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Pink Floyd alongside Stevie Wonder, “I hated it when songs faded out,” Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye. he recalls. “They either needed to end “I heard the whole gamut, because with some kind of flourish, or needed I allowed myself to,” he says. to keep going.” That openness would serve him Anyone who’s seen Mitchell rock well later in life as a deejay and pro- a club will most likely recognize that ducer. But what Mitchell was looking philosophy. “It just felt natural to me,” for was not simply a new sound to set he explains. him apart. He was looking for a voice. Soon Mitchell began experimentAs if being a misfit in the ’hood ing with mixing using borrowed turnwasn’t challenging enough, Mitchell tables. He didn’t have headphones or was confronted with the equally a mixer, so he would cue each record daunting realization that he was gay. by putting his ear to it and watchBut, rather than ing the grooves. internalize his It worked. identity issues, Eventually, he he wore them was asked to quite literally on deejay school his sleeve. After dances. seeing a Prince “That was concert with his strange,” Mitchell grandmother in recalls. “It’s like, 1981, he began I’m the weird kid, dressing in flowand you want me ing shirts and to entertain you?” tight pants, growBut he soon dising his hair long covered that the and perming it ironic isolation crAig m itchE ll — or straightenof the deejay — ing it, depending who’s the life of on his mood. the party yet necCraig deejaying Surprisingly, his essarily removed at Terminal in Québec City increased flamfrom it — suited boyance led to him. fewer neighbor“You’re the hood hassles. freak in the cage,” “I think the he suggests. thought was An exemplary that if you were student, Mitchell going to dress had his choice like that, in that of colleges on neighborhood, graduating from celebrate craig mitchell’s 20th you were either high school. But Anniversary Bash with dJs John a total badass those options Creamer, Fattie b, Aqua, Cousin dave, Justin b, Chia and CRE8 at Club or completely were limited by Metronome in burlington this sunday, crazy,” Mitchell financial condecember 5, at 9 p.m. Free. surmises. “Either straints. He was way, they were, offered a full ride like, ‘We’re gonna leave him the fuck at St. Michael’s College for his freshalone.’” man year through a scholarship proStill, Mitchell’s identity crisis ran gram that brought gifted inner-city deeper than problems snazzy clothes students to the Colchester-based could address, and answers were hard Catholic school. to come by. So he dived even deeper “It was kind of like a Fresh Air into music. Mitchell recalls making [Fund] for college students,” Mitchell mix tapes by recording songs from the explains. radio. He would pause the cassette on While the scholarship lightened the last beat of a song and unpause it his financial load, the culture shock on the downbeat of the following one, Mitchell experienced when he moved to creating a fluid, continuous playlist. Vermont — then the whitest state in the Without knowing it, he was practic- country — meant he essentially traded ing a rudimentary version of a funda- one form of alienation for another. mental deejaying principle: matching beats. oUTsidE ThE box » p.38

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