Every Sunday, discover the best of the electronic music scene in an environment created to stimulate the senses.
Whether it’s Montréal or Miami, Berlin or Brisbane, for over two decades, Montréal DJs have been a fixture, as it were, lighting up nights at many of the biggest, bangin’, beat-driven events around the orb – whether you knew they were from the Montréal or not. The following represents a cross-section of the many DJ names you may have heard, from pioneers to up-and-comers, repping Montréal dance music both at home and abroad.
We’ll kick-off with the man who has the best real-life-human name, bar none: producer/DJ Lunice, known to his parents as Lunice Fermin Pierre II. This Montréal native brings a music aesthetic typified by electro-synth riffs over deep, deep drum and bass while incorporating elements of “trap” (an early, particularly intense strain of d’n’b). He produced the track Runnin’ for Azealia Banks and co-produced Blood On the Leaves for Kanye West, among many others.
Also on a post-trap trip is High Klassified, who takes a more ethereal, even a bit eccentric, approach to synth line layering on dreamy, hypnotic tracks as evidenced on his Palindroma EP of last year.
Born in Haiti and raised in Montréal, at only 22 years of age, Kaytranada has already made an international name for himself as a producer and DJ through his almost innumerable R&B, hip-hop and pop remixes and his fairly relentless touring. The collaboration-and-creation-minded Kaytranada has brought his playful mixing magic to more than 50 North American, European and Australian cities.
Speaking of Australia, one of Montréal’s biggest international exports, Kid Koala (a turntablist, producer and graphic novelist who has toured with Radiohead, Beastie Boys and A Tribe Called Quest, to name but a few), is currently down under touring his next-level projection puppet show/live music project, Nufonia Must Fall Live!, which needs to be seen to be believed.
Similar to Koala, electro-house/hip-hop DJ and producer A-Trak helped put Montreal turntablism on the world map. There aren’t many world DJ titles he hasn’t won (multiple times) and he was Kanye West’s tour DJ in 2004 (and continues to work with His Krayzeeness). And even though A-Trak has been a New York City resident for most of the last decade, running his Fool’s Gold electro/hip-hop label (which released High Klassified’s aforementioned Palindroma EP), he’s Made in MTL. Check out his new single, Push.
Other globe-trotting heavy hitters would include mainstays like techno/electro heroine Misstress Barbara, a perennial regular at top-tier clubs and festivals going on 20 years. She’s worked with club music legends like Carl Cox, John Digweed and Richie Hawtin, and recently released the track Je suis Charlie.
Similarly, multi-award-winning soulful dancefloor master Jojo Flores continues to bring 25 years of potent party experience to the fore with a ridiculously busy schedule that somehow also includes running his own club (Montréal’s PEOPL), label (Gotsoul Records) and restaurant (the Filipino flavours of Junior, in Montréal’s storied Griffintown neighbourhood). Hear some deep, Afro-jazzy new music here.
Techno/electro-house DJ, producer and musician Tiga is another globally recognized commodity sporting an impressive, ever-lengthening résumé. Very much at the top of his game, Tiga is recognized as one of dance music’s best mixers, and has remixed songs by the likes of The Kills, Moby and The xx. The Turbo Recordings founder is, not surprisingly, already blazing through 2015 with scheduled tour stops in Australia, Turkey, Colombia, England, Germany and select dates across North America.
Another world traveller would be the classical-music trained hip-hop/turntablist DJ Killa-Jewel, who’s seen spinning action across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia (touring Canada with esteemed theatrical director/producer Robert Lepage). She co-hosts the regular Sunday Scratch Sessions DJ mentoring and community building workshops in Montréal.
Rockin’ weekly Montréal residencies and bouncy out-of-town, hit-and-run-and-hit-again dance club missions to L.A., New York, Toronto and beyond have been the M.O. of Peer Pressure crewmates Shaydakiss and A-Rock. Her signature mix of funk, disco and house has made Shaydakiss a Montréal festival fave at Osheaga, Igloofest and Piknic Electronik, while A-Rock continues to up his already considerable game mashing beats in an eclectic range of styles across North America, where he is currently on tour on his way to showcase at the SXSW music festival. After that? London, Paris and – check this – six weeks in India playing at Hard Rock hotels and mentoring local DJs. Werd.
And a final shout-out to three of Montréal’s leading lights on the global dance music stage (floor?), all of whom happen to be DJ/producer duos. Paris & Simo have brought progressive electro and bass-heavy house to the attention of dance music cognoscenti the world over, courtesy of unimpeachable remix abilities and noteworthy shows from New York to Miami, Tokyo and Milan, as well as a Canadian tour with David Guetta.
The oft-cited Botnek DJ team are continuing, by the looks of things, to have too much fun firing up tech- and electro-house parties across continents, coming off an Indian tour last month, and heading across the U.S. currently.
And consistently top-ranked EDM twosome Adventure Club have been feeling the love for their brand of dubstep (a.k.a. “clubstep”) at venues and festivals on four continents. How much love? A recent Facebook post that read “Kanye would unplug your life support to charge his cell phone” has gotten over 28,000 likes. ’Nuff said.