In Montréal, techno label Liquid Love Records has joined the local emerging scene

NAAAt the heart of the Montreal underground scene, the Liquid Love Records label has seen its young talent projects grow despite changes in the health context or the city’s gentrification. Interview with the label’s founder and one of the members of LLX, who released his EP within today.

By Elsa Fortant

2020-2021 is a boom year for techno in Montreal. Closed scattering spaces, local artists focus on creation and production. After Secret Knowledge, MFC Records, Vertige, it was the turn of the Liquid Love Records label to unify the emerging scene. If the aesthetic identity of the project is a work-in-progress, its latest release, the EP within the LLX trio is part of the legacy of the pioneering genres of Detroit techno and the haya of 1990’s sounds. Efficient. Trax sat down with label founder Martin Cadieux and LLX member Rémi to discuss the project and discuss the future of the Montreal scene.

What is the journey that brings you here today?

Martin: I started making music about ten years ago when I was 18 years old. At first I did more hip-hop, for fun. Over the years I switched to electronic music. I realized that it was more of a love affair for me and that I wanted to continue this path. I didn’t study music, not even cegep (form of Quebec-specific educational institution, between high school and university, similar to high school in France, editor’s note) I study communication and cinema. I had an interest in culture but I didn’t focus on music, I never imagined myself to be an artist. Discovering the electronic music scene, while traveling, I made the decision, after two years of sabbatical, to return to university and study electroacoustic music at Concordia. Here I met one of the members of the LLX. By partnering with talented people, I wanted to launch a project that would provide visibility to music that I love and that I find under-represented.

Rémi (LLX): I started making music in 2009 on Myspace. I show up at lofts, underground parties. I find that my creation has ceased and that my knowledge is limited. I went back to school in Concordia and there I met Martin, Hugo and JP, and that’s how we launched LLX. We all have musical backgrounds: tour manager, light engineer at a club… A year ago with the arrival of Covid, we all lost our jobs, we thought we had no future… so that we started making music. With our multidisciplinary knowledge, we thought differently about the project, we wanted to do a live show, with lights, images, we worked on the green screen live during the show. Unsure of the future so we focused on videos, we wanted to make a medium length film that was almost 40 minutes into our sound. We especially look forward to playing it in front of the world.

on within we’ve felt a lot of influences from Detroit techno to acid through the bumpy side of ghettotech (“It’s not the same”), we’ve heard dubby effects… it’s rich.

Rémi: For the EP we wanted to feed the speed and designs of F1. F1 is more than just racing, it has a whole lot of technology behind it. For Detroit techno, for example, we like what the Underground Resistance imposes and the culture is anonymous. We don’t go so far as to wear balaclavas but we like the idea that people don’t focus on our appearance. We want to be open and be as inclusive as possible.

And for Liquid Love Records? The four releases cover different worlds.

Martin: Because the original idea of ​​Liquid Love was to create a platform for people I know who had a place to distribute music, it happened organically. The label was only a year old, very young, the brand and visual identity were still being formed and they were changing projects. Currently, all projects result in a personal and therefore plural approach. The identity of the label is to bring people together, taking pieces from other places and making them work together. LLX is the most developed project, amid techno, 1990s influences and rave.

Before the pandemic, where did you usually go out?

Rémi: I’m really from the culture of underground lofts where you go through the alley, you come in and it’s gone for 15 hours of sound. If not the Stereo, big Montreal classic. I also love small places like Datcha.

Martin: I’m the same because Rémi and I have the same background, we have the same places. I’m not a nightclub guy yet, I never really liked Belmont even though there were a lot of shows, the clubs in Old Port weren’t interested in me. I can’t find the people or the music I like. It focuses very much on the image you are planning. The underground scene in Montreal was so beautiful, I was more interested in the rave, afterparty scene. At the events I organize, I try to keep this underground spirit by favoring small venues that are less charging and by programming live performances where everyone brings their equipment. Having a chance to introduce yourself, show off your art and “be”, these are the places that excite me. This is in line with the label’s mantra of focusing on artistic creation.

As for the underground scene in particular, we know that there is a lack of space for the spread and that it is difficult for the actors around …

Martin: There’s a kind of “gate guard” culture, guards protecting their spaces, you have to know the right people to get to them, and it’s always the same people … I am critical because the town does not not support the development of the party. There may be a flurry regarding the scene after the party, but there are many places I can’t name where once again the same people run the venues, inviting the same type of people. In that spirit, yes, we lack spaces because in Montreal, with gentrification, there are fewer and fewer industrial gaps. I was told that in the 1990s this was not the case. Despite this, the need is there so we always have to find a way. Of course, that makes the market competitive. We are even better than Calgary or even Toronto.

Rémi: Compared to Europe, it’s definitely different. Two years ago I went to Brussels and had techno in the parks. It’s a bit like Piknic Electronik here but it’s free, open to everyone, to families, it’s something that isn’t really here. We have a culture of making music accessible to as many people as possible using free programming of events like the Jazz Festival, but much less electronically. I think it’s lacking here, right now at Covid, there are speakers coming out of the outside, cool.

Not to mention that with rising rents and gentrification, this is not possible for the underground scene. What do you think?

Martin: I’m a little scared of cultural life, but especially in cultural spaces since it’s closing, because rents are going up … We saw at Mile-End, so many places are closed, the neighborhood is dead. Harder, in the city center or in more popular districts like Mile-End, Parc-Ex, Rosemont, Hochelaga, places we used to go to throw parties. Once the situation is stabilized, these neighborhoods will welcome other races of people and therefore there will be no room for this form of culture. This is a real concern.

Rémi: I’ve always found it unreasonable for people to move to cultural districts, like Mile-End, because Arcade Fire is making a name for itself there. Prohibition of music immediately after 8 pm… Many shops and cultural venues are closing, it is not easy. We have to surf the wave that is with us …

Martin: As such, I’m confident because in Montreal people value culture and I’m sure they’ll find places to express themselves.

LLX’s latest EP on Liquid Love Records, Connection, is everywhere.

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