Spotlight on: Classic Roots

Ontario Presents and its member presenting organizations recognize the importance of presenting Indigenous artists, stories and culture as part of their presenting practice. As we continue to encourage the respectful presentation of Indigenous art, we will be featuring an Indigenous artist each month in our e-newsletter and blog. Our sincere thanks to Denise Bolduc for conceiving of and continuing to support this Spotlight Series. Spotlights are developed with the artist, and are intended simply to share the artist’s work and foster greater awareness and understanding of the strength and diversity of Indigenous art available in Ontario and beyond. 

Classic Roots headshotThis month we spoke with producer, DJ, and pow wow dancer Classic Roots.

To start off, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your music?

My name is Joshua aka Classic Roots. Born and raised in Thunder Bay and currently based in Toronto. I’m a music producer, DJ, and a pow wow dancer. The music I create is techno/house. I also integrate Indigenous sounds into my techno beats (known as Pow wow techno).

I understand that you produce your own music, do you also produce music for other artists?

I try not to limit myself from composing on my own but I am open to collaborating internationally. So yes, I do create music for other artists. 

You’ve said in previous interviews that you really consider yourself a dancer first – how did the music part of your career develop out of dance?

I used to bboy at a young age and got my rhythm from going with the beat and then I started to study the counts and bars in any music.  

I understand that you also offer workshops, can you tell me a bit more about that?

I aimed at working with communities, youth, and individuals on issues such as suicide, and alcohol & substance abuse. I also offer youth empowerment and motivational speaking with topics such as dream chasing, achieving goals & succeeding in Life.

You’ve talked about bringing your culture to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people through your music, while also exploring other sounds and cultures. Is there a sound that particularly interests you right now?

At the moment I’m exploring African tribal music, but I’m always interested to listen to any good music and find inspiration through that particular song. Because any instrument can strike you and say, “I want that sound in my collection.” 

What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects that you’d like to share about?

I’m working on a new EP album in 2020 and already have a new release track called Start the Fire (remix). The track is on Spotify and I have a music video for it as well.

How can people find out more or get in touch?

You check out my website at or find my music on Spotify and other online streaming platforms.   

Thanks to Joshua for chatting with us!