In March, Calgary's Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre hosted a number of vocalists, DJs, producers and beatmakers for a handful of workshops and lectures. Representing a range of musical backgrounds including ambient composition and anthemic hip-hop, from coast to coast each artist brought something unique to the table. Spanning over 450 years of music history and innovation, the National Music Centre’s collection is comprised of more than 2,000 musical instruments and pieces that help tell the stories of music in Canada.
On Saturday March 16th, alongside the National Music Centre and the historic King Eddy, was a special performance from Swamp Dogg himself. He performed stripped down re-interpretations from his classic blues catalogue alongside longtime band mate, Larry Darnel Clemon (aka Moogster).
Khotin is the recording project of Dylan Khotin-Foote, an electronic artist and part manager of label Normals Welcome hailing from Vancouver's thriving underground landscape. His dance-minded output is both offset and informed by a deep interest in downtempo sound, the mood of stillness and the melancholy after the club.
Album that describes them the best: Woo - "Into the Heart of Love"
Jonah Yano, Toronto
Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Jonah Yano made his way to Toronto, via Vancouver, in 2016. The first instrument he learned to play was guitar, followed by piano through lessons from his grandmother. He's been teaching himself the infinite missing pieces ever since.
2016 was also the year he wrote, recorded through a cellphone and released his first song. Listen to his 2019 EP release 'Nervous' below.
Album that describes them the best: George Winston - "Autumn"
Mah Moud, Toronto
Toronto-based artist, Mah Moud, displays the beauty in brevity brilliantly with his art. With a profound ability to tell stories combined with his versatility with regards to production, instrumentation and vocal capability, Mah Moud is poised to take the appropriate steps to become a powerhouse in music.
Album that describes them the best: Ed Sheeran - "+"
Korea Town Acid, Toronto
Free form beat manipulator Toronto's Korea Town Acid creates swinging dance rhythms that draw from disassembled minimalism, free jazz and the more avant-garde corners of techno. With a background as a classically trained pianist, Cho brings a fresh perspective to the beat driven landscape, letting seemingly abstract rhythms linger and mingle with moody textures. Her DJ sets are eclectic, drawing from jazz, lo-fi hip-hop, broken beat, glitch, rap, house, techno, and experimental IDM.
Album that describes them the best: Sega Bodega - "self*care"
Debby Friday, Vancouver
A self-described experimentalist, born in Nigeria, raised in Montreal, and now working in Vancouver; DEBBY FRIDAY is an anomaly. Her work spans the spectrum of the audio-visual, resisting categorizations of genre and artistic discipline. She is at once a sound theorist and musician, composer and performer, video artist, poet and PUNK GOD.
Friday’s multi-disciplinary practice explores themes of ritual and feminine aggression as well as discourses of power, forces of diaspora and the aesthetics of eroticism. You can listen to her second album below, also self-engineered and produced, released August 2019.
Album that describes them best: "Not an album, but I would describe myself as Betty Davis meets Cherrie Currie."
Ashley Velvet, Calgary
Ashley Velvet, originally from Calgary, formed in Toronto in 2015 as a sexy eclectic alternative to Toronto's current representation of predictable sonic identity. By incorporating elements of traditional world music as well as pop sensibilities, Ashley Velvet challenges the current pop-narrative, continuously striving to find inspiration through global sounds and using these influences to help create unique productions that deliver a relatable feeling through neoteric sound.
Album that describes them the best: Snoop Dogg - "BUSH"
Catherine Debard has roots in Montreal’s experimental music scene, a community in which she has been actively involved for several years. Under the moniker YlangYlang, a solo project she has developed since 2012, Debard translates experiences, memories, emotions and senses into electronic sounds through a delicate balance of improvisation and composition.
Album that that describes them best: Laurie Anderson - "Big Science"
FVDE is Vancouver's 18-year-old Filipino bedroom producer, part-time cook and full-time sweetheart.
Album that describes them best: Jazz Cartier - "Marauding in Paradise"
Originally starting off in the world of EDM and trap genre production, HOUNDS has now shifted his sound towards rap/hip-hop & R&B production. Aggressive bass lines, dark wonky synths and punching drums makes up this Halifax native's signature sound.
Album that describes them best: Vince Staples - "Big Fish Theory"
Hood Joplin, Edmonton
Emerging from Canada’s sub-Arctic (Edmonton) is Hood Joplin. With internet roots, she left her digital realm and began playing shows in 2014. She enjoys creating sounds for spaces and environments that can move people.
When she’s not controlling the loudest PA system she can get her hands on, HJ is at her home studio working on dark and gritty beats, driven by her unparalleled love for hip-hop and footwork.
Album that describes them best: Kanye West - "College Dropout"
Isabella Lovestory, Montreal
Honduran-born Montreal-based singer Isabella Lovestory has released a handful of tracks on SoundCloud over the past two years. In February 2019, she released her debut EP "Humo" which intertwines contemporary reggaeton and 00's pop à-la Britney Spears through an industrial lens – creating a simultaneously harsh and dreamy sound.
Check out the photo highlights of Isabella Lovestory from Red Bull Music Festival Montréal in the link below:
Album that describes them best: Ennio Morricone - "Veruschka"
Text Chunk, Edmonton
Fresh from across the pond, the Edmonton producer, Brandon Smith AKA 'Text Chunk', explores deep into various different styles with retro breakbeat sounds, deep-entrancing footwork rhythms and freakish, jaw-clenching club cuts.
Album that describes them best: Text Chunk - "No Fun"
Born and raised in the notoriously creative East End district of Toronto, LOONY is an up-and-coming singer/songwriter who has been said to exemplify both impressive vocal range and refreshing lyrical content in her music. In March, her debut single “A Small Flame” was received by positive local acclaim. Notably, this song would travel into the hands of legendary DJ and Radio Host Ebro Darden, who has since supported and featured the record on his Apple Beats 1 Radio Show. She released her first EP at the end of 2018 and is steady working on new music expected in the Spring.
Album that describes them best: Erykah Badu - "Mama's Gun"
Raf Reza, Toronto
Toronto's Raf Reza is DJ and producer. His expression is genre-fluid both in the booth and the studio. Born in Tokyo, Japan to Bangladeshi parents, Raf moved to Canada at the age of nine. However, frequent visits to the UK sparked his interests in dance music. Today, he is revered as an esoteric DJ who continuously expands the sonic boundaries of the dance-floor. His debut 12” EP, “PROTO”, was released on Cosmic Resonance Records in Toronto. His sophomore release “Moods From The Multiverse” is out now.
Album that describes them best: K-Tel presents The Definitive Raf Reza Singles
softcoresoft is a Montreal-based DJ, music producer, radio host and cultural organizer. Her sonic aesthetic fuses acid, hypnotic techno, rave musics and broken beats. softcoresoft has appeared on festival lineups including MUTEK, Piknic Électronik, Igloofest, POP Montréal, and internationally in Berlin, Barcelona, Detroit and beyond. Discwoman calls her "one of the leaders of the Montreal underground." She hosts Ravelength Radio, a bi-monthly show on N10.AS radio.
Album that describes them best: Robert Leiner - "Visions of the Past"
Yu Su, Vancouver
Kaifeng-born, Vancouver based Yu Su works as a composer, DJ, and sound artist in Vancouver. Tapping into an expansive repertoire of “fourth world” ambience and left-field dance music, Yu Su’s emotion-packed compositional punches are best described as organically groovy jazz-bient expeditions between coasts. A proficient instrumentalist who conjures up moments of natural and synthetic beauty, her delicate, dub-inflected signature balances a variety of luminous and wistful downtempo textures.
Album that describes them best: Laurie Anderson - "Mister Heartbreak"
Monsune is an artist based in Toronto. He makes sample-based pop music in his bedroom. He's only released one song as of writing this, but will release an EP in the spring of 2019.
Album that describes them best: The Avalanches - "Since I Left You"
Qi Yama, Montreal
Qi Yama effortlessly blends minimalist R&B, hip-hop, jazz and electronica into a style that refreshes itself constantly. There is something undeniably unique about the tone of his voice—sharp, yet tinged with an effortless rasp. In his first project "Wilt", he assumes the role of a humble storyteller. His versatile vocal repertoire combines lofty melodies with hard, tonal rap in ways that add dimension to his stories.
Album that describes them best: The Velvet Underground - "The Velvet Underground & Nico"
Check out the photo highlights of Qi Yama from Red Bull Music Festival Montréal here.
x/o is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist, electronic musician and DJ. Her music interweaves complex narratives, with elements of allegorical poetry, melismatic vocals, and textural experimentation. Her audiovisual live set further elaborates her dreamlike storytelling by pairing her delicate and distorted soundscapes with butterfly evolution references.
In Vancouver, x/o is a founding member and co-curator of s.M.i.L.e., a collective that organizes new music events and a monthly radio show on n10.as.
Album that describes them best: Mariah Carey - "Butterfly"
22-year-old Ajax born producer and DJ, GOVI, is starting to make an impact on Toronto and the music world with his refined style. Having made a name for himself locally though DJing, he quickly transitioned into independently releasing his own music in 2016. Since then, GOVI has dropped a plethora of remixes on Soundcloud and a handful of original tracks including his debut ‘Groove Box’ EP featuring a lineup of young Canadian talent, winning the ears of key tastemakers, blogs and new listeners in the process.
Album that describes them best: Daft Punk - "Homework"