Published Mar 01, 2014In the run-up to 2014's Red Bull Music Academy, this year to be held in Tokyo, Japan, the Red Bull Music Academy is hosting weekend-long sessions around the world dubbed Bass Camp. This weekend is Canada's turn as Bass Camp hits Montréal.
Bass Camp Montréal consists of four nights of live music and three days of lectures and studio sessions for 20 young producers. The opening night, held at Montréal's student-friendly Le Belmont club on Boulevard Saint-Laurent, brought out a young, enthusiastic crowd for an all-local line-up featuring solid sets from Pomo, Shash'u and the highly entertaining Tommy Kruise, but highlight of the night was High Klassified, who played a tight and smooth set blending a range of sounds including trap and house, which was all about the bounce. Local hero Lunice headlined the night, stepping away from the electronic trap sound he's known for as one half of TNGHT (with Scotland's Hudson Mohawke) and going back to his own sound.
Despite closing down the party, Lunice was up early on Friday to welcome the Bass Camp studio participants to the first day of lectures and workshops. There are five studios available for the budding producers to collaborate in, guided by Graham Bertie (a.k.a. Nautiluss) and Rob Squire (a.k.a. Prison Garde/Sixtoo). Introducing themselves and their work, one thing that was immediately apparent was the high quality of the production. Amongst the participants were several emerging producers already making a name for themselves in their local scenes, including Toronto's Gingy and Alex Cowan (a.k.a. Agor from the Juno-nominated Blue Hawaii project).
Before the 20 participants headed into the studios to collaborate, they were privy to an illuminating talk from producer DJ Yella, who talked candidly about his days with N.W.A. Yella talked about how Straight Outta Compton was produced, the importance of young producers understanding analogue techniques and how the former members of N.W.A. are still dealing with sampling lawsuits. "We're finishing up the last two lawsuits right now."
Later that night, DJ Yella opened up for Killer Mike, who put on a solid show peppered with his inimitable rants about how fucked up North American politics are and inviting any audience members who disagreed to come and fight him. Nobody took up his offer, probably because he was preaching to the choir and partly because, let's face it, he's a big guy so you'd probably wanna stay quiet. AraabMuzik closed down the night, suddenly taking the room to a darker place. His set took a while to build up and get the crowd going again, with his remix of Flux Pavilion's "I Can't Stop," but the way he worked into it was pretty breathtaking, just watching Orellana's lightning fingers on the MPC.
Passing by the studio at 2 a.m., many of the participants were still going strong: Sanctums were still hard at work making some beautiful ambient sounds in the lounge and Bwana was in the studio mixing down a track with the studio engineer.