We made it out alive again this year. It was harder for me this time, mostly because I had spent a week in New York right before but it was so worth it! Here’s a list of my festival highlights…or at least what I can remember of it…

Friday night:
After a night of wandering around, seeing Delano Smith playing outdoor at TV bar and getting really silly due to the excess amount of gin in our body; we decided it was time to head to our hotel suite and get some rest. On our way we heard pumping techno music coming from the last floor of a fifteen story building. It was enough to convince us to get up there to check what was going on. We discovered this ridiculous party where the bartender was not serving your typical vodka fix but rather balloon infused with dentist’s laughing gas. I’ll let you imagine the rest…

It wasn’t easy to wake up but I couldn’t say no to a trip to Submerge, the mystical vinyl shop. An hour later and a couple of hundreds less in my bank account; I arrived to Movement festival right on time to catch Greg Wilson’s disco infused set. I then checked out Benoit & Sergio on the Beatport stage. They won the crowd’s heart with their song Principles. They delivered a great live set that was made all the more enjoyable by a sunny afternoon. Luckily for the Montreal crowd, they’ll be at Piknik Electronik this Sunday. You’ll have to thank Mutek for that one. Todd Terje doing a tribute to Donna Summer hit the right spot. Dj set, remixes and original tracks; there’s nothing the Scandinavian can do wrong. This festivals first day ended with la crème de la crème of Detroit techno. Andres, Marcellus Pittman, Kyle Hall, Jay Daniel and Mike Huckaby all proved that guys from Detroit have more soul and skills than anybody out there. It was then afterparty time. Once again, the place to be on Saturday was 1515 Broadway where Kai Alce and Marcellus Pittman were in charge of keeping the party going. It’s a café, so no alcohol was sold. Thank god for our lost souls, you could go upstairs near the dj booth where the locals were nice enough to give some us vodka, rum and whiskey. We then got invited to a twisted Jacuzzi party…but it wouldn’t be proper to talk about it here.

Getting woken up by an Indian wedding in a paradisiacal hotel next to the river was a promising start to the day. The RedBull stage won my heart on Sunday. With back to back performance from Tiger and Woods, Wolf + Lamb and Lindstrom; it was definitely the place to be. Seeing the Soul Clap dude wasted and pulling off in-synch moves with another guy was a nice addition to the scene. The surprise of the day came from Piranahead who delivered an impressive performance. Bonus point for having invited a live singer to join him. At this point I was due for a power nap but when I was about to leave I heard “I feel love”. Donna Summer’s hit made me run to the Made in Detroit stage where Rick Wilhite mixed it with Giorgio Moroder’s “The Chase”. Needless to say I never returned to my hotel for a power nap… It was then afterparty time! We headed to Kms party celebrating 25 years of Detroit techno music. With a line-up including Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Blake Baxter, Eddie Folwkes, Stacey Pullen, Terrence Parker, and many more, it was like a dream come true. I got to see Inner City live that night and I’ll never forget it. We were having big fun indeed! All good things must come to an end so at 4am we ended up at 1515 Broadway again. NYC’s Bunker crew were there to keep us dancing. I decided it was time to head back to the hotel around 6am because we all knew how busy a day Monday would be.

Waking up at 9:30 am all shaking and feeling awful, I jumped in the shower nonetheless, put on sunglasses, got myself an apple, grabbed my vodka bottle and headed up to Old Miami. When the taxi driver saw in what state I was I didn’t even have to tell him where I was going. For a second time, I must say this dive bar with a giant backyard was a highlight of the festival. Opening at 7am, this party is the place to be to see dancing zombies and wasted djs. Got to see Montreal’s own Footprintz, Benoit & Sergio and the quite boring Maya Jane Coles (sorry lady). Late afternoon I went back to the festival to enjoy the last moment. Cheers to DJ Godfather who reminded me how good booty music can sometimes be. Jeff Mills closed up the festival with all the classic techno tracks one can only hope to hear once in their lifetime.


So long Detroit, I’ll see you next year! Now it’s Mutek time. And fortunately there are many amazing people met over in Detroit that are making the Montreal trip. I won’t be the only tired out of mind dancer!

It’s that time of the year again, America’s Memorial Day week-end. But don’t you worry; I’m not writing a patriotic article. For me this long week-end actually means a journey to the Mecca of techno: Detroit. It all started last year when a couple of Montreal electronic music enthusiast and I decided to make the long drive to Movement festival.

This year will be my second at the festival and I think we can all call it a tradition now. The festival runs for three days from May 26th to May 28th. It features the best electronic musicians out there on five stages running from noon to midnight. After midnight things get even more interesting; it’s after-party time. Just to give you an idea of what the after party scene is like; last year I had the “brilliant” idea to print the list of after parties and ended up stuck with 59 sheets of paper.

Here are some artists I’m definitely checking out this year:

Todd Terje – Inspector Norse:  A Norwegian artist who won my heart with both his remixes and his original tracks. 2012 seems to be his year with his crossover track that got played by both electro and indie DJs.

Lindstrom – I feel space: This guy blew my mind a couple of years ago at Watergate in Berlin. For me it will be a sort of reunion. Although he didn’t impress me that much with his latest release, it will be fun to dance to his beats when the sun sets on the red bull music academy stage.

Marcellus Pittman – You want me: Last year, we ended up seeing this guy in a small loft party with maximum 30 people. It was almost a religious experience. This year he’s invading the Made in Detroit stage where I’ll probably end up spending all my time because Detroit dj’s are the best.

Matias Aguayo – Minimal (dj koze remix): He’s always putting on a good show with his festive beats. If anybody can make the sun shine on a dark indoor stage it’s this Chilean guy!

Lil Louis – French Kiss: A Chicago house legend; I discovered him as pretty much every DJ who respects house music will sneak in some of his tracks during their set.

Hot natured – Forward Motion: When two talented guys join forces you can’t go wrong. Jamie Jones and Lee Foss are there to make you dance with their soulful house beats.

Public Enemy –Fight the Power : It’s quite a weird add to the festival. I mean…a hip-hop act in an electronic music festival?! But I tend to enjoy hip-hop during the summer time so why not give it a try?

You might be stuck in Montreal, unable to attend the festival but I’ll be providing reviews through out the weekend that will make you feel as though you are right in the thick of it. Expect some silly stories, interviews with artists and candy raver pictures.

Bestselling artist and Montreal-native Sam Roberts was kind enough to agree to an in-person interview before putting on a commanding performance in support of his group’s newest album, Collider, for thousands of singing-along fans at Sasquatch.

Just a couple hours before his show, I made contact with his manager who then invited us to come on the tour bus.

Sam arrived fresh off complimentary lunch and was instantly accommodating. With his welcoming style, the interview felt surprisingly informal, just a conversation. In fact, we ended up speaking for much longer off the record than on, but this is what he had to say about performing at Sasquatch:

So what are your thoughts on Sasquatch so far?
The first thing you notice, when you put aside all the similarities to other festivals, is that not every festival takes place in somewhere like the Gorge. The natural aspect is always present, you’re always conscious of the scenery. Which is unique, because a lot of festivals are closed off and become their own universe. But here, there’s this constant reminder that there’s a world going on outside of Sasquatch. I like that.

When did you arrive?
Just an hour ago—while, at least I woke up an hour ago. I’m not sure when we got in, but we played in Vancouver last night. We crossed the border at four in the morning. Wake up, throw some clothes on, grab a bite to eat, take a shower, and maybe get a couple beers in the system: you’re ready to go on stage.

So are you going to get a chance to catch some artists and actually enjoy the festival?
I think so, we have a pretty relaxed schedule here. I’m going to go check out Wheedle’s Groove. A band like Beach House, it would be great to see them, but they’re playing at the same time as us. So that’s the problem, there are all these scheduling conflicts. You look at the lineup and then you’re like [sigh], we’re playing at the same time as these guys. It’s not your own show; you’re never in charge of what happens. You’re just a guest. You have to make sure to soak it in and make you have your own experience beyond your own show.

Since you just got in, maybe you haven’t noticed the Canadian influence yet.
Which is always a good thing, the more Canadians the better.

Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of Canadian flags, especially a lot of Canucks flags. Any thoughts on playing as a Canadian artist for such a Canadian crowd?
I think in this part of the U.S. anyway, that’s a pretty logical step. You’ve got all these people from Calgary and out west that have access to this place. It’s a reasonable trip, and when you talk about the landscape out here, its very unique.  I think it’s definitely something that appeals to Canadians. I’m glad to know that they’re starting to trickle down and boost their numbers. Obviously, it’s nice to have a lot of hometown support.

See more photos by Matt Shanafelt from Sasquatch! 2011 via facebook.

I stepped outside of my tent and instantly noticed how many cars had disappeared from the campgrounds.

People traveled from far and wide to attend Sasquatch, so it seemed as though everyone need a day to return to work on Tuesday, and with the exception of the select group of Wilco fans, every stage was fairly barren and open to easy front row access.

Dressed in suits and tuxes, Noah and the Whale came out with a set up equally polished with their well-orchestrated mournful and occasionally inspirational pop tunes. The first time I saw them live a few years ago, the lead singer had apparently just gone through a break-up and their set was a bit of a depressed mess, but in a way, that’s what made them relatable. Now, looking confident and put together, Noah and the Whale lost a bit of their charm, but still surpassed many expectations and presented a lovely set.

Next came beloved Montreal-natives Chromeo on the main stage. As always, Dave-1 and P-Thugg put on the show their fans have come to expect—cocky, smooth, and ironically cheesy. Even though it was the third time I’d caught them live since August, their lovability has far from deteriorated.

90’s four-track, lo-fi college rock kings Guided by Voices took the stage after Chromeo for one of the smallest crowds I observed all weekend at the main stage.

From a distance, the lack of support was a bit understandable; their music didn’t come off well in a large open space like the Gorge and the instrumentation felt dated. But from the pit, hardcore fans joined together, sang along, and helped make Guided by Voices feel at home.

After, Bonobo treated the Banana shack to a DJ set of obscure tracks and mash-ups, coming across as one of the most accessible dance artists of the weekend.

Then, at 7:30, !!! (also known as chk chk chk) brought forth the best set of the day and maybe of the weekend. Somewhat akin to LCD Soundsystem if James Murphy was replaced by a flamboyant karaoke singer at a gay bar, !!!’s lead singer, Nic Offer stormed out with most likely coke-induced energy.

“Don’t kick the photographers out of the pit after our first three songs, let them stay in the whole time…. I have a few surprises for them.” With those words, I became painfully aware of the absence of my photographer attending Best Coast instead.

Offer walked through the crowd, tried on audience members’ accessories, posed for photos, and basically cage-danced on the P.A.’s. But in the end, it was the flawless disco/electronic music that held the performance together.

Everything after felt like a bit of a disappointment, especially Wilco, strumming through some even more mellowed out versions of their songs, commenting on how the last time they played at the Gorge was their worst show ever…

But Major Lazer gave what can be best described as a frenzied, womanizing, lawless two-encore performance of crowd-surfing, daggering, and cloth-fucking.

Mental note: if given the choice between a legendary group’s acoustic jam set or Major Lazer—choose Major Lazer.

And with that, comes the conclusion of Sasquatch 2011. Within the next week I’ll have a full overview sorting out my thoughts, observations, and highlights on my first major festival of the year.

Chk Chk Chk Playlist by ChkChkChk

See more photos by Matt Shanafelt from Sasquatch! 2011 via facebook.

*** Editors note: that guy, standing (yes you know the one I’m talking about) is not in a band, but is seriously awesome.

We’re back in Montreal trying to communicate what we experienced in Detroit. No words can describe it. It was like a religious ritual, and I’ve already started the countdown until next year’s festival. The whole experience was magical, and I have to say that for such a big event, the crowd was really communicative, and there was a peaceful, friendly vibe. The free massage station in the V.I.P. area was appreciated, since I’ve never danced so much in my entire life!

Whether it was Kerri Chandler, Soul Clap, Marc Houle, Ambivalent, every stage had something good to bring to the festival, but since we were in Detroit, the Made in Detroit stage was the way to go. It was the loudest stage, and housed artists like Delano Smith, who played killer remixes of Depeche Mode and Claude Young, which made everybody there cry of joy while he was mixing with his mouth. I think that’s where I really understood the meaning of Detroit Techno!

The last day started early at Old Miami. Seth Troxler was organizing an event outdoors with many artists more wasted than the crowd behind the desk. They still managed to mix, so a big shout out at them! Our local DJ Vincent Lemieux made us all proud and was quite impressive, especially when he dropped a vinyl that had been melted by the sun and still managed to mix it!!!

Don’t forget that it was Memorial Day…they had to stop the music in order to let the disco regiment of Windsor fire their guns! My friend actually received a projectile on her, and it was hilarious to hear people starting to have bad trips after that!

We finished our journey in a loft in a ghetto area with Theo Parrish’s friend Marcellus Pittman spinning for a crowd of locals and true Detroit techno lovers. It was a way to say thank you and goodbye. I’m holding my breath until next year’s festival. Being back in Montreal is a bit sad because, like a friend said: “I’ll take a candy raver instead of a hipster anytime. At least candy ravers dance!”

We’ll slowly go back to our routine, but let’s not stop the music yet. Mutek has just started and I’ll be covering it.

So keep reading!



See more photos by Mathieu Grondin from Movement 2011 via facebook.

Sleepless is the best way to describe my weekend, but a good vodka Redbull diet served me well, and kept me moving.

On the second day of Movement, we were able to enjoy the music of Soul Clap, Ricardo Villalobos, 69 (Carl Craig project) and Delano Smith. During the sets there was a tornado warning; I seriously thought “this is it” during the Soul clap set, which added some strange yet funny anxiety to the day!

Villalobos was able to get through the boarder; but that was quite surprising, especially since he was so intoxicated during his set! You can’t change him. We cracked up laughing when he unsuccessfully tried to put drugs in his pockets while deejaying, then he decided to go hide under the DJ table while thousands of people watched.

My interview with Marc Houle from M-nus records, was one of the highlights of the first day. We talked about Project Noise in Montreal, and the noise complaint issue to which he said: “Toronto is there for people who wanted to be quiet, not Montreal!”

Here’s my complete interview:

With a name like yours, it would be easy to think that you’re from Quebec!
I am actually from Windsor, Ontario. I love music from Quebec. Actually a lot of music I listen to is from the early 80’s in Quebec. There’s some obscure music like Echo 83. Nobody knows them, even people from Quebec don’t know who they are.

Really? It’s more like new wave?
It’s more like Kraftwerk, it’s beautiful. It’s three French dudes. It’s one of the best album of all time.

Tell me about how you started deejaying?
It was at Richie Hawtin’ club: 13 Below. I used to play new wave music – it was fun! We had one room, and throughout the club we had televisions with different Ataris; so people were sitting at the stations playing old video games and I’d be playing new wave music that’d go along with it, and they’d bring the cartridge to the DJ booth and trade them for other games. And I’d talk to people: Oh ! You just played Tick tock, it’s beautiful eh! Try Mister Do! You’ll love it!

Now you’re based in Berlin. What made you move there?
When I first started playing at clubs, one of my first shows was in Berlin, and it was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen before. People swinging from the ceiling, everyone screaming, it was like a fake movie; it was surreal, but it was normal there. Then you come to North America and everyone is standing there and talking to each other. Usually you can hear people talking about work while you’re deejaying, but there it doesn’t happen. Every time I went back, it just got better and better, and better. I decided that if wanted to stay the same, then North America was fine, but if I wanted to grow as an artist and live as an artist, I had to go to Europe. It’s just so different.

Do you have a new release coming soon?
I don’t think so. It’s tough for me because I just make songs everyday and my goal in the studio is to make songs for Magda dj. She’s always been my inspiration. If Magda likes it, then I know it’s good, because I trust her judgment. If there’s a whole bunch of them that are really good, then I can put out an album, otherwise I just keep making songs, making songs, making songs.

How do you create your music?
I’m lucky enough to have my studio in my house, so if I’m like making eggs or something and I have an idea, I just take the eggs off and run to the studio record really fast. It’s like a game or something, it’s really fun, it’s never like work and if it became work, that would be really sad.

We survived the festival for a second day and were lucky enough to catch Derrick May and Juan Atkins in a tiny bar. Unfortunately the party got busted by the cops around 5 am, but we add plenty of time to dance like there was no tomorrow!

Marc Houle – On It (Original Mix) by E – Music LA

See more photos by Mathieu Grondin from Movement 2011 via facebook.

For the Sasquatch crowd, Sunday was all about the drugs.

All throughout the day, murmurs about trips could be heard, usually along the lines of, “Are you feeling it, man?”
“Ohh yeeaaahh, I’m feeling it.”

The lack of sobriety and continued Canadian pride set the stage for an odd vibe, which was most clear during Montreal native Sam Roberts‘ midday set. In the breaks between his hard rocking, yet still very sing-a-longy songs, more chants of “CA-NA-DA” could be heard.

It was a great set that due to the heavy Canadian influence in the crowd and the seemingly ideal festival music coming from Sam Roberts felt like a microcosm of Sasquatch 2011.

I spoke with Sam in his tour bus before the set, and I’ll have a full article covering the interview posted within the next day or two.

A memorable early performance was that of S. Carey, known as one of the “other guys” in Bon Iver. His atmospheric, introspective sounds a la Sigur Ros created contemplative layers under the inconsistent weather, which swayed from scolding hot to steady rain. A highlight was a tribute to the classic David Lynch sitcom, “Twin Peaks” (filmed in Washington), with the band strumming through the theme during a short break before their last song.

The energy grew as the day went on, especially notable during the surprisingly well-received set of the dirty south soul group Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, based out of Texas.

After showing up over twenty minutes late, they gutted through track after track of dirty soul, becoming progressively more intense as they went on. The entire crowd was dancing and the set peaked with a raucous cover of Louie, Louie and an unforeseen toilet paper extravaganza.

From out of nowhere came an unrelenting assault of toilet paper rolls thrown straight into the air—literally dozens and dozens were tossed over and over again. The audience was covered and eventually the stage as well, but Black Joe only played off it the excitement with more energy.

It was difficult for any artist to match that, but a couple hours later I found myself enjoying the impressive DJ work of Gold Panda. He worked the table and did not settle for any easy drops. His layered beats officially converted me as a fan.

But in terms of fan-hood, there was only one artist on my mind: Flying Lotus. One of my absolute favorite musicians, his set marked the third time I’d seen him in less than a year, and as always, he was amazing.

Mixing up his lineup, he focused mostly on hip-hop, giving the audience a spin of Tyler, the Creator’s, Yonkers, generating a full-on dance party.

Flying Lotus by Audio McSwagger

Meanwhile on the mainstage, the Flaming Lips played through their classic album, the Soft Bulletin. Due to the Flying Lotus conflict, I was forced to miss them, but my photographer made sure to attend and catch some photos.

But in the end, every Sasquatch attendee joined together to watch the late night entertainment from Ratatat.

After a slow start, they eventually started to get going, running through many of their most popular tracks. Better than the music, though, were the absorbing visuals. Honestly too difficult to describe, the video screens sent the already tripping audience to new depths.

Next is Monday, with Wilco, !!!, Guided by Voices, and Rodrigo y Gabriela.

See more photos by Matt Shanafelt from Sasquatch! 2011 via facebook.

Upon arrival, the first thing that caught our eyes at Sasquatch 2011 were the endless Vancouver Canucks flags. After entering the grounds, things were not much different with hundreds of jerseys worn in support of the squad representing Canada in the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals.

During the set of the Trailer Park Boys, a Canadian comedy troupe, chants of “CA-NA-DA” came and went. The group played off the homegrown fans and riffed on Canadian currency and the fitting gag from their show of “Sam-sqatch.”

Unfortunately, the set felt a bit forced and the mics were too quiet, so very few of the jokes actually landed. The audience didn’t seem to mind, though—they were just content to be in the presence of the idols they had come to love.

“I can’t believe it, fuckin’ Ricky and Julian are right there! Where’s Bubbles? This is the greatest moment of my life!” Those were the words of a Sasquatch-tripper right behind us, who seemed on the verge of tears for most of the set.

Really, that fan represented the atmosphere of Sasquatch this year: amazing. Everyone has been relaxed, elated, and completely in sync with the performers.

They showed their appreciation with screams and sing-a-longs to the first artist we caught, Aloe Blacc. His band was over fifteen minutes late and he was another ten after them, but when he skyrocketed from backstage, adorned in a purple button down, vest, and fedora, the energy soared.

Aloe jumped right into the vocals and dancing, greeting the crowd with the cheer-worthy message of, “My name is Aloe Blacc and I’m here to sing some soul music.”

His aura was undeniable and the crowd loved it, but nothing could compare to my personal highlight of the day, Washed Out.

Led by Ernest Greene, who I have an interview tentatively planned with, Washed Out breezed through a set of layered synths and bass riffs. Playing in the tent designated for electronic artists, they deserve respect for utilizing a full band amongst a series of keyboard-only DJs.

Washed Out unveiled a new song, taking its live v-card for Sasquatch and opening up a new emotional dynamic to their music. They successfully walked the rarely attempted tightrope of simultaneous emotions and danceable beats. Not to mention, the strangest group of musicians I’ve seen in a while (see: pictures).

I packed it in early, still adjusting to the switch from London to Northwest time, but according to the people I spoke with about Bassnectar’s late night set, he phoned it in with a mediocre DJ set and easy drops, making me thankful to have not deprived myself of much-needed sleep.

Looking back, it was a fantastic day with a perfect audience. Everyone is friendly and open to each other, because they know that anyone with the know-of-all to attend Sasquatch is probably someone worthwhile to get acquainted with. Well, then again, maybe its just because they’re all Canadian.

Washed Out – “Eyes Be Closed” by Stereo/Pirate

See more photos by Matt Shanafelt from Sasquatch! 2011 via facebook.

Covering an electronic music festival is like practicing extreme sports. No matter how careful you are, chances are you’re going to end up wrecked.

The fun started in the car where we pumped up techno music during the 10 hour drive to Detroit for Movement 2011. We were already destroyed the first night but a disco nap gave us force to check the opening party with Cassy. It was taking place in a tiny basement bar, the Oslo. The place was really dark and the sound system was insane! Then we checked out a party where the legendary Juan Atkins was performing. We learned the hard way that bars can’t serve alcohol after 2am. Thanks god we had three bottles of hard liquor in our hotel room and….the swimming pool was still open. Naked gin party was the way to go.

Woke up still drunk to make this interview with Aril Brikha (who turned out to be my favorite artist in the first day of festival).

Hey there! So, you’re playing tonight on the Detroit stage. What’s your set up like?
I use Ableton live and midi controllers.

Will you be playing a lot of your songs today?
I only play my own songs since it’s a live set. I just don’t know what to play yet. It’s a bit nerve wracking. I still have to figure out how to work the new controller I got in Chicago two days ago. It may be stupid or it may be a good thing. The crowd seems to be really open-minded, so it’s a good occasion to try new things! But, at the same time I did my first ever live set in Detroit in 99 so it’s like coming home, and I get nervous because I know a lot of people here.

You just released a track on your own label Art of Vengeance. Do you plan on releasing tracks by other artists or it will remain your own music?
At the moment the reason why I started the label was to get my music out quicker than most labels usually do. At this point I just have too much music that I’ve been sitting on, and actually the thought of releasing other peoples’ music was never on my mind until somebody actually mentioned it. But yeah! If I bump into something I like… and I have friends making music as well. If they have something that doesn’t fit anywhere else and I like it, I’ll put it on the label.

What are the other artists you want to check out during Movement?
Little Dragon, fellow Swedish band and I’m probably going to try to see more discoish artists like Morgan Geist and DJ Harvey (who unfortunately canceled the gig). I’m also going to check Adam Beyer. Hopefully I’ll discover something new actually! That’s what festivals are for…yeah or at least it should be! Rather than going to see the artists you already know.

The whole day was magic. Marc Houle (interview coming soon), Kerri Chandler and Aril Brikha were my highlights. Nothing beats the after party though. Omar-s proved that not only is he one of the best producers of the moment but, he’s also the best dj! The party was taking place in a café so no alcohol was served…except upstairs where there was an illegal free bar with vodka and old Detroit legends like submerge owner. They accepted the little Montreal groupie in their crew. Maybe the tutu helped…at least it gave me free access to the party!

Omar S – day by Dolls 2

Photos by Mathieu Grondin

Continuing with my Sasquatch! Music Festival coverage, I contacted the Moondoggies, a Seattle-based hometown favourite that specialize in rootsy-Americana rock. Playing at the Bigfoot Stage at 2:00 on Sunday, they are one of the few groups I can confidently say are a must-see. The list is unusually short thanks to a house and a half worth of conflicts and scheduling mishaps.

Really, almost every hour feels plagued. Most painful of all, Sunday evening is a scheduling nightmare. The Flaming Lips, Flying Lotus, and Yeasayer at the same time? This has to be a prank.

So I’m aware that I promised a personal schedule in my last preview, but with this year’s lineup, there is no way to work one out in advance without risking a tumor. As I’ve done for so much of my life, I’m just going to have to wing it.

Of the few plans my friend/photographer have locked in stone for Sasquatch, one of the most notable is meeting up with Sam Roberts. Getting the opportunity to speak with a rising Montreal-legend such as himself is an honor and I look forward to relaying the conversation via Forget the Box in a few days.

But first, as guaranteed, is my interview with the Moondoggies.

They’ve made a name for themselves in their old-fashioned harmonies, with all four members raising their sweet croons over genuine back-to-basics rock n’ roll—a style which has helped them develop a core fan base in Washington State.
As the Moondoggies launch out of the bar scene and into the major festival circuit, the added exposure has helped their audience expand, while high praise seems to be coming from every in-the-know source imaginable.

Out of respect for their busy schedules, especially at a time like this, I kept the questions quick and along with giving their word to swing by Montreal next time they get a chance, this is what they had to say:

Tell me about the experience of getting the opportunity to perform at your home state’s largest festival.
Moondoggies: The setting is insanely beautiful, it’s great. Free pass to watch music all day too.

I’ve always associated listening to your records with road trips across the NW, which is precisely what I’ll be doing to get to Sasquatch. How aware of the listener’s potential setting are you in the songwriting process?
Well I think when you’re creating a song it feels like a place or location you can go to or are getting to, and I think the same about music I listen to. People are going to create what that place is to them and I’ll only know my own outlook. If people ARE listening to it to try and experience something  hopefully it’s away from their computer desk…Unless they’re at work. Otherwise driving around has always been my favorite.

Moondoggies photo from lettersmixtape.blogspot.com

I’ve been in communication with several artists performing at Sasquatch! and I’ll be posting the transcripts as we go along. In this article, Black Mountain responds to my questions.

The bearded Vancouver-based psychedelic rockers have been converting their intense jam sessions to record for a few releases now and gaining a devoted following. Their newest album, Wilderness Heart, is their heaviest yet and should translate into a powerful live show. They are set to perform at 3:00pm on Monday at the Bigfoot Stage and are sure to mesmerize the midday smokers as always.

Here’s how bassist/singer Matt Camirand replied to my questions…

Tell me about the experience of getting the opportunity to perform at a festival taking place in a location like the Gorge.
I am looking forward to the Gorge as I have never been there before. I have many friends who have seen shows there and all have raved about it. As long as the weather holds out it should be a great time.

Back in 2008, I ran off from Roger Waters’ set at Coachella for about thirty minutes to catch you guys. Being in the middle of that conflict must have been something you were not especially happy about- in fact, I believe I remember you saying something to the audience along the lines of “thanks for missing out on all the awesomeness over there.” Care to add any insight into that experience or just festival scheduling in general?
Ha, yeah, I remember we had a bit of a moment of silence at one point so we could all hear Roger Waters’ set going on in the distance and in fact the second we were done I cruised over there and caught the end of Comfortably Numb with all the insane pyrotechnics and such. It did seem a little strange to schedule us specifically at the same time as Pink Floyd, all things considered.  But hey, it’s a festival and if I got upset for every time I’ve been to a festival and there’s been some logistical or organizational fuck up, I’d be a pretty miserable soul. Festivals are a lot of fun and I can only imagine how difficult they are to organize. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

You recently returned from touring Australia and Europe, what was that like?
It was great. We’ve been to both places before and are always happy to get to go and play our music for the Europeans and Australians. The hospitality in both places is always top notch and the chance to get out of rainy Vancouver in the winter to get some sun in Italy or Sydney is always welcome.

Black-Mountain by -gaga

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photo from amoeba.com

Today we’re launching the series of Detroit interviews, which will preview the Movement Festival, with Justin Martin of the Dirtybird family.

The San Franciso producer has been around for almost a decade now. He has been booked at Panoramabar, Exit Festival and our own beloved Piknik Electronik. He has been mentored by Claude Vonstroke and was in the first four releases of Dirtybird records. I asked him a couple of questions concerning his background and the DJ lifestyle.

How did your love for music start? Do you come from a musical family?
I come from a very musical family. My parents used to blast everything from classic rock to classical music and my dad’s vinyl collection was pretty insane.

Did you study any instruments?
Both I and my brother Christian took piano lessons from a very young age and I eventually moved on to play the saxophone in quite a few jazz bands growing up.

What was the first concert or DJ set that blew your mind?
One of the first concerts I can remember blowing my mind was going to see A Tribe Called Quest perform with The Roots when I was in high school.  I was a huge Tribe Called Quest fan growing up so I’m glad I got to see them in their prime.

What do you like the most about being part of the Dirtybird family?
It’s just really nice having a group of real friends that are all on the same page musically. Everyone in the crew is very down to earth and I look up to each one of them for different reasons. We truly are a family when it comes down to it and I always find inspiration from them. I feel very lucky to be one of the Dirtybirds.

Can you tell us about a magic moment you had while deejaying?
I played at the Exit Festival in Belgrade for the first time about 5 years ago… it was by far the biggest gig of my career. I was really nervous because I was playing a sunrise set for over 10,000 people right after Roger Sanchez. I remember shortly after I started playing looking up and seeing even the police officers on duty dancing all around the stage, and all my nervous energy just turned to joy. That was probably one of the best gigs of my life.

What was the weirdest thing somebody ever told you while you were mixing?
Someone once asked me if I would have sex with their mother.

What is your favourite track at the moment?
Oh gosh… so many favourites…I really like this track called Sexual by Tanner Ross and Soul Clap. Those guys are making beautiful music!

Mr. Spock by Justin Martin & Ardalan by dirtybird

Justin will have a crazy weekend! He’ll be playing at the I Love You But I’ve Chosen Techno party on Saturday, then in Las Vegas on Sunday and back to the Movement festival on Monday, where he’ll be playing on the Beatport stage at 7:30 pm. Make sure to catch his set!

I’ve been granted a press pass to the Sasquatch Music Festival taking place this weekend in Washington State, and I couldn’t be more exhilarated. Why? Because Sasquatch has recently emerged as one of the premier festivals in the United States, and with its impressive 2011 lineup, maybe worldwide.

What makes Sasquatch unique amongst what seems to be an endless list of oddly—named music festivals is, undeniably, its location. Situated in the middle of Washington State, with no meaningful civilization for miles, Sasquatch takes place atop the Columbia River Gorge.

In case you’ve never heard of the Gorge, please take a moment to acknowledge the amazing idea of having a music festival on the edge of a breathtakingly gorgeous, four-thousand-foot deep canyon. The main stage literally looks over the edge, and audience members spend just as much time watching the beauty around them as they do the bands.

Maybe it’s because everyone is fresh off of a road trip (Quincy, WA is at least two and half hours away from any major city), but in general, Sasquatch-ians seem more elated and just stoked to be in attendance, compared to the attendees of most other high-profile festivals.

As a veteran of Coachella and Bumbershoot, I can safely say that the overall vibes and atmosphere at those festivals doesn’t even begin to compare to Sasquatch.

And that’s all without even mentioning the musical entertainment, which is top notch. In fact, this is Sasquatch’s ten-year anniversary, so they’re celebrating in regal fashion. For the first time, Sasquatch has expanded to four days (May 27-30), and the likes of Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Ratatat, and many more will be taking to their stages.

Due to previous plans in New York, I’ll be missing Friday and experiencing just the final three days. But that’s no big loss, because those days are loaded, and I’ll still see a great selection of the roughly 100 artists spread out from Saturday to Monday.

In fact, there may be too many artists, because my mind is swirling with conflict mania. I have a few days to work out my schedule, so I’ll give you a better idea of what I’ll be checking out in my next preview, but there are several acts from Quebec (e.g. Sam Roberts) and Washington (e.g. the Moondoggies) that I’ll be sure not to miss.

In my next preview: I’ll give you my complete schedule, provide transcripts from a few interviews, highlight key artists, and provide a bit more insight into the journey I plan on taking.

Ratatat – Wildcat by rabbitron

Festival photo from festivalcircuit.wordpress.com
logo photo from http://three-colours.blogspot.com/

In a couple of days I’ll be heading to Detroit to attend one of the most exciting electronic music festivals in North America: Movement. Not only is the line-up incredible, but it’s also taking place in a city steeped in music history. This will be my first pilgrimage to the city that gave birth to techno music and I’ll be there from May 27th to May 30th,   keeping you posted on the great stuff happening there. I’ll also be doing some interviews with the artists I respect the most.

The festival only lasts three days, but with all the artists booked I’m really not sure if I’ll have time to sleep. The festival goes from noon to midnight every day, and I’m not even going to get into the topic of after-parties today! Dj Harvey, Sven Väth, Carl Craig, Paul Kalkbrenner, Justin Martin (an interview I did with him will be up soon),  Ben Klock, Richie Hawtin and many, many more will keep festival goers dancing all week-end. Not to mention the legendary Ricardo Villalobos, who was confirmed last week to perform at both the festival and an after-party on a boat!!!

Here’s an interview I did with Jason Huvaere, Director of Operations for Movement Electronic Music Festival.

When did the festival start? What gave you the idea to start a festival like this?
The festival, now in its 12th year, has taken many twists and turns prior to our organization, Paxahau, becoming the producer in 2006 but the essence of it has not changed.  It is still an event that is all about the music and the people who love it so much.  Since 2006 we have worked to improve upon each year’s production, and put together a line-up that is representative of where the music is today.  As the music evolves so will our festival.  Movement today, unlike when it first started, is an international music festival, and we intend to maintain that status for years to come.

Is there any incident that made you regret being a festival promoter?
I don’t really get to dance anymore, and we are exposed to challenges that remind us of the magnitude of the responsibilities we have accepted.

Which booking are you the proudest of this year?
Each artist who performs at Movement is important to the overall experience of the event for fans.  We are proud to have them all at Movement Electronic Music Festival.  Dr. Atmo and Sven Vath are the two I think of first.  They have been with us in heart since the beginning of the Detroit scene but these are their first performances at the festival.

What is the spirit of the festival? What should you expect if it’s your first time attending Movement?
It is a very friendly, community oriented environment.  If you are a person who truly appreciates electronic music you will find that there are many people like you who are in attendance.  Expect to dance.  There are five stages and each one has something going on and the performances will have you moving your feet and body all day long.  You should dress for the weather.  Be sure to have comfortable shoes on.

For anyone who want to experience the city outside the Hart Plaza, what are the must-sees in Detroit?
We have many great venues and restaurants.  We encourage people to explore while they are in Detroit.  We have partnered with a bike rental shop in the city called Wheelhouse Detroit and they are giving tours of the city.  We think people should take advantage of that … it will give you a sense of history and a great tour of the city and its Techno landmarks.  The website www.digdowntown.com has a lot of great listings.

The festival will also promote visual art. Paxahau have teamed up with Creative Corridor Center (DC3) and Community Arts Moving Projects (CAMP Detroit).  DC3 and CAMP Detroit reached out to their artist networks to seek applicants from Detroit’s creative community to submit a proposal for their installation idea.  More than fifty artists showed interest in the project, and in the end six installations were selected.   The installations represent a wide range of mediums. Most will be interactive. Some will be technically complex and involve electronics. Each is sure to inspire. The artists who developed the installations include recent art school graduates, community arts leaders, architects, graphic designers, and electronic and mechanical engineers.

Time to get ready…well to sleep as much as possible so I can go on a 3-days no sleep diet!

If you’re not able to make it to Detroit this year no worries! You’ll be able to catch the event online!
On May 28, 29, and 30 from noon until midnight fans of electronic music will be able to visit www.ResidentAdvisor.net to access five media players being powered by the folks at www.Awdio.com to hear live performances from six of the festival’s stages.

For those interested in seeing the creative side of Detroit, there’s a great documentary made by Johnny Knoxville who shows us the positive aspects of the city. Watch it here: http://www.vbs.tv/en-ca/watch/uneven-terrain/palladium-detroit-full-new-credits–3