GHISLAIN POIRIER with ANDREW ALLSGOOD , DEE JAY NAV and DOUGIE BOOM as part of Killer Dope at Footwork (425 Adelaide West), tonight (Thursday, March 16). $5 before midnight. www.killerdope.ca. Rating: NNNNN
Ghislain Poirier is in one hell of an enviable spot. Amid hundreds of struggling regular events, the DJ's club night, Bounce Le Gros, in his hometown, Montreal, is always rammed with party people.
Poirier never imagined so many folks would take to his sonic tossed salad and scrambled eggs, with its ingredients of underground hiphop, super-heavy ragga and obscure electronic sounds bonded together by massive, dirty, cavernous beats.
"When I started, I wasn't sure if people would follow that kind of night and that kind of musical philosophy," he explains over the phone from his M-dot crib. "I like to play a lot of tracks that folks don't really know, and lots of different styles.
"It just so happened that there were enough people who appreciated that, and now it's just contagious," Poirier laughs. He sounds a bit like a movie villain, which isn't out of character considering his often twisted-and-evil-sounding first full-length, Breakupdown (Chocolate Industries), which dropped last year.
Fans of Diplo, Blockhead and RJD2 can add another cutting-edge producer to their bag of beatnuts. However, Poirier's album is more difficult -- a bit more Sixtoo -- than any of those guys' stuff. Lots of glitchily unsettling melodies, and electronic textures are cut with rapid Prefuse 73-like pacing. There are ragga influences, guest spots by Beans (Cold As Hell was all phoned together by the label -- the two didn't meet until months later) and some French rhymes from cats around the way like Omnikrom.
Poirier has also remixed for UK grimer Lady Sovereign and Les Georges Leningrad (friends of the DJ who, he says, are pretty close to their onstage personas in real life).
Discussing his rough-hewn yet slick sound, Poirier says, "It took me a couple of years to refine exactly what I wanted to develop with hiphop tracks, but since I found it, it's been cool...."
Milwaukee-based Chocolate Industries (also home to out-there hiphoppers Vast Aire and Diverse) thought his tracks were cool, too, and signed him last year in the simplest of ways.
"That's no mystery. I just sent them a demo. They liked it and after that they signed me. It was pretty easy," he laughs again.
Now he's starting his own label, Rebondir Records, so he can be in control of every aspect of his music. There are no Beans cameos on the first release, Poirier's Rebondir EP, which drops April 18. It will, however, have a more "clubby" sound, and about half will feature French rap vocals.
Yes, Poirier is off to a strong start as a DJ and beatmaker. Just don't expect to hear his tracks in TV commercials any time in the very near future.
"I'm not really pushing that right now."