…The world was a wondrous place. Technology had unlocked the skies; beings from far off planets had become new friends. The dream of utopia beckoned as humanity lifted itself towards transcendence…
Electronic music and technology are two peas in a pod, a pod that needs each individual pea to help grow the other.
The amount of sci-fi and utopian-driven ideas that have come to fruition through books, movies, TV shows and general science exploration has been a huge asset to the past decade. Our generation is obsessed with the future, with advancing technology and with the beauty of the unknown. We worship at the church of the unknown future and electronic music not only soundtracked this, but also pushed our developments via the need to further technological advancements, both on stage and off.
Three men who know this all too well are Black Tiger Sex Machine. A three-headed beast based out of Montreal, Canada, they’ve just released their debut album: Welcome To Our Church.
The beginning of a utopian storyline that is sure to evolve through future music, albums, and a perhaps a comic book, it’s dark, it’s inspiring, it’s creative and it’s wondrous in its ability to transport you to another storyline other than your own.
I had the opportunity to speak with BTSM about the concept, the idea behind the Church and what the future holds for the trio.
Where did the name for the album come from?
We had a few names lined up for the album, including Welcome To Our Church. However, we asked the fans and they came up with same name as well! We posted on Twitter and Facebook asking for opinions on a name, the response was massive so it was clear we had a winner. We love to keep our fans involved in everything we do, and have active conversations with them on social media. We’ve all been fans at one point, wanting to be part of the bigger picture, and now we can offer that to our fans. The Church has been a defining aspect of our career recently so it all made sense.
The album is quite dark and different, it’s really refreshing to see you guys step outside the preconceived comfort zone of this industry and make something this unique.
Thanks! The album, just like everything we’ve done, is are definitely not there to stay within conventions and comfort zones!
This post-apocalyptic universe you talk about in the description of the album is really interesting. It almost sounds like a prelude to a comic book, or a sci-fi novel. Do you think you’ll continue this storyline with the next step in your music?
Yes, we definitely will. We have tons of ideas and a large project with that theme that we’d like to take on during our career; we were always inspired by darker sounds and the sci-fi stories. As you noticed on the SoundCloud description of the album, we try to add bits and pieces of our ideas here and there for the enjoyment of those who are curious.
Have you ever considered making a comic book or writing a short story or something? I love seeing artists cross over into other forms of creative expression to amplify their impact!
YES! All in due time…
So the album debuted at #4 on iTunes Dance chart, congratulations!
It feels amazing. It took about six months overall to make the album, but the last three months were really intense and focused because we had a lot of shows at the same time. We were traveling three or four days on the weekends then coming home and producing non-stop.
Fans have been reacting crazy well. As you mentioned it debuted at #4 and peaked at #3, I believe. We never asked fans to massively pre-order or buy the album on iTunes, so we’re just super happy that fans did this organically. It feels great!
Could you pick a favourite track off the album?
It’s hard to play favorites when the entire album means so much to you. There are a lot of collaborations on the album. Each one is special for us because we got to work with friends who’ve supported us for a long time. The entire album was a big team effort.
It’s great to hear a full 12 track album when most artists are throwing out single after single and two track EPs. What’s your opinion on artists who focus more on a brand than their artistic measures?
We think it’s really more of an artist’s decision. We’ve never really made perfect ‘dancefloor’ music with clear and defined sections. We play a lot of dancefloor-oriented songs in our sets and release a lot of them individually on our label as well. But for the album however, it made much more sense for us, to make music that represented our creativity and us as artists. Meaning, these songs aren’t made to be played by other DJs, we don’t have the generic intro or anything like that, it just isn’t our main focus. We’ve never really tried to 100% conform to EDM-dance formats. It’s something that we really wanted to do even if sometimes it isn’t conventional in our industry.
It must be awesome to be able to share this passion and this career with your best friends. You’ve all been friends since you were kids, does this make it easier to work together?
Yeah, Marc and Pat go back to when they were 4-5 years old and Julien came in when we were 12-13 during high school. I guess it helps and we know where everyone comes from. Our impressions of each other were made over years and years of friendships, not only a few years of music and partying haha. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It helps get about in this crazy industry, and to keep each other accountable.
Performing electronic music live, do you think there’s something more personal about this method rather than just mixing records? I’ve also noticed that you guys are heavy on community and bringing people together to feel like a family, which I love, too…
Yeah, when we discovered electronic music, it was like a religion to us. We loved to go to every show and learn about it as much as we could. We love DJing, but the live show has been a great step for us. The three stations are really cool and you can do some things that normal DJs or traditional bands wouldn’t be able to do.
Overall, there’s still a lot of room left for improvement, but it makes for a quick and fun show to which the BTSM and non-BTSM fans can relate. We play up to an hour and a half live set. I say our set is quick meaning, live bands play full tracks, DJs play 30 seconds of a track sometimes with quick transitions, our set is a hybrid of both.
With our set up it allows us to do DJ segments, but also live synths and percussion so mix of both worlds.
With Kannibalen you guys have spent the last five years working with the artists and helping them grow. Some of them have had really great successes. So now that these artists are starting to get bigger and really establish themselves, what have you learned from that process? How has it influenced the music you guys make and the steps you take?
We learn every day from that: every artist is different and has a different personality. That’s probably one of the coolest aspects of this industry; it all comes down to who the artist is and the fans. Musically, we’ve definitely learned a lot from the guys from the label, some of them being musical geniuses or production prodigies. Kannibalen, being a tight-knit group, we definitely were influenced by their sound design and basslines.
I’m from Canada too, so I have to ask… What’s your opinion on the dance music scene in Canada? Do you guys find majority of your fans are from here? Or where?
Canada is just great. We love Montreal and without our core group of fans in the city, BTSM and Kannibalen would probably not exist. We’re proud to be from there and we intend to keep Montreal as our home base for a long time, if not forever! Our fans are pretty much international now: the US got really big for us in 2015. European fans have also grown in numbers after three European tours. It’s just great to have people follow us internationally and showing interest in our project.