Behind the Curtain with The Wizard of Oz: An Interview with David Lortie

electrokill

When David Lortie began promoting events it was for drum & bass night at the now defunct Angels night club. An eager, fresh faced seventeen year old who was doing it solely because he was passionate about the music, Lortie initial felt felt that not enough information was being filtered down to the masses about Montreal’s electronic music or the events being put together by local artists & promoters. Much has changed since those early days, both in Montreal and for Lortie. By asking his older brother to introduce him to the environment some decade ago Lortie gave birth to a life long enthusiasm for event promotion and music production.

His longevity and heavy personal investment this community has afforded him the trust of DJs (local & international alike), sound engineers, club owners and others in the scene. In recent years, Lortie’s musical tastes have evolved to incorporate genres such as dubstep and break-beat which have found a healthy reception in Montreal and his participation in promotion and contributed to many successful events.

Lortie’s favorite part of promotion? Being able to switch between promoter and fan in order to fully enjoy Montreal’s nightlife alongside the rest of us.


What events do you have planned for the future ?

In the immediate future, we plan on having a night at Gas Bar (3554 Saint-Laurent). The venue is more mainstream but we will be broadcasting dubstep at that night. You can’t put a cage around music, it has to be accessible to everyone.

What ebbs and flows have you witnessed over the last 10 years of your association with this scene?

Well, there were fewer sessions for a while. Turntablism was obviously still there, but lacked a home for a little while. People were still having sessions, but the open table format was less present in the last couple of years. DJ Mana used to host a weekly session at his DJ School a few years back, but since that shut down, there hasn’t really been a definitive home for regular sessions.

Who was DJ Mana?

The godfather of the Montreal scratch scene. DJ Mana had a DJ school that started out in this apartment and eventually branched out to a larger space. Every Sunday there were scratch sessions. Four set-ups with loops playing. DJ Mana was cutting over drum and bass beats, and hearing them blended together was mind blowing. For unspecified reasons and after a relocation to Off The Hook’s downtown store location, the school eventually stopped altogether.

DJ Mana has been a huge influence by introducing me to turntablism and all the ways it can be connected to so many genres. I have never limited myself to a specific type of music, so his creativity and flexibility are huge for me, in terms of seeing the turntable as more of an instrument and a means to bring different genres into a cohesive blend.

Who has been your biggest influence?

“My brother, Simon, has probably been my biggest influence, both musically and in general. He taught me so much about determination, respect, open-mindedness and just being an all around good human being. Growing up, he introduced me to such a wide variety of music, and that has allowed me to better appreciate the plethora of different sounds I enjoy and support today.”

What ebbs and flows have you witnessed over the last 10 years of your association with this scene?

Well, there were fewer sessions for a while. Turntablism was obviously still there, but lacked a home for a little while. People were still having sessions, but the open table format was less present in the last couple of years. DJ Mana used to host a weekly session at his DJ School a few years back, but since that shut down, there hasn’t really been a definitive home for regular sessions.

What are some of the craziest things have you seen happen since you began event planning & promotion?

Seeing a shitload of people getting together under a bridge [Burning Man], even without being involved, it was crazy. Seeing the cops trying to break it up and the resistance of the crowd, it was epic. The biggest crowds I’ve ever seen come out to Igloofest at  -40 with the windchill and snowing, but surrounded by all these people who are sharing a crazy moment, it was like time stopped.

Personally, I have always seen the turntable as an instrument, in its own right, when in the hands of a capable musician. And people like DJ Mana, DJ Brace, Killa Jewel and Jon Rist to name a few, have shown the versatility of the art form and helped to put Montreal on the map internationally.

Many French DJs from overseas have been calling Montreal home recently as well as promoting their styles and techniques in events across the island. Explain your take on the French connection

Some of the best international talent has been immigrating here recently and I think it has a lot to do with the resurgence of the art form. Many French DJs are into glitch, dubstep and drum and base. It has gotten me back into turn table events. The glitch element didn’t catch on here like it did on the west coast.

Sixtoo, Megazoid… all these people and that scene dropped off for a while. I’m very motivated by the efforts of Famelik and the other French DJs, such as NoylMart-One, Start and Tchoupax who have experienced the culture overseas and have sparked a renewal of interest (turntablism) here. And don’t forget DJ Brace, who won a Juno for his scratch album a couple of years ago, and has called Montreal his home ever since.


Lortie will be doing a second installment of Le Bass Factory Scratch Sessions at Blizzarts (3956 Boulevard Saint-Laurent) while continuing to lend his talents to many other projects. Lortie is currently blogging at www.electrokill.info as well as working with Scott Walker & Gabriel Audet, the founders of Beatfreakz, who host monthly scratch meetings & post weekly scratch webisode performances each Thursday at DJWEB.TV.

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *