Ile Soniq closes out Canada’s music festival season with high energy

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Ile Soniq, one of three huge summer music festivals in Montreal just wrapped up its fourth year of music, arts, and parties. With 65,000 attendees from all over the world (including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Jamaica, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates) at Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Île Notre-Dame, the festival displayed a state-of-the-art arts and electronic gathering for people of all ages. There were small children in strollers, to couples who looked like they had gone to the very shows that started electronic music!

An art installation at Ile Soniq

With names such as Tiesto, Migos, O.T Genasis, Rezz, Jauz, and Markus Schulz it was a weekend of high energy and great performances.

Ile Soniq was the first music festival I attended two years ago. I was impressed, mostly because I did not have anything to compare it too. This year I  attended as media with several larger music festivals under my belt – and it’s safe to say that I was still impressed.

The festival included several larger than life art installations including a group of hipsters that attendees could take photos with.

The hipsters art installation at Ile Soniq.

Safety at Ile Soniq has always been a priority for the organizers, and this year they took it one step further. The Hirondelles squad, a group trained for the needs of women and vulnerable people, was added to the event.

For a second time, I encountered GRIP Montréal, a non-profit organization working to reduce the consumption illegal substances. They handed out information to people who wanted it and ensured that they were there to listen to attendees. The next step for Ile Soniq would be to install a space that tests the substances that people bring into the festival space with them. It was debuted this year at Shambala, which took place the same weekend as Ile Soniq and was met with a lot of positive responses.

The site for the festival was exactly what they needed, all three stages were well laid out and designed, and they had great food services on site. However, the biggest shortcoming of the festival was that there were not enough water filling stations on site. It was a very hot weekend and finding water became a challenge pretty quickly.

You can check out interviews with some artists below!

 

1. Win and Woo

Courtesy Win & Woo

So how did you know that you wanted to get into music full time?

Win: Honestly, we were doing it so much in college, DJing, and then like we started doing this in Chicago and we were like “I love doing this” and then he picked up production a little bit cause he’s always been interested in band stuff. I’ve always been in music too, so we started producing a little bit and we were like “I love this let’s see where we can take this.”

So where do you get your inspiration from?

Woo: It’s actually other artists and people and other art in general I guess.

Win: Definitely. People that push past their own boundaries.

Woo: We like to surround ourselves with a lot of creative people. They don’t even have to be in music, just people who are creating it’s just like inspiring to see them do stuff so then it makes you wanna do stuff.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

Woo: Yes actually, it’s tough. It’s super tough, but if you keep doing it and you’re passionate about it, you will get discovered.

Win: You really have to work at it. It’s a 24/7 job. Promote yourself, you gotta do all that, but if you stick with it and you really love it, and you’re honing your craft and do what you’re good at, then people will find you.

What’s been your favourite show to play at so far?

Win: I think Electric Forest for us was super special, because like we went there for like GA 4 years ago, and playing the Forest was like next level.

Woo: We played in Rome in February. It was the coolest experience ever.

What’s it like to play for a Canadian audience versus other audiences that you’ve played for?

Win: This is the second time we’ve played for a Canadian audience. We did Vancouver a little while ago.

Woo: They like House music.

Win: They love house music. I didn’t know that! Cause like we’ve slowly like, we still put it in our set but it’s not like the main focus. When we were doing that today we were like wow. They love this shit.

Woo: But super great energy, everyone just down for whatever. A little happier than the people down in the United States.

Is there anything else you want to share?

Win: We have new music coming out actually. We‘re gonna release a new single soon called Gold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Tomac

Courtesy Tomac.

How did you know you wanted to get into music?

I started music at around 8 years old, I took piano lessons, cause my mother was a pianist before. So I started to make my debut around 8 or 9 years old, and then after I got into dance music around the 90’s and then trance around 2000, 2001, like local rave parties. I started producing more than 15 years ago and I began to DJ in 2006 so like 11 years now and I’ve been producing for more than 15 years. SO I started playing music first then playing my music for the people.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Probably like most people, Armin Van Buren at the beginning. I’m a huge fan of him from the beginning. Not the same kind of, not now like before, he’s changed his sound a bit, but it’s still Armin. Yeah, so Armin, Cosmic Gate, back in the days, New love like Anjunabeats sound with Jason Ross Influenced by those guys so my sound is progressive a bit of a Jounce.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

Put time, a lot of time. Nowadays, it’s easier than before to learn so if you like can go on YouTube, check out many tutorials. I wasn’t able to do that back in the day because it was the beginning and everything is on the computer now so if you have something, if you have talent, it’s easier now I think, to get up in the game. But yeah, put, effort and if you like this you’re gonna maybe make it.

What’s been your favourite show to play at in the past?

I like to play in April for the Anjunabeats tours in Montreal, it was at Metropolis. It’s a real nice gig, real nice venue, I really enjoyed it.  Today of course, at my biggest gig to date! So yeah.

What is it like to play in front of a Canadian audience versus other audience?

Canadian audience is good for me because I’m from the scene like already made more than 7 paid years. I started in local clubs, small clubs, and I know the Montreal scene from 2 years back. The crowd changed a little bit over the years but a few people follow me since the beginning so the crowd is with me.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Yeah maybe if people would check my socials, my soundcloud.com/tomacmusic, Facebook.com/tomacmusic and  tomacmusic.com. 

You can also check out the festival wrap video here!

 

3. Michael Sparks

Courtesy Michael Sparks.

How did you know you wanted to get into music?

After my mom asked me to be a DJ one night at her party I was like alright I’ll do it whatever, and after that day, that song Crookers remix of Day and Night, I was like wow, I wanna make music like that. So then the same night at like 3am I went on Google, searched for it and then I found a dogcut at FL Studio,  I still have the demo. But I was still trying new stuff, and since that day I have never stopped making music. I’m thankful my mom helped me out with that cause I don’t know the vibe… I was feeling myself, like man imagine playing like a crowd and then I see these videos on Youtube and I was like Woaaah.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Other genres of music and being with my best friends. Actually I’m with my best friends everyday, we just, y’know working, having fun, going out. I don’t know. I have a lot of emotions, I go with my heart yknow? Its cool to let them out in the music.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

Have your sound before creating your name your brand your everything. Find your sound, cause its kinda hard, but if you want it you can make it happen. Find your sound, keep focusing on one thing, your music. People are always gonna hate, just forget about that.

What’s been your favourite show to play at in the past?

Ile Sonique. Ile Sonique was pretty dank, pretty hard. Escapade also, yup. LA Belasco Theater. That was one hell of a show, but Ile Sonique was massive, I think that ones my favourite one for now.

What is it like to play in front of a Canadian audience versus other audience?

Montreal has the best crowd ever. They bass heads, headbangers and everything, it’s crazy. I love Montreal I love playing for Montreal. The connect is there yknow? Its crazy. Montreal hands down. Best crowd.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I love yall. For real, being out there for me is really crazy. I used to be playing in sugar shacks and everything so. Its cool. Its different. Today I saw people with – how you say that?–signs, and everything, and everybody going crazy, that was is. If you wanna be what I’m going through right now, keep focusing forget about the haters, and keep going, just do it, go with your heart. That’s all.

 

4. Elephante

Courtesy Elephante.

So how did you know you wanted t get into music?

Well I grew up playing piano. I was classically trained and in high school I was playing guitar and writing songs and playing at open mics and playing in bands so its something I’ve always loved. I think in the back of my mind I always wanted to be a musician but I never really as a young Asian boy, I never thought that was a real thing. But then a few years ago, I was working a corporate jobs and I was like, I cant do it. I’m never gonna forgive myself if I don’t give it a shot. So I quit my job and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do this for the past 4, 5 years.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I dunno, everywhere. Listening to a lot of different music, going out living life, I guess. I don’t know. Inspiration is a funny thing people always ask, like Where do you get ideas from or how do you writing Its like, I don’t know you kinda just do it and hope something good comes out. Someday’s its like easy and it just flows out and it falls out and other days its just empty so. I don’t know, I wish I knew.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

Yeah just do it. The thing about the music industry there’s no set path. There’s no internships or programs really. You just gotta go out and meet people and do it. Just try to figure it out. Yeah I don’t know, there no real rules or structure it’s just like y’know send messages, reach out to people that you respect and you like, yknow be willing to go out there and try and be ready to learn and learn stuff on your own and honestly no one is going to help you if you’re not willing to help yourself. You really gotta love it and just go out and try to make it happen. Its all about the hustle.

Yeah. So what show are you looking forward to playing at next?

We just announced a 30-show North American tour so I’m super excited for all those days. We’re going to Moonrise Festival in Baltimore tomorrow, and I’m really excited about Electric Zoo in New York.

What’s been your favourite show to play at in the past?

There a lot. Honestly New City Gas is one of my favourite venues in al of the like I’ve ever played at. They have this great green room, where they have all the artists that ever played like spray painted on the wall. You just go in there like see Vichy, Skrillex, Tiesto, Porter Robinson. You’re like wow now I’m a apart of this and that’s a really cool moment. So yeah that’s really special.

What is it like to play in front of a Canadian audience versus other audiences?

I love Canada. I don’t know what it its, I don’t know if its in the water. It cause it’s the drinking age is lower or its cold and everyone just has to let go some, but I don’t know what it is but wherever I go in Canada its just insane, whether it’s here or Vancouver or Calgary whatever. Everywhere in Canada, I’m always excited to come up here, the energy is just insane.

 

5. Markus Schulz

Courtesy Markus Shultz

How did you know you wanted to get into music?

My father was a musuiocan so it was in my blood. And when I was younger I always used to listen to music differently than anybody else. I used to hear different elemnts in the songs, and I thought I was crazy because of that, and I always wondered why I couldn’t just lisen to a song normally. So I’ve always had an interest in music.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Right now I get inspiration from soundtracks and movies. But when I first started Danny Tenaglia was a huge inspiration to me and before then listening to the early trance stuff from Jamming Spoon, Sven Back, IQ Hardhouse sound from back in the day, the old German trance sound from back in the day. As an artist you progress and your influences change but at the same time the soul of music, the soul of what it is that I like is aways there, always the common bond in the music that I make and produce.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

First, you gota have patience and persistence. Make music that you want to make, what you want the world to hear. If you make music that’s not coming from your heart and its not genuine, even if you do become popular, and its not who you are as an artist – you’ll get burnt out.

What show are you looking forward to playing at next?

I have an open to close set in LA in September, I love playing open to close. All summer long you do the short festival sets, and then you get excited for the marathon sets. Here in Montreal I love to play the marathon sets at Stereo.

What’s been your favourite show to play at in the past?

Since we’re in Montreal I have to mention the sets at Stereo.  Space in Miami, any place in Miami has a great vibe. And I love playing in Amsterdam, London, Buenos Aries, LA, and Berlin. Berlin is known for techno, but back in the day, the German trance was really an early influence on me so im really trying to bring that back.

What is it like to play in front of a Canadian audience versus other audience?

Both Montreal, Toronto the trance fans are so passionate, loyal, and abundant. I just did tomorrowland two weeks ago, and there were so many Canadian fans out in the audience. Its cool to play at Tomorrowland and see the flags but its just as cool to play for the fans in their home town. And especially the trance fans, they travel and they are so loyal.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I like to thank everyone. I have to give a special shout out to all the Canadian trance family. They have been so good to me over all the years and im looking forward to doing another open to close at Stereo and another adventure in Toronto as well.

6. Spag Heddy

Courtesy Spag Heddy

How did you know you wanted to get into music?

I did not to be honest. I come from a musical family, 7 brothers and sisters and everyone plays instruments including me. We’ve always been making music and it was always something that I did at home. But I went to the Art Academy in Holland for Motion Graphic design, while I was finishing that Spag Heddy started as a side project back home. And I think the moment for me was when I finished school and quit my side job to play more shows, I thought I might actually get somewhere with this.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

To be honest, from shows. I will be sitting at my desk to make music. And I think about what the audience liked the most. And I try and recreate it. With EDM its all about what happens on the dance floor. For me there’s not too much story – I like to make bangers. So shows inspire me, and I love to watch other DJs as well.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

If you want to produce yourself, I think a good tip nowadays is that you have a lot of power with the Internet. You don’t have to be recognized by a label to make it. All the established artists are looking online to see all the new talent. In the end if you do want to get into the industry, it’s important that you like the music that you are representing, because it will help you continue to enjoy your work.

Yeah. So what show are you looking forward to playing at next?

I play a lot in the US because it’s a very big dubstep scene. I’m going to be playing in Denver and electric Zoo. im going to India later in the year as well.

What’s been your favourite show to play at in the past?

That’s an impossible question. What I find funny though is when I started last year, I played in the US and made a side stop here, in Montreal, in a small venue called the Bellemont. It was so hyped and rowdy. And when people asked me about it I said my favourite stop was the one in Canada! Buenos Aries is  crazy, in Europe it would be Paris – it’s the basscapital of Europe, in America its probably LA, San Bernadino, Denver, but also down south like Houston.

What is it like to play in front of a Canadian audience versus other audience?

I feel like with Candian audiences I can be more myself. Where in the U.S. crowds often as with the body language and their vibes for the more commercial  stuff, they wanna hear rap for example. In Canada they care a little less about that and they will eat anything up!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Finish school! I am happy that I have a degree. With anything creative its not about  what you studied, its more about your portfolio, if its dope then it’ll sell.

7. Jauz

Courtesy Jauz

How did you know you wanted to get into music?

I’ve known since I was 4. I knew when I was really young, one of my first memories is actually, being somewhere in Chicago with my mom and my family and I said I wanted to be in N*Sync. And my mom was like you should do piano lessons, and I was like no way, I’m just gonna sing. I still cant sing by the way. I had other passions, I wanted to be a skateboarder (I mean I think every kid who grew up in California did at some point), I wanted to be a rapper (every white kid from California wanted to be a rapper), and I did film for a long time. I went to college for film. But no matter what I was doing at the time, music was still my number one passion. Even at college I would skip class all day and write music in my dorm.  I dropped out of college and told my parents that I was going to peruse music, there were no two ways about it, this is what im supposed to do. And it took a while and eventually it started to pay off.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I’ve been producing electronic music since I was 14, and im almost 24 now. And I feel like in the early part of my career I was super inspired by video games because I played a lot. Video games and electronic music have a very close history and a lot of the first times I heard electronic music was in video games, so it was a natural thing. So it was that and I was really into punk rock and screamo. I think a lot of my melodies, leads, and song ideas come primarily from those two worlds. I think a lot of music I write sounds the same because of what I listened to as a kid. Because those are the melodies you found pleasing and that you remember. Now it think my inspiration comes from travelling. The first time I went to Thailand, my room had a sick view of the whole city and all I did was write for the first day I was there. I read something a while ago about the pillars of creativity, and one of them is called the journalist, and essentially its about going out and experiencing the world to gather your information, and if you don’t go out and experience the world then you cant draw inspiration from it.

Do you have any advice for students looking to get into the industry?

I went a school called ICON Collective which is a pretty well known school if your into electronic music. Would I suggest going there 100%, I feel like it’s the reason I am here. Could I have gotten here without it, probably, people have. And if you do go, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful; for every one of me there’s probably 100s of people who didn’t make it. I think it’s all about doing for the right reasons and working your ass off. There’s lots of people who like to blame on something out side of their control  – when in reality its all in their control, and they are trying to push against a brick wall instead of going around it. There’s a lot of people who, and I did it too, who try and sound like someone else. And I realized that even if I perfect Skrillex, and made a song exactly as good as him. I’m still not going to be Skrillex; I’m going to be the guy who sounds like Skrillex. I stopped listening to everything else, stopped worrying about it, and wrote what came naturally, and that’s when people started listening to me.

What show are you looking forward to playing at next?

I go to Europe in a couple days, and I love being in Europe. I think the show im most exciented for is a festival in Belgium called Pukkelpop. Which is the Coachella of Europe, its something I have known about since I was little. I never imaged I would play there, so when I found out I was playing I was so excited. I’ve played Tomorrowland twice, which is in Belgium, and that’s incredible – another place I never thought I would be. But that’s electronic music, but Pukkelpop is eveyrhting. Theres so many other artists, singers, rappers, that they could have booked, but they booked me and that’s what blows my mind.

What’s been your favourite show to play at in the past?

Its not really fair me to pick one. There have been so many incredible ones, there’s highs and there’s lows. I’ll say that most recently, the second weekend I played at Tomorrowland. The first weekend I played the main stage, and I never thought someone doing what I do could get to play on a main stage at Tomorrowland. But the second weekend I played on the Net Sky stage, which was smaller. The crowd was right, they were there for me, the stage was right, the timing was right, the set that I decided to play was right. Like everything worked our perfectly. And there are so few shows where everything goes according to plan. Being in the audience people probably think that something was great and in my head I think “I sucked and I was the worst.”

What is it like to play in front of a Canadian audience versus other audience?

I love playing in Canada. So at the beginning of my career, I played more in Canada than I did in America. I really got an appreciation for how different the crowds are in America and in Canada, and what works for each audience. In my experience overall Canadian crowds are just so open to me playing whatever I want. Especially Montreal. This is a great place to set an example for the rest of the country. This was my fourth show in Montreal.

The first time I played here I was on tour with Boregore and it was a sick night, I was hanging out with the Adventure Club guys and Frédérik Durand (also known as Snails). And I had heard that Montreal was the Bass capital of Canada (and it is). I talked to Fred who’s the bass music king and the king of Montreal, and asked him what if I should change up my sound a little and he said not to because everyone was there for me. So I played my set, which had worked great everywhere else, and the first 40 minutes were my old school stuff with UK influences and the crowd was dead. Dotcom played before me and he played trap and dubstep and the crowd was wild. And then I played my set and totally reset the mood. So I get to the end of my set and started playing dubstep and then it was like day and night.

I’ve now developed a fan base here now and they are down for whatever, my sets are heavier now across the board but I can still get away with playing a lot here.

I really love Canada because they really embrace bass music so much. Canada is the only place on this continent where I can play drum and bass and kids love it.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’m working on my EP to make it come out as one solid piece of music. After that there’s a new single coming out that I’m really excited about because its something new. And at the end of the year there’s some really sick shit coming – it’ll be worth the wait.

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