Sun rays warm bodies as aspirations stir from tinder to flame. It’s beautiful outside: for some, exam season is over and school’s out for the summer; for others, being broke might suck a little less with some free Vitamin D to go around; and for all, there is nothing like emerging from heavy layers of winter blues to discover new sounds and musical groves.

This summer, I’ve resolved to step out of my usual musical comforts and head towards the place where electronic, drone and pop meet, starting with Saxsyndrum, local duo made up of David Switchenko on the tenor sax and Nick Schofield on percussions. Saxsyndrum is signed to Art Not Love Records. Graciously, Schofield took some time to provide some insight on this local gem.

Saxsyndrum released their SXD_EP in winter 2014. It is a sonic daydream with tracks 1-3 composed only with sax samples and 4-6 with percussion samples. They dive into the slipstream between analog and digital – creating and sharing musings that are not only moving but beckon movement. Maceonectar is a standout track as is Lac Marsan.

Schofield and Switchenko met in a previousband named Bananafish which also boasted members of Smokes – Nick Maas and Patrick Cruveiller. After Bananafish disbanded in 2010, Schofield and Switchenko kept jamming together, Schofield explained, “we’ve kinda been like the rhino and goat buddies ever since.”

When they aren’t playing their tunes, members of Saxsyndrum can usually be found doing something music-related: Schofield hosts a radio show while Switchenko loves to dance. Their passion for all things music oriented isn’t surprising as Saxsyndrum has been involved in numerous festivals, a recurrent act on the roster of several tastemakers including Passovah, Blue Skies Turn Black and Pop Montreal.

Saxsyndrum has also been a regular at Duckstock, which Schofield described as “a tiny friend-fest with Montreal bands at a family cottage. There’s a PA and like 20 bands play. We’ve played, I think, 7 years running.”

Indeed Saxsyndrum seem plugged in to the importance of a being part of a music community. They regularly collaborate with local acts producing inspired and refreshing tracks. One of these is a Lykke Li cover collaboration with Sea O’Leena, a lo fi shoegaze artist whose body of work is making waves. The track is a sweet, slightly melancholic, and sprightly take on the original – the musical chemistry is just right.

“Back in fall 2013, a bunch of friends, including Dave [Switchenko] and Charlotte [Sea O’leena] were at The Plant for a drone sleepover.  Somehow, it turned into a psych-yoga dance party, with like touchy tai chi style dance moves…” Schofield recounted, “the next day, I’m on the bus to Ottawa, glowing from the night before, and dance dance dance comes on my phone randomly. I actually started working on the cover right then and a month later we all performed it live at Casa del Popolo for our album launch.  After that, I decided to produce a studio version, which features Patrick Cruvellier on violin and Patrick Latreille on bass.”

In the spirit of being inspired by the work of fellow musicians, Saxsyndrum also recently released a remix of Smokes’ recent single Body Heat.

“We love their new single,” Schofield said, “So we just got the stems and dug in. Dave and I were excited about the drum sound especially, and the feeling of Nick’s vocals, both of which we really brought out over a punchy 5/4 beat. Dave also wanted to highlight the ‘monster’ reference and expose the lyrics at the end.”

When it comes to songwriting, Schofield explained that their process has changed over time:

“We started off jamming in all it’s unfiltered glory, but now we just make demos. We hash out ideas on our own, bring them to the table at various stages, and craft them together towards the end in the studio and live. “

Perhaps there is a little magic in the Saxsyndrum breakfast combo, an Olympico latte and a Chez de Gaulle croissant, with which they begin most studio sessions.

According to Schofield, as a band, Saxsyndrum finds inspiration for their songs and performances from the following: “In the words of a friend, we want people to move and be moved by our music.”

Not long ago, Saxsyndrum added a vocalist to their line up:

“How we got our singer is kinda ridiculous,” Schofield laughed, “so we’re playing at a beautiful in-the-woods music festival called Echo Fest in Quebec, when AP Bergeron from Year of Glad kinda points at himself, then the microphone, then drunkenly ambles on stage and starts singing with us. That was like his audition, and now he’s gonna be singing all over our next album!”

Montreal folks can catch Saxsyndrum on July 16th at Casa del Popolo

Piknic Electronik is opening this weekend and I am super amped to catch the first show of the year, it’s a sure banger. Werd up. You know how flavourful it can get with all those freshly dressed people dancing hard around that abstract grey steel sculpture— plus Parc Jean Drapeau is lush and spacious.

I’m pumped to catch the Mayssam set, she’s been in New York for a minute, but hails from MTL. Artists who migrate away from home then return almost always throw the best sets. Here’s a sample:

Other acts like Gold Diggerz and The Drifter will be spinning prog house and garage styles into the night. I got a nice pair of shades picked out, it’s supposed to be mad sunny and 25. Right. Find me where the weird kids are and we’ll chill a bit, you know the deal. One.

Photo by: Miguel Legault

Young Paris is a Congolese artist living in New York — think of the potential for fertile tension in that brief description alone. Add in the fact that he’s from a family that has artistic and cultural connections in both the Congo and America and you can see why Young Paris is interested in blurring the lines between contemporary and traditional cultures.

Young Paris’ father co-created the first Congolese ballets, these ballets were vibrant expressions of the Congolese culture, which included: dancing, drumming, costume and drama. YP related to me over the phone that a key element of these ballets was their efficacy as a forum for exposing governmental hypocrisy.

Although the ballets were largely celebratory and festive, there were elements of social critique embedded in the performance. This is the kind of cultural milieu that Young Paris is coming out of.

Young Paris’ music is beat driven, but beat driven in the way that Rhythm of the Saints is beat driven, by which I mean to say, it is not simply dumb repetition, there is substance. In YP’s new video for his track The Haus there are all kinds of aesthetic hybridizations: harem parts and traditional Congolese face painting, African drumming and synth sounds, and the music video is populated with real African dancers and dancing.

The pop idiom itself is being used as transmitter of traditional culture. This idea is strikingly similar to his father’s idea of couching social critique in the ballets he created.

Now, it’s not as if Young Paris is preaching overtly about social injustice, it’s subtler than that— I feel like Young Paris’s ability to walk that fine line between innovation and appropriation is in itself a huge statement that reverberates beyond the context of pop music. It engenders a respect and a tolerance in me that very few pop artists do.

This was a really dope interview if you haven’t figured that out yet! Young Paris is not your average cat, he’s got bigger visions. Near the end of our conversation he mentioned that his father had passed, then he said something very resonant to me, and I’ll leave you with this line:

“My whole mission is his vision until I’m gone.”

* photo Victoria Wilde Langley

It’s a sweet 16 for MEG, Montreal’s longest running summer festival completely devoted to electronic music. The truly great thing about MEG, despite the festival’s growth in popularity following the commercialisation of electronic music in recent years, is it continues to showcase the up-and-comers — especially on the local level — and remains on the cutting-edge of a genre that can often feel lost in the mainstream.

MEG’s programming this year is stellar (as usual) but it’s impossible to see everything so here we present our top picks for the 2014 edition.

FRIDAY, JULY 25

Sango + Andre Power + Eden Hagos + Da-P + Yung Gayance @ Le Belmont

Michigan’s Sango is championing the so-called atl-R&B scene but he rises above the rest by combining Latin music influences into his work, blending baile funk with trap and hip hop layered on top of his minimalistic electronic beats. His debut full-length album, North, dropped earlier this week and can be heard in full via the Soulection bandcamp page.

Show starts at 10 p.m.; tickets cost $18.50 in advance and can be found at Atom Heart, MOOG Audio and Laïka or online via MEG.

SATURDAY, JULY 26 2014

Essaie Pas + Apigeon + Syzzors + Mathématique @ Divan Orange

Montreal’s Essaie Pas is dark, depressing and cinematic. What initially drew me to them was the psych influence in their earlier releases. They’ve since incorporated more dreamy synth sounds into the mix with good results.

Show starts at 10 p.m., $11 in advance via MEG or $15 at the door.

Suuns + Technical Kidman + Seoul @ SAT

My pick for the entire week would have to be Suuns and Technical Kidman. Both are fantastically acclaimed Montreal acts that have really come a long way in the past few years. Suuns have joined the big boys now and have gone touring across North America and overseas several times since the release of their debut Zeroes QC in 2010.

Technical Kidman released the follow-up to their 2011 self-titled debut earlier this month. On A Stranger Voice, the band departs from more traditional instrumentation in favour of charting untrod electronic territory. This summer, they’ve been doing the festival thing, playing NXNE in Toronto and Sled Island in Calgary. They’ll soon embark on a short Canadian tour so this is your chance to see them before they set off.

Show starts at 9 p.m.; tickets cost $17 in advance and can be found at Atom Heart and MOOG Audio or online via MEG.

SUNDAY, JULY 27

MEG x Piknic Électronik @ Parc Jean-Drapeau

MEG owes much of its success to its tradition of collaboration with other musical institutions, both at home and abroad. In addition to its annual showcase at Osheaga, MEG will be commandeering this week’s edition of Piknic Électronik. Hailing from across the pond, headliner French Fries will be joined by Paul Trafford, Manaré, Aleqs Notal, Woulg and a surprise guest. Oh and this is a Christmas-themed event.

Show starts at 2 p.m., $15 at the door. MEG festival passes are not valid for this event.

THURSDAY, JULY 31

The Gulf Stream + Melodule + Groj @ Divan Orange

This is a good example of what MEG does best: taking fresh, young, local talent and putting them on the map. This is a night featuring Montreal’s fastest-rising stars in the genre: The Gulf Stream, Melodule and Groj.

Show starts at 10 p.m., $10 at the door.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1

MEG x Présence Autochtone presents Electro-choc @ Place des festivals

This year’s free event in the Quartier des spectacles’ Place des festivals features the genre-defying Cris Derksen. Derksen is a classically-trained, award-winning cellist of Aboriginal descent. She blends classical and folk music with electronic elements and the result is unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Parisian duo Acid Arab offer up their own blend of seemingly clashing genres, blending electronic music with traditional Middle Eastern and Northern African folk music.

Show starts at 8:30 p.m., free.

Honourable mention: MEG Boat feat. Benjamin Damage + Acid Arab + MMF & AKTA. I’ve relegated this to ‘honourable mention’ status because, come on! Partying on a boat in the St-Laurence river to some of the best DJs out there? No contest.

The 2014 edition of MEG Montreal runs until Saturday, July 2. Read an interview we did last year with festival founder Mustapha Terki.

The creators behind Piknic Électronik never imagined their winter offshoot, Igloofest, would achieve the level of success that it has. According to general director and co-founder Nicolas Cournoyer, the idea of Igloofest came about as a joke during a post-Piknic meeting over eight years ago. The team were brainstorming ways in which they could take the concept of the weekly, outdoor, summer event further.

“Someone said ‘why don’t we do one in the winter?’ We started laughing,” Cournoyer said, “but then we said ‘hey, why not?’ That would be interesting, that would be original, that would be a good way to help people rediscover winter and tame it and stop complaining.”

It’s hard to believe that something that started out as a joke is now one of the biggest events of the year and has validated Montreal’s contribution to the electronic music scene on the world stage.

Just as in the early days of Piknic, the organizers saw Igloofest as a chance to showcase Montreal talent within the still-underground genre of electronic music. When electronic music broke into the mainstream several years ago, Piknic and Igloofest were primed for a surge in popularity as well and faced enormous opportunity to expand beyond the Montreal scene.

The current flood of musicians operating within the genre is a challenge for anyone to navigate but Cournoyer is happy with the balance the team has achieved in booking acts for Igloofest.

A focus on Montreal is still very much a priority for them. It’s one of the reasons they decided to expand the capacity of the smaller stage from around 200 to 700 people.

Igloofest © Bianca Lecompte

They also recognize that international acts can really draw in the crowds but they are very careful about avoiding a certain level of commercialization.

“Because the electronic music scene exploded in the last few years, there’s a lot more commercial stuff. We’re trying to target artists that are not in that class,” Cournoyer said, “first of all, because that’s not the kind of music we like. On the other side, it’s impossible for us to afford it.”

The popularity of electronic music has made it so that some of the most recognizable names in the genre are notoriously expensive to book. Artists like David Guetta and Deadmau5 can charge upwards of $50 000 to $200 000 for a single performance.

“When you go see those artists, tickets are $50 to $60. We’re not interested in that. For Igloofest, you pay $20 at the door,” he said, “it’s a question of philosophy as well. [The commercialization of electronic music] is something strange about what’s happening and it’s too expensive. That’s not how we created the event and how we wanted it to evolve.”

Keeping the price of entry as low as possible is important to Cournoyer since many Igloofest attendees are more interested in the overall experience than who’s providing the beats. It’s the experience that has captured the attention of fans and artists alike across the globe.

“The word of mouth travels fast,” Cournoyer said, “one artist from a label goes and tells everyone else and they all want to experience it. It blows their mind.”

Cournoyer said he’s met people from all over at Igloofest, describing one memorable fan who traveled to Montreal from Argentina for the sole purpose of attending the festival.

While Igloofest’s reputation transcends the borders of Quebec, what outsiders may not realize is that the event has changed the way many Montrealers feel about winter.

In a 2011 TEDx talk for HEC Montreal, Cournoyer described how most Montrealers view winter as a sickness:

As soon as the cold weather hits, many shut themselves indoors and hardly venture out beyond daily necessities like work and school. The cold seems to consume all of one’s being, turning even the most good-natured of us into crabby, incessant complainers. We all know: winters in Montreal are long, dark and horrible.

The key to enjoying yourself is to dress warm and find fun things to do outside that keep you moving, something that is exemplified in Igloofest.

Cournoyer refers to the growing trend of outdoor activities in the city, signifying the population’s willingness to change their feelings towards winter.

“We were thinking let’s make people love winter,” he said, “and that’s something that we’re really proud of, that now people are looking forward to winter.”

Igloofest closing weekend from February 6 to 8, Old Port of Montreal.   

Photos by Bianca Lecompte. See our Facebook album for more.

Light Fires opened with red pumps and karate kicks and JD Samson & MEN closed with some electro bliss, but the real jewel was sitting right in the interstice. Diamond Bones is a Montreal dream pop trio with an indie edge: Michelle Bensimon, Lana Cooney and Isabelle Banos took the stage shoeless before a packed house at Il Motore on Saturday night.

These gals paint in big, plangent soundscapes. One thing that struck me right away was the depth of their sound. I was talking to a guy in the crowd about how technology has really widened the palette of frequencies at the songwriter’s disposal. I have to agree. Diamond Bones uses this wider field very well: long smoky synths counter-pointed by up-tempo drumming and poppy arpeggios create this delicious emotional tension. They also sing harmony. Did I mention that I like this band?

Halfway through their set, I slalomed toward the stage to get some photos and Banos announced that they’d just finished recording their first album earlier that day. That’s a bit of a tricky statement though— we all know what production’s like: it never ends. But when I cornered Cooney after the show she said it wouldn’t be too long before the album dropped.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this trio only becomes tighter and more successful as they evolve. I’m really looking forward to this release. For now I’ll keep spinning that sorrowfully catchy ‘Home is Where’ track off of Bandcamp until my downstairs neighbours bang on their ceiling with a broom.

Photo by Jesse Anger

MEG is one of Montreal’s best-kept secrets when it comes to the music scene. The electronic music festival is celebrating its 15th year of existence this summer. The most interesting thing about MEG is that they’ve managed to grow exponentially while maintaining an underground vibe.

Mustapha Terki, festival co-founder and director, has always been ahead of the game in the electronic music movement. He and Jacques Primeau started the festival way before electronic music took its place in mainstream culture.

Despite the over-saturation of the genre in recent years, MEG continues to adhere to its mandate of presenting artists of quality and engaging the audience as much as possible.

“I don’t do DJs. I present artists that make albums. What I present is an artistic process, not a rave,” Terki said. “There are some people that will dance to whatever. That doesn’t interest me. MEG is music you would listen to whether you feel like dancing or not.”

It’s a slight distinction but a very important one when it comes to choosing who gets to be part of the festival. As for other criteria, Terki strives to represent the electronic music scene as is year after year.

“My philosophy is to present snapshots of what’s happening right now,” he said. “If the artists become successful or not, that’s not a concern for us. We present what’s happening in this moment.”

This means following the trends to a certain extent. The growing popularity of electronic music has led the genre to be mixed with other types of music – notably pop, rock, and hip hop – something Terki has embraced wholeheartedly. He added that perhaps the only thing that has changed in the past 15 years is that they now keep an eye on other genres as well.

MEGSHOW2

With more influences and genres falling under the umbrella of electronic music, MEG’s network of international and local artists has grown considerably. This network has been key to the festival’s longevity and success.

It’s a simple concept, but a brilliant one. Terki is a French native and started his lifelong dedication to electronic music in Paris. Never a musician himself, he started organizing events and small-scale festivals at a young age to share his passion with others.

When he moved to Montreal and started MEG, he had already built up an international community of artists that he invited to the festival along with local talent.

This tradition continues to this day but on a much larger scale. MEG’s international network has expanded to include artists from a wide array of countries.

MEG presents showcases in these other countries as well. This year alone, MEG presented showcases at festivals in Mexico and Martinique as well as in Paris where Techno Parade also celebrated its 15-year anniversary.

For a festival with such a huge global reach, some may find it surprising that they aren’t selling out parc Jean-Drapeau. But the idea of a massive outdoor festival is not part of Terki’s vision for MEG.

“I’m not interested in organizing a festival that blocks the streets. I love bars, I love small venues. [MEG] will always be this rapport between the artist and the public,” he said.

MEGGIG

Engaging the public is something that MEG focuses on year-round. They host a monthly event at Divan Orange for local talent where they scout the festival’s future participants. They are very active in the local community, from giving away tickets for shows to underprivileged youth to their annual toy drive for Sun Youth during the holidays.

While Terki seems to enjoy every aspect of his work, during the festival is when he really gets to have fun.

His top picks for this year’s festival include tonight’s showcase at Divan Orange with Mesparrow, Fire/Works, and Emilie & Ogden; ELECTROMANIA at Club Soda with Shlohmo, Para One, Sound Pellegrino, and Tommy Kruise, also tonight; MEG x Présence Autochtone at Place des Festivals with Poirier and JFL on Friday; and the ever-popular MEG Boat with The Hacker, Zombie Nation, Bordello, and Thomas Von Party on Saturday.

“The festival has started so I told my team ‘you leave me alone now.’ I’ve done my work as director, now I will have some drinks and go see the shows.”

MEG runs until Saturday, August 3. For more info on artists and events, see their website.  

For an artist, doing interviews can become redundant and boring. Grammy award-winner Carl Craig decided to do things a little differently and I was invited, alongside fellow music journalists and bloggers, for a bar talk before his intimate performance at Motorcity Wine bar. Here’s how it went:

I arrived just a little before 8:45pm as requested by his publicist. Carl had gone to eat, so the time he would show up was uncertain. I went inside to see how many people would be there and was surprised to see I was the first to arrive. I figured that either the bar talk wouldn’t happen or if it was happening it might end up being a one on one kind of thing, which I wasn’t prepared for. I decided to go downstairs, drink a pint at Foran’s Grand Trunk pub to give me ideas about the type of questions I’d ask Carl.

When I came back, fifteen minutes later, Car Craig was there with three other journalists. A total of ten people would eventually show up. After the obvious questions like “What does Detroit techno mean to you?”, I asked about the release of a three cds box set that was part of the Masterpiece series from Ministry of Sound. The compilation is divided in three segments: the music he currently plays, the music that inspired him and the third, not yet released, which will be called Mediation. It’ll be a modular jam that will have isolated elements from music that Carl has done in the past, including some solos. Songs will be at least ten minutes and should put the listener in a meditative mode. He told us how he used to listen to new age music extensively and how Detroit radio used to play artists like Vangelis all the time. The current playlist will include tracks from Scuba and Huxley.

We also talked about the digital age and how it influence producer’s work. He was revealed how, for a producer, he’s tempted to compose and released songs right away for websites like ITunes and Beatport, but that he’s now focusing at bettering himself as an engineer. For example, he’s working on a Terrence Parker song and he did thirty different mixes of it to make sure he was getting the best quality possible.

Talking to him was like talking to an old friend. He didn’t hesitate to crack a joke here and there. When asked about how effectively he was protecting his ears, he said he was trying to…but in the heat of the moment, earplugs were like condoms and you tend to sometimes forget to wear them. Fortunately his ears haven’t failing him yet and we should hear a lot more from him in the years to come. Masterpiece is coming out June 24th; make sure to grab your copy!

 

In a couple of days, I’ll be attending my third Detroit Movement Festival, a must attend event for anybody that loves electronic music. Every time I go, I discover great things about this city that has way more to offer than abandoned buildings. Here’s a survival guide for those of you attending the festival for the first time and for those who’d like to go beyond the Hart Plaza.

Restaurants

One thing I’ve learned getting older is that good food is important for you. I’m no longer nineteen years old, therefore, going on a four day bender without sleeping while feeding my body with MDMA is no longer an option. Detroit has tons of great food options if you’re willing to go a little further than downtown. Here are some places you should check out if food is as important to you as music:

saucedslows

Slows Bar-B-Q – 2138 Michigan Ave
Eating at Slows when I’m in Detroit is mandatory for me. Their Mac-n-cheese is to die for. If you’re into southern food you should pay them a visit. While in the neighbourhood, make sure to check out Astro, a great place to get your caffeine fix.

soup menuMudgie’s -1300 Porter St
Renowned for their sandwiches, I personally have a thing for their homemade soups. One thing that’s for sure, Greg Mudge loves his customers and he will go out of his way to make sure you feel at home in his restaurant. They now have a wine and beer license for your drinking pleasure

Rodin – 15 E Kirby ST
I haven’t tried this one yet but it’s on my list for this year. I’m a sucker for French cuisine so I shouldn’t be disappointed. What better time than Friday May 24th to have a late night dinner while hearing John Collins, from the legendary UR collective, play records. The fun starts at 10pm and it goes on until 2am.

Seva – 66 E Forrest Ave
Worried that the suggestions so far are too meat oriented? Seva’s the place for you, dear vegetarian/vegan friends. A good hangover cure to give your body a break from all the toxins.

Honeybee Market –2443 Bagley Ave
Detroit Eastern Market – 2934 Russell Street
You want to save some money and make your own meals? Make sure to visit these two addresses. People travel from miles away to get Honeybee avocados. They also make their own guacamole and salsa that has nothing to do with your usual supermarket brands.

Afterparties
Movement is a daytime thing, going from noon until midnight. Many festival goers are looking for places to keep dancing. The after party list is overwhelming so I thought I’d let you know about my picks this year:

Friday

An Intimate Evening With Carl Craig 
Motor City Wine – 608 Woodward Ave
You want to start your festival in a smooth way. You probably just got in town and are exhausted but it would be a shame to spend your first night at the hotel. You know what they say about a marathon? Starting too strong might make you run slower at the end of the race. Same goes for a festival! On Friday you’ll either find me indulging myself with French food and techno beats (see restaurant picks above) or at Motorcity wine for an intimate night with Carl Craig.

Saturday
Things get busy on Saturday and you’ll have to make heartbreaking decisions or really dig into your wallet to do some party hopping.

Deep Detroit V.5
1515 Broadway
Kai Alce is once again hosting this one of a kind event. After having guests like Omar S and Marcellus Pittman, he’s making room for the new generation and invited Kyle Hall.  The event is taking place at 1515 Broadway, a venue that is not selling alcohol. When there’s a will there’s a way and you should ask how to get to the second floor…

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Circo Loco Celebrates Arthur Russel
TV Bar, 2548 Grand River Ave
When a legendary Ibiza party makes the trek to the Midwest to celebrate a legendary musician with an impressive lineup you have no choice but check it out. Carl Craig, Lee Curtis, Rick Wilhite, Kim Ann Foxmann, D’Julz; that’s only a short list because the party is happening from 10pm until 2pm (no it’s not a mistake…it really continues until the next afternoon). Something most of us won’t remember since we’ll be too intoxicated, but fun nonetheless.

carl craig

Sunday

Mecca Detroit
Dirty Jersey’s Club , 1513 Broadway
Taking place on both Saturday and Sunday, the event is definitely worth checking out on the second day. Headliners incluses DJ Assault, Los Hermanos and Eddie Fowlkes

The Ultimate Detroit/Chicago Experience
Fountain Bistro, 800 Woodward Ave
Detroit techno and Chicago house are two music genders not too far from each other. It makes perfect sense to invite legendary artists from both cities to perform together. Glenn Underground, Boo Williams, Rick Wilhite and many more will make you dance all night.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/37954290″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Direct Contact 2.0
North End Studios, 5101 Loraine Street
A little self promotion here since I was invited to play this party. But seriously, I wouldn’t recommend you check it out because I’m there but rather to catch some seriously great musicians like MGUN and Deastro.

North End Studios is part of why Detroit has become so special. It’s a business working to participate, establish and exist in the creative and DIY communities of Detroit, with a focus on contributing to the empowerment of the current and future generations of artists and entrepreneurs through providing studio space, mentorship and exhbition opportunities.

No way back
1515 Broadway
Legendary NYC parties are once again hosting their Sunday party. Techno music all night and enthusiastic dancers that makes the room so hot you’ll be covered in sweat

The first year I attended the festival, there was a tornado warning. Last year, a friend of mine took a little too many drugs and spent the night at the hospital. I wonder what this year’s edition will be like…In the meantime Beatport made a list of 40 essential Detroit techno and house tracks to get you in the mood.

As the winter progresses and the winds get harsher, we become more and more inclined to stay cozy through the week and into the weekends… or maybe we just complain more about our country. In spite of our winter lifestyles, Igloofest is doing a pretty good job of getting us out of hibernation. Even in -20˚C weather, the crowds are thick and people are partying as hard as ever. It is pretty novel to suit up in your snow gear to party and play outdoors and Igloofest is the best excuse. I don’t know how to skate, I hate hockey, and I have only had a couple Beaver Tails in my life, but Igloofest makes me feel like a true Canadian!

3-igloofest-015

This was my second weekend at the festival, this time around I feel like I got to enjoy more of the event and it was awesome. The warm up stations were a blessing on such a chilly night, and were even more appreciated when I realized there were marshmallows being offered! I also took the time to check out the Virgin Mobile Igloo, where the crowd was tighter (and therefore warmer), and the locals were banging pretty impressive beats. Not to mention you get to rave in an igloo.

A Tribe Called RedWe got there just in time for A Tribe Called Red. I’ve seen these guys a few times as they came out of Ottawa, the city I grew up in. The trio is made up of DJ Bear Witness, Dj Shub and Dee Jay NDN. They perform what they’ve dubbed “Pow Wow Step”, mashing up indigenous song and sound, electro beats, with the occasional mainstream tunes. You can download their album for free at www.electricpowwow.com. Spinning awesome tracks as per usual – these guys never let me down!

Headlining on the 31st was Caspa, a producer from the UK. I started listening into dubstep when I was sixteen. My introduction to it was FabricLive.37, a collaboration album produced by Caspa and Rusko. My heart has a soft spot for the DJ that got me started on the music I spent my formative years dancing to. When I saw him on the lineup I got a little giddy to say the least. His set was better than I had expected, and kept my body moving and my temperature up!

Awesome music is paired with equally awesome visuals at Igloofest. Each weekend brings with it not only guest DJs, but guest VJs. Giving credit to the VJs shows a ton of respect for the craft. Let’s be honest, it happens ever too often that this aspect of the live music scene is less acknowledged. The visuals on January 31st were provided by Chocobeets, and Tind. With the amazing lighting, projection, and screens installed, the VJs have been doing a fantastic job at keeping our eyes happy.

3-igloofest-095My first Igloofest has helped to make my first Winter in Montreal even more fun. Unfortunately now I’m left longing for Piknik Electronique and the music festivals the summer will bring.

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Photos: Chris Zacchia

Igloofest’s first week is behind us and with such a strong beginning we’re happy they decided to extend it an extra week. That means there are still nine more nights to go. Hopefully Mother Nature will be nicer to us, but like a girl working the festival mentioned: “It wouldn’t be the same if we weren’t freezing cold; only the true electronic music lovers come out and play under these circumstances.” Here are my thoughts on the first weekend, including Wolf + Lamb and performances at the local DJ stage.

Wolf+Lamb

Wolf + Lamb proved once again they’re true party animals. They delivered a DJ set that even your mother would have danced to. It might sound negative  but when it’s as cold outside as it was last Thursday, a little crowd pleaser here and there is exactly what you need. They put a smile on everybody’s face when they dropped Eddie Murphy’s hit “Party all the time”. They played one of my guilty pleasure “Sensual seduction” by Snoop (when he was still) the Dogg and finished their journey with Detroit anthem “Big Fun”.

Mistress Barbara

Mistress Barbara followed up and you could feel a true connection between her and the crowd. She loves what she does, and in return Montreal fans fought the freezing weather and stayed until the very end.

 

Talking about Montreal DJs, I was happily surprised by the Virgin Mobile Igloo. Not only that sound quality is way better (it’s a cozy sphere so the speakers are more efficient compared to the outdoor setting), but I must say our local scene is healthier than ever. I got to see G O’Brien, who’s been a techno veteran for years now, formerly involved in the rave scene and later in afterhours such as Sona and Aria. The stage is in a closed, heated area and it literally saved my life last Thursday. It’s definitely the best way to defrost your body and discover new talents. Beware though, the space is small and the line up is long but your toes and ears will thank you for being patient.

2013 Igloofest thur-128 2013 Igloofest thur-109Igloofest was not at full capacity on the colder days which made me wonder why they don’t offer a special price for exceptionally cold weather. I mean, not everybody can stay outside when it’s -25 and most people will think twice before spending 20$ when they know they can’t deal with the cold for more than an hour or two.

This weekend we’ll be back covering: Miss Kittin, Ellen Allien, Nina Kravitz, Pan-Pot, TNGHT, and Schlachthofbronx. Here is a bit of a preview.

If you’re a female DJ or just a fan of the female persuasion (and I know there are more and more of us out there), do yourself a favor and attend Igloofest on Thursday January 24th. Miss Kittin and Ellen Allien will be sharing the stage and seeing these two working in the electronic music industry for over a decade has been truly inspiring.

It’s the time of the year where winter seems to be wearing on with no end in sight. We’re all getting tired of the snow but Igloofest is back again to help you dance away the winter blues. For the fifth year in a row, the people behind Piknik Electronik are bringing us Igloofest, 4 weekends of great music and lots of fun in the Old Port. Each year as the festival has grown so have the crowds. This year organizers have prepared 4 weekends of festivities. To help you decide which night you’ll be attending here’s my selection all top acts including both up and coming artists and the not to be missed legends.

Kicking off the festivities on Thursday January 17th, Wolf + Lamb are definitely the right people to get a party started. Here’s a video of a set they did a couple of days ago during BPM. They will have to trade their t-shirts for wool sweaters but expect the vibe to be the same… like a nice mdma trip. Mistress Barbara is also playing that night if you’d prefer the tried tested and true.

Mutek will be showcasing the night on Friday January 18th with DJ KiNK followed by Mathias Kaden. For those who were there when he last came to Montreal in June, you know you have to brave the cold to see KiNK aka Strahil Velchev. For those who missed out, here’s your second chance.

If you followed my advices so far you’ve already attended the first two nights of Igloofest so why not complete the circle and go Saturday January 19th too? The house legend from Chicago, DJ Sneak, will be holding down the decks that night. He will be followed by seasoned party veteran Josh Wink.

If you’re a female DJ or just a fan of the female persuasion (and I know there are more and more of us out there), do yourself a favor and attend Igloofest on Thursday January 24th. Miss Kittin and Ellen Allien will be sharing the stage and seeing these two working in the electronic music industry for over a decade has been truly inspiring.

On February 1st, Magda will be gracing us by her presence. 2012 has been a busy year for her since she left Minus records to found her own label, Items and Things with Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, it will be interesting to see how it has influenced her work.

The next night, February 2nd, has also an impressive booking with the British/Spanish Audiofly and the French Agoria. Audiofly play a powerful, experimental style of music that has been heating it up in underground clubs around the world. It’s a dirty mix of tech meets house that’s sure to impress. Agoria is a little newer to the scene having only really started out in 2009 but already has 3 albums out, you might want to check out his 3rd full length Impermanance, launched in February 2011 which features a collaboration with Carl Craig.

Eager to discover younger talents? Make sure to catch Ben Ufo on Thursday February 7th. Rarely these days do you see a young DJ able to get amazing bookings all over the world without a being a renowned producer. Here’s a young, passionate music fiend that will show you what a true disc jockey should be. After his set be sure to stick around to catch Joe Goddard of Hot Chip!

One last younger DJ you shouldn’t miss is Oneman aka Streatham’s Steve Bishop, performing on February 8th. For any of you, born in the 80’s, you’ll recognise the music you grew up to in his set. Blending dubstep to r’n’b and hip-hop classics, he’ll surely makes the snow melt.

If it’s your first year attending Igloofest you’ll want to be prepared, here are some useful tips.
1. You might want to take Friday off since there are events every Thursday night (as well as Fridays and Saturdays of course) and I doubt you’ll stay sober.

2. We never say it enough but it’s no joke, you gotta wear warm clothes. A snow suit can help you enjoy your experience more but the key is keeping your feet warm. Bring extra socks and make sure your boots are water proof. Finding a crowd of good looking people and dancing close to them can also help.

3. Buy your tickets in advance. It’s cheaper and some nights will be sold out. Seriously it sucks to show up with a bunch of friends and then not get in.

4. Arrive early to avoid line up and make sure you have everything you need cause there’s no re-entry.

5. You can’t bring alcohol, so make sure to pre-drink before hand. They will be selling mulled wine, Sapporo, Jagr and other beverages there.

6. Igloofest ends around midnight but it’s not a reason to stop partying. This year, you’ll be able to get your electronic music fix until 5am at Espace Griffintown. This year a new festival is springing up to keep the party going called Apres Ski. The party starts at 11pm and goes on until 5am every Saturdays during Igloofest. You can see the full schedule and find out more about the festival right here: http://www.apresski.ca/

Forget The Box is also offering up 4 free tickets for you to go to the Apres Ski party with your friends. Simply comment below on this article telling us what you love about Igloofest and share this article to enter!

Slutdrive

SlutdriveLooking to get in trouble tonight? I think the answer to your party needs is to make your way to Divan Orange to catch Douce Angoisse and Slutdrive. Here’s an introduction to these two bands for those unfamiliar with them.

Douce Angoisse is an electro act coming from France. Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that. The project started in France but Adeline, the front woman, was looking for a change of scene and soon packed her luggage to take London by storm. Unhappy after a couple of years, she decided it was time to move again and now lives in Montreal. The band changed a lot since arriving and I must say it’s for the best. She’s now playing with a very talented guitar player, Olivier Gourde, and a new drummer. With a slogan like “We’re all born in the same shit”, I can guarantee you that toilet paper rolls will be flying and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Adeline jump on the drum and make sure that everybody in the room is shaking their asses off. Check out some of her videos, she’s awesome!

http://youtu.be/jRVP72Ck7MA

I met Slutdrive at a loft party I was djing at last May. Everybody was encouraged to wear jeans short and it brought a crazy atmosphere to the event. If Douce Angoisse is the electro queen, let’s say that Slutdrive are the dirty punk rockers. Their live show is the best answer to a stressful end of semester. Not convinced yet? Have a listen to their bandcamp : http://slutdrive.bandcamp.com/

The show is taking place at Divan Orange tonight. It starts at 9pm and 8$ is all you need to see these wonderful bands. Remember, soon you’ll be stuck in doors with your family dealing with some Christmas drama. Get your dancing fix before it’s too late.

Heidy Pinet summer
In Detroit!

The summer is coming to an end and it wouldn’t be the same without a road trip. Better late than never, here I am spending my hours in Greyhound buses on my way to DJ in places like Detroit and New York. Some people can’t handle it, but whether you prefer planes, cars, trains or buses, it’s always nice to have a perfect playlist to accompany your journey. Here’s a short sample of this year’s trip:

Imagine you’ve been driving for hours and the night is at its peak. You’re in the middle of nowhere so you can finally see some stars. That’s the perfect moment to appreciate a dreamy song like Air’s La mer du Japon.

I don’t think a road trip throughout America would be quite the same without a Bruce Springsteen song.

The indie sensation Vampire Weekend is doing a great cover of his hit I’m going down.

Am & Shawn Lee is making the best sing along songs. Let’s face it too; the live version showing the singer’s moustache is just irresistible!

And since we are road tripping and Detroit is our first stop, I’ll leave you guys with one of my favorite motor city producer: Andrés.

Curious about what will happen in this two-week long road trip? Keep reading Forget The Box. I’ll make sure to keep you posted about my most shameful adventures…

MEG Boat

MEG Boat

Last Saturday, over 800 hundred people stood waiting in line at dock 13 of the Alexandria pier in Montreal’s old port to board a cruise ship for a four hour party on the Saint Lawrence river. Flashes from cameras and smartphones popped under the sky, illuminating the enormous line as people posed for photos with their friends, drank and kept yelling “I’m on a boat!” over and over again.

Now in its 14th year, the MEG festival (Montreal’s Electronic Groove) has proved that it can compete with Osheaga, as the closing festivities are the same weekend. MEG Montreal’s focus is different then that of Osheaga in that they specialize in showcasing local artists as well as much more electronic music. The two music festivals actually worked together this year putting on MMOI (MEG Montreal Osheaga International) events showcasing local talent.

The Boat party got underway with Jesse Rose who hails from London. Beginning the night on the main floor with Chicago house, Rose got everyone dancing to his amazing collection of electronic tunes. No stranger to Montreal, Rose played the SAT in 2011. He will be releasing two new EPs on his label Made To Play this year. Ed Bangers’ Breakbot delivered an equally impressive mix of electro mashed up with Motown to end the night.

Downstairs wedged between two massive bars & surprisingly line-less bathrooms, party goers were treated to Christine, a French duo from Rouen, France. Excited from having seen Justice play for the first time the day before at Osheaga, we chatted while their equipment was being set up.  They told me about how they had fallen in love with Montreal and were looking forward to playing Osheaga in only a few hours. Their brand of dark eletro combined with hiphop scratch was very well received. Montreal’s sweetheart Jenny ‘Vilify’ Carmichael who is originally from Toronto, delivered a powerhouse set to end the night as we drifted back to shore. Her brand of dubstep & dark deep bass can be heard every Wednesday at Belmont’s Bassdrive.

Overall a great night! Thanks for the cruise MEG Montreal, can’t wait till next year!