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This humble DJ and community worker is always on the hunt for new sounds

Scott Clyke, one half of the DJ duo The Goods for 15 years, pivoted to a new career in 2019 at Desta — a non-profit group based in Little Burgundy that works with young people in Montreal’s Black community. (Cassandra Leslie/Ciel Photo)

Scott Clyke, one half of the DJ duo The Goods for 15 years, pivoted to a new career in 2019 at Desta — a non-profit group based in Little Burgundy that works with young people in Montreal’s Black community. (Cassandra Leslie/Ciel Photo)

Photo:  (Cassandra Leslie/Ciel Photo)

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Scott Clyke helps people find their confidence — and music, too

Whether he's spinning records or helping people find work, Scott Clyke approaches all he does with passion and humility.

The father, DJ and employability co-ordinator at Desta Black Community Network has called Montreal home for nearly 30 years, after moving from Toronto in the mid-1990s.

Clyke is known to Montreal music fans as Scott C — one half of the DJ duo that put on a monthly event called The Goods at Mile End venue La Sala Rossa for 15 years.

The Goods exposed attendees to a vast range of music that wasn't being played in clubs or on the radio. Along with Andy Williams, Clyke would play funk, soul, jazz and hip-hop records at what became a gathering place for Montrealers of all generations and backgrounds.

I always felt like I was doing something right if there was a great mix of people that would come and respond to the music that we were putting on the table, says Clyke.

We had senior citizens come into the night.… people from every walk and race — just a real cut and cross-section of what Montreal was about. And for me, that's essentially what a great party is all about.

He shared his knowledge of music outside the DJ booth, too. For a decade, Clyke was the hip-hop columnist for the Montreal Mirror, the alternative weekly whose arts and culture coverage was a must-read until it shut down in 2012.

Scott Clyke spinning records at Metropolis in Montreal in 2012. (Submitted by Scott Clyke)

Scott Clyke spinning records at Metropolis in Montreal in 2012. (Submitted by Scott Clyke)

Photo: (Submitted by Scott Clyke)

With a smile, he remembers balancing the DJ-ing and freelance writing gigs as rugged times.

I wouldn't trade it for anything, he says.

'Your favourite DJ's favourite DJ'

Music has been connected to pretty much everything Clyke does — at age 51, he's still discovering new sounds and sharing them with others.

It's a huge part of my life. And I don't take it for granted at all, he says. It's something that continues to excite me, and it's been really good to me.

He might be your favourite DJ's favourite DJ, says Elisa Shenkier, a longtime friend of Clyke's who helped organize The Goods.

She says while you can come across big egos in the music industry, that's not at all the case with him.

He's very authentic. He's extremely real, and he's an excellent listener, says Shenkier. Clyke makes others feel safe to express themselves, she says, because he doesn't pump himself up, despite his talent and experience.

The Goods ended in 2017, but Clyke continues to DJ regularly. In 2019, he pivoted to a new career at Desta, a non-profit group based in Little Burgundy that works with young people in Montreal's Black community.

He produces Stories from the Inside Out, a podcast which looks at the impact of incarceration. And as the co-ordinator of the agency's employment program, he works one on one with people who are looking to change careers or find a job, connecting them with others in Desta's network.

Clyke's patience and compassion help him bond with the people he meets — a process he describes with characteristic humility.

You don't think of it as something that's important, but if you're on the other end of that … it's valuable, he says.

He says a lot of people have a resumé that looks great, but they still feel like an imposter. Part of what he does is help them develop the confidence to believe they deserve the opportunities they get.

It's always going to be necessary, especially in the Black community. Clyke says. They're trying to deal with hesitation about working in spaces where perhaps they're the only person of colour on staff.

I wish I'd had that same kind of assistance when I was younger.

Colin Harris (new window) · CBC News

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