Bright future ahead for Neon Steve

Steve Robertson, better known as Neon Steve, has shared the stage with some of the best names in the genre

Vancouver Island’s Neon Steve is helping bring electronic music into the mainstream.

As a crowd of neon covered bodies moved on the forest floor – that for five days became one of electronic music’s most popular venues – the DJ in the booth was experiencing what can best be described as life coming full circle.

At 25, Steve Robertson, better known as Neon Steve, has shared the stage with some of the best names in the genre, but last year as he took the stage at Shambhala Music Festival’s Fractal Forest in Salmo, B.C. for the first time, he was back where his journey as a DJ started.

“It was crazy,” said Robertson. “It was this weird feeling of coming back around. If you had told me five years ago that I would be there, I would have just laughed.”

Robertson had never touched a set of turntables until he went to Shambhala – which focuses on electronic music – after he graduated from high school.

Not only had he never DJd before that point, he also hadn’t really been exposed to the genre at all.

“I grew up listening to rock and classic rock mostly,” said the Victoria-based DJ. “My dad was in a band, and is a rock and roller. I tried to play instruments but I’m the only one in the entire family of cousins and everybody that doesn’t play an instrument.”

Within a few months of returning from Shambhala, Robertson bought turntables and secured himself a residency at a club in Courtenay, where he grew up.

As demand was building for Robertson’s music in Victoria and after driving back and forth to Courtenay after too many shows, he decided to relocate.

“I was working construction and just hating it,” he said. “I finally took the leap of faith two years ago and quit my job,” he said. “I saved up enough money so I could just coast and I thought that I was only going to last about three months without working, but I haven’t been back since.”

Instead, Robertson has been building a career which includes supporting DJs like U.K.’s Nero, who won a 2012 Grammy for a collaborative remix with Skrillex, and A Skillz, who was named Best DJ in 2012 by the Breakspoll International Breakbeat Awards.

He toured across Canada and last May toured the U.K. and Europe.

“Everytime I head out on the road the crowds get a bit bigger,” he said. “It’s just like any job, you have to put your time in. I’ve been to a lot of the cities before, which helps, and Shambhala helps too. As soon as they put that on the flyer people are interested, which is a lucky break.”

In addition to the increasing recognition of his music, Robertson also believes the change in the electronic music genre, which is seeing more DJs working in mainstream music, is creating more fans.

“Electronic music and DJing wasn’t very accepted before, but now the general public doesn’t really frown on it anymore,” he said. “I know back in the day, parents thought kids were crazy going to raves, now it’s becoming the norm.

“Even though it’s cool, the market is getting flooded too. Everybody and their dog is a DJ now which makes it harder to stand out.”

As crowds continue to flock to venues in Victoria and across the country to hear Robertson’s distinct blend of ‘80s, ‘90s and current tracks, it’s clear he is doing something to stand out.

“I’m just trying to stay true,” he said. “I don’t know if I do stand out, I hope I do. If I do it’s just luck,” he said.

Though Robertson is on a Canada-wide tour for March and April, he’ll be in Victoria on March 31 opening for Subvert at Club 9one9.

 

 

Just Posted

West Shore skatepark moves closer to fruition

Company estimates project will cost $600,000

Well-versed in national competition, trio heads to B.C. Summer Games

The three will be representing Zone 6 in boys field lacrosse

Canada men’s sevens team hoping for a top eight finish

Captain Harry Jones hopes to inspire rugby youth

Saanich seals history with time capsule

Saanich will re-open time capsule in 2067

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson set to hit Rock the Shores stage

Other acts include Bahamas, Allen Stone and Bedouin Soundclash

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Non-union construction industry fears exclusion in B.C.

Premier John Horgan imposes ‘project labour agreements’ for public works

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Proposed charges will cost Saanich housing affordability

The head of the association representing home builders in the Greater Victoria… Continue reading

Former NHL goalie Ray Emery drowns in Lake Ontario

Police say the 35-year-old’s death appears to be a ‘case of misadventure’

Most Read