Excuse My French! This is a toast to five years of pressing play and pushing barriers.
Sometimes it's in the most unexpected places that positive impact morphs organically into a force that is a living, growing movement. With a pulse so strong you can literally feel it every time you interact. Excuse My French 416 (EMF) is just that movement - a place of humble beginnings turned pulsating positive energy! The founders Siné Condé, Diego and Hizo Toovi will be the first to tell you that they never imagined it would be what it is today. With a following thousands strong, some might argue that such positive movements tend to grow legs and sprint across barriers both spoken and unspoken so naturally, so really it was bound to thrive.
To gain context, it makes sense to take you back to somewhat of the beginning. Diego and Hizo, both born in Paris, France, and Siné born in Annemasse, France sparked a friendship playing recreational soccer in Toronto. According to the trio, their frustration with the lack of diversity in the music being played, such as Afrobeats on the Toronto party scene sparked an idea. In June 2014, built on the backbone of an organic friendship, the appreciation for good music and a common goal, Excuse My French 416 was born with the start of an event series called Taste and Chill. Taking residence at Darwin on College and later 416 Gallery on Queen East - both now permanently closed, guests experienced the talents of culinary extraordinaire, Chef Jean Regis, while enjoying the laid back vibes of the curated music.
In June 2014, built on the backbone of an organic friendship, the appreciation for good music and a common goal, Excuse My French 416 was born.
Fast forward to January 2015, EMF was gaining traction and popularity beyond their friend circle and Siné's upcoming birthday became the perfect official graduation to Toronto’s night scene with a new event series, Noire La Porte. At this stage, they were a well oiled machine with Siné on graphic designs, Hizo handling operations, and hosting by Diego. The transition would soon pay off with an invitation for residency from East Thirty-Six on Wellington East and so began La Nuit Glamour. It was at its debut on April 24th, 2015 that Siné would officially step into his DJ role as Curator Fly and Baddiedre was invited as their first guest DJ. A theme-centered monthly series with a variety of old and new school music, La Nuit Glamour would last 7 seasons and include many DJ collaborations such as Yuknodis, Dr. Mephisto, and international DJ Ben-J.
This five year milestone is truly an accomplishment and testament to the efforts of the individual strengths of each member.
In 2015, Distillery District’s Stirling Room would invite EMF to host another event series. The first Stirling Saturday featured DJ Lissa Monet to celebrate EMF’s 1st Anniversary on June 13th, 2015. They would later feature Killa Kels for a White Party edition, among other guest DJs.
In January 2016, EMF joined forces with Spexx of Upper Echelon to launch Wild For The Night at the now closed Stori Aperitivo Bar on King East. In April of the same year, La Parisian would be added to their growing resume of events followed, in June, by the Saturday series Private Stori featuring NoDJjusBarz (Barz) as guest turned resident DJ.
The EMF movement was growing and fittingly so was it’s goals. On October 9th, 2016, Creme de la Creme debuted with the aspiration of bringing the best crowd, to the best downtown venues, featuring the best DJs from across the city and beyond. The first edition was held at Wayward on Queen West and would go on to feature DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Tunez, DJ Wikked, Killa Kels, and VeeCee, Tory Lanez official DJ to name a few.
Creme de la Creme aspired to bring the best crowd to the best downtown venues featuring the best DJs from across the city and beyond
It’s the start of summer 2017 and the dynamic trio's strong reputation leads them to their next and current venture, a residency at Socialite Restaurant and Bar in Kensington Market. Here their community explodes to what would easily become the best day party in the city - Social Lit , and yes, it’s Lit Lit! Evidenced by the long line up to experience summer's ultimate day vibes and consistent patio overflow, Social Lit has catapulted EMF's brand, season after season.
This past June, EMF achieved a significant anniversary as they turned five. This milestone is truly an accomplishment and testament to the efforts of the individual strengths of each member; Hizo managing event planning, Diego networking to grow the brand and both collaborating in managing relationships with event locations across the city. And of course that central pillar of good music curated by Siné who also manages the creative aspects of brand.
Continually reaching forward, EMF's future focus is centered on increased visibility and interaction with their following.
“I love pushing barriers! I remember being told that I could not have access to venues downtown for our parties and I always refused to explore venues outside the downtown core. Why do we have to go outside? - Hizo
The movement has never lost sight of what was established from the beginning and for that a toast is in order with the ultimate celebration - Creme de la Creme: Fifth Year Anniversary Edition on October 13th at Wayward. And in true EMF fashion, their biggest one yet!
Counting down to the event, we asked EMF to share a reflection on their past five years and Hizo's words are a culmination of the movement we have all grown to love.
“I love pushing barriers! I remember being told that I could not have access to venues downtown for our parties and I always refused to explore venues outside the downtown core. Why do we have to go outside? As Torontonians we have the right to party anywhere in the city! As long as I am bringing business and a respectful crowd, I’d never accept anyone telling me otherwise. Some venues asked us not to play our music - afrobeats. But the beauty now is that a few years later they have no other choice but to play our music. We are very proud of being one of the first to push for this. When I see the crowd we have, how clean and respectful they are, against all odds and stigma, they are just a ball of pure energy, they feed me with the energy and it keeps growing. I can only keep going because it’s beautiful. They expect black people to only do negative things when we gather together but guess what? We are Social Lit!” - Hizo, EMF
-Your ASC Connect