Calgary’s smalltown DJs have been named one of the 35 Most Recognized Artists for the Past 35 Years by Spin
CALGARY – The past 12 months have been a real disappointment for most artists working in the live events industry, but 2020 is set to end on a high level for Calgary duo Smalltown DJs.
The couple, made up of Pete Emes and Mike Grimes, were selected by legendary Bootsy Collins for a play in the latest issue of Spin entitled The 35 Best Lesser Known Artists of the Last 35 Years, chosen from 35 famous artists.
“You take a dance groove and kill it in a good way,” says a quote from Collins.
And kudos from one of the godfathers of funk.
Collins, who played bass in James Brown’s band The Pacemakers and was a member of Parliament-Funkadelic, is credited with creating the “On the One” style, or the first beat, that helped formulate the funk movement in the 1970s and ’80s Years and pop music as we know it today.
“It’s been a tough year through and through so this was a cool little thing,” said Emes.
“Hopefully it’s a sign of good things in 2021.”
Emes and Grimes worked with Collins on a song called Good Thang, which was released by Fool’s Gold Records in October.
“I think that obviously inspired him to choose us. He probably enjoyed working with us,” said Emes.
Connecting with the legendary bassist was as easy as reaching out to his management.
“We were working on a song and Mike said, ‘We need a voice here,’ and I said, ‘That would be so perfect for Bootsy, we have to at least try.’ So I reached out to his management and they said “we love it, we’re in” then it went from there, “said Emes.
“They are just great people, so it was really cool.”
Smalltown DJs may be Collins’ choice of lesser-known artists, but they are far from being in Calgary music circles.
Emes and Grimes performed as smalltown DJs at Night Gallery, a popular venue on First Street SW, in the early 2000s. The couple then decided to open their own spot, HiFi Club, on 10th Avenue SW in 2005, which has been a staple of the Calgary live music and DJ scene for the past 15 years and has continued for the last month due to its continued existence Pressure of the pandemic was closed.
The couple also toured North America and Europe.
Getting featured in an illustrious publication made this year a little less difficult, Emes said.
“Spin is a legendary publication. When I grew up I read every issue, so it’s just cool in that regard,” he said.
“We’ve been in Spin once or twice, but not in anything like that.”
Live events were suspended during the pandemic, but Emes and Grimes continued to be busy performing on their Twitch channel. You’re also part of the owner group behind Home and Away, and Emes did Smalltalk, an interview show on the ItsGoodTV channel on Twitch.