00:AM! Where do we begin – although, if you’re a Montreal reader, chances are you don’t really need an introduction to this prolific trio – they’re literally everywhere! And damn do they deserve to be, after three years of regularly gracing us with a plethora of crazy, crazy acts from around the globe, invading unassuming Montreal pubs with sound, smoke and lotsa sweat in local-DJs-only Pub Club parties, and, as of last year, combining their cosmopolitan links with their dedication to community in releasing their first V/A record as the 00:AM label – you really can’t fit all their work in one sentence… buy fear not we’ve got an entire interview!
We had a little chat with them not so long ago; the guys reflect on three years of hard work and hard partying together in Montreal, share some personable anecdotes and hot tips, and even clue in on the next V/A release! Enjoy the read whilst listening to their Mixed By, kindly recorded for as whilst on support duties for Galcher Lustwerk at Newspeak Montreal.
Also! The next 00:AM party is a Pub Club with CFCF and Deadboy, if you want to experience all this excitement first hand!
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed Kane, Brendan and Jason! As I understand it, your 00:AM project started from humble beginnings – just three good friends wanting to throw a good party. But how exactly did you meet? Was there a defining moment which pushed you three to actualise this first party, and what did that first one look like? Oh, and why the name ’00:AM’?
Kane: NP, thanks for taking the time. We all met through going out / friends / music. I moved to Montreal in 2012. Shortly after that Brendan moved to London to see what was going on over there. He was making music, DJing, and going to all the good clubs / parties. At this time Jason was making music, DJing, and VJing parties / doing visuals for / touring with Jacques Greene. Julien (who founded this thing with us, and until fairly recently was responsible for most of the 00:AM visual aesthetic / flyers & merch) was finishing up art school, painting, DJing, and driving around the city on his red vespa looking for spots to throw raves.
Quickly after moving here I became good mates with Julien. The two of us and our friend Rader started a party called Round Midnight, which were mostly after hours parties we threw in all types of DIY spaces with our favourite local DJs.
In the summer of 2014 Bren and I linked up with other friends in Europe. That was a really eye opening trip for me in terms of being exposed to the music and club culture over there. Not long after that Brendan decided to move back to Montreal.
He and Jason had been talking about starting up a party, and he asked if I’d want to be involved. I was up for it, but was still doing Round Midnight with Julien and proposed he be the fourth member.
We toyed with the idea of continuing to do parties as Round Midnight. But decided we wanted to start from scratch. We threw around a number of name ideas, and we liked 00:AM most.
You’ve come a long way since then, with some major milestones in 2017 – Piknic Electronik and the first V/A release on your newly founded label. Were there any other moments that you yourselves see as maybe more personal milestones, moments where you thought ‘wow we’re really doing this!’ or maybe just some favourite bits along the journey?
Jason: 2017 has been really nice to us. We kicked off the year with a huge NYE gig opening up for Bambounou, and Piknic Electronik in the summer with Shanti Celeste. Both times were amazing and felt truly massive in terms of having a really good crowd of amazing people.
K: A year ago we had Marcellus Pittman through for a party with our friends from ALL GOOD. He was having fun and delayed his flight by an extra night to kick it with us. We brought him to the Temple / Brian Not Brian party the next night. That was a really intense period for Montreal, politically. I remember a lot of people coming up and telling me those two parties felt like a much needed weekend of positivity after everything that had been going on. And hanging out with Marcellus for few days… that was bananas lol. Definitely a memorable time.
Brendan: Marcellus! Agreed with Kane on that one, I can’t lie I was a bit intimidated to meet him and he was the absolute best and has become a friend. That was also the only late, late party we’ve done as 00:AM as well and it was a whole other experience. Getting our baby Pub Club up and running over the last year and getting to showcase so much of the amazing talent in Montreal has also been a personal highlight for me as well. We put a lot of work into that party and are so appreciative of the people coming out to support and keep it alive.
Yeah you’ve made many contributions to the Montreal community in both bringing international acts for us to appreciate and connect with, as well as showcasing local talent at nights such as Pub Club! I especially like the ideaof the latter in its transforming of an unlikely space into something that is distinctly 00:AM – community-orientated, accessible and light-hearted. What would you say you’ve experienced in terms of changes in the ‘Montreal scene’ over these past years, and in which direction do you see it heading?
J: It can be a bit insular at times, people doing their own thing at the usual spaces, but we try to get the grounds at Pub Club on somewhat of a neutral point of departure and let people do their thing. I think Montreal will always be the teeth cutting ground of up and coming acts.
K: Lot of up n coming DJs! Cool to see people passionate about it / putting in work to promote nights. There’s a shortage of DIY spots right now which is a bummer, but that comes in waves. Hopefully that’s on the upswing. As Jason said it will continue to be the place where a lot of people discover and refine their sensibilities, and build platforms to hopefully showcase the sounds and ethos that inspire them.
B: As the guys said, Montreal, like any place is cyclical. I’ve been through a couple periods over the past 7-8 years here where there are so many spaces and parties going on constantly and then the opposite, when things were pretty barren. But the one constant is the inflow of talented and inspiring artists, I feel like I’m meeting more and more every month. I’m looking forward to seeing them blossom and share their talents publicly as the city and spaces allow. The people have always made Montreal in my opinion and I don’t see that changing as the music community continues to grow stronger.
So your Mixed By was recorded live whilst opening for Galcher Lustwerk at Newspeak in Montreal, the three of you going b2b2b! Can you tell us a little about how this set and party went down? What would you say you each add to the table in terms of mixing style and taste? And have you noticed any major changes or growth in yourselves and each other since you first started mixing together?
J: Galcher party was amazing – he definitely hit the crowd with a curve ball playing Travis Scott at the end (and pulling it up for a rewind). We def are a good counter-balance DJing together, morphing into different styles but never straying too far away from an idea whenever we open for an act. People often forget opening for others is like setting someone up for a good layup on the court. . You’re not trying to do dunks per say – if you are trying to shoot a 3, make sure you’re going to sink it and return to position lol.
K: That was a fun party. Was good to hang with him again. He’s a real good DJ. Near the end of the mix you can hear we started playing with a bit more energy. We brought it back down a bit. He came on hit it home. We’ve been pals / have been DJing together for a while now. As J said, definitely eclectic. People comment a lot to me that we def have our own styles. Think we manage to weave them together fluidly enough though. I like it. Keeps things interesting haha.
B: I nearly accidentally punched Jason in the face when he played “Butterfly Effect” to close it. He also went a bit harder than the first time we had him through which I liked in a bigger space like Newspeak. In terms of opening, I think we all have a good feel for where to keep the energy while playing within our different styles. That leads to an eclectic but coherent set, piquing people’s interests with some curveballs. I find many people are too caught up within genres/sub-genres these days, where energy and pacing are really what’s important.
On the topic of taste, do you have any producers, DJs or labels that you’re loving, or feel we should keep an eye on – Montreal and beyond? Give us all the hot tips!
J: 1432R out of Washington DC has consistently been blowing my mind!
K: Come to the parties and find out ;)
B: There’s some clues within the mix for sure. I’m loving the Hostom label coming out France, while a lot of people are trying this style right now, these people/person/not exactly sure are pumping out record after record above the rest. Also, he’s been around for a while (20 years?!) but Alex Cortex is quietly putting out some amazing stuff this year. His album on blundar and the re-release of his “ñ” EP on Housewax are big highlights and encapsulate everything I’m into production wise right now. Locally, our buds Priori and Ex-Terrestrial are putting out some great records on their NAFF label.
Each one of you keep busy with your own individual creative projects – do you feel your own experiences as artists and creatives influence the way you approach 00:AM, and how? Also how do you keep a productive, driven and inspired group dynamic when working together in this project?
J: Definitely, It’s a stricter script for me to adhere to, I narrow down to a more matured dance music headspace. There’s always so much housekeeping to take care of that we don’t really stop to tell you the truth lol
K: For sure. You can see bits of each of us throughout everything from a mix to the label, or a party. We have tornado of a group chat going with billions of messages, google docs, to do lists. Think we’re getting better at it.
B: While Kane and Jason are so multi-talented within the arts, I’m really just a music person so the party and label act as a way for me to support music that’s exciting and influencing me. One might also say I’m becoming an interior and set designer at our parties but that’s up for debate. I think we are all super good friends and very open and honest with each other. So it’s easy and usually pretty natural for us to assume roles in what we are strongest in while giving each other feedback both positive and negative. This has led to spreading out the workload and making sure everyone is active and involved in a piece of every project. It truly is a team effort and I love working with these guys.
Now the obvious last question – where do you see 00:AM headed, coming up to, its three-year anniversary? Do you feel you’ll be putting more work on the label? If so, can you drop some clues as to what’s coming up?
J: Maybe try to open up the concept of what a party can be – whatever that means ;)
K: Some very exciting things in the pipeline but gotta keep that on the low for the moment. Announcements forthcoming. For the label, a second V/A 12” will be coming shortly! 2 tracks from local artists, and 2 from friends abroad. It’s a hot record.
B: Continuing to expand the label as well as start working on new concepts like Pub Club to bring our events into new spaces with artists both local and international are both big goals for me. As well as starting to push out some of our personal audio and visual creative projects using the 00:AM platform in the future.
Interview by Maria.