SHLOHMO with D33J, DEEBS & HARRISON BENNETT at the Great Hall Blk Box Theatre (1087 Queen West), Friday (March 1), doors 10 pm. $20. SS, PDR, RT. See listings.
He made his Toronto debut last summer, but when it comes to appreciating this city's musical talent, Shlohmo has been following the career of one of our most famous exports for a while.
"I really love Drake," says the producer, whose real name is Henry Laufer, over the phone from his home in Los Angeles. "Take Care is still one of my favourite records of the past 10 years. This might be blasphemous to some people because he's new and young, but to me he's the most refreshing artist in hip-hop or music right now."
He liked the album so much that he decided to unofficially remix Crew Love, which also features The Weeknd. While Laufer never planned on releasing it, he played the bootleg remix during a show where someone filmed it and put it online. Somehow Abel Tesfaye got wind of the track and ended up posting it on the XO blog as the "official" remix.
While his remixes and live sets are known for being high-energy - Laufer grew up DJing before he got into producing - don't expect the same from his upcoming EP, Laid Out (Friends of Friends/WeDidIt).
"Especially with [2011 album] Bad Vibes, I never really intended it to be able to translate to the live setting. I think that's an album you listen to at home or on a long drive, not in a party setting," says the producer, who describes the EP as minimal-sounding by comparison. "With this, it was about trying to keep it simple and know when to stop adding." One track, Don't Say No, features R&B vocals from How to Dress Well, aka Tom Krell.
"It came after two years of talking about wanting to do something together," says Laufer. "I sent a few tracks his way, and that was the one that stuck out the most to us. The feelings I get from his music are the same kind of feelings I try to put forth in mine."
This desire to collaborate with like-minded people is also the driving force behind WeDidIt, the collective of mostly L.A.-based artists and producers Shlohmo and upcoming North American tour partner D33J are part of, all of whom are pushing the boundaries of electronic music.
"It started out as high school friends making music, and then I started a blog just for us," says Laufer. "From there the audience grew. We're really trying to step it up and release real records, but it's still a big family of idiots."