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Cover 07/03/2013

Dance dance revolution

An oral history of how the Chemical Brothers, all-night raves, and a massive club scene made Orlando's EDM scene legendary

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Eddie Pappa aka DJ Icey

Photo: Photo by @kimballcollins, License: N/A

Photo by @kimballcollins


Kimball Collins is one of the most defining names in the EDM story of Orlando and, by extension, the U.S. Collins wasn’t just there when it first happened, his work specifically ushered the movement from seed to blossom. From the alternative/new wave roots of his residencies at SPIT (Park Ave) and Beach Club, he went all in on EDM in the late ’80s with his residency at the Beacham (AAHZ, Pure Energy, Egypt).

Michael Donaldson aka Q-Burns Abstract Message was a member of local band Tick Tick Tock and owner of downtown record store Bad Mood Records in the early ’90s. He started DJ’ing in the mid-’90s as Q-Burns Abstract Message and co-founded the Eighth Dimension Records label in 1994. Currently, he can be seen DJ’ing local club nights at venues or huge clubs from South America to Siberia.

Sandy Fite aka DJ Sandy was known for his rock & roll flamboyance and always preceded by “The One, the Only.” The Tallahassee transplant rose as one of the more charismatic figures of the ’90s breaks scene as a resident DJ at the Edge and later at the Club at Firestone.

Chris Fortier began DJ’ing house parties in 1990, which eventually led to regularly being featured at Orlando club nights, a residency at Kimball Collins’ and Dave Cannalte’s AAHZ nights at the Beacham, as well as a two-year run with his own weekly night at the Village. In 1994, he started one of Orlando’s first homegrown labels, Fade, and he later launched the legendary Orlando-based Balance Record Pool. Fortier is still an active DJ and producer, having held residencies at New York’s Twilo and London’s the Cross while remixing dozens of artists ranging from Tiesto to Sarah McLachlan.

Chris Milo aka DJ Three was one of the leading Florida names of the ’90s. Three was an oft-featured DJ at major regional raves and a resident of legendary Gainesville club Simon’s and was involved with Hallucination Recordings. He continues his label work through Hallucination Limited, an offshoot of Hallucination Recordings, and has done remixes for Rabbit in the Moon, Sasha and U.N.K.L.E. Now residing in New York, he’s held residencies at Twilo, Cielo, Love and BLK Market Membership.

Eddie Pappa aka DJ Icey was, unquestionably, the leading figure in the famous Florida breaks genre, as the Edge’s cornerstone resident and one of the most well-known, prolific and credentialed DJs in Orlando history. He founded the breaks-dedicated Zone Records and has released Billboard-charting records. Besides a still-busy touring schedule, he has produced a weekly satellite radio show for Sirius, Clear Channel HD Radio and iHeartRadio.

Mark Snyder aka Remark started out as a “light jockey” and DJ at Visage when he was 17. In 1991, he started a dance music radio show on WPRK (91.5 FM), which was a mainstay in the Orlando club scene through early 2000. He worked at Underground Record Source in the mid-’90s, and DJ’ed throughout Orlando with residencies at Ultraviolet, Renaissance, Cairo and Icon.

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