TIGA with DIE ANTWOORD, AZARI & III, PAUL KALBRENNER, SETH TROXLER and many others at Sound Academy (11 Polson), tonight (Thursday, November 1), 8 pm. $35. PDR, RT, SS, TW. See listing.
Don't call it a comeback, but veteran Montreal DJ/producer Tiga's label, Turbo, has been ramping up lately, and its flood of new releases includes some of the best dance-floor smashers it's ever put out.
"You're not imagining that," Tiga Sontag says from a Barcelona hotel room. "We suddenly have a lot of great new artists on Turbo, which makes for a lot of momentum. It has an exponential effect on the label, because the more good tracks you put out, the more you attract other good artists who want to work with you."
But don't credit Turbo's upswing to the explosion of the North American dance music scene that resulted from the popularity of EDM artists like Deadmau5 and Skrillex. Tiga's market and sound have always been more Europe-based, and continue to be. He sees the difference between the scenes as more chemical than geographic.
"The one area where I really do see a dividing line is drugs. What I mean by that is that there is music that's based on a tradition of psychedelia and losing yourself all night in a club - by which I mean house and techno. And then there's EDM, which is music more based on a drinking and rock 'n' roll model: staring at the stage and losing your shit for an hour.
"To me, the important line to draw is between which of those traditions you're coming from. There's a place for both, but they often get put into the same conversation even though they're completely different."
You could argue that people are doing drugs (and/or drinking) at both types of events, but Tiga's right that classic house and techno play by a very different set of rules than what's currently called EDM on this side of the Atlantic.
The sounds you'd hear at 5 am in a Berlin after-hours club are miles away from the big outdoor stages of the North American festival scene. It's the hypnotic and twisted aspects of the former that Tiga showcases on his upcoming DJ mix compilation, Tiga Non Stop (Different/PIAS).
"Electronic music has grown up within this tradition of sub-genres, of bisecting everything into styles like trip-hop, acid house, drum 'n' bass. We don't even think about it any more. Because of that, though, people look at these different categories as all being united as dance music.
"But the pool has become so big that there's not much that connects someone like David Guetta and Richie Hawtin. It's like, how much are Garth Brooks and Coldplay connected? Yes, they both use guitars and play stadiums, but no one compares them or puts them in the same realm."