AMPM and Track & Field. AMPM has the best sound and design in the city in my opinion, and track and field lets me play all my favourite Nickleback songs. For restaurants, I gotta go with Mattachioni and Happy Burger.
JK - This is super hard because I am obsessed with food, but I’m going to have to say Vit Beo on Bloor. In the BC (before COVID) days this was my go-to spot for a late-night bite after a gig because they would close at 3 AM on weekends. So, if my gigs would end at 2:30 I knew I could rush there and get my fix. I would like to apologize to David and the whole crew for all the times I showed up at 2:56 AM and ordered food.
FC - As of late I would have to say Fun Time Parkdale/AMPM/Sari Not Sari. I can’t express how much of a dream come true it is to have a restaurant serving noodles all night right inside the club. YumYum noodles are now permanently on my rider.
The 3 of you are playing a vinyl only party, and each of you is only allowed to bring 3 records each. What records are in your bag?
DNP - Nick Bike edit of Redbone by Childish Gambino, Xplosive Refix by Freeza Chin, and Gypsy Woman by Crystal Waters.
JK - I’m going to have to say “Flowers” by Sweet Female Attitude, which is a classic UK garage song that the three of us all love. “Work It” by Missy Elliott because it is one of the funnest modern rap songs. And lastly, I have to go with “Ghetto Kyote” by Kamikaze because I know both Freeza and Push would lose it if I dropped that in the dance.
FC - “Gotta Get Thru This” by Daniel Beddingfield, “No No No” by Dawn Penn and “Dior” by Pop Smoke. Put me on at the end of the night."
You’re offered backstage passes to one concert, artist or group can be alive or deceased, who are you going to see?
DNP - Michael Jackson, Vybz Kartel, or The Cardigans
JK - I’m going to have to say Beyonce because I have yet to see her perform ever and she’s high on my wishlist. I’ve seen her Coachella performance too many times.
FC - The answer to this for me will always be Bob Marley.
One little known fact about yourself, that even your fellow crew members don’t know?
DNP - I was the lead in my grade 8 musical rendition of Cinderella. Had solos and everything and there's a DVD of it somewhere.
JK - I think I overshare a lot so there are very few things that aren’t known about me, but something that usually surprises people is that I’ve never eaten a Big Mac.
FC - I’m allergic to cats even though I have 2.
What’s the best thing about the Toronto music scene? What’s the worse?
DNP - It's insane to me that you can go out on a Saturday night and potentially see someone like Red Bull Three Style WORLD champion Hedspin, either of the Thugli guys, or Bambii play a set for $10 cover. The sheer amount of amazing DJs that are from here is crazy. The worst is that a lot of the nightlife is governed by clout so while a lot of the DJ talent is high, the bar is not nearly as high, unfortunately.
JK - Ironically, I think the best thing about it is also the worst thing and that is the fact that it’s really small. I think people on the outside of Toronto see a big city, but the music scene is actually tiny. It’s a positive thing because you are one degree of separation from everyone. It’s a bad thing because it can feel very competitive. But that’s why I’m thankful to have my ISO Radio family because it really feels like a supportive community.
FC - Best thing: the staff at the establishments we are fortunate enough to play at are 90 percent THE BEST PEOPLE EVER. Worst thing: at times it feels like everyone is too cool (or maybe I am just not cool - could be that too).
Last but not least, what's your go-to pair of sneakers, and what do you like about them?
DNP - I have a few. First is the Yeezy NSLTD Boot because it’s such an insane shoe in a time where everything is a variation of a dunk/Jordan 1, or a 350 or 990. Second, are my Slam Dunk x Jordan 6’s, I wanted a pair for so long because Slam Dunk is one of my favourite mangas, and they're just a beautiful and super clean shoe on one of my favourite Jordan silhouettes. Then it's the A Ma Maniere Jordan 3’s because they're a beautiful rendition of another great Jordan silhouette with a message about how powerful women are, which I fully agree with. Finally, the Nike ACG Izy. These have been my white whale for ages. I love the older Nike ACG aesthetic and my name is also Izzy, so I had to grab my size when I was finally able to find them.
JK - I like my Space Jam 11s for the nostalgia. Please don’t ask me about the new Space Jam because I refuse to watch it, haha. I also think my Off White Jordan 4s have become more special since Virgil passed (RIP). They are just an incredibly clean and cool looking shoe.
FC - Reigning Champ x New Balance M530’s. They were the first pair of shoes that JAYEMKAYEM bought for me."
Keep it locked to our blog, socials and emails for plenty more size?sessions to come!