Toronto
2 min

Control freak-out

This Top wants to go deeper

TOP IN CONTROL. Dwayne Menard aka DJ Control Top will bring his uplifting beats to the Church Street Fetish Fair on Sun, Aug 15. Credit: Daniel Ehrenworth

DJ Control Top knows music. Spinning in Toronto since 1989, Control Top, aka Dwayne Menard, has been bringing joy to dancefloors with his unique style. A huge aficionado of house music Control Top blends elements of various styles, such as house, disco, funk, soul and world music, into an uplifting, eclectic mix that has been delighting clubbers from right here in Toronto to the UK and beyond.



Raised in the burbs of Toronto, Control Top was initially inspired by the raw 1970s rock of Kiss, the smooth pop R&B of Prince and dreamy Kate Bush tracks, a testament to his current reputation for playing diverse styles drawing from many disparate sources.



Not only a DJ, Control Top has been involved in music in one form or another for years. A former manager of Toronto’s much-loved electro-pop group Brother Love Canal, he was the resident DJ behind the memorable I Wanna Fuck Fridays at Club Manhattan, a collaborative club/live music event with the band. Following the stint at Manhattan, Control Top released the track “The DJ Plays,” which created a stir among local house music fans. “The DJ Plays” also found its way into the late night mixes of various well-known DJs, including the legendary Hex Hector. Did working so closely with Brother Love Canal give Control Top the inspiration to create his own music?



“Well, it definitely was the impetus to push my ideas forward,” he says. “I don’t think I’d be doing what I am today were it not for the opportunity to manage Brother Love Canal…. Through that experience, I also met Gavin Bradley, who I continue to work with to this day. We work very well together. We’re coming from the same place musically…. We’re a great team.”



So how does one make the leap from DJ to producer?



“It’s all about doing what you love, finding inspiration… and the rest will come naturally,” says Control Top. With musical collaborator Bradley, Control Top has found recent success in the creation of his own club tracks, one of which charted top 10 in British club magazine QX. Making waves not only at home, Control Top made his UK debut in September 2003 at The End’s Discotec night in London.



He’s also been featured on House FM 88.6 radio, which has broadcast both a Control Top pirate radio session and, later, his well-received Testify mix CD. Building on his initial successes in the production realm, Control Top is currently in and out of the studio working diligently on his newest creations: “Definitely keep listening for more club tracks in the near future.”



In addition to his studio projects, Control Top has been spicing up Friday nights at Lüb Lounge, where he’s been enjoying a residency at the trendy nightspot since late last year, spinning his trademark uplifting soulful house beats to an appreciative crowd of martini-swilling boys. Control Top will also be bringing his smooth mixes to the first annual Church Street Fetish Fair, happening Sun, Aug 15.



He plans to continue splitting his time between spinning and producing.



“That’s very high priority right now. I’m getting the chance to do what I’ve always wanted to, and there’s a lot more that I want to accomplish.” Definitely the words of a DJ in control.



* In addition to his Fridays at Lüb (487 Church St), DJ Control Top is spinning at SoBe Saturdays, a once a month tea dance at C Lounge (456 Wellington St W; shuttle every half hour from Zelda’s at 542 Church St), running from 2pm to sundown. The next one is Sat, Aug 21. Tix are $10 in advance at Music Authority (95 Maitland St).



CHURCH STREET FETISH FAIR.

11am to 10pm. Sun, Aug 15.

Gloucester to Wood sts.

Churchstreetfetishfair.com.