Although relatively new to the city, Ottawa native RIOHV has proven himself to be one of the finest selectors in Montreal’s ever-growing underground house scene. His diverse mixing skills have led to a number of interesting podcasts that boast eccentricity without sacrificing coherence, and a strong knowledge of dance music’s various nooks and crannies. His production chops premiered two years ago with a lovely tape on 1080p, and his live debut makes its appearance at the beloved Mutek Montreal festival this week. We were lucky enough to have him record an exclusive Bolting Bits podcast for us and answer a few questions.
Hi Braden, thanks for joining us. What have you been up to musically so far in 2016?
Hey, thanks for having me! So far this year has been fantastic; I’ve been working on so much music and recently just finished my first EP, which is set to be released later this year with 1080P. In addition to that I also have a few tracks coming out on compilations, and have started working on my second 12”.
Other then that I’ve just been having a lot of fun making new music, collaborating with friends, and doing shows whenever I can.
When did you move to Montreal? What was it that attracted you to the city, and do you see yourself here in the foreseeable future?
I moved to Montreal in September 2015, so I haven’t really been here that long. This past summer Project Pablo invited me to come DJ at his monthly event at Datcha. I was living in Ottawa at the time and had never played outside of the city, so this was an exciting opportunity. I had lived in Ottawa for a number of years, but never jumped the provincial border to check out Montreal as much as I should have. I had always heard what Montreal could be like, but had never made the effort to come out here more.
I feel like there has always been an attraction to Montreal. When I was living in Ottawa I had caught wind of Forbidden Planet and the parties they would put on. I always knew Montreal had a fantastic dance scene, but seeing posters for Forbidden Planet parties really made me aware of what was going on there.
When I came to play I was totally blown away. The scene in Ottawa is fantastic, but it’s very different, and there aren’t many spaces for people to play dance music. After having had some exposure to the energy of Montreal it seemed like it would be a great fit. I was a bit nervous about the decision to move here, but ultimately it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I hope to definitely stay here for the foreseeable future.
You released an impressive tape almost two years ago on 1080p, which has fast become one of Canada’s premier electronic music labels. Do you think Canada’s scene has been growing recently, and how would you compare it to other countries’ electronic music climates?
Definitely, I feel like it’s grown a lot recently! I’ve definitely seen a lot of growth locally. I’ve seen some fantastic new labels pop up in Montreal over the past year or two, which is really exciting to see. In Vancouver too, there’s so much fantastic music coming out of that place.
For me, it’s quite hard to compare to other countries, mostly because I haven’t experienced many scenes outside of Canada. If we’re comparing it to European countries I think it’s kind of hard to compare, they’ve had strong and fairly consistent scenes for decades, whereas I feel like Canada’s dance music scenes have come in waves.
That said, there’s an immense amount of amazing music that’s come out of Canada. This past year or so I’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time digging through Discogs. I’ve been really surprised at how much fantastic music (and more specifically – house/techno) has come out of Canada since the early 90s. There’s the classic larger house labels most people know of from Toronto and Montreal, but aside from that there’s also a lot of more obscure records that came out in limited pressing, but yeah, so much to discover!
Favorite Montreal venue?
Two of my favorites are definitely Datcha and Bleury Bar à Vinyle. I still have a lot of venues to check out though. They’re always super fun to go to, and the atmosphere at either is always a really good vibe.
I also have a tremendous amount of love for the seemingly endless amount of DIY parties that people have been putting on. I’ve seen a lot of incredibly talented people in some really special locations around the city. The DIY scene was a total revelation for me and was unlike anything I had ever experience before. It’s been a lot of fun discovering that.
We are looking forward to your live set at Mutek Montreal in the coming weeks alongside Frits Wentink, Blue Hawaii, and Vertigo Inc.! Can you give us any details on your live setup or do we have to wait until June 2nd to find out?
I’ve been really looking forward to Mutek as well. I was totally blown away when they had approached me to play! For my live set, it’s pretty basic and reflects a lot of what I would do in the studio. I do all of my production out of my laptop, so it only seems fitting that I perform my live set in the same manner. I’m excited for this show though; I’m going to be playing mostly upcoming material, as well as some unreleased tunes. I’ve been trying to formulate a live set that has something for everyone.
Who are you most excited to see at this year’s Mutek festival? And do you have any favorite new producers or labels at the moment?
There’s so many people that I’d love to see. As it stands right now, I’m super excited to see the people I’m playing alongside – I had actually discovered Vertigo Inc.’s music days before it was announced that we’d be sharing the same stage, that was a fantastic surprise. I’m also really excited to catch Terekke,
Local Artist, Powell, Julia Kent, Burundi Index, and Project Pablo performing a live set.
In terms of new producers or labels, I’ve been super excited about Regelbau and 2BitCrew Recordings. They’ve been able to create this lovely throwback to 90s tunes in a super atmospheric and special way, they’re also using a lot of breakbeats, which I’ve been super in to lately. Locally, there’s been so much to discover. One of my favorites labels, Temple, is making and putting out some really incredible music. In addition to Temple I’m also pretty excited about new label, Sobo (Sounds of Beaubien Ouest), which featured Project Pablo for their inaugural release.
How does your live setup differ from your studio setup? Do you use mostly hardware or software/plugins?
Well, it really doesn’t differ much at all. When I’m making music it’s all done within Ableton, so it only seems fitting that my live setup should reflect that. As much as I would love to be able to convert my sound into a hardware setup, it’s just not feasible for me at this point. I’ve slowly been collecting a few keyboards here and there, but they’re nothing compared to some of the vintage analog synths that you see out there.
In my studio setup I use a few ‘go-to’ software plugins that I’m a really big fan of, as of late though I’ve been dabbling with a little bit of sampling instead of relying on my VSTs as much. It’s been a pretty interesting transition. The tape that I did for 1080P has relatively no samples on it (maybe two I think). So it’s been really fun incorporating more found sound in to both my production and live sets.
Most underrated producer or label in the game right now?
Most underrated are surely the friends and strangers on Soundcloud. There’s so much crazy talent coming out of that website. Recently I’ve been stumbling across a lot of people putting their stuff up on Youtube, there’s a tremendous amount of relatively unheard, but very talented, producers on there doing great things.
Some of my favorite underrated producers right now are Human Plus, Hugo Jay, Ura, and DJ Kush Boogie, and many many more. The list could go on and on. In terms of labels I think Analogue Attic out of Melbourne is pretty underrated, they’ve been putting out some wonderfully dreamy music recently.
You graduated from Carleton University two years ago, did you study in music? Do you think your education was helpful in your music ambitions and did you create a lot while in school?
Yeah, I went to Carleton University in Ottawa. There I did my undergrad in political science. I had always dabbled with making music here and there while in school, but never anything serious. During my final semester of university, I had a class in music production. It was essentially an introductory class that asks you to compose songs using different software and equipment. I took it pretty seriously and had gotten really into learning these different pieces of software. I had always had Ableton on my computer but had never properly taken the time to learn it. This class totally allowed me to do that, and seeing as it was my last semester and was the only class I was taking, it gave me a tonne of free time to begin working on my own music as well, which is pretty much how it all started. So for this one specific class it was definitely helpful to my music ambitions!
What’s next for RIOHV? Any comments on the mix selection? Thanks for your time!
I really just want to keep making music right now, I’m really thankful that I’ve been able to go this far with music, I’m just excited to see where it continues to take me. As for the mix, just a collection of tracks that I’ve been really feeling lately! Hope ya’ll enjoy!
Interview by: Oliver
Picture by: Sarah-Marie