Perhaps it’s the bouncing of basketballs that developed Montreal producer Ghislain Poirier’s own love for the bounce. But one thing is for sure: his relationship with the sport gave him his first acquaintance with hip-hop.
“Hip-hop is the unofficial soundtrack to basketball. I used to play a lot as a teenager so that’s what I would hear,” explained Poirier. The signature big-bass style he has been perfecting for some years quickly earned him the international title of ‘king of the bounce.’ “When I started doing DJ gigs in clubs, I began to realize the power and effect of base on people. I witnessed people’s reactions and thought ‘Okay, I should do tracks like this,'” he explained.
With already five albums behind him and countless remixes with artists from around the globe, Poirier has come a long way from his college radio DJ days. “From the moment I did my first song, I realized I could make albums.”
Poirier’s sound is rooted in hip-hop, reggae, and electronic music. Yet lately he’s been digging into Soca music, a Caribbean dance fusion of Calypso and electronic percussions originating from Trinidad. “It’s very festive, happy, carnival music.”
Although he likes to sample, Poirier says he always tries to tweak his sounds or do something that makes them his own. “I try to put a signature on it so it’s not just a straight sample but really my sound.”
Poirier manages to cook up his beats simply on a computer, which proves to be enough when you hear his blend with Lil Wayne on the soon-to-be-out ‘We Got The Remix’ mixtape or his production of Omnicrom and TTC’s local anthem “Pour Te Rechauffer.”
“That song is like a UFO. A crunk track in Quebec. We’re all really proud of it,” he said.
He has also released his own mix tapes Bounce Le Remix part 1 and 2 which Poirier considers a DJ tool. By blending random accapellas over his own beats, he does for producers what rappers do on their mixtapes by rapping over famous beats. His take on JT’s “My Love” or Daft Punk’s “Da Funk” mashed up with spank rock is nothing short of exquisite.
“A lot of people kept on saying my beats were too crazy to be labeled hip-hop. But when I took rap acappellas and put them on those beats, people just vibed to it and recognized.” The mix tapes also include melodic female vocals and a cappellas from UK artists.
Poirier has been getting direct reactions from his “Bounce Le Gros” parties since 2005, where he slaps the crowd with constant discoveries in booty-shaking music. “It’s always a challenge to take people further and play them songs they don’t know. But I feed off their energy and it works.” He also uses the gigs to test his own beats on big speakers and gather people’s reactions.
Right now, Poirier is working on his new album due out in October on Ninja Tune. He has already named the album, but prefers to keep the surprise so far. Until then, you can catch him spinning at Main Hall on April 7 for Bounce Le Gros vol.15 or at Club Lambi April 20 for Bounce Le Baile. Bring a sweat towel and bounce, bounce, bounce…