Globe trotting Canadian beat slayer, Poirier, was in town the other week for RBMA. Inbetween destroying London´s dancefloors, I caught up with him to see whats going on.
Montreal isn't normally a city considered to have a strong association to Carribean bass music- soca, dancehall etc. How did you get into that sound ?
Generally through dub and reggae. Electronic music also, ragga jungle even. Then I went back into the roots of these styles and found a lot originally came from Jamaican music. I kind of dig everything, from straight reggae, roots stuff. I really like digital dancehall from when The Sleng Teng riddim arrived. And the current dancehall I like too because its so beyond dancehall, beyond pop music, but it is actually pop music to Jamaicans. When you hear Busy Signal or Mavado, they're just fearless of the riddim. If you only heard the instrumental of some of their tracks, you wouldn't think its dancehall. The vocal makes it dancehall. When I first discovered soca it was quite random. I bought a compilation and didn't know if I liked it or not. I was really intrigued and wanted to know what the fuck it was. At some point I realised I liked the dancehall vocals on these fast riddims, people like Bunji Garlin. I guess a lot of music is geographical, music spreads around the world..rap rock, whatever. Your taste depends on how open minded you are.
Talking of borders, you've just released a record with ZZK from Argentina. How did that happen. Did you become inspired by Cumbia, reggaeton and current South America styles ?
Its quite funny as I was aware of it through ZZK and my friend Guillaume (Masalacism) was really into those sounds. I've been playing a little bit. But how the record came together was very random. I knew a rapper from Montreal called Boogat. He used to rap in French but he's also Mexican and Paragyan. I got him in the studio and gave him an old riddim I had, kind of a Hip Hop style beat. It took him 4 or 5 months as it wasn't the kind of style he was used to. I reworked the drum pattern and we got a result. I met Grant from ZZK who was really into it and we made plans on how to realease it. So it was kind of naturally random. It wasn't like I sat down and tried to make reggaeton or cumbia or anything, it just happened to be in Spanish and turned out that way.
Sometimes I have specific ideas about what I want to do and afterward I work out how to release it. Its not like I make music just for particular labels. You know I just want to do the music I feel and sometimes the result is not what i expected from the beginning.
Your next release is the Low Ceiling Ep on Ninja Tune. Tell us about that.
Its the last one in a series of three EPs I've done with them. It all instrumental, kind of electronic/caribbean, no vocals - very danceable. I took one of the tracks, '90's Backyard' and re-recorded with Boogat's vocal on it. Its all flexible. The idea for the EP was dancehall speeds 120 bpm.
You were telling me that you've been working on a documentary. What's it about? and how did you get involved
Its called "Les États-Unis d'Afrique" (United States Of Africa) directed by a friend of mine from montreal called Yanick Létourneau. The film takes a Social political view of Hip Hop in Africa and how generation views that. Its about the music but also what's going around it. I'm doing the soundtrack for the whole film. The aim is not to do just Hip Hop riddims because thats whats in the film. I might do some collaborations,but its all pretty open. I am thinking about a more electronic approach, soundscapes. Its pretty exciting for me as the director approached me as he wanted my sound for the movie. I'm really looking forward to starting work on it as its the first kind of offer I've had on a project like this.
Outside of your own stuff, what kind of music is really inspiring you right now. What artists are you listening to?
I actually like listening to a lot of reggae, old dancehall, some dub stuff as well. Right now I'm really into the Harmonic 313 album. I also really like the El Hijo de la cumbia album. That's stuff I like listening to at home, Burial and more electronic things like that. But I'm not home very much so I don't get much time to listen to much new stuff right now. Sometime I like to go back to classic stuff. I've been listening to the old Plastikman records like Consumed and Sheet One from 94/95, they're really cool. Sometimes its easy to be continually following the new stuff on blogs but then you revisit a record like those and its like, wow, it sounds so fresh. Some of the tracks on Musik sound quite tribal. I should play them in my sets. I just need to find what they would work with.
I guess its the drum rolls..
Yeah drum rolls. It would make sense to mix it with Mujava. I'm really interested when I'm DJing to make relationships between track that people don't normally think about instead of just playing all new stuff like a lot of other DJs. For example, I've been aware of the cumbia stuff for a long time but it took me ages to find the right tracks to fit in with my sets.
You've been recording the Face-T album. How did it come about ?
Face-T is a Jamaican and Québécois artist. On the album I'm making some Hip Hopish riddims, some dubstep riddims and some proper dancehall stuff. Its all dancehall stuff at the end of the day, its all reggae. Face-T is very open minded and has the capacity flow on all these riddims and also the talent to write conscious lyrics, party style, ganja style. He's versatile. That's the idea behind the album - How its all different but the same at the same time. He is also touring with me around the world at the moment as my live MC too.
How is the touring ? You never seem to stop.
Yeah I'm lucky in that I'm not dedicated to one particular style so I'm all over the place at the moment- Europe now, then I'm flying to Mexico, then the USA, then back to Europe. Its a great way to get the music directly to people. But also its great to connect with people around the world. Like in Mexico it was great to hang out with Toy Selectah and in Australia I met The KillaQueenz which was really cool. I'm lucky enough to get to meet some of these artists you read about on the blogs in their counties rather than waiting for them to come to my hometown on tour or whatever. Its really cool.
This track is Poirer's new Running High album out on Ninja April 27th.
Poirier - Marathon