SNDCHECK – summer starts early with euphoric techno party

Montreal-based event planners’ first event of the year was a massive success

After months of waiting, Montreal techno fans were out and about for SNDCHECK Montreal’s 11th event and their first of the year at speakeasy Newspeak. SND0011 was a huge success with people pouring in through the nightclub doors late until the evening. 

SNDCHECK is a Montreal-based events company that hosts get-togethers and parties with various DJs and artists from around town. Their slogan, “aventures musicales nomades,” resonates with fans who often buy tickets before they even know where or when the next event will be. 

They cultivate a space where partygoers can feel safe and unjudged. Nobody cares what you look like or what you’re wearing. Nobody can randomly take photos of you. Everyone is just there to dance and have a good time. 

Cédric Comte is a 21-year-old student at HEC Montreal and a co-founder of the company. He’s in charge of the group’s marketing. 

“At SNDCHECK we organize musical adventures that are nomadic, which is to say every event takes place at a new spot. We want to change the events scene in Montreal,” he said. 

During the pandemic, Comte and a few of his friends went two years without going out. During that period, they felt that the world was changing. Comte said the bars and clubs in the city just didn’t do it for them.

“I can’t even remember the amount of times we were being stopped at lines for clubs and being forced to buy bottles. The whole vibe was off. We wanted to create a space catered to client experience and a world where people really get to experience the full party scene.” 

Since 2021, SNDCHECK has held 11 events. Some take place outdoors at places like Mount Royal while others happen inside, like the time they hosted an event at Théâtre Paradoxe, an old church building. What started off as a group of twenty-ish friends quickly became two hundred, and by the end of last summer, SNDCHECK had over a thousand people dancing at Parc Jean-Drapeau. 

One unique quality to SNDCHECK is their “disconnect to reconnect policy.” When walking into the event, every person is required to put a sticker on their phone cameras, and only a small number of staff are allowed to take photos. This, according to Comte, is essential to the SNDCHECK identity and goals as a group. 

“We want people there just for the music. Not to take photos to flex on Instagram or other media. We want people to be there for the energy and joy.” 

When I was at SND0011, it did feel weird to not have my camera available. My first instinct was to reach for my phone and take a few photos. I noticed a lot of people also had the same thought. One girl opened her snapchat to take a picture of the crowd swaying to the DJ only to realize she couldn’t. 

That night’s DJs were the pair Mvngo/Seb Todd, Ludo Lacoste, and Ghetto Birds. SNDCHECK doesn’t reveal who will be performing until you actually arrive at the event, but usually focuses on house and techno. 

According to Comte, that night they had around 350 available spots but it felt like 500. It was amazing to see everybody dancing and chatting. There were no phones to distract anyone but I still couldn’t see more than 2 metres in front of me.

The venue was decorated beautifully. Comte and his team usually arrive a few hours before each show to prepare. This time, they set up old 2000’s TVs and installed projectors behind the artists and in the lounge area. For a place that does not allow photos, it was remarkably beautiful.

The next event will be held April 6, somewhere in the Montreal area. Follow their Instagram to get the full details when they’re revealed. 

Interview Music

Upon releasing her fourth studio album, The Rodeo wants people to stay curious

Parisian artist The Rodeo explores solitude and uncertainty in her fourth studio album Arlequine

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the music industry hard. With live shows and concerts being canceled, many small performing artists were struggling to make a living. This was the case for French indie musician Dorothée Hannequin, who goes by The Rodeo onstage. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, she has continued to create and release music, and her dedication and passion have kept her going through these difficult times.

Hannequin began her musical career at the age of 15 while she was still in high school. Growing up in Paris, she was influenced at a young age by her uncle, who gave her her first-ever guitar. She credits her Vietnamese and French heritage helping her discover a diverse plethora of music, influencing her love for the indie genre.

“I was really shy as a teenager and I met a bunch of people in high school playing music. It really helped me a lot to get out of my shell. I’m a self taught musician so we started a band playing with all these friends. I wrote a lot of songs and I proposed them to the band,” said Hannequin.

After nine years with her first band Hopper, Hannequin released her debut solo album Tale of Woe under the name The Rodeo in 2014.   

When speaking with The Concordian, Hannequin revealed that the indie music scene in France is much smaller than Montreal’s. 

In France the main genres of music people listen to are Rap and a lot of techno. According to Hannequin, there are around three bars where you can listen to indie music in Paris.

 “Everyone knows each other here. So maybe a good thing is that there’s maybe less competition than in bigger cities.”

In June, Hannequin will be on tour in Vietnam, where she will be working on songs with local artists. 

Her fourth and latest album, Arlequine, focuses on Hannequin’s struggles throughout the pandemic, isolation and a recent breakup. When asked if hard times helps artists be more creative, she jokingly replied: “I’d almost recommend that to other artists.” 

The pandemic gave her a lot of time to create. Her newest album represents not just Hannequin’s experiences, but also stories, phrases and ideas from things she’s read, watched or observed. 

It’s a mix of loose facts and her own life. “There’s a song on the album about a jealous woman, which I’m not. But it was interesting to have this character on this album. It’s a fictional character, but it’s interesting to be in that skin.” 

Hannequin says that she wanted different portraits of different women. “It’s like a harlequin, with different faces of humans or different humans in one outfit.”

She insists that the main driving force for her new album was the feeling of isolation. During the pandemic, artists had a lot of time to create, but could not play live in front of audiences. That was the main joy in Hannequin’s artistic experience: going to concerts and singing in front of a crowd. It’s also why the first song on her new album “Courir Courir Courir” is her favourite. 

”It’s my favourite because of the vocals. I feel the words are really powerful and I love the solo part. And I have to admit, it was one take for the solo. There’s no trick,” she said.

During the pandemic, she tried to do what other big artists had done: play a small concert remotely in front of her computer. But the feeling wasn’t the same. “It was a nightmare!” Hannequin said. 

“I think now, due to the pandemic people just want to get out and feel the music. The sweat, the heat, the energy. Maybe for techno or folk music, you can be at home. But when you want to have a live show, you have to be there in person.” 

Hannequin says that her new album is about feeling better. She loves the uncertainty the future represents and says listening to her new songs should feel like 

“Imagine taking a ride on a horse to who knows where,” she said. 

Go check out Arlequine down below.

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Taylor Swift – Midnights

 When it’s noon, it’s always midnight somewhere else

Swift’s tenth studio album Midnights is a pop record through-and-through. Within days of releasing her new album, Swift quickly broke streaming records. On Halloween, she became the first artist ever to occupy all top ten spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Combining simple drum beats, a strong vocal performance and a hint of city pop synths, Midnights reminds listeners of the guilty, self-destructive thoughts that have followed the American artist throughout her career.

The first time I listened to Midnights I was in my bedroom at around 12 a.m — the perfect time for impulsively dyeing your hair or texting your ex. Immediately, I felt a huge 80’s aura which now that I think about it, Swift would definitely be able to pull off. Her voice is incredibly versatile and she shows off here. 

The ninetieth time I listened to Midnights, I was on my way to work and it didn’t hit the same spot it did the first time. Midnights is an album that should be specifically played after 9 p.m. It’s like when you eat KFC a few days in a row. The first night it’s delicious; the leftovers are even better. But by day five your head hurts and the only feeling left is of guilt and shame.

When I say Midnights isn’t her strongest lyrical performance, I’m talking about “Anti Hero”. Phrases like “Sometimes I feel like everybody is a sexy baby” don’t correlate with me at all and I feel like she could have done without them. “Sexy baby” sounds like something Ed Shearan would say in one of his cheesy love songs. 

On the other hand, lines such as “It’s me. Hi! I’m the problem, it’s me.” resonate with people who’ve blamed themselves for a regretful experience in their lives. This is a great phrase but it’s also too generalized. It reminds me of reading horoscopes. One might ask if these lyrics were made with the intention of becoming a viral TikTok audio clip. 

Lastly, I by no means think that Taylor Swift makes bad music. I just don’t believe that twenty years from now, when music historians look back on her career, Midnights will be recognized as one of her best works.

Trial Track: Anti Hero

Rating: 7/10


What’s it really like taking the ‘Ye’ class at Concordia?

A deep look behind the scenes at Concordia’s new course dedicated to Kanye West

It’s late March 2022 and while browsing through electives on MyConcordia, the last thing you expect to find is a whole class dedicated to one of hip hop’s most controversial figures, Kanye West. 

We’ve seen the Twitter frenzy and we’ve seen the Hypebeast article. Three weeks into the semester, you and around 200 other students are cramming into room 110 in the Hall building’s auditorium every Thursday to listen to what professor Yassin ‘Narcy’ Alsalman has in store.

“Honestly, anybody can come to the lectures.” said human relations student Alfred Umasao. “The professor doesn’t really care if you’re not in his class.”

If you’re curious about the nature of the course, look no further than the course outline to get a hint of what it’s like. The syllabus is presented in a PowerPoint format with artistic pictures and font, sequenced in typical Kanye creativity. 

“The purpose of this class is for you not only to appreciate Ye for his work, his vision and his addition to culture, but to also build a critical thinking of public domain, ownership, self-actualization, the world and more importantly, a realistic lens on celebrity, industry, media, community and power. Nobody’s Perfect. Why is Ye so influential?” reads the first page of the PowerPoint.

Umasao, who’s been to all classes so far, has nothing short of praise for the topics discussed so far. 

“It’s less of a Kanye-based class but more of an intrusive self-reflection where you’re on your own and have to think about who you are as a person. One of our assignments for example is ‘What made you disconnect as a five year old’ and like ‘How would you reconnect with him/her.’”

One of Alsalman’s ways of getting his students to feel comfortable in this environment is to play some chill Kanye beats before the lecture begins. Finance student Alissya Ghader describes the first day of class as entering a jam packed concert. 

“The teacher somehow managed to put us all at ease from the second we walked into the first class by blasting some Kanye beats until everyone got settled in which gave me the same feeling as entering the doors of a concert venue.”

Professor Alsalman interacts with his students in a way in which they can feel comfortable expressing themselves. Ghader says that the professor even opted for some Gen Z relatable humor. She also echoes Umasao’s previous comments about how immersive the class is. 

“He said that he’d like for us to not only see this as a “Kanye Class” but more like a venue for exploring contemporary issues especially within the rap industry and how Ye was able to make something out of himself by overcoming it all,” Ghader said.

One of the course’s assignments, called ”Kaneyetive Dissonance,” calls on students to examine a controversial moment in the rapper’s history and to explain critically why Kanye is or was problematic, whether the incident was racialized and whether or not the rapper was right or wrong.

The course has also faced some criticism for its apparent “meme” approach to the subject of Hip Hop and whether or not it should be taken seriously as a university program. 

That being said, the class does come with a hefty bill. Jenna Wilson, a Concordia student who works at the bookstore, says that the two books Alsalman’s students must buy for the course aren’t cheap and were at one point in back order. The course pack, written by Alsalman himself, costs $99.25. There’s also a smaller book called “Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” bringing the total to around $130 for the course.

Another student who preferred to remain anonymous told The Concordian that he still has mixed feelings for the course.

“I found it quite mixed, honestly… I’m not really sure of the whole point of the class. In some ways I feel like everybody there is just a Kanye fanboy/girl and that people don’t take it seriously.” 

Graphic by Joey Bruce


Bloc Montreal candidates urge Concordia students to vote

Candidates from Quebec’s newest political party discuss the issues facing Concordia students

For some Concordia students, provincial politics tend to be an afterthought to the constant pressures of student life. Whether it’s catching up on assignments or finding classrooms in the Hall building, most students don’t have the time to remain informed or even have a conclusive opinion on Quebec politics. 

This is why it may surprise some to learn that Concordia alumnus Rizwan Rajput is running in his first ever election at the age of 38. This fall, he’s the candidate for Bloc Montreal in the Saint-Laurent district. 

If you’re unfamiliar, Bloc Montreal is a newly-formed political party led by Balarama Holness — a former CFL football player and Montreal native — whose goal is to ensure that Montreal’s needs are represented and respected in Quebec’s National Assembly. 

After graduating from Concordia with a Bachelor’s of Commerce in 2009,  Rajput was inspired to become a CPA after seeing how vital a role they played in helping small businesses in his neighborhood. 

“My dad actually opened the first halal food store in St. Laurent beside ICQ Mosque in the ’90s, catering to the needs of the community seven days a week,” said Rajput.

Rajput, whose family immigrated from Pakistan, recognized the innate challenges that English speaking immigrants like himself face throughout the province.

“There was this one time when I was on the bus with my mom while I was younger,” Rajput recalled. “A lady was saying something to her in French and my mom and I didn’t speak French at the time. I remember looking up and instinctively knowing it was disrespectful.” 

He was motivated to enter politics after seeing how little emphasis other parties and candidates were putting on the city of Montreal and immigrants.

“Bill 21 especially affects my family,” said Rajput. “My wife who wears a hijab won’t be allowed to find employment in some public sectors. Also, Bill 96 forces all home sale contracts to be written in French. This makes it hard for Anglophone Montrealers to understand the papers they are signing.” 

Rajput is hoping that his campaign, if nothing else, brings attention to the issues facing his community. “I want to be a part of the rebirth of Montreal,” he said.

Now, 12 years since he graduated from Concordia, Rajput is looking to his alma mater for support in his endeavor. He is hoping to help end the stigma that surrounds young people getting involved and caring about politics and social injustice. 

“As a student, I often didn’t vote with the assumption that my vote wouldn’t make a difference,” said Rajput. “However, every vote counts. This is our democracy and if we don’t vote we are allowed to be taken advantage of. We need to educate ourselves on how our voting can impact our lives when we vote for a leader that listens to our needs, visions, well-being and rights, versus one that does not support them.”

This opinion is shared by Bloc Montreal leader Balarama Holness, newly minted politician, who recently ran for office in Montreal’s city election for the first time.  

“It’s not good enough in this day and age to bow to the Coca Cola politics of the Liberal party, the Pepsi politics of the CAQ and the Crush politics of Québec solidaire,” said Holness. “It’s about going to that fresh-pressed juice. That new political party that’s actually going to fight for you and that’s authentic. That cares about your issues, that you could even be a candidate for.”

Holness did not shy away from asserting the importance of Quebec’s English language educational institutions, such as Concordia. 

“People should certainly be concerned about the future, not scared,” said Holness. “But if there is a concern, it shouldn’t be about voting. It’s about going to engage your democracy at the highest level. As a party, we are from a grassroots movement that was founded on fighting systemic racism and discrimination across all anomalous lines. Whether that’s citizenship, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation. We are at the forefront of the fight for human rights and civil rights.”

The pre-voting for this year’s election begins on Friday Sept. 23 and runs until Election Day on Oct. 3.


Cynically ranking the 2022 Oscars Best Original Song nominees

 It’s the same thing every year. The best original songs aren’t ever original and the winners never deserve their plaudits. What will the Oscars have the Twitter finger warriors mad about this year?

When springtime creeps up, one event captivates audiences like no other. It’s the talk of the town and dominates the internet — it even turns the common people who usually have no interest in films into armchair experts. The Oscars, otherwise known as a party for the most important people on Earth, is set to take place this month on March 27.

As we know, the Oscars are historically racist, historically sexist, and historically full of controversy. In 2015, the award show was embroiled in the #OscarsSoWhite controversy because of its lack of inclusivity. In 2016, all 20 of the nominated actors were white and just two years ago, no female directors were nominated for best director despite their outstanding work. I haven’t even mentioned the pay gap in the industry yet either. People are fed up and if we’re being honest, did anybody even watch last year’s event? Who won best original song? 

Gone are the days of Barbra Streisand and Lionel Richie, and in are the Gagas and H.E.R.s of the world. If this was high school, they’d probably win prom king and queen everytime. Now, I’m not saying that all of this year’s scores are terrible or even that the quality of music has regressed. That wouldn’t be fair; but the Oscars have never been about who won an award but rather, who beat who in the process.

Although the Oscars are a predominantly film-centered award show, music and film go hand in hand. I personally find this year’s best original song nominees particularly disappointing. “Be Alive” from King Richard, “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, “Down To Joy” from Belfast, “No Time To Die” from No Time to Die and “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days are the songs. Here are my honest opinions on each one, ranked from least to most deserving to win in ascending order. 

5. “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days

“Somehow You Do,” written by Diane Warren and sung by Reba McEntire, speaks about drug addiction, abandonment and the hardships of a seemingly unwinnable battle. Beautifully produced and classic in its slow acoustic progression, Warren, for whom this is her 13th Oscar nomination in this category, knocks the feel of this song out of the park: solitude and uncertainty. That being said, what the song has in vibe, it loses in an overly repetitive chorus and cheesy lyrics. It’s always best to avoid sayings a five year old can come up with. Phrases such as “When you think that the mountain’s too high / And the ocean’s too wide, you’ll never get through / Somehow you do,” are just so incredibly cheesy and unoriginal. It’s like saying that the sun is too bright or the fog is too thick. Thank you Captain Obvious. “Somehow You Do” is a song that reminds me of a new job. The first day is amazing, the first week is great and by the end of the month, you want to get the hell out of there. For a four-minute song about coping with drugs, I would have loved to hear an explosive climax. A moment of triumph, a cry in C5, a moment where we can all let out our anguish and let the music consume us. Without it, this song just doesn’t have enough to be in winning conversations.  

4. “No Time To Die” from No Time to Die

“No Time To Die” is a song many people think would’ve won last year, had the Bond movie been released on time. So it must be surprising that I have it this low. In all honesty, this isn’t a bad song. But it isn’t amazing and it isn’t something we’ve never heard before. Sorry Billie, but many of your songs kind of sound the same. Again, the vibe is immaculate and while I just hated Billie’s voice, she makes a damn good Bond song. I would have just liked for another four-minute song to have more of a climax; one carried by the vocals rather than by the sounds. A faster tempo and a more intricate bass riff would have helped too. A beautiful glimpse of that can be heard at around the 3:30 mark but that’s it. It’s incomparable to past winner “Skyfall” in my opinion. 

3.”Down to Joy” from Belfast

Belfast is a movie heavily inspired by the childhood of the director Kenneth Branagh during the times of the Troubles in Ireland. Without getting too historical, in many facets, this film and this song can be seen as an anti-war cry. The relevance is undeniable to the current political situation in Ukraine right now. Despite having a sad background, “Down to Joy” is upbeat, youthful, carefree, and bittersweet. Sadly, it is also a song I can plug into the background of about thirty different end credit sequences. It sounds like an all purpose cleanser for my face, body, hair and mouth. A jack of all trades but a master of none.  For a song about facing immense struggles, fighting for your lives, “Down to Joy” lacks what The Cranberries did when they came out with “Zombie.”  A song like that was just what the world needed. This is purely my bias but we can’t even compare the two.

2. “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto

“Dos Oruguitas” roughly translates to “Two Caterpillars.” Listening to this song is like listening to a movie, or reading a book through hearing. Disney songs are always catchy and this song is the definition of an earworm. Singer Sebastián Yatras does an incredible job manipulating his voice. We go from anxiety and sadness to defiance and pride. This rollercoaster of a song takes some getting used to. The first listen is like “ok,” the second listen is “this is kinda good,” and after the third listen, you’re crying your eyes out. The progression, the pre-chorus are all just leading up to what in the end feels like a big hug after a tough day. If it weren’t for the first song on the list, “Dos Oruguitas” would have been my pick for number one. 

1.“Be Alive” from King Richard

King Richard is the story of Venus and Serena Williams and their father Richard Williams. From a struggling neighborhood in California, with willpower and determination, Williams single-handedly pushed and clawed his daughters to stardom. “Be Alive,” performed by Beyoncé, is an anthem for all of those who take inspiration from their story and all those struggling within their own dreams. The voice, powerful. The lyrics, powerful. The imagery, powerful. Beyoncé starts us off with a big slap in the face. Her tone and the projection of her vocals takes us on a journey like only she can. The song is perfect for when you’re in the gym working out or just in need of some acknowledgement. What I take from this song is that no matter what happens, I’m doing great. There’s somebody out there who believes in me and that all my hard work will eventually pay off. The song really lives up to its name. After listening, you really do feel so grateful to be alive. 

In the end, this list is subjective and by no way is this even an accurate attempt at projecting the eventual winners. All the artists did an amazing job and their passion really shone through. Something beautiful happens when movies and music combine and it’s a match made in heaven. 

Always take everything written here with a grain of salt. If I write a book and a hundred people read it, it’s as if I wrote one hundred different books. Everyone has a different opinion and is going to feel a different way. This goes without saying for literature, art, and especially music. Your opinions are valid. These are just mine. 


Graphic by Taylor Reddam


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Hip hop and pop culture: What is pushing “🅿️ ”?

Some things won’t ever change. Like how the sun eventually set tonight or how the potholes won’t ever be fixed, there will always be a new hip hop trend for you to get into. 

As hip hop has grown and evolved from the 20th century onwards, it has undeniably become one of the world’s leading pop culture influences. Originating in the Bronx borough of New York, the combination of flashy fashion and catchy hooks has drawn millions of fans from all around the world and rocketed many rappers to superstardom. Nowadays, you can’t even walk into a party without seeing somebody in Yeezys or people adding “skrr” to every adlib possible. 

Earworms are nothing new in hip hop. Soulja Boy’s 2007 dance craze “Crank Dat” and Lil Pump’s 2017 hit “Gucci Gang” have changed the music industry and society as a whole. An earworm is basically a melody or tune that easily gets stuck in your mind for a while after you have heard it.

The most recent example of this is Atlanta rapper Gunna’s single, “pushin P.” The blue 🅿️  emoji has been plaguing the comment section of every Instagram post and every TikTok comment — almost all words that have the letter “P” in it have been respelled to include the now infamous icon. So what is pushing P? What isn’t P? And how do we start using the slang correctly? 

In a series of tweets posted by Gunna via Twitter promoting his newest album DS4EVER, he mysteriously began using the P emoji in tweets, even asking his fans “B4 I tell u….What u think Pushing mean ????” Gunna later went on to clarify and gave examples of what is and isn’t P. 

On Twitter, he said, “Risking your life to feed your family is P,” and “Being a real n***a off the Internet is P.” On the contrary, what isn’t P would be “Jumpin n a person beef or situation when u dk wats goin on Not P.”

Gunna went on Instagram Live to reiterate what he means by P. “If you see a lady at the door and you hold the door for the lady, that’s P. We pushing P” he said. “If you’re tryna act richer than your partner like, that aint P”.

Pushing P and the 🅿️  emoji can basically be used synonymously with the phrase keeping it one hundred, or the “100” emoji. It involves doing something positive, being respectful and chasing your goals. In other words, doing something that in most people’s eyes would be considered a nice deed. Pushing P means you’re doing something good such as hyping up your friend for a test. If you’re discouraging their efforts, that isn’t P. It’s all about the vibes. 

There have also been misconceptions about the meaning of Pushing P. Gunna’s song “P Power” featuring Drake had many people and fans wondering if P was another way of saying p***y. With lines such as “That p***y got power, that p***y got power” followed by “Get play as a player (we player), that P get devoured (P),” it’s easy to see where this misconception came from. But this has been refuted by Gunna himself. 

By now, you should get the memo but if you still have questions about what pushing P is, Urban Dictionary has got your back. On Jan. 17, an anonymous user posted what is currently the most widely agreed upon definition of P, with over 2000 likes. “It’s more then (sic) a couple words or ‘applying pressure.’ Pushin 🅿️  is a lifestyle, a whole way of living.” Essentially, it’s a positive way of living.

Gunna is simply going to milk this wave. On Feb. 5, he announced on his Instagram page that he will soon be releasing a children’s book called 6 Things I do to be Pushing P. The book is authored by Brian “Bwritous” Wright and features illustrations by Lavan Wright. Based on the Instagram video, the short story will be completely pink and most likely based on tweets Gunna made earlier. “Be loyal” and “boss your chick up” are just some early examples shown of what this book may contain.

In the end, it’s really up to you if you want to hop on the trend or not. Like most pop culture references or overly memed slang, pushing P will most likely die off. Until then,  it’s ok to not use P. However, to hate on the trend or hate someone else for saying P is most definitely the opposite of what Gunna first meant when he coined the phrase. 


Graphic by James Fay


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Music’s own Metaverse: SoundCloud’s influence with artist Kwame Djoss

Since its founding in 2007, SoundCloud has evolved from an underground streaming service to one of the worlds most notable audio distribution platforms

We’ve all heard of the terms SoundCloud rapper and SoundCloud artist before. The success stories to the likes of Post Malone, XXXTentacion, and Kehlani are just a few examples that propagate this image. But while you and I might picture bleached pink-blonde hair, face tattoos, and edgy teenage rock stars, most local artists who use the app say SoundCloud is about so much more. 

During the day, Kouami Djossou, also known as Kwame Djoss, is a fourth-year Concordia psychology student — but after class, they are a local artist sharing their music on SoundCloud. 

“I got my start in music when my dad saw one of the Stromae music tutorials on YouTube. He said ‘Oh, making music is easy,’ and downloaded a music software on the computer called Linux MultiMedia Studio. When I was 12, a friend introduced me to FL Studio.”

By the end of high school and the beginning of CEGEP, Djoss started sharing their music online, but stopped from 2017 to 2019 due to internal pressure. 

“I put a lot of pressure on myself. I was listening to people who were way better than I was like Kaytranada, High Klassified. I thought ‘Yo I’m not that good, what’s the point of making music if it’s not gonna be good?’”

Djoss makes most of their songs and beats all by themself, playing all the instruments solo. By using bass, electric guitar, and a Native Instruments Maschine MK3, they sample sounds off Youtube and remix them into their beats.

When asked about describing their path, Djoss says that they just make music that they themself like to listen to.

“Usually the path that people give to musicians is like selling beats. Especially if you’re a Black musician, people will assume that you make hip hop beats and stuff. But the market for selling beats is kind of saturated. What I’m interested in is incorporating my music into film.” 

Like many other artists on the platform, Djoss views SoundCloud as one of the best music sharing platforms out there for up and coming artists. You may discover niche genres you’ve never heard of like “Phonk music” and “Memphis Rap.” SoundCloud gives you the opportunity to discover great artists with a few thousand plays. 

“The SoundCloud algorithm is really not like the Spotify one where it will guess what you like based on what’s popular and which popular artist you might like. SoundCloud will be like ‘If you like this small artist, you might like this other small artist,’ and you get hella inspiration. With Spotify, you’ll eventually end up with all the same top artists like Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish. For sharing and discovering, SoundCloud is the best for sure,” said Djoss.

“Back in 2015 when I was getting started, Spotify wasn’t really a thing. On Spotify, you can’t upload with samples and you have to pay like $20 a year to post content. I know SoundCloud doesn’t get you paid but for lowkey artists, it’s perfect. It’s free up until a certain time limit. Plus, since it’s so easy to share music on SoundCloud we have all different types of artists doing whatever.”

There’s also such a unique community within SoundCloud. Djoss recommends local artists like Magi Merlin and her producer FunkyWhat. Songs such as “Elephant Woman” by Blonde Redhead, “Fall Down” by Crumb, “Human” by Sevdaliza and “blisters” by Serpentwithfeet are also recommended. 

“I’m really inspired by the SadBois 2001 era of Yung Lean, Yung Gud too. The universe they created on the platform is just so amazing to me. It feels like a joke but then it’s so well built. A whole galaxy to get into.”

Djoss will be giving a workshop on synthesizers for the technology sandbox at Concordia when everything reopens. No dates are announced but be sure to follow them on instagram for updates on future projects.. For now, feel free to check out their works: the short film Mango Couple along with singles “Faith” and “SAGEWAVE.” 

“At the end of the day, what’s important is that you enjoy what you’re doing and stay optimistic. Inspiration can come from anywhere.”


Photo by Kwame Djoss

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