- Posted on Mar 3rd 2011 6:45PM by Arielle Castillo
When you were first getting seriously into music, did you ever pick up an instrument or were you more interested in DJing from the beginning?
I started to record tapes from radio. I wasn't interested in playing music, but I was interested in doing some collage and montage, because I had a double tape deck and was able to do some edits. It was chaos -- here is some MC Hammer, and here is some radio host, and then all of that mixed together into a montage.
What inspired you to dig deeper into music and go beyond what was on the radio?
Before making music, the real step for me was when I discovered community and university radio. It started to educate me, musically speaking. It was around 1991 and electronic music was blooming. They'd play Prodigy and Aphex Twin. It was a big, big, big shock. I was like, "Wow, I've never heard anything like that, and I really, really like it." From listening a lot to community and university radio, I started to want to do my own radio show a few years later.
What about hip-hop and electronic music appealed to you over college rock or whatever else the station played?
I never listen to rock music. I'm almost allergic to mid-range frequencies of distorted guitars. I like rhythms. I'm not too much a riff guy.
Did you ever do any party or club DJing before you started your university radio show?
No, I wasn't really interested in the party scene. The rave scene came around Montreal in '93, and I went to the raves in '94 and '95, but I was there for the music. I wasn't there for the party. I was more into the musician, the people making music, instead of really caring about the DJs. I was, let's say, a hardcore fan of music.
How did you go from hosting the show to wanting to make your own music?
I did the show for a few years, and I was would invite electronic musicians to do interviews. By doing so and deeply immersing yourself in music, at some point, you get some ideas. I started to f--- around with the software and did a first track.
It was very rough, but I wasn't seeing what I had in front of me. I was seeing the possibilities. It definitely wasn't good, but it was definitely a song. I was seeing that if I put more hours into it, if I knew the software better, I'd be able to produce stuff I really wanted to. I had a pretty defined idea of exactly what I didn't want to do in music.
What did you not want to do?
I was interested in rhythms and texture, in ambient music and hip-hop. Instead of having to experiment with everything, there were a lot of decisions that I already took to put some limits on where I was going, musically speaking. At first, I was more confident in the ambient music and had more material that I could gather together to do an album. It took me a little bit longer to figure out how to be satisfied also by hip-hop records.
You put out a lot of music last year. Some of it was totally instrumental, but then a lot of it was heavy on Jamaican sounds. What kind of music were you interested in at that time?
It started around 2003, when I did 'Beats as Politics.' I introduced on that album ragga-dancehall rhythms. What I like about dancehall is that it was giving me the same pleasure as hip hop, with a little bit more of melodic aspect. Then I discovered soca very randomly, and there were some soca artists who were taking dancehall influence on their flow and lyrics. That's what I try to do also with my soca, is have a kind of dancehall influence within it.
In what direction are you going with your newest material?
This year is not the kind of year where I want to do an album, but it's a year where I want to do all kinds of different things that wouldn't make sense all together on an album. I just did a kuduru track for the label of J-Wow, the guy from Buraka Som Sistema in Portugal. I never did a proper kuduru track, so that's cool. I also did a bunch of remixes, including a kind of bhangra-chutney-soca remix.
I'm just going a little bit crazy on everything. I also did two documentary soundtracks. They're pretty much ambient, but some stuff with rhythm. It's about focusing on all I want to do right now and do it in little projects, either EP singles or remixes or tracks for compilations. In 2012, I will focus to produce a new album.
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