MixMates’s Pandemic Experiment Inspiring Local DJ Scene

By Michael Charlebois

On a frigid May night, Joshua Samudre set up his turntable on the beach by Lake Superior for the 17th edition of the MixMates’ livestream DJ set.

A beach campfire burned in the near distance, and although it didn’t provide Samudre with the warmth he needed to transition between songs in comfort, it all looked pretty sweet. The stream from the lake is just one of the ways Samudre—one half of the DJ duo MixMates—pays homage to his new home of Thunder Bay.

Since the start of the pandemic, Samudre and his running mate Vaishnav Isai have been producing weekly episodes of their sets and livestreaming them to Facebook and other platforms. The idea was largely created out of pandemic boredom. “We thought, let’s just do this as an experiment to create the [MixMates] brand,” Samudre says.

The pair invested in new DJ and streaming equipment and got to work on the tables. “Before we realized it, we had 25 episodes,” he says. The two met as students in Confederation College’s digital marketing program, and were new to Canada as of 2018. Samudre had a DJing background dating back to his pre-college days when he was living in India; he has also worked local sets at Atmos.

“Music has always been there for me,” says Samudre, who has produced music for artists anonymously for nearly 10 years. He says taking Isai under his wing and building his DJ brand has brought him a sense of fulfillment in the age of empty dance floors. Their next step is to expand their scope by bringing in local DJs to make guest appearances or become involved in the production of the stream. “The amount of bedroom DJs that have messaged me like ‘Hey dude, I want to stream on your thing’—[…] it’s crazy that something that almost started as a joke is inspiring to people.”

“In the next stage I want to stream artists or DJs from Thunder Bay who maybe don’t have the resources to play in clubs, but they have the passion to DJ or play music.”

MixMates will continue to stream episodes from their Facebook page @mixmates.live weekly on Friday nights.