BRENNAN GREEN with HOLY GHOST at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Friday (March 7). $10. Rating: NNNNN
Chilling out in a luxurious old hotel in Brazil between gigs, leftfield producer/DJ Brennan Green is struck by how his musical journey has come full circle since moving from Toronto to Brooklyn a decade ago. While living in the Big Apple had an undeniable effect on his career trajectory, he’s recently realized the impact his early exposure to underground dance music in Toronto has had on his music.
“In the last six months, I’ve been going back to what I got into when I was a teenager in Toronto, listening to Deadly Hedley’s show on Saturday nights,” he says.
“I think I owe a lot of my taste to what I heard on the radio in Toronto back then, because now I’m playing all that stuff again. What’s even crazier is where I’m playing it – I’m in fucking Brazil right now!”
Part of what he’s discovering is the interplay between early electronic dance music and the underground rock of the late 80s and early 90s. Just as many in the contemporary dance music scene moved from indie to house, his own introduction to drum machines came from trying to emulate the drum programming from old Ministry thrashers.
He’s even been playing a re-edit of one of his old industrial favourites alongside house classics
. That might surprise those who expect mainly spacey nu-disco sounds, a term often applied to Green and like-minded producers like Lindstrom, Daniel Wang and Prins Thomas that means little to him.
“By the time I hear about a new genre, it’s over. To you I would describe what I do as house music, because when that term was coined, everything was being played at those parties. I know it’s cheesy to say it’s ‘a feeling,’ but you know what I’m saying. It was just the vibe of people dancing together in a room. It didn’t matter whether it was techno, whether it was disco, whether it was soul music – it was just this crazy mess of sound, people having a good time, dancing all night, lights out, a dirty warehouse, a sound system and a wicked DJ. For me, that’s what house music is, but when I say that people automatically think I’m just talking about Masters at Work.”
Whatever you want to call it, the tripped-out, sublimely musical and occasionally startlingly unique grooves Green produces are exactly what you need to hear if all that distorted electro-disco is starting to sound the same.