BOOK JULY 2ND OFF WORK NOW!!!
On July 1st bringthebeats is throwing its first party at the super stylish Toika Lounge, just on the fringes of Toronto’s entertainment district.
This limited capacity space is set to host some of the scene’s coolest underground house acts and no better way to get it all started than with the after party for the soon to be legendary boat cruise with Luke Fair and Nic Fanciulli.
Expect the whole spectrum of house, from funky and fun to deep and chuggy tech. All three artists claim Luke and Nic as great influences in their musical direction, so be ready for a seamless transition from the boat to the club.
Cover will be a measly $5 all night, so save a little from the night and day before because this will be the perfect way to end your Canada Day.
When you think of Montreal what do you think of? Do you think of the European feel that electrifies the streets of old Montreal? How about shopping or the patios in the summer? Or maybe you think of how damn cold it gets in the winter?! I think of all of those things but it’s always been the nightlife that has drawn me to the city.
I used to party in Montreal when I was still very new to this scene. Actually my first party ever was in an old warehouse in Laval. That night opened up my eyes to a scene that I can never turn back on now.
I haven’t been to Montreal in a few years but I still look back on those weekends as times that helped shape my love for this music. It was those weekends where I’d jump in the car with my friends for the six hour drive ‘cause we knew once we got there the party was going to be worth the ride. It’s those parties where the music pumped just a little harder and the clubs were just a little dirtier. That excited everyone I was with. The whole scene just felt a different compared to what was going on in Toronto.
As with every city that hosts a great nightlife, there are changes that take place. New faces appear, new DJ’s grace the decks and nightclubs come and go. But there is one place that has been able to endure all these changes, the world renowned Stereo nightclub. This is where Maher Daniel got his first big shot about two years ago.
After returning back to Montreal from Dubai to go to university, Maher quickly became involved in the scene. Having been taught the basics from his older brother back in Dubai, he used what he had learned to start DJing and producing. He created a mix that fell into the right hands and that’s when he was offered the chance to open up for one of the UK’s greatest DJs, Lee Burridge.
Maher is the A & R for Harem Records where he often co-produces tracks with the production duo of Sultan and Ned Shepard. Their first production, Itajia Vibes, was released last year under Sick Watona and it has been a huge success.
As Maher’s tracks start to travel across borders so has his demand. Maher’s upcoming gigs include Nectar in Cancun Mexico and at Montreal’s Tribe Hyperclub where he will open for another UK great, Nic Fancuilli.
Before this mix I didn’t know who Maher was or what his music was like. After giving his In Demand a good few listens, I knew I loved his style! For this set he reaches into his ‘housier’ side to give us a compilation full of soft vocal tracks, edgy beats and looping baselines. It’s a mix that definitely grew on me the more I played it, so keep this one on repeat!
Inside the IM with Maher Daniel & littlemissbluedress
From one of the most renown clubbing cities in the world, Maher Daniel is pushing the underground sounds, and doing so in pure Montreal style.
Lisa: Hello, how are you?
maher: I’m good, can’t complain
Lisa: Cold in Montreal?
Lisa: Tokyo’s cold enough for me.
maher: Hehe nice one, how is living there by the way?
Lisa: Amazing, the food in great, people are fun, and the nightlife is amazing.
maher: I would so love to be there, love the Japanese culture and the club of my dreams is there, THE WOMB.
Lisa: I love it there! I’ve been to some really crazy parties there.
maher: That’s the one place I really, really want to play.
Lisa: Everyone does! I just started your set, the more I listen to it the more I like it. I love the first drop in this intro track
maher: Ya really love them Spirit Catcher boys
Lisa: Nice I’m going to see them in Feb.
Lisa: So its 7:17pm over there… what are you normally doing at this time?
maher: On a Sunday, I’m usually either at the studio working or just chillin’ with my girlfriend.
Lisa: Who do you rent the studio with?
maher: Myself, Sultan and Ned Shepard
Lisa: Do you guys collaborate on a lot of stuff?
maher: We’re slowly getting into it more and more. It’s just the guys have been really busy with a lot of there own work. So whenever we get the chance to start messing around, we do so, then we take it to the next level.
Lisa: How did you get together with them?
maher: Well I’ve known Sultan for around 6 years if not more now. Sultan and my brother and the old crew were all really good friends. So when I moved back to Montreal from Dubai I kinda just started meeting everyone and slowly started to get into the scene
Lisa: How long were you in Dubai for?
maher: I pretty much grew up there but it was back and forth from Montreal and Dubai. In ‘88 we moved to Montreal from Dubai and then back to Dubai in ‘91 then I moved back to Montreal in ‘98-99.
Lisa: Ah so that’s where your parents are from then?
maher: Well my parents are originally Palestinian / Lebanese.
Lisa: I hear Dubai is a great place to live, what did you think?
maher: Well it’s a great place to grow up. I mean when I was there it was really just a big pile of sand. From when I was last there till last Decemeber buildings of all sorts have gone up. It looks like Vegas was dropped in the Middle East.
Lisa: I love this vocal track at 14 min.
maher: That’s Above and Beyond – Home (Timewritter mix).
Lisa: I love the saxophone mixed into tracks, gives it a jazzy kinda feel.
maher: This set reflects my deeper, housier side. I’m really diverse with the music I play.
Lisa: That’s good; everyone has more than one side. I like a range of styles depending on my mood and environment.
maher: But I have to say my true love has to be deep house and tech house. I play a lot of the new school techno that’s coming out, especially for the really early part of the mornings, i.e. 7am onwards. Just gives the dance floor a nice face lift after a lot of dancing.
Lisa: I like a DJ that can keep me going into those hours, not many can do that anymore.
maher: Ya I hear you on that. I mean, lately going out has been really minimal for me. I pick and choose (although I have to say I did go out last night). I’ve really been trying to push my production to the next level
Lisa: Where did you go?
maher: Went to what has to be one of Montreal’s best clubs Cherry, in the Old Port. That room has attitude, it’s fairly new but really underground. The club itself has this warm atmosphere in there. The mahogany bar and red drapes, candle lit.
Lisa: Sounds Romantic…
maher: Hehe if it was a resto then it would definitely be a romantic spot. But this place has a lot of attitude from the music, to the people that come out.
Lisa: So warm, but attitude?
maher: Ya but not a bad attitude. Everyone is there having a great time and listening to good music. The attitude is just the aura of the club; it’s like a positive attitude great for the scene
Lisa: How often do you spin at Stereo?
maher: It really depends to be honest on who’s coming into town. I play a lot with the boys from the UK, so Desyn, Lee and Paolo.
Lisa: Those guys are great.
maher: I play with the DJs whose sound I mesh with.
Lisa: Makes sense.
maher: And I love warming up any room, but especially Stereo. Playing on that system, it’s just so warm.
Lisa: What’s your technique for warming up a crowd; just enough so that the main DJ still shines?
maher: Well I really love to keep it deep and techy, solid grooves and chunky bass lines. I never go over 125 bpm.125 is my limit and I usually start at about 122 and slowly build.
Lisa: So what would the main DJ get up to?
maher: Most of the guys I play with usually peak it at about 128 bpm, maybe 129 sometimes. I’ve never really seen anyone I’ve played with go past that.
Lisa: How did you get your first gig at Stereo?
maher: Well I would honestly have to thank Danny Torrence for that. I saw him out a few times the summer I had just started DJing… about 2 years ago. I let him know that I was DJing and he asked me to pass him a CD. The mix made its way to Scott Lancaster who was starting his Dirty nights at Stereobar. So my first big break came eight months later playing at the bar when they gave me a shot to warm up for Lee Burridge.
Lisa: nice one
maher: Indeed, although I was almost shitting my pants. LOL.
Lisa: And you rocked it?
maher: Well, ya. I went in there and did my thing, really groovy and techy. I had the dance floor going.
Lisa: Do you work well under pressure?
maher: I work well under pressure in the studio. I guess when it comes down to DJing, it’s the first three tracks that set my tone. If they go down well and technically tight from a mixing standard, then I can calm down. Well I usually do calm down but I don’t think I’ve ever really been put under a lot of pressure.
Lisa: That was like me on exams in university. If I got the first few questions right I would relax, but otherwise I would freak out a little.
maher: I hear ya on that one.
Lisa: Ah this track that comes in at 45:44 is sick! The vocals remind me Ladytron…
maher: Haha ya they do, it’s a real groover. I love what Michael Grey does; solid, solid producer. It’s actually a remix he did of Cicada.
Lisa: I used to party in Montreal in the Sona/ Aria days. Once they closed it seemed like the scene there went through a lot of changes.
maher: Exactly. But Stereo is bringing it back. It was a real breath of fresh air for me this year. It was also the Sasha and Digweed party at the Pepsi Centre. There was a vibe in that room that reminded me of the old days.
Lisa: Sounds amazing. I love this closing track with the piano.
maher: Another great track, it’s by Jamie Waimy – Piano Tonight (Gold Ryan Remix)
Lisa: well you sure did have a lot of great picks on this mix
maher: Thank you, I really appreciate it. I wanted to do something a little more on the housier tip for bringthebeats. I love everything that Gregor does, especially with the sound he’s pushing down in T.O.
Lisa: I agree 100%! So why do you think Stereo has been able to outlast all of the other major clubs in Montreal?
maher: The reality is that Stereo is one of those clubs this is pure magic from the minute you step foot into that room. It just grabs you and you get hooked. The sound is the major aspect.
Lisa: Do you think the promoters of the club play a role; i.e. keeping things underground?
maher: They do play a big role. The blended crew has been a driving force behind Stereo, with the club’s regulars always coming and supporting. They give the club exactly what’s needed to make the venue stronger than ever. Plus the rest of the promoters are pushing hard for the DJs that play there. Every entity within that club, including the staff, make it what it is and that’s why I honestly think its still going and going strong.
Lisa: It’s good to hear that a club can maintain itself with good underground values.
Lisa: So you have been appointed A & R for Harem records. What is going to be your focus in searching out tracks?
maher: At the moment I think were looking for those specific producers who are slowly making a move. There is a lot of talent out there and some guys which are producing such great material.
Lisa: For example…
maher: Daniel Portman is probably one of those guys that has been under the radar but produces great music. Then there are other youngsters like German based DJ and producer Gold Ryan. He’s been making a lot of noise recently and at Harem we want to be able to push them that extra step. The label in itself is an outlook for Sultan, Ned and I to release our own material under SNM or the two of them.
Lisa: You, Ned and Sultan all have different styles yet you have come together for the love of the same music. How do your styles compliment each other and why do you think this trio works?
maher: That’s a really good question; hehe, a really really good question. Ultimately we play the same music but we don’t. We all have our own styles which uniquely mold together well. We all love the music each other plays.
Lisa: I guess that would be a must.
maher: I think the fact that we all lived in the same city and we have all had the chance to experience different styles of music. The city brought us together knowing what each other has to offer. I also know the fact that we all share the same studio space our ideas are always bouncing back and forth, making it a learning experience for the three of us. Particularly for myself, as I am not as experienced as the two of them when it comes down to production. Knowing each others styles allows us to collaborate well, forming a dynamic sound both in the clubs and in the studio. We appreciate and love the music that each one of us has to offer.
Lisa: It’s hard to like someone if you don’t like what they are doing.
maher: For sure. Ultimately I think we have the same frame of mind musically, each one in there own specific way.
Lisa: So how would you describe your music compared to theirs?
maher: Techier is the word I would use.
Lisa: Anything in the works at Harem right now?
maher: Harem at the moment is putting together a lineup of some solid releases, mostly concentrated on ourselves with the first three and with some solid producers on the remixes. On my side I’m looking around for those unique unknown producers who are putting together some really good music.
Lisa: What sound are you looking for?
maher: The beauty about it is we all have a vision that we all agree on. As for the sound we’re looking for, anything that makes you move.
Lisa: And what’s the vision?
maher: It may sound lame, but it’s to put out quality dance music. Music that makes the people move ‘cuz ultimately it’s the people and the fans that make us who we are.
Lisa: Yes of course
maher: If it was not for those on the dance floor then we would not be where we are. So this is a way to give back to the people.
Lisa: Before we talked about how you, Ned and Sultan all have different sounds, so will the releases include house, tech and everything in between?
Lisa: How do you think EDM will change as technology evolves?
maher: Technology has allowed a great deal of artists to emerge, as music software has become more and more accessible. EDM is a scene which is growing due to this.
Lisa: Do you think it takes away from the raw talent of a DJ by making things too easy?
maher: Indeed I do. It just allows anyone to start DJing without that background. I really respect artists that still use records. Every once in a while I go through my brothers old records. He’s got a lot of great tech house and house records that I just love to play out. Personally I think every DJ should start with records.
Lisa: Did you?
maher: I did.
Lisa: So you got into it because of your brother?
maher: My brother and his whole crew, Ali Ajami, Genie.
Lisa: Does he DJ as well?
Mahar: Yes he does, he still plays in Dubai.
Lisa: How old were you when your brother got you into EDM?
maher: 16 years old, I heard the Northern Exposure CD. I was like, “what is this crap?” And then I got hooked after taking a listen to it on my own.
Lisa: Did you go to university?
maher: I did. I’m actually done finally
Lisa: Yay freedom! What did you study?
maher: I have a minor in political science and a bachelor of commerce major in marketing.
Lisa: What do you think is the most exciting and the scariest thing about the future?
maher: Most exciting would have to be flying cars, which will happen eventually. And scariest thing I would say is the depletion of the ozone layer.
Lisa: If you could control all forms of media for one day what would you do, what message would you send to the world?
maher: I think the only message I would really try to push out is to respect each other the way you would want to be respected yourself. Because at the end of the day we are all human and we’re all equal despite religion or race.
Lisa: Who do you think is the funniest person alive?
maher: The funniest person alive I would have to say is my older brother’s friend Michael Abu Samah. He’s just one of those guys that puts a smile on everyone’s face. It’s absolute comic relief. Every time he’s around you know you are going to be laughing till you have to go use the washroom!
Lisa: Sounds like a guy I would like to meet.