over the summer, i published a piece called “10 montreal street artists you should know,” and, as the title would suggest, it explored the urban art, graffiti, and murals that colour the city, naming a handful of the most talented (and my favourite) artists. the response was pretty incredible – magazines, gallery, art crews, street art collectives, fans, and of course, artists of all kinds read and shared the article. i was so inspired by how much little city readers seemed to thrive off learning about the culture, that i decided to make the piece a regular feature. true to form, it’s taken me about 6 months to actually get on it, but i’m pleased and proud to showcase the next installment, which features 10 montreal music crews you should know. you guys have all heard of piknic/igloofest, pop montreal, osheaga, evenko, i love neon, but what about the little guys? the party throwers, the culture blogs, the magazines, and the record labels? these are the people that fuel this city’s incredible and ever growing music scene, working hard to bring you the best in local and international sound. and they’re pretty much the tits.
for now, this edition centers around electronic music crews…for the sole reason that’s really what i know. i would have loved to include a hip hop crew or an indie collective but i legitimately don’t know any, and before you send me a “let me google that for you” gif, i’ll just say that it proved harder than expected (“montreal indie music collective cool yay” ..wat)
now, before you throw a tantrum and write some sort of nonsensical comment about how such and such crew didn’t get featured, and what the hell is this bullshit list, please bare in mind that because this is my blog, and i do what the fuck i want, this is the list according to me. but i would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, mostly so that i can make a judgemental comment about what you think is cool. just kidding. sort of. here we go!
everybody knows /
run by montreal producer and DJ moody jones, everybody knows is part lifestyle, culture, music and arts blog, part event promotions company. with weekly articles about the happenings in montreal’s art and music communities, and a hand in so many areas of this city’s life and nightlife, there’s not much that everybody knows don’t know, so to speak. having only been in the game for a little over three years, the empire that moody has built almost single handedly is impressive as fuck (the exact words i used when speaking with him earlier today) – everybody knows’ parties have brought artists like barem, justin martin, soul clap and lee foss to montreal. still not convinced? the EK crew is geared up to do media for igloofest, DEMF, identity, piknic electronic, and for the first time, the BPM festival. big things. and if you don’t know, now you know.
run by zack macklovitch, nathan gannage, and conor clarke, saintwoods is one of montreal’s foremost music crews and event promotions companies. while grounded here in montreal, saintwoods has a significant presence in toronto and new york, continually working to showcase local and international talent through their notoriously rowdy parties. you’ve probably been to a saintwoods party, even if you didn’t know it (you were probably too drunk) (or maybe that was just me) – they’ve worked with ryan hemsworth, cyril hahn, kaytranada, miguel campbell, the bloody beetroots, and lunice. but they also offer full support to a roster of great locals like jaylondon, myfrienderic, and ryan playground. their site is constantly updated with exclusive mixes, and updates on the latest new music.
13percent is responsible for a huge growth in montreal’s electronic scene – run by montreal DJ nadir agha aka ostrich, 13percent is an events company that, in only five years, has played an integral role in the city’s ever evolving love affair with house and techno. while once montreal was a predominantly prog house and tribal fueled city, it’s 13percent that has contributed to our obsession with techno, having welcomed artists like cassy, barem, dixon, daniel bell, tobi neumann, martin buttrich, soul clap, matthias kaden, zaid edghaim, josh wink, and stacey pullen, to name a few. a FEW. i’ll never forget my first 13percent party, a collab with fellow party peeps noisefloor, called the 13th floor – one of those truly magical events with banging fkn techno from LA producer, drumcell.
spazztic ear honey /
only in montreal could you find a crew that pairs hip hop with punk, or folk with electro? enter spazztic ear honey. best known for their outlandish and eccentric parties (like their annual “versus” parties that pair two seemingly opposing genres in one insane event) hosted by MC extraordinare, rico valez, spazztic ear honey is dedicated to making montreal dance. artists like lemon buket orchestra, the bcasa, dieselboy, kytami, sweet mother logic, and third bass have all made appearances at SEH shows. plus, it doesn’t hurt that their flyers are dope as fuck. these guys know how to party – so go taste that honey!
blackbox montreal /
if you were out at blackbox montreal‘s two year anniversary this past weekend at the nomad loft in the mile end, you know that a blackbox party is not one to miss. operated by producer, sound artist, dj, media maven, writer and all around bad bitch, claire kenway (ruler of the wind and radical space goddess), blackbox is a series of underground parties thrown at a different venue around the city. blackbox is one of montreal’s true hidden gems, having spotlighted the finest in minimal and techno like berk offset, shibby shitegeist, pheek, yes ma’am, little cloud, and zeina to the stage. these parties have a really special atmosphere that i’ve never quite come across in any other shape in montreal: events are kept hush hush to sustain the intimacy of each event.
big tooth montreal /
don’t worry, there’s no way i could forget the dubstep, dnb, jungle and dirty fkn bass forces in a list of montreal music crews. although the boys at big tooth don’t represent dubstep and dnb exclusively, they’re a force to be reckoned with within those genres; no one else is quite a match for these guys. i don’t know a lot about the origins of this collective, and their pages are mysteriously info minimal, but i do know that they’re a small group of mtl youngsters with a passion for electronic music. often working with crews like mess with the best, and dirtyphonics, big tooth has artists like flux pavilion, liquid stranger, living~stone, zomboy, terravita, and adventure club under their belts. they have a pretty insane set of videos up on youtube, too.
indecent xposure /
indecent xposure (aka ixdaily) is one of montreal’s championing hubs of fashion, culture, and especially music. famous for their unruly no-shit attitude, their unconcerned opinions, and boisterous events, the ix crew is one you need to have on your radar. launched in 2006 as an event promo company, now run by nick brutus grass, aneta w, and james campagna, ix daily keeps you up to date on the latest in montreal music, spanning hip hop, dance, folk, alt, metal, pop, and festival coverage.
archipel musique canada is the result of jean patrice remillard’s curation and insatiable affection for forward-thinking electronic music. what began in 2004 as a small project designed to bring music and samples to the electronic community in montreal, archipel quickly grew into what has become one of the leading record labels in the city. as pheek, jean patrice remains the godfather of minimal here in montreal. an ever present authority in conceptual and intellectual electronic music, archipel is home to artists like pheek’s right-hand lady stefny winter (who’s had a hand in managing the label over the years), cleymore, flourish, tom ellis, leif, ryan crosson, ditch, miss fitz, dr.nojoke, niederflur, the gulf stream, hear and daoust. the archipel crew recently celebrated their 100th digital release with a phenomenal compilation called contemplation, that you definitely need to hear.
mess with the best /
founded in the summer of 2008, mess with the best is a hybrid music collective, party crew and record label. frequent collaborators with the boys from big tooth, MWTB is an unstoppable force of musical energy, centering around dubstep, electro, house and psy trance. if you’ve ever been to a montreal psy trance rave, you know these people know how to party. like, think of every other rave you’ve ever been to, set to over-the-top tunes, on steroids, on christmas day at disneyland, and you’ll understand the vibe of these parties. absolute madness. MWTB have brought you savante, smash gordon, crystal castles, felix cartal, skism, and joe heist; their soundcloud and beatport profiles feature a host of solid releases from ehrah, black marvin, vic oswald and loze. get to know!
grey area /
grey area montreal are the underdogs of this list. the newest addition to the music community, but one of the crews i’m most excited to be profiling here on littlecity (we’ve worked together in the past, as you may remember). if this list is any indication, there is a ton of mind blowing talent in montreal, but it’s not every day that a crew puts out an event that is truly special. grey area is the exception to that rule. founded by michael armtsrong (M4CR0) and michael flandez (flandez) in 2012, grey area inhabits a “neither here nor there” philosophy, fostering intimate underground events that showcase intellectual dance music that both makes you think and makes you groove. in the short time they’ve been working together as the grey area collective, michael and michael have hosted artists like alicia hush, magnanime, like a tree, ana+one, leveq & daoust, dull, billy dalessandro, and mir. keep an eye out for their stunning event. you don’t wanna miss em. p.s: check out my feature on grey area here!