Interview Music

DJ PØPTRT is taking over

Meet the Concordia student playing Quebec’s biggest festivals.

Hailing from Kahnawà:ke, DJ PØPTRT (real name Kiana Cross) is an Indigenous DJ and second-year communications studies student. She is coming off a loaded summer which included performances at Montreal’s Club Unity and some of Quebec’s biggest festivals such as the Festival d’été du Québec, the International Balloon Festival, and Piknic Électronik. 

One of the festivals that the DJ performed in was Festival d’été du Québec (FEQ), and she looks back at the experience with nothing but admiration. She also played at the International Balloon Festival and PIknic Électronik, the latter being the biggest crowd she has ever gathered. “I was so focused on transitions and playing music that when I finally looked up to see thousands of people it was surreal,” she recalled.

DJ PØPTRT describes her style as “nostalgic sounds from the classic ‘90s rave scene in a more contemporary vibe.” She incorporates aspects of her Indigenous culture into her music and hopes to “see the world, to tour,; to connect with people and share an insight on who I [Cross] am and my culture.”

The rising artist also got candid about the sacrifices involved in balancing a DJ career with being a full-time student: “It was hard. I remember having a job during the day, a class in the afternoon, and I would DJ until 3 a.m. […]I’m trying to add the human aspect of being kind to myself and healthy, combining both so I can have longevity with this lifestyle.”

A Mohawk artist, Cross shared her feelings about receiving support from Quebec festivals and organizations, given Canada’s negative history with its Indigenous populations.

 “It’s interesting to be in this time, especially as a female Indigenous artist. When people reach out, it’s hard to decipher if they’re simply trying to appease by making it seem like they’re supporting an Indigenous person,” she said.  While she is grateful for the environment she’s in, DJ PØPTRT finds that “there is a lot of work to be done,” and aims to address Indigenous issues and decolonize the music scene.

As an artist who manages all aspects of her career by herself, including graphic designing and business management, Cross has also played gigs in Ottawa and New Brunswick. She now plans to make a breakthrough in Europe following her increasing popularity in Canada. “I’m already making connections and seeing where I want to go,” she told The Concordian.

Be sure to catch DJ PØPTRT’s upcoming show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa this September, which she describes as having “original music and visuals— a sample of what’s next.”


Montreal en Lumière’s 2023 festival plans

Are you going to go out and visit?

This year’s edition of the Montreal en Lumière festival is back bigger than ever. The festival is on from Feb. 16 until March 5.

The Concordian had the chance to sit down with Julie Martel, the director of the gastronomic programming of the festival. Martel has been organizing the festival’s food for the last five years.

“It’s an important edition of the festival, because it marks the full return of the program outside of the pandemic context,” Martel said. Due to previous restrictions that were in effect at last year’s festival, the organizers were limited in programming. Most had to get a little creative with how they put it together.

“This means we are welcoming back international chefs. We have 40 international guests — not only chefs but winemakers from all over the world.”

Martel emphasized that one of the highlights of the gastronomy part of the festival was Indigenous cooking, which was introduced for the first time in last year’s edition of the festival. 

“We have planned for a full day of for the Indigenous cooking on Feb. 25 at Quartier Gourmand. This year also marks the return of the Quartier Gourmand, which is a free space that people can visit in Place des Arts,” Martel said.

The free space is very important to the festival because it is a way to democratize local food. Another interesting aspect of the Quartier Gourmand is that on specific days, there will be different themes. For example, one of the themes that will be covered is sustainable food. Martel wants to make that information available to all the guests of the festival.

“At Quartier Gourmand, it’s always free tastings and visitors can meet with the local chefs and producers,” Martel said.

Quartier Gourmand at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN

Martel is very proud of the fact that the Quartier Gourmand is free for visitors. She recognizes that even though the festival has 40 participating restaurants, it might not be affordable for everyone.

If the food part of the festival doesn’t pique your interest, Maurin Auxéméry, the director of the musical programming of the festival, promises some surprises for this year. 

“Music is back this year, and last year due to COVID we didn’t have any special shows,” Auxéméry explained.

He emphasized that in this year’s edition of the festival there will be two types of programming, the outdoor sites and the indoor shows.

The outdoor sites around Place des Festivals and Quartier des Spectacles will have DJs every night that play a different kind of music. The first nights will debut Latin music while towards the end of the festival there will be more French music.

The highlight of the musical programming is the indoor shows which includes all the live performances.

“I can’t remember the amount of indoor shows that we have right off of the top of my head but I do know that we have three nights at the Wilfrid-Pelletier concert hall with a symphony show,” Auxéméry said. 

There is absolutely no excuse for boredom for this upcoming March break. Montreal en Lumière packs a punch in terms of programming this year. For more information please click on this link.

Outdoor site at Montreal en Lumière near Place des Arts. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN


Lou Phelps gets higher

Montreal rapper is ready to break out with his brother Kaytranada

Previously, Louis-Philippe Celestin may have simply been known as Montreal producer Kaytranada’s brother. Now, he is a standalone artist known as Lou Phelps.

On Friday evening, Le Belmont hosted Montreal hip hop fans for a memorable night of local talent. Montreal West Island rapper Maky Lavender first took the stage at 11 p.m., sipping from a straw in his bottle of Tanqueray gin. Beginning his set with “Fairview Term,” Lavender’s charisma and vibrant presence set the precedent for the hours of lively hip hop to come.

While DJ NMK may have initiated a “SIP! SIP! SIP!” chant for Maky to sip from the bottle, it was the crowd that quickly turned this request into “CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!” at the end of every song.

“Y’all are absolutely crazy. It’s like you want me to die,” Maky said with a smile on his face.

Gin in one hand and mic in another, Maky Lavender spits while he sips on stage. Photo by Louis Pavlakos

Tony Stone of Planet Giza hopped on stage to perform his feature on their crowd-pleasing song, “Keep Up.” Maky went on to sing “Ukannafo (The Susan Song)” with fans hollering the chorus right back at him. Hours later, Maky could be seen standing on top of the DJ booth at Apt. 200, still sipping.

After a brief intermission, Phelps opened up with “Uptempo,” a collaboration song by him and his brother, Kaytranada, under the name The Celestics. Calm and collected, Phelps’s stage presence was a mix of cocky and humble, flawlessly delivering his verses to a packed venue. Stone was called back on stage to perform the Planet Giza-featured tracks, “Fun N Games” and “2 Seater,” off of Phelp’s newest album, 002 / LOVE ME. The two performers showed off their chemistry and crowd swaying abilities throughout the set.

Phelps’s track “Average” off his first album 001: Experiments showed the first signs of a mosh pit within the crowd. He was able to temporarily calm this down by requesting that the audience squat down for his intro to “Want To (For the Youth),” but the chorus drop found the crowd right back where it left off. The energy only escalated from there when “Miss Phatty” came through the speakers, one of the lead singles from his sophomore album.

Continuing with his most recent hits, Phelps performed “Squeeze” and then called artist Pony to the mic to sing their collaboration song, “Tasty.” Yet, the reaction to “Come Inside” made it clear that it was one of the songs the audience was waiting for. Phelps played “Higher” after asking “Montreal, you trying to get higher?,” and went on to close his set with “Come Inside” for the second time. This time, he had a different guest to accompany him. After walking on stage to cheers and applause, Kaytranada hugged his brother and got behind the DJ booth to spin the track that he produced.

Phelps and his brother in the zone. Photo by Louis Pavlakos

Phelps thanked the crowd for their love and support and exited the stage. However, Kaytranada was the DJ for the rest of the night and played a variety of mixes, both his own and other artists’s. This treat kept fans on the dance floor and the vibes up all night long.

For a man who has played at international festivals with crowds of thousands, and collaborated with huge artists, it is admirable that one can still catch Kaytranada spinning for 100 people at Le Belmont on a Friday night. If only passerbys walking down St. Laurent knew who was playing inside.

Student Life

Riverside St-Henri a community hub for Montrealers

DJ and club owner Nicolas Hamel has a unique vision for this new venue

Riverside St-Henri isn’t Nicolas Hamel’s first bar in Montreal, but he’s doing things a little bit differently this time. The 30-year-old owner of Mme Lee has been in the bar industry since he was 16. He also used to own Newspeak, Ping Pong Club and Studio 270, a recording studio in the Plateau. But he doesn’t see Riverside as just another bar.

“I don’t want Riverside St-Henri to be seen only as a bar; it’s a community hub,” Hamel said. “We’re not another business that’s just there for the trend. We’re trying to help and get involved in the community long-term.”

Hamel has big plans for Riverside—as big as the property’s 10,000 square foot grounds. Work is in progress to add a community garden for families, a café and restaurant to go with the multitude of night-life options already offered in the city. He has a three-year roadmap for integrating new features into the venue, like free Wi-Fi throughout the property and seminars hosted in the building or the venue’s garden space. Riverside is also the home to experimental events, such as a live 3D virtual reality (VR) broadcast organized by a crew from Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in September.

Riverside, which opened in July, is a venue that doesn’t fall neatly into an existing category of business. It’s a wine bar, but it’s also a dance club. Inside, there are booths to sit at and a huge bar. Step outside and you’re in a casual outdoor beer garden-style terrasse with colourful picnic tables, a shipping container fashioned into a bar and young people chatting around oil drums painted à la Keith Haring. The soft lighting is provided by bare bulbs strung overhead. Walk a little further and you’ll wander out into the vast lawn that Hamel wants to convert into a community garden and gathering place.

Owner of Riverside St-Henri, Nicolas Hamel, talks about his plans for the new venue. Photo by Adrian Knowler

“It’s my first place that’s not just about business,” Hamel explained. “I want it be a place where people can eventually say, ‘Hey, I helped grow those vegetables.’ That’s part of the mentality that I’m trying to build, but it’s complicated and it takes time.”

Part of Hamel’s vision for the venue includes creating the most environmentally friendly business possible.

“Environmental sustainability is super important to me,” Hamel said. He is focused on using sustainable water and smart waste management programs to limit Riverside’s ecological footprint.

“The way the location is set up allows me to test stuff, like capturing rain water. I cannot do that in a downtown location, but I can try that [at Riverside],” Hamel said.

Even within Riverside’s existing functions as a bar and club, there’s a lot of flexibility. “To go from a chill beer garden to a nice wine bar to a good club, it’s all about timing and refinement,” Hamel said. “I have a clientele for every time of the night. Everybody from the youth of Westmount and N.D.G. to the moms and pops of St-Henri.”

However, Hamel acknowledged that the way the public perceives Riverside is out of his control. “People are very quick now to put something in a box.”

When it comes to delivering quality wine to his clientele, Hamel said he is trying to encourage younger people to enjoy high-end wines while keeping the price down. “We’re trying to push quality, niche wines to a more [accessible] market,” Hamel said. “We’re trying to elevate the willingness of people to discover more.”

The size of the venue gives Hamel some advantages such as partnering with local restaurants and food trucks that sell in front of Riverside every day. Hamel plans to add a full kitchen to Riverside as well. “I want to eventually have somebody come at eight in the morning for a coffee and stay until 3 a.m. at the club,” he said. “My goal is to have seven different businesses with seven different ambiances.”

Riverside St-Henri is located at 5020 St-Ambroise St. with a large outdoor garden and patio. Photo by Adrian Knowler

As well as being bar owner, Hamel is a 12-year veteran of the Montreal DJing scene and just released a techno project with his DJ partner under the name Anti Anti. He said he wants Riverside to become a “musical hub.”

He described the music the venue plays on its massive sound system as “more dance, boogie, disco-ish stuff.”

”We do have some hip hop playing, but it’s not a Top 40 place,” Hamel added. “It’s quality music but very accessible. I want people to feel somewhere else when they’re here.”

Hamel draws positive comparisons between outdoor music festivals like Osheaga and the atmosphere at Riverside. “When you go to a festival, everybody is smiling. When I created this place, that was the mentality I wanted to bring.”


Party in the 90s with fellow Concordians

Several student groups collaborate to host a 90s-themed party at L’Atelier d’Argentine

Concordia students and alumni can go back in time and experience a night in the 90s on April 29. Get out your best chokers and graphic t-shirts for an end-of-semester party called “Fullhouse: Long live the 90’s!” taking place at L’Atelier d’Argentine from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.

“We wanted to throw an end-of-semester event where people can have fun and let loose from exams,” said Felicia Therese Da Conceicao, the public relations officer for the Concordia Caribbean Student Union (CCSU), one of the groups that organized the event.

Two DJs will be present—DJ Serius and DJ Caz. They will be spinning iconic 90s tunes from artists such as Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child, Biggie and 2Pac. Party-goers can also expect to hear a mixture of dancehall, soca and afrobeat music.

“We thought that since all the 90s babies are grown up now, we should have a night of all throwbacks,” said Audrey-Lise Benoit, the CCSU’s VP event coordinator. “The 90s are slowly creeping back in style, and we wanted to do something to celebrate it.”

The CCSU collaborated with multiple student associations to plan the event, including the Nigerian Students’ Association Concordia, the Haitian Students’ Association of Concordia, Concordia Music Zone Out, Association des étudiants Africains de l’UQAM and Association des étudiants haïtiens de l’Université de Montréal.

Tickets are $10 until April 28—on April 29, they increase to $15. They can be purchased through any of the student associations involved, or online here. For more information, visit the event page.

L’Atelier d’Argentine is located at 1458 Crescent St., a short walk from both Guy-Concordia and Peel metro stations.

Header graphic by Thom Bell.


Wherever the waves take her

A look at the passionate, up-and-coming DJ behind CJLO’s Waves of Honey

It’s 10 p.m. on a Friday night, and DJ Honeydrip just started her set. Tonight, it’s at the Ti Agrikol bar. The night starts off quiet. Intimate couples and groups chat near the bar as mellow hip-hop beats fill the air. Two young men walk into the bar and immediately start swaying to the rhythm. It’s not long before others follow suit and take to the dance floor. Honeydrip makes eye contact with one of the dancers, smiles and sways to the music. As the bar fills, she switches up the beat, shifting to some African-inspired dance tunes, and the crowd responds. Honeydrip tunes out the people standing near her, her focus now on cueing the next song. She puts one of her headphones to her ear, twists a few dials on the mixer, all while rocking her body to the music. The transition is seamless. I comment on the complexity of the equipment in front of her, and how easy she makes it look. “It used to look foreign to me too,” she says. “Trust me.”

Two years ago, before Honeydrip was Honeydrip, she was Tiana McLaughlan and she was in her first year at Concordia University. A cheerleader all through high school and CEGEP, McLaughlan was searching for a new hobby at a school that didn’t have a cheer squad. “I wasn’t quite sure what to do with my free time anymore,” she said. An advertisement in the school agenda for CJLO, the university’s radio station, caught her eye. “I was very, very keen… I wanted to meet them, to show that I was super interested,” McLaughlan said. So she set up a meeting with the station’s volunteer coordinator. “Apparently most people aren’t as keen as I am usually, so I got in right away. A week later, I was offered to apply for a show.”

McLaughlan’s radio show, Waves of Honey, features mellow electronic music and interviews with musicians and DJs. Photo by Katya Teague

McLaughlan said the vibe she aims for with Waves of Honey, her Sunday night show, is “the kind of music that people groove to, bob their head to.” She often plays hip-hop instrumentals and smooth, synth-based electronic music. “I always try to keep a mellow vibe—watching the sunset or just chilling in the park kind of music,” she said. McLaughlan said the show made her want to DJ, and gave her a weekly opportunity to practice. “It helped me learn much faster,” she said. It’s also given her the chance to connect with various musicians and DJs. Many of the artists featured on her show are people she’s met through SoundCloud. “At first, you kind of feel like every artist is out of reach—they’re famous, they must be, so there’s no way you can talk to them,” she said. “But what I’ve learned a lot is that they’re super humble, and they’re super open to being interviewed, whether they have thousands of followers or not.”

In January, McLaughlan took on the role of electronic music program director at CJLO. A major part of the job is promoting the electronic music community and connecting her station’s DJs with local artists and bigger names. She herself has been getting increasing opportunities to showcase her own DJing. On Jan. 20, she opened for Purity Ring, an electronic music duo from Alberta, at Newspeak. “Newspeak was always somewhere that I really, really wanted to play,” McLaughlan said. “It’s a place that has international DJs and performers come through, and I’m just super blessed to have gotten to play there.”

Honeydrip performing live. Photo by Mira Barbara

Ideally, McLaughlan would like to get into Concordia’s electroacoustics program. “I know a lot of people who’ve been in that program, and they’re amazing producers and artists,” she said. “I would definitely want to create my own music,” she said. “I feel like if there’s one thing I want to leave behind in this world, it would be some cool tracks.” Yet becoming a big-time performer isn’t a must for McLaughlan. She discussed career possibilities such as music editing, owning her own record label or even working for music festivals once she completes her marketing degree at Concordia.“I mean, we’ll see where life takes me,” she said. “I’m so into music in general that I don’t care where I end up, so long as I’m doing something related to music.”

It’s 10 p.m. on a Sunday night, and “you are listening to Waves of Honey on CJLO 1690AM. This is your host, Honeydrip.” The show kicks off with “Racquets” by Indian Wells. McLaughlan adds a personal touch to the atmospheric instrumental, playing around with some effects on her mixer. “Some DJs like playing around with effects. Others not so much,” she said. I ask her if she’s the kind who does. She grins and nods enthusiastically as she twists a dial, highlighting the toc-toc tennis sounds that inspired the song’s title.

Later in the show, she interviews Canadian DJ Kid Koala. She’s a little nervous, but soon they’re having an animated discussion about his innovative, unorthodox way of practicing scratching using the wax paper burger wrapping from his fast food job before he could afford proper equipment. “Very primitive, humble beginnings,” he tells her. “But also very joyful times.” Sounds not unlike the circumstances McLaughlan currently finds herself in.

Tune in to Waves of Honey every Sunday night from 10 to 11 p.m. on CJLO 1690AM.


Keeping it fresh with Kid Koala

Scratch DJ and music producer releases new album, Music to Draw to: Satellite

Making eccentric sounds on turntables for decades, Eric San — known by his artist name Kid Koala — is a renowned scratch DJ, music producer and graphic novelist. On Jan. 20, he released his new album, Music to Draw to: Satellite, alongside singer-songwriter Emiliana Torrini. The album is nothing like his previous scratchy, high-energy sounds. Instead, San explores a harmonious and melodic side of mixing. His soft, dream-like ballads accompanied by Torrini’s delicate voice create the ideal soundtrack for productivity and creation. Kid Koala’s Satellite concert will take place at Montreal’s Centre Phi between Feb. 1 and 4. The shows will be live, interactive experiences where everyone in the audience can play along on turntables.

San began playing music at the age of four, and said he recalls his first live show—a piano recital—as if it happened yesterday. “I was so nervous it was crazy. It was the longest 90 seconds of my life,” said San. At only 12 years old, he discovered the scratch scene. “It was an instant personal interest in how the mechanics of that whole craft worked,” San said. The first time he heard something that blew his mind, he was at a record store. “I didn’t know what the person was using to make these sounds. I walked up to the clerk and he told me that they were doing this on turntables,” said San. Since then, he became fascinated and wanted to recreate such sounds.

“It was an epiphany, one that I haven’t grown out of since I was 12,” said San. With turntables, there wasn’t any sort of structure yet, he said. The DJs he would listen to were only about 10 years older than him. It was a young scene, he said. “The ethos which I still carry very close to my heart is that whatever you did on the turntables, you had to make it fresh,” said San. Keeping it fresh meant you had to have your own personality twisted into the music, even if you used other people’s records, he said. “It had to be your own style and, at the DJ battles, it was all about that. You had to come out and do something different, and I loved that,” said San.

In 1996, Kid Koala released his first mixtape, Scratchcratchratchatch. It was this tape that kickstarted his musical career. While San was studying at McGill University, he dropped off five of his mixtapes at Montreal’s record store, Taboo Inc. In one week, his tapes sold out so he brought more. “That started happening at all these different shops and I eventually got a record deal with Ninja Tunes thanks to this cassette,” said San.

Kid Koala signing autographs in his koala costume. Photo by Manuel García Melgar.

Kid Koala has been long experimenting with different types of scratching and sounds. His first 10 years of scratching were high energy, rhythm percussion and dance floor oriented. “I was trying to keep it very moving and noisy,” said San. From 1996 to 2006, San began touring with bands around the world. He’s toured with Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Arcade Fire and A Tribe Called Quest. “I had to figure out ways to blend my music, and it didn’t always require percussive scratching. It was more about doing what fits and helps the purpose of the song,” said San.

On his tours with Radiohead and Beastie Boys, San would watch how both groups performed. He said the way the artists played their instruments for certain types of songs would vary. “I remember taking notes all the time, trying to figure out what it was that made a specific part they played important and interesting to the song,” he said. That was when Kid Koala’s approach changed, as he started practicing his melody and harmony scratching. “I took a more classical approach after a while because I realised that one of the powerful devices of music is melody and harmony, and it can be a very emotive way of playing,” said San.

After touring the world, 250 cities per year of constant nightclubs and music festivals, San started thinking of doing different types of shows. He wanted to see if there was another utility for music other than making people dance. In 2003, he released his first graphic novel, Nufonia Must Fall, which came with a soundtrack CD. In 2009, he released his second book and soundtrack, Space Cadet. Later that year, San started hosting music event called “Music to Draw to.” The event’s first edition took place at Théâtre Sainte-Catherine in Montreal. “I have a few select records that I call ‘drawing albums’ that I can play on repeat and just lose track of time,” said San. According to San, the whole idea of this event was to keep the soundtrack at a level where people stay in a more meditative state that enables creativity. The event became a template for his new album, Music to Draw to: Satellite, where San experiments with ambient sounds.

Emiliana Torrini, an Icelandic singer, sang and wrote most songs on Music to Draw to: Satellite. “She flew in from Reykjavik to Montreal to work on this album with me. Her voice is the most comforting sound. She is one of my favourite singers,” said San. Torrini and San came up with a narrative story together that shaped the whole album. It started with an article Torrini had read about a wife signing up for a Mars mission trip, leaving Earth and her husband behind forever. “We started exploring this article in theory, what it meant metaphorically and it became the backbone narrative for these imaginary characters that we were going to create and write for the album,” said San.

The release of this album is far from the end of San’s journey, he said. He is still striving for more.“I don’t think I found my voice but it continues to be the tool that drives me along,” said San.


Montreal’s eclectic DJ: Amir Javasoul

The house DJ performed at Igloofest’s opening weekend

Igloofest brings thousands of people together to dance in the ice-cold winter to the beats of the world’s best DJs. The festival kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 12 and will be going on until Feb 19. On Saturday, Jan. 14, Amir Javasoul, a house DJ based in Montreal, closed the Videotron stage from 10 p.m. until midnight. His high energy techno beats kept the crowd warm throughout the night. The audience danced enthusiastically to his European style techno sounds until the very last minute. Javasoul has been Djing at Igloofest for the past 10 years and is known for performing at other festivals and clubs in the city, including Piknic Electronik and Stereo. “Igloofest is something unique. I can’t think of any other festival in the world that brings over 10,000 people to dance in the cold,” said Javasoul. According to the Igloofest website, 2016 welcomed 79,000 people to the festival, 25,000 of which attended the opening weekend last year.

A computer engineer by day and a renowned DJ by night, Javasoul began spinning vinyl 20 years ago. Growing up in Montreal, he started going to clubs which, he said sparked his passion for electronic music. “I just really liked the complexity of electronic music,” he said. “At the time, most people were listening to rock or pop. Techno and house was a new type of music that had endless possibilities.”

According to Javasoul, It was Derrick Carter, a legendary Chicago house DJ and producer, who first inspired him to take on the art of mastering house and electro beats. Javasoul said there are three cities that are important in house music: New York, Detroit and Chicago. New York house was a by-product of disco. Detroit experimented more with new technology and machinery—it was more industrial and techno-oriented. Chicago was in between, combining elements of house and techno.“Usually, people who started Djing back in the days, they connect to these original sounds. I connect most with Chicago house, ” said Javasoul.

Photo Courtesy of Amir Javasoul.

It can be easy to confuse house and techno music. “House music has a more organic sound to it. It derives from disco, and when you listen to a house track you hear more instruments, baselines and percussions,” said Javasoul. “Techno is much more linear. It is more industrialized and computerized.” According to Javasoul, today’s technology makes it easier to mix a lot of different sounds and genres together. “There is less of a need to distinguish between house and techno,” said Javasoul. “You can create a beat that has both elements combined. We can simply start to call all of it electronic music.” He said technology has also taken away the actual need to know how to mix records. Today, a computer software can do it all for you. “When I started, it was about mixing vinyl records together. You learned the real craft of mixing records,” said Javasoul.

Whether Javasoul plays at Igloofest for 10,000 people or at Stereo for 1000 people, he said he needs to adapt his music to the crowd’s ambiance. “I never plan in advance. It’s always on the fly,” he said. “I get there, I feel the crowd, I test some tracks here and there to see how the reaction goes. It’s always been an impulsive process.” He said his number one rule about Djing is to never program a set—it’s what makes electronic music different from all other genres of music. “You have the liberty of creating on stage. DJs can play live sets and create beats right on the spot,” said Javasoul.

In 2001, Javasoul moved to Paris, where his musical career bloomed. He got to try out his music with a completely different crowd and was able to gain experience Djing around Europe. “I got to play in many cities such as Paris, Berlin, London and Ibiza,” he said. “I was in France for 10 years and it was the most important years of my DJ career.” He played in renowned clubs such as Queen, Studio 287, The End, Ministry of Sound, Pacha Ibiza, Crystal Istanbul and Fabric.

Amir Javasoul Djing live in Fabric, London. Photo by Nick Ensing Photography.

In January 2015, Javasoul played in the main room of club Fabric in London alongside Craig Richards and Ricardo Villalobos who are both  renowned DJs in the underground scene. DJ Ricardo Villalobos also came to Montreal for the MUTEK festival in 2014. “Fabric was the most important gig of my life,” said Javasoul. “I played with the two best DJs in the world in one of the best clubs in the world.” Javasoul has also performed at the Burning Man festival and multiple times for Piknic Electronik. “Piknic Electronik and Igloofest organizers are the same crew. They love to showcase local and international talent and they find a good way to blend both together,” said Javasoul.

It’s Javasoul’s interaction with the audience and sharing his love for music that makes the experience of performing most worth it, he said.“The best part is when you get the reactions of the people you play for. Being an international DJ has also made me a lot of friends from around the world. You become friends because of the music and then your friendship grows” said Javasoul. Recently, Javasoul has been working on a collaboration called “Creatures of Habit” with DJ producer Maher Daniel. Together, they released a vinyl record last month. Stay tuned for Javasoul’s upcoming shows, where his house beats will send you running to the dance floor.


Porter Robinson & Madeon at Metropolis

The electronic dance DJs are in Montreal for their Shelter Live Tour

DJs Porter Robinson and Madeon (Hugo Leclercq) will be in Montreal for their Shelter Live Tour on Nov. 14 at Metropolis. The tour follows the release of their 2016 collaborative song, “Shelter.” “We wanted to be able to celebrate at least 10 years of knowing each other, our discography and this collaborative song, ‘Shelter,’” said Robinson.

Robinson specializes in electro house, dubstep and synthpop sounds, while Leclercq focuses more on electro pop and nu-disco, adding a definite European electro sound to his beats. The Shelter Live Tour is about the two complementing each other’s music and adding new spins to original songs. By switching between songs from each artist, they incorporate remixes and samples of each other’s work. “We both kind of came from the DJ world, and I think we pretty much completely threw that aside in our respective albums,” said Robinson.

The two electronic dance music producers have created a live music experience that is more dynamic than the usual EDM-techno feel. Both DJs will be multi-tasking during their performance by singing and playing various instruments simultaneously. The Shelter Live Tour is more than just an electronic show of their most recent albums, Robinson’s Worlds and Leclercq’s Adventure.

As a companion to the song “Shelter,” Robinson released an animated short film reminiscent of Japanese anime. Robinson has great interest in producing anime, since his love for electronic music started with his early passion for video games. He said the visuals for the live show will be more abstract than his character-based film. There will be flashing, colourful lights following the beats of the music, as both DJs dance energetically along with the rhythm.

The two friends met through an online forum when they were teenagers. Robinson hails from the U.S. and Leclercq is from France. The common interest they shared was music production, a passion they each developed during their teenage years. “We think about music pretty similarly but we don’t have an overlapping taste,” said Leclercq. “I think Porter is more trance music and I’m really into more soulful songwriting.” While their individual sounds differs, the duo said their similar musical mindsets create a space for complementary creation and new musical directions.

“It’s a much larger scale than anything I’ve done before,” said Leclercq, referring to the 38 shows of their North American tour. As a French native, Montreal will be a special stop on the tour trail for Leclercq. “I’m super excited,” he said. “I’m gonna get on the mic and speak in French, and Porter will not understand.”

Montreal is a musical epicenter for young, up-and-coming artists just like Robinson and Leclercq when they first got into music as teenagers. “The tools are very available for making music and for sharing it, and so many more people are making music, which is wonderful,” said Leclercq. “I would encourage people to find what’s unique about their tastes and explore that, and try not to be too influenced by everything they hear around them.”

Porter Robinson and Madeon will be performing at Metropolis on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. A few tickets are still available online, with prices ranging from $34 to $92.

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