Infusing a mixture of calypso, dancehall, and bass, Montreal-based producer/DJ Poirier is an integral player in the contemporary soca genre. Don’t miss him playing big beats in an intimate setting May 15th at Elbo Room for Dub Mission.
DJing all over the world including places like South Africa, Poirier is a versatile DJ that utilizes experiences from his international travels to constantly make innovative beats that pulls from all genres. Although most closely tied to the calypso and dancehall-fueled soca genre, he has also done notable remixes for bass-heavy artists like Bassnectar and tango masters Gotan Project.
Poirier took some time to speak with SF Station about his career and love of all sounds that bump and bounce.
You’ve been most closely tied to the soca genre, although your music does incorporate an impressive range of styles. What made you identify with this genre?
I like the fact that it’s fast and joyful. It’s party music to its peak. It’s craziness on craziness. But I do also like the more mellow, groovy soca. I played in my DJ sets soca tracks that are big in the Caribbean and introduce them to crowd who probably never heard of these tunes and even this genre of music and I think it’s a nice mission.
What’s the best part of being signed to the famed Ninja Tune label? They seem to specialize in artists showcasing an eclectic range of sounds.
Being a Ninja and having fighting skills that GSP (Georges St-Pierre) even wishes to have. Ninja Tune is a solid label with a solid infrastructure. If they are still running the label after 20 years, there is a reason and I’m proud to be part of that big family.
Although you didn’t win the Juno award this year, what was your initial reaction of being nominated?
I was obviously happy especially since this year it was the first time they had an electronic category. Before that electronic music was dispatched either in the dance category or alternative category and that wasn’t giving enough justice to represent a big field like electronic music.
Running High was a great album, and probably the most popular to date. Are there plans to make another this year? If so, what’s your mindset going to be like, due to the success of Running High?
I’m not planning to do any album this year. Instead I’m planning lots of different projets. I’m finishing soon an EP for Ninja Tune called Soca Sound System Vol.2 with four brand new tracks. I’ve been busy also working on Face-T album by producing half of it. I’ve been also doing lots of remixes. I started also a digital label, focusing on singles exclusively called Also Records.
This past year you also traveled to Africa. What was playing The Assembly like?
DJing in Cape Town was awesome! I must mention also that I played a month before in Dakar (Senegal) and I can say it was one of my dream to play in Africa. It’s not easy because it’s not on the normal tour routing for DJs. In Cape Town I discovered a vibrant, heathly music scene, bumping and bouncing. I wanna go back badly.
And since your music has such a big sound, is it easier to play big festivals or would you rather play smaller venues?
I need to play both. If I only play in big festivals I’ll miss the intimate contact of playing a small venue, the relation we can establish with the crowd and having more flexibilitie to play deeper stuff. I don’t mind playing in front of 50 people and I do enjoy playing in front of 10 000 people, and in both case my mission stay the same: share my passion of music. I’m here because I love music and that’s what matter.
This year, you also gave Wiz Khalifa’s largely successful “Black and Yellow” your own twist. What drew you to this mainstream track?
I was touring on the East coast this winter and I was hearing that track over and over on the radio. It got stuck in my head and the idea that it could fit a soca remix came to my mind. Lots of people don’t know about soca and when they think about fast music they only think about juke and gabber, but soca is the answer! My answer!
You’ve also worked with an array of international artists. Who are some you would like to work with and that the U.S. might not know about?
There’s lots of artist I like. I especially like vocalists and one day I’d like to work with one day Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Mr. Vegas, Bunji Garlin, and Roots Manuva.
Lastly, you’ve been all over the world, but what’s in store for you when you arrive in San Francisco?
Meeting my good friends, breathing the ocean air and eating big burritos.