Get to Know: Justin Astro
We all know the big names in the DJ world. Skrillex, Diplo, Carl Cox, Armin Van Buuren, Above & Beyond, etc. etc. But what about the other DJ’s in your local town, providing stellar sets week in and week out? You know those openers that people struggle to remember their name the day after? Every well known DJ started off there so we at Only The Beat want to highlight these weekend warriors. This is who you should Get to Know… Justin Astro.
Only The Beat: Tell me a little bit about the Toronto underground scene. I’ve never been to Canada but with countless famous DJ’s coming from there, I’m sure the scene is kicking on all cylinders.
Justin Astro: What can I say about Toronto? The scene here has absolutely exploded over the last 4-5 years from what I can tell. Historically, Toronto has always had a very rich underground culture and I’ve met a lot of Toronto veterans who have been doing this for decades and have said that same thing, but from a popularity/mainstream standpoint, the creation of social groups like The Toronto Rave Community have created a platform for veterans and noobies alike to feel more involved or at least knowledgeable about the community to some extent. We are now at a point where we have a massive list of incredibly talented local DJ’s, producers, promoters, and taste makers who throw some of the coolest and most diverse parties in the world – on any given weekend, you can take your pick of a wide array of genres and headliners… we’re very lucky and spoiled to say the least.
OTB: So I see you started in the scene as a photographer. What made you start being a photographer? And what made you switch to being a DJ?
Justin Astro: For the “right side of the brain” type of people, you always have to have some sort of creative outlet, and photography was that outlet for me when I was young. Thanks to that, I was introduced to the nightlife scene and instantly gravitated to the whole DJ’ing thing. I’ve always been a huge music guy too so it just ended up being an easy transition for me over the last few years.
OTB: After being on the same bill with Christian Martin and Worthy at the Blu Party along with performing with Sonny Fodera, Croatia Squad and more; who has been your favorite to perform with and why?
Justin Astro: Well I have to give a big shout out to Christian Martin, Worthy, and Sonny Fodera for being super cool guys – They have great energy and are very down to earth. I think I’ve been very lucky in the sense that all of the DJ’s I’ve been able to play the same parties with have all be really amazing and completely exceeded my expectations so it’s a little tough to pick any single one. I will say though, Green Velvet, on a boat cruise in Toronto was a magical experience.
OTB: From what I’ve heard, The Blu Party was a great time. Tell me about your experience playing there and how you felt the night went?
Justin Astro: I think the night went very well! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I arrived because I’d never been to that club before, and I’ve never partied on the Friday night before Movement so it was all new to me. Loved the atmosphere and the crowd was definitely electric! My friend Evan Gee and I went back-to-back in the basement and the crowd down there was really feeling the sound so I couldn’t be happier. Big shout out to Sydney Blu for being an amazing person and bringing me on for that, she’s really a super awesome human being.
OTB: After performing at The Blu Party and the Toronto Warehouse Project, what shows do you have coming up? Where can people see you next?
Justin Astro: Well I’ve got a few interesting parties coming up, two of which I can’t announce yet but they’ll both be in Toronto at some great venues with great headliners at the end of July and beginning of August. At the end of August I’m playing Garden of Eden out in Tweed Ontario which is just a massive collection of Ontario local DJ’s and all of the attendees camp for 3 days and just get wild. Last year’s Garden of Eden was absolutely incredible, I don’t think there was a single person who had a bad time so I’m really excited for what’s in store this year.
OTB: What made you decide on the name Justin Astro? Any special meaning?
Justin Astro: Well Astro is short for my full last name and it’s also been a nickname that has followed me around for most of my life so it was just a perfect fit. No special meaning really, it was just what felt right!
OTB: You’ve been able to perform at some pretty famous venues including the famous Guvernment before it closed down. Which of these venues were your favorite and why?
Justin Astro: Well Guvernment will remain one of the coolest things I can put on my resume. That was THE spot in Toronto for so many years and when they announced its closure I felt so proud to at least be a part of that history in some capacity. Another venue which was big on my list and is still a staple of Toronto’s underground definitely has to be Comfort Zone – That place is like another planet, you can go in there and just play the craziest sets at 5:00am to a room packed with people, it’s always a good time over there.
OTB: What are your plans for future music? More mixes? Maybe stepping into singles?
Justin Astro: My plans are all over the place right now haha! I’m working on getting a mix release schedule together to build some more consistent content, and I’ve also been learning the production side of things so we’ll just have to wait and see how that all pans out! The DJ’ing aspect of my life has been so busy over the last year so I’ve been so focused on that.
OTB: What got you interested into this genre of music (UK Garage, Tech House, Bass, etc.)?
Justin Astro: I guess it stemmed from the music I grew up listening to, I’ve always been a huge fan of electronic music but I guess when it comes to taste, you just go with what pleases your ear the most, and this is what I love to play so it ends being mostly what I’m listening to. When I’m not listening to the heavier stuff, I’m a huge Jazz, Soul, R&B, and Hip-Hop guy – more recently I’ve been blasting a lot of Grime which seems to be taking a hold in Toronto as well.
Justin Astro has great poise and is situated perfectly to make an impact on the growing scene in Toronto and Canada as a whole. This is only the beginning of the burgeoning career for Justin and someone we at Only The Beat will be keeping our eye on. Check him out on social media and check back soon for more on the Toronto native.
Follow Justin Astro: Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud
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