Interview: Joel Smye (Co-Founder – CODA; Partner – Electric Island)
Why did you decide to partner up with Embrace and Platform for Electric Island?
It was more of a natural progression than a decision. We’d been working with Platform on events for years, and just starting some shows with Embrace. Embrace had larger scale production experience and Platform & Footwork were at a point where the DJ’s we were booking were outgrowing the club capacity. It was just an obvious fit for all of us.
What was the vision behind doing the Electric Island events?
It was taking the Platform events they were doing long weekends at Cherry Beach and combining it with the Piknic Electronique concept in Montreal. Toronto was starving for an outdoor, licensed party and this is what we came up with.
How did Electric Island contribute to the success of the Footwork brand?
I think for us it was showing the scene that we were more than just our address. Aside from boat cruises we hadn’t done much outside of the club so it allowed us to spread our wings and grow. Footwork was already doing well but adding the festival to our roster of events gave the club more attention both in the city and beyond. Press, artists, agents etc took notice.
When did you decide to move in your current home Coda? What does it offer that Footwork did not?
We’d been on the hunt for awhile and eventually made this move official late Summer-early Fall of 2013. We moved in and started operating immediately but officially became Coda in January 2014. For Steph and I, Coda was something new. We lived and breathed Footwork for almost 9 years so we weren’t interested in replicating FW. The new space offers a late night food & snack menu, more square footage, proper year-round coat check, bigger bathrooms etc., and of course the PK Sound install. Now, I’d venture to say that the lack of some of these things is what gave Footwork its charm, but for those involved in the day to day, it was time to grow.
What can we expect in the near future from Coda and Electric Island?
There are ideas going around for some interesting changes next year but they’re not confirmed so I’ll have to leave it at that for now.
Anything you would like to add?
Would just like to thank the Toronto dance world for all the support over the years. More to come!
Interview by Ian MacKenzie