netTVnow had the pleasure of chatting with not only Jade Hassouné and Emily Piggford, two of the lead actors of That's My DJ, but with the badass creator herself, DW Waterson. Step into the nightlife scene of Toronto, explore the awesome music and fall in love with season two's focus character, Meagan. And if you haven't already, click play below and get hooked on That's My DJ.
netTVnow: Where did the idea for your series That's My DJ come from?
DW Waterson: I'm in this world with stereotypes and characters around me and I saw that no one was telling a story about them with that electronic world so that’s how it came together.
netTVnow: You created this amazing world with musical montage scenes, character POV shots and non-dialogue scenes, what made you want to do that?
DW: For me it’s really trying to get the audience to feel what I’m feeling. Season two was really personal, I’ve experienced all of those moments unfortunately, so trying to go through those scenes, I asked myself how I could get the audience to feel that. Sometimes music and film for me can be the most powerful combination and when you have great performances and great cinematography you can really take it to another level so having those montages with just those elements can really impact the audience.
netTVnow: I love that you had the disclaimer telling audiences that the ideal setting for watching the series is with a full screen and the lights off.
DW: I love that it works. I think it encourages people to take a minute, turn down the lights, crank the music and come into this world with us. If we didn’t have that disclaimer people would just watch it at work or on their phones, which is still good but I don’t think they’d get that punch that you’d get watching it on a larger screen.
netTVnow: In the third episode of season two, you take incorporate another creative way to tell a story by having the episode take place via video chat. What was it like filming that?
DW: We actually shot it in my house and we had Jade (Hassouné) and Emily (Piggford) in separate rooms with the laptops. I think this was the only time my cinematographer could actually sit down and not have to do anything [laughs]. We recorded full screen on both computers and took those video files and gave them to my editor and we worked together to create the Facebook pages and then recorded his stream doing the storyline that Meagan is seeing on her laptop and then dropping in the actual video chat.
netTVnow: What I love most about your series is the way you seamlessly intertwined your characters. In season one you have Simon who makes a cameo in the second season as well, but how did you come to focus on Meagan for the second season?
DW: Emily you know this story well [laughs] do you want to tell it?
Emily Piggford: DW was riding her bike down Spadina [laughs] when she called me. I was in BC at the time and goes, “Okay, what do you think about Meagan being the lead of season two?” it was kind of a silly questions because of course I would be down and that’s just sort of how it happened. It was this brainwave of just shifting the focus to get more deeply into Meagan’s character and also that aspect of the industry which is another aspect of the industry that DW is in as well; so she could pull from that life experience to flesh it out. Then it just kind of made sense to alternate the perspective of the protagonist and show new aspect of this world, the EDM and Toronto side.
DW: To show all the corners of the world really. Instead of just following one guy. Plus I want to see female characters kick ass. So it was definitely an a-ha moment that I’m very grateful to have had.
netTVnow: I love the diversity that you have in the series and how the characters' sexuality or ethnicity doesn't matter, they're all there for the music and setting up these awesome events. Would you say that's an accurate representation of the nightlife in Toronto?
DW: Oh yeah, 100%. Toronto is a multicultural city and I don’t even think that diversity was even conscious to me when I was casting. These guys are just really fucking talented and I wanted to work with them, but it definitely represents Toronto to a T for sure.
netTVnow: I’ve spoken to a lot of people from Toronto and it seems like you just have this hub for really talented and diverse people so it’s really great to see that represented.
DW: There’s lots of talent in Toronto and no one’s really tapping into it yet and what a lot of people don’t know is that the entire soundtrack for season two is all local artists that are my friends. They’re all so freaking talented. Homebrew is also a real event and has been around for about the last two years. Jade and I have been there since day one, Jade actually draws all the pictures for it. A lot of the music on the soundtrack are DJs who have played Homebrew with me. So we’re all friends and I’m like, “Yo can I use your music for free [laughs].” But everyone was so down so it was great and we’re all kind of interconnected.
netTVnow: That's awesome so I know that season three is happening! What can you tell me about it?
Jade Hassouné: Season three will follow Sam and you don’t separate too much from the world. It’s similar to season two in that they’re kind of attached in a way. It kind of shifts a little bit to focus on Sam and Lucas a little bit more. Meagan’s there, she’s one of the anchor characters for Sam so she stays there as a little beacon of light because it gets a dark. I’m not too sure how it’s going to be told just yet, I only have the experience of shooting.
DW: Yeah you emoted through it.
JH: Exactly! I actually was staying with DW during filming for about three weeks and doing that every single day. It was intense and incredible, it was really great.
DW: It’s shot and we’re in post production right now but you’ll get to see the evolution of the seasons. The first season is the party season where you’re kind of finding yourself, the second season is a little more heartbreaking and raw, and the third season is the consequences of that party lifestyle. It’s definitely darker but I’m excited.
JH: I think we’ll touch on subjects that everyone kind of avoids in all of the worlds whether that’s music, film, modeling all that. There is a self-destructive aspect to it and it’s a very fine line to keep yourself from progressing forward and harming yourself at the same time. At some point you’re going to have to make choices as to where you want to go and what is your truth. Who are you deep down, you have success but what does that mean to you? It very much focuses on the balance of a young professional artist.
netTVnow: That's interesting because Sam seems to be a party guy but seems to have a really good head on his shoulders so how does this play a role a in his relationships with Meagan and Lucas?
JH: I feel like in season two he is this good guy and super reliable for Meagan. I feel like he stays pretty level-headed as much as he can but in the third season it kind of reverses. I feel like it’s Sam’s turn to let go and lose himself a bit and he has people to pull him through.
EP: Meagan has that in season two as well where she gets this invitation to jump off into the deep end and she does it.
DW: Yeah she doesn’t hesitate as much [laughs].
EP: We have those invitations sometimes and we don’t want to overthink it too much and just jump right in, for better or for worse. But it usually ends up somehow being better because you just become a stronger swimmer. So Sam is there support Meagan as she goes on to do her own thing with a bit of disregard for, maybe her well being or those around her. And now it’s Sam’s turn to go down his rabbit hole.
JH: You’re going to get a different perspective of that world we’re in too. You’ll really get to see it through a producer’s perspective.
DW: And a male’s perspective also.
JH: Everything continues, we’re back in that world, things continue in terms of the storylines around them, what they’re up to, Homebrew and all of that but now you really get to peek into Sam’s bedroom.
netTVnow: How would you describe Sam?
JH: He’s an uplifting guy. He’s a socialite, very focused, very driven but he kind of hides it. He has a very big dream inside of him but he keeps it to himself. He loves to have fun and I think he needs to have fun in order to focus and get work done.
netTVnow: Sam definitely seems like the moral compass of the show, he’s the good guy sitting on Meagan’s shoulder sort of guiding her through things.
JH: They’re very much that for each other. It’s really cool because that friendship kind of existed before we filmed. It’s cool because I’ve never done this before where a project was already created for me.
DW: I wrote these roles for these guys. Sam and Jade, at least for me in season two are very, very similar. I don’t think Sam existed until Jade came into my life and he inspired this character.
netTVnow: Do you think Sam feels any guilt having been the one to introduce Meagan to Hannah?
DW: I never thought about that!
JH: I’ve thought about that and the answer is yes.
EP: I didn’t think of that either.
JH: Sam I think tries. He knows that Meagan is her own person.
DW: I don’t think he saw that coming though. I think he thought, “Here are two awesome people who could totally love each other and what an amazing thing that could be then oh shit I just created the atom bomb [laughs].”
JH: It’s hard because Sam is friends with Meagan and Hannah but he’s there for Meagan. There’s a scene on the couch where Meagan’s hurting and he’s like, “Oh my god, okay,” because I’m sure he’s seen it before but probably not to that extent. Speaking from a season two standpoint, I don’t think Sam has any idea to the extent of Meagan and Hannah’s relationship.
EP: Episode seven is also invisible to everyone else but Hannah and Meagan.
netTVnow: Let's talk about Meagan. She's super layered, you have her party side, romantic side, business, everything. How would you describe her and her ultimate breakdown?
EP: I feel like she’s just 120% optimistic and a 1000% passionate. She's just like this sun that blasts through her life and is going to try everything and throw herself into the party life and enjoy that and let that feed her and then throw herself into her work and build herself up to do that as well. So she has this opportunity to have a relationship and build something there and to discover new aspects of her life so she’s very fearless and I think that is fed by her optimism.
She has this vibrant imagination and this self confidence that's like, “Yeah I can try this, I can envision it and it’s going to be great!” She's confident, imaginative, passionate and she’s very trusting which is where I think all the emotion comes from. She’s just trusting that because she has all this optimism and vision that whatever happens she’ll just bounce back. For a person that passionate, when something doesn’t work out, it hits really close to home and comes from a really vulnerable spot like Hannah was for Meagan, but then you really have to take a moment to honor what just happened or didn’t happen [laughs] and just move on. I can relate in my personal life so it made it really easy to connect and also working with DW made it really easy to connect because we have our own personal connections she’s able to tap into my personal experience to round out the experiences of Meagan.
netTVnow: What was your favorite part about filming?
EP: My favorite part was to be that fearless, confident, optimistic, 100% turned on person because in life I feel like I can tread with just 80-90% certainty where I don’t want to step on toes or offend anyone, so there’s a certain self-preservation and care for others that is considerate but can also be laborious to maintain so it’s nice to be a character like Meagan who is just confident, fearless, passionate and dive right in. I know that I have that in me, I think everybody does but sometimes the person that I am can be conservative or reserved in that way and so it’s nice to just be on set, in an amazing environment with people that give me permission to be that and a character that gives me permission to be that. And it was nice too because I could walk off set and away from that project and have that part of me also open up. So I was able to actually grow in my own life to be a bit like Meagan.
netTVnow: I have to ask, do you wish Hannah would have ended up with Meagan?
EP: I do but because of how it went down I wouldn’t want them back together because it feels like that was a moment in time but now there’s been a fracture of trust and now we just have to continue on because that fracture might not properly heal. People are resilient though and they forgive so it’s entirely possible that they could get back together. You know sometimes it’s nice to feel like you can forgive and forget, go back to the way things were but I think it’s better that Meagan get to just pull up her bootstraps and go in this direction of self love, self worth and reconnect with herself.
netTVnow: What’s something that you want audiences to know about Meagan that we didn’t necessarily get to see?
EP: I think that Meagan is a bighearted person and she knows that her heart has been punched but she understands where Hannah is coming from and the part she played in it by giving in and knowing that it wasn’t solid ground. She’s a responsible person for as much as you might not think that because she parties or whatever, but she’s an incredible person and respectful person so I think that it hurts but she knows that she has to go back to herself and her friends that love her and the work that she loves and get back on that path. She has good people around her and good dreams so she’s just gotta go through the crappy stuff and she’ll get back on course.
netTVnow: What's one reason people should watch the series?
DW: Watch it because it’s fucking good.
EP: It’s inspirational and if you’re that person who just needs a spark of creativity and you’re looking for that fuel, this is a series to watch because there are so many touch points of inspiration whether it’s the music, the editing, performances, the fashion, all of it.
JH: It’s about people that are doing what they love and making it real for themselves. Watching the show will spark that for sure. The series is brilliant, I was a huge fan and now I’m happy to be in it.
netTVnow: Any upcoming projects we can share?
EP: I'm working on a CBC original comedy series coming out the first half of 2017. It’s really funny, I get to be super deadpanned. I'm also in CBC's Actor’s Conservatory, I’m one of their residences at their Canadian film centers and Jade’s actually an alum there!
JH: I’ve got Shadowhunters season two, of course That's My DJ season three and some comic book ideas that I’m slowly leaking out too! So just keep looking out on social media!
DW: I'm doing a lot of music videos right now that’ll be coming out over the next couple of months. That's My DJ season three, I’m currently working on my feature and also kind of working on another series idea!