LargeUp Interview: Dr. Jay De Soca Prince is Toronto’s Carnival King

July 31, 2014


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Extravagant wings on wheels in the midst of assembly.

LU: With the Saldenah Mas Camp, whatโ€™s the greatest reward from preparing for the event?

Louis [Saldenah] is the head. There are 15 to 16 sections and each section leader has to adhere to his vision. Itโ€™s his theme, but we each have a color theme. My section is orange, Amazonia โ€” the theme of strong women. Once we go on the road, he has the vibe of how everything will work, starting from which colors will have the most impact in sequence. Weโ€™re probably going to be the biggest band in the history of Toronto carnival. Itโ€™s looking like weโ€™re going to reach 4,000 masqueraders.

I just get hyped watching each section rush on the stage and dance. You see each vision and how impactful it was from the band launch and all the little tweaks made to the costumes. You take it back to the drawing board and itโ€™s good to go. Youโ€™re hearing a lot more outrage of people storming the band as theyโ€™re going down. People spend months in advance preparing and lots of hard earned money. Now, everybody feels they have a right to jump up beside the truck. I feel like in other countries, theyโ€™ll dance, but theyโ€™ll chip along the sidewalk. Thereโ€™s a lot more respect for bands in other countries and Iโ€™m hoping we get to that here. Because when you see it all coming together, youโ€™re like yes, this is so beautiful. You want everyone to see it as youโ€™re coming down the road.

A lot of people tell me that if I wasnโ€™t born in Toronto, I wouldnโ€™t be doing what Iโ€™m doing today. In Trinidad, they donโ€™t push soca like that. During Carnival, yes, but throughout the year, itโ€™s [more] dancehall. It’s very rare you will hear soca sets out of them. Because weโ€™re away, we love it so much more.

LU: And the scene is growing quite well.

DJDS: Me being around as long as I have, I know there are cycles. The age demographic goes in cycles. Once you can ride it out, the music and the scene is amazing. In Toronto, we have it good. Every week, thereโ€™s multiple events. Thereโ€™s not just one that does well. You just have to find your niche and youโ€™re good to go.

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