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10 DOs & DONTs of DJing in Canada (by Grandtheft & Cosmo Baker)

How to tip strippers, what not to do at Tim Horton's, and where to find A-Trak's favorite waterslide (hint: rhymes with vagina).

Canadian and US DJs have a lot of love for each other… even though our borders don't feel the same way. And once you get love in Canada, you'll keep coming back for more. But touring the Great White North is not like touring in the United States—as many fledgling DJs don't realize when they attempt to cross the icy expanse in between Calgary and Toronto, for instance, or order poutine as a lunch special.


We tapped longtime DJ friends Cosmo Baker (from NYC) and Grandtheft (from Toronto) to give you a top 10 list of the Do's and Don'ts of DJing in Canada.

And while you bone up on how to tip Ottawa strippers, you should listen to this brand new track they worked on together called "Find A Way," out now on Kookoo Records. The tune perfectly encapsulates both of their styles: Cosmo is a party-rocking superhero who effortlessly mixes together disco, soul, and hip-hop (old and new), while Grandtheft has become one of North America's busiest DJs on the strength of his banging Dim Mak releases and collabs with big dawgs like Diplo and A-Trak. Study closely and we'll see you at Tim Horton's!


1: When you order a coffee from Tim Horton's in Ottawa, don't ask for "half & half"—ask for cream. You'll say "half & half" and the person behind the counter will look at you like you have two heads and respond "Half of WHAT?"

2: Strippers love your money. In the States, when you throw dollar bills at them it's called "making it rain." When you're in some places in Canada it is acceptable to throw dollar coins ("loonies" & "toonies") at them—we call it "making it hail."

3: Recordland in Calgary has absolutely NO RECORDS AT ALL. Now, this may be a lie, but how would you know?

4: The 8th Circle Of Hell is buying a tuna melt sandwich from a gas station Subway that's halfway between Winnipeg and Saskatoon.


5: There's an outdoor festival Shambhala which is quite literally THE BEST RAVE EVER (ask Ayres, Smalltown Pete, Skratch Bastid, Wax Romeo) but stay away from the burners on the mud banks durning Bassnectar's set cause your eyes may end up bleeding.

6: There's a hotel that we stayed at in Regina back in the while playing with A-Trak that has a waterslide in it. We didn't really think about the quality of the water in the swimming pool. Regina is a strange place. It's pronounced Re-GI-na like "vagina" not Re-GEE-na like the name. We kept on saying Re-GEE-na because it seemed proper, but soon learned that we were mistaken. It's a strange place. We ate at some Italian restaurant and the only other person eating in there was the mayor. And at one point during the show the back door was opened and literally a fucking tumbleweed rolled onto the dancefloor.

7: People go really hard in Toronto. When they party, they party HARD. And most of the time so do you, and so of course obviously you're very hungover the next day. The best cure for this other than a proper Bloody Caesar is a butter chicken roti from Gandhi's.

8: For some strange reason there's a sizable Ukrainian population in Winnipeg. If you like pierogis, you should go to Sevala's. The best thing is you can get them to go and eat them whist sitting on a cool Canadian WWII tank that's parked across the street. Then, if you're lucky, you'll be hanging with Co-op & Hunnicutt and they'll do something awesome like pour an entire can of Labatt over their heads while flashing the audience. AWESOME.

9: We once played a place called Red Deer. There were 14 people there in total, and one of them was a Vietnamese dwarf who was doing the rave dance to an Armand Van Helden record. It felt like Apocalypse Now Part 3 and we all were Captain Willard.

10: Canadian customs can be really tough for Americans. We've all heard the horror stories—like when Cosmo, Pase Rock & Spankrock got kicked out and had to miss the first two dates of the XXXPlosive tour back in 2006—but there's a certain way of charming them. Playing ignorance is not the move but it helps to act somewhat hapless and let them get their power struggle on. At the end of the day, they're less concerned about us lowly DJs than other people trying to come in to Canada to actually do REAL WORK.