Don’t let the mohawk and eyeliner fool you—Michael Toast isn’t the front man for a hard-core punk band. The New York native has been a part of the electronic dance-music scene since its East Coast infancy and a staple in Sin City since the late ’90s. Toast brings us back to his beginnings while looking toward the future of underground electronic dance music in Las Vegas with his latest foray, Dub Church.
For neophytes to the Las Vegas EDM scene, can you fill them in on your roots?
I started off a long time ago loving music and chasing music. I grew up loving hard-core music and hard-core punk music, hip-hop, metal, break-beats, freestyle, techno and all this stuff simultaneously. I fell in with these guys called Caffeine, and also affiliated with crews all up and down the East Coast.
There was this great network of people who were like-minded, pretty much the beginning of the rave scene. This was in the early ’90s, when I was a kid. I was invited to play the 20-year reunion, showcased alongside Frankie Bones and everybody else who I grew up idolizing, so the greatest gig of my life just happened.
So after cutting your teeth in New York, where the scene was thriving, why head to Las Vegas?
I actually came to Las Vegas by accident. My family wanted to move here, and I was in New York doing rave stuff and stuff at the Limelight, the Tunnel … all these places I really shouldn’t be. [I was] dressing in baggy raver clothes and shirts and sock hats pulled down to my chin, bopping through New York City in, like, I used to wear these bear slippers—we were club kids!
Did the bear slippers move to Las Vegas, too?
Yes, I actually did bring the bear slippers with me, and they lasted until 1999 and that was the end of that. I had to hang those suckers up; they almost walked away by themselves.
What was the first party you played here?
Technically my first gig in Vegas was for Moe the Pimp. I found that out when somebody asked me to play a birthday party, and there were a billion girls and this one dude. All of a sudden everybody was hugging him and I was like, “What does this guy do for a living?” And my friend wouldn’t tell me, so I put two and two together and thought, “Maybe this guy could be a pimp.”
Fast forward to today, how did Dub Church come about?
I’ve been deeply submerged back in underground music and bass music over the past couple of years. We started the party over at Foundation Room about 8-10 months ago. Recently we brought it over to the King’s Room at the Rio, and it’s been great over there. We’ve had Krafty Kuts, HavocNdeeD, Slimer … quite a few prominent DJs.
We’ve also had an all-Vegas, all-vinyl Christmas party. We actually brought our old vinyl out and played a lot of old music and some people went and spent the $40 on a dubstep vinyl (because that’s how much they cost these days), and played those records.
You’re doing the weekly EDM report for Jelli 96.7 as well.
For all intents and purposes, we pay for the EDM report to be put on the air. We don’t accept money from clubs for placement; I mention what I can, look out for all the underground parties and mention XS, Surrender, Marquee, Palms and everybody else that’s got dance music. I’ve got my ears to the ground, my eyes on the horizon and I look and see what I see. I’m covering everybody. I got you.
What’s your master plan for 2012?
I plan on keeping Dub Church going. We have a community, people who come to Dub Church—it’s not a religious thing, just for the love of music and everybody’s welcome. Bring your dancing shoes and everything’s cool. If you’re into bass music, this is the place to be and we’re looking to take it bigger and better.
Catch Michael Toast every Thursday and Friday at VooDoo Lounge and Sundays at Dub Church in the King’s Room at the Rio; Facebook.com/michaeltoast.