Recommendations: Ciel gives us the inside track on Toronto - Features - Mixmag

Recommendations: Ciel gives us the inside track on Toronto

In conjunction with new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be getting insight into the places artists call home

  • Words: Megan Townsend | Photos: Ciel
  • 1 March 2022

In partnership with Identification of Music's (IOM) new podcast IOM Recommends, each week we'll be giving you a travel guide that you can't pick up at your local bookshop — as your favourite artists give us the lowdown on their hometowns.

To kick things off we've got Xi'an-born, Toronto-based producer and DJ Ciel. A powerhouse of technical prowess, Ciel regularly delights crowds on either side of the pond with her intricate mix of bass, jungle, techno and old skool trance classics. Despite boasting prime slots at the huge international stages of Berghain, De School, Love International and Movement Detroit — Ciel, real name Cindy Li, has remained a mainstay of her adopted home. Throwing parties such as Work in Progress, It's Not U it's Me and collective Parallel Minds, has given her a position as a forward-thinking vehicle for progressive electronic sounds in the Ontario capital.

Read this next: Get to know Ciel, the artist and promoter showcasing melodic, off-kilter electro and breakbeat

To really give us a taste of Toronto, we asked Ciel to give us some tips on what we should do in her city — from a Friday night motive to the best mode of transport.

Where's the best place to head on a Friday night?

Bambi's for harder dance music. The Little Jerry for yummy wine and listening bar vibes.

Where should we go to buy some records?

Invisible City & Seance Center.

Where should we catch a bite to eat?

Island Food (Caribbean), Papa Spicy (Chinese BBQ), Otto's Berlin Döner (Berlin-style kebabs and currywurst), Himalayan Kitchen (Tibetan and Indian), Garleek (Asian fusion) and Han Motto (Japanese).

What about a place to grab a drink?

Bambi's, Apres, HAPPY and Grape Juice.

A place that tourists don't know about?

All the warehouse raves in Toronto. Because of all the strict liquor laws, a lot of raves are technically not legal so you'll need to ask an in-the-know local raver about it.

Somewhere to get lost?

Sunnyside Park.

What musicians should we check out?

Bambii, Obuxum, Casey MQ, E-Saggila, Dan Only, Emissive, Gremlinz, Jesta, Szaio, Phedre, New Chance, Èbony (and R, who's 1/2 of Ebony), City Dance Corporation, Roberto S, Pursuit Grooves, AADJA, Raf Reza, Comfort Zone, Marcus Visionary, Myst Milano, Joseph Shabason, Vibrant Matter, Ficilio, Acote, Cherriep, Cryogenetic, Siviyex, Nautiluss, Short Bloom, Korea Town Acid, Chippy Nonstop, Jacinth, Joel Eel, Yohei S and Daniel 58.

Musicians from our city that escaped: Aquarian, Peach, Nathan Micay and Eden Samara.

What's the best way to see Toronto?

On a bike.

What's a Toronto party we should check out?

On Earth.

What time of year should we visit?


Read this next: 10 venues that self-respecting audiophiles should visit asap

Can you give us a piece of advice for anyone new to your city?

Toronto people aren't the friendliest and we can come across as unapproachable. But actually, we are just shy and socially anxious so don't be afraid to introduce yourself and tag along to the afters. I've made so many friends with new Toronto people doing exactly that.

Sum up your city in five words?

Making the best of it. :)

You can listen to the first episode of IOM Recommends featuring Ciel below.

Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter

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