When Vancouver Island’s Steve Robertson first decided to pick up some turntables, he never thought the purchase would take him across the country, around the world and to the top of the charts.
“That was definitely not in the plan,” said the 23-year-old, known to dance enthusiasts as DJ Neon Steve. “But this past May I did a tour of the U.K. and Europe for five weeks. I was playing in places I never thought I would get to see.”
During the tour, he landed a slot in the Fractal Forest at the famous Shambhala Music Festival. In addition to headlining, he’s shared the stage with top acts including A Skillz, Rusko, Nero, Jack Beats, Zeds Dead, Cut Chemist, Krafty Kuts, Featurecast, ESKMO, the Freestylers, MSTRKRFT, Freq Nasty, Feed Me, Boy 8 Bit, Excision and more. He’s also an accomplished producer, creating remixes for artists like Datsik and Bare (Subhuman Records), Proppa Tingz (PLAY ME records) The Beekeepers (Jalapeno Records U.K.) and Excision and Downlink (Rottun Records).
Neon Steve has also held top spots on Beatport, Juno, Hype Machine and Soundcloud charts in addition to taking the first place in Hush Nightclub’s 2010 DJ Challenge.
It’s a far cry from his humble beginnings.
“I had gone to a party and had way too much fun,” he said. “I had been watching the DJs playing and it looked like fun, so I went out and bought my first set of turntables.”
His turntable skills are self-taught, as well.
“I’d come home from work and try things out,” he said. “Within a year I got a residency as a DJ at a club on the Island.”
Neon Steve plays a distinct style of bass music with distinct hip-hop and funk influences that usually keep dance floors packed and moving.
But, where did the “Neon” moniker come from?
“My stupid way of dressing,” he said. “Neon Steve came from me wearing ridiculous clothes. I always wear some neon somewhere, and that has stuck.”
“At every show, people show up wearing neon, too. I can’t get away from it.”
Neon Steve hits the road again in March for a West Coast tour consisting of 15 to 20 gigs, followed by tours in Australia and back to the U.K. and Europe.
But, you can catch Neon Steve Friday (Jan. 11) at 9:30 p.m. at the GLC’s Smirnoff House Party.