Rennie Foster (CA): “Matching outfits for the occasion”

My First gig DJ Rennie Foster as a kid
This week Marceline had a chat with the Canadian DJ/producer Rennie Foster. "I realized that this was my calling”

This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)

rennie nu - Rennie Foster (CA): "Matching outfits for the occasion"

In 2017 I had a chat with the Canadian Rennie Foster about his DJ debut. "I realized this was my calling”

“Honestly I have been performing on one stage or another, or trying to do so, as long as I can remember. Not as a DJ at first, but the DJing is just an element of a larger subcultural theme in that I’ve been drawn toward all my life. Music, dancing, and visual art – all connected to communicating with others, through released works or performance, have been the themes of my entire life.“

Sparkly glove

“In 1983, my single mom noticed that I liked Michael Jackson enough to wear a single sparkly glove around the neighborhood, so she enrolled me in a community center breakdancing class. The teacher was a local nightclub DJ, and the music in this class was amazing. The mix-tapes he gave me then became very influential, like a riddle I needed to solve. The culture around dancing, underground music and DJs has been my world consistently since.”


“My first gigs were as a dancer. I stayed interested in B-Boying long after the first wave of hip-hop was rejected by the mainstream. I trained reluctantly in jazz dancing classes and would perform with an older company when the piece included a breakdancing part, or needed more boys. When I hit puberty, I was really uncomfortable with the effeminate elements of jazz dancing, and really didn’t connect with the music. I did come to really respect the art form though – it’s challenging, and the people who do it, love it a lot. I am a B-Boy for life and stayed active in that scene into the 90s, and took it with me into the rave era as well.”


“My first efforts to make music were with a rap group called Sound Advice, in which I was the main rapper. I was quite well-known in my area, before the rest of the world came to know me as a techno DJ. We performed often, opening for a variety of bands including an up-and-coming punkband called Green Day. This was at a free festival.“

Chicago and New York

“During the late 80s I started hearing house music on mix-tapes from Chicago and New York, and connected with it immediately. I didn’t see it as ‘separate’ from the culture I was now calling ‘hip-hop’. I was already into Cybotron and other underground dance music made with machines; we were B-Boying to it.”

Spat on and threatened

“After our own DJ had finished, I made an effort to play records at the shows we would play. I would try to sneak in more experimental stuff, including a lot of early Chicago and New York-style house music. This is the era of I’ll House You and records like that. I was spat on and threatened, but it only made me want to champion the sound even more. I realized it was more than some music ‘style’ – this was a revolutionary philosophy.”


“An early trip to Japan, foreshadowing of years to come, was the first time I left my hometown for a period of several months. Left to my own devices, I made a personal decision to follow the path of house music, and became somewhat devoted to it, almost like a religion.”

MC Moka Only

“My first paid music gig was in an art gallery – it must have been in 1991 or around then. One of my oldest friends, Taro Joy, enlisted my most open-minded friend, now legendary emcee Moka Only, to help me out. We actually wore matching outfits for the occasion. Much of my music was on tape back then, so we set up a crazy flight desk with turntables and multiple tape decks. A very fun and successful gig with every kind of cool music you can imagine getting played. People attending that gig were hearing some music for the first time, and they danced their asses off.”

rennie als kind - Rennie Foster (CA): "Matching outfits for the occasion"

Vancouver Island

“I then started playing local parties where I was already known as a dancer. These parties would later become the early raves around Vancouver Island, and not much later in the city of Vancouver. This led to my first residency, and to what I consider my real starting point as ‘a DJ with a plan’. My residency was at a club called the Limit, and our night was called Fluid. I played there every Tuesday, both opening up for and closing after significant guest DJs. It was here where I really started to be a DJ, above all other things, and realized this was my calling.”

Grandmaster Flash

“In my life I have been very lucky to play with great DJs: Grandmaster Flash, Frankie Knuckles, Derrick May, Dave Angel and many other legends. This month I will warm up for Chicago legend Gene Farris in Vancouver; I alos have a residency here at an afterhours club called Gorg-O-Mish, which has the best sound system in Vancouver. Aside this I am a resident at Rifflandia Festival. Last year played with Aux 88 and this summer I will play at MEME Festival in Canada and the festival Electric Love. When I lived in Japan I was a regular at Nagisa Festival. Also I played at many clubs in Japan with residencies in Tokyo, Kyoto and Shizuoaka.”

RF Sound

“My style of music is the original Rennie Foster or RF Sound. That’s why I started my own label, which s influenced by underground house music, ‘hi-tech soul’ and Detroit techno. I have also released a lot of music on Detroit labels, including Transmat, Subject Detroit, Teknotika, Soiree and D Records. I like to mix the best of Detroit techno and hiphop but with raw house tracks and techno – in a special way that only I can: the original RF sound.”

I will release an EP this year on the Dutch label aDepthy audio, called Witch Hazel, featuring a remix by Dex Nomadico from Underground Resistance. Also I will release a new album called Game Of 100 Ghosts on my own label RF.”

Photo credit ‘new’ foto:

This interview with Rennie Foster was originally published on on April 13th 2017

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