Montreal DJ/producer Poirier has long paired thick bass with big bounce. In the early 2000s, while still recording under his full name of Ghislain Poirier, he released ambient and experimental electronics. In 2007, Poirier wowed with the thick electronic dub and dancehall of No Ground Under, on Ninja Tune, followed by 2010’s Juno-nominated, genre-smashing Running High.
Poirier has continued to run the dance while upping his tempos. Most recently, he’s soaked up the influence of soca to give us releases such as the Soca Road EP and a quickstep remix of dancehall superstar Popcaan’s "Get Gyal Easy." Both titles are newly out on Dre Skull’s Mixpak imprint.
“The energy from groovy soca to power soca is incredible,” says Poirier. “As a producer, I like to bring that soca energy into my own riddims and tracks, but obviously it sounds more electronic than what's coming from Trinidad and Tobago.”
His affection for Caribbean sounds has also been apparent in Poirier’s DJ sets, from his early Bounce Le Gros monthly parties through to the larger event series dubbed Karnival.
“Karnival is all about happy and intense music,” Poirier explains. “It focuses a lot on the interaction between Caribbean music and electronic music, but I also play all kind of stuff that goes into that vibe, like Kuduro and other tropical madness. The crowd is eager to listen and dance to new stuff. Sometimes I get the best reaction of the night on a brand new track, and that’s just gold to have a crowd like that.”
It’s an audience that’s welcomed a wide array of Karnival guests – including Buraka Som Sistema’s J-Wow, U.K. dubstep pioneer Kode9, German tech-dub duo Schlachthofbronx and low-end-loving abstract New Yorker DJ/rupture – with open arms. That’s little wonder as Poirier’s own thoughtfully crafted DJ mixes – like his recent "Dubs For Ninjas", this chilled bass blend for Channel One and a soca-soaked Mixpak special – run a wide range of tempos and musical vibes.
Poirier’s current projects include running Also Records, a digital label devoted to multifarious sounds, recording with vocalist Natalie Storm for a forthcoming EP and directing a remix project for an as-yet-unnamed Québécois singer.
He’s also proud to have produced a full half of vocalist Face-T’s debut album, Tuff Like Stone.
“It's the first time I'm so involved in an album not from me and it's something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Poirier. “Producing for another artist is very exciting, especially when you create more than one track, because you can go deeper and more specific in a way. My goal is to make the artist shine the best way possible, while also exploring styles that I might touch on my personal releases. Ultimately, I'd like to produce and curate a full album for a vocalist.”
Watch Face-t's video for "Jumbo"