A few months back, I ripped DJs a new one for being out of touch with golden age of DJing, the era of Donna Summer and her kin. Great news: I was 49 percent wrong about this. Fifty-one percent of DJs who are as hot and sophisticated as ever, and I hope you can guess which 51 percent I mean.
Montreal is a city where fine folks come from as far as sunny Atlanta and LA, and brave the icy misery to get in on some of the cheapest, wildest, and most unpredictable opportunities to be hedonists the world provides. I recently found myself at a loft party there hearing the kind of DJ I thought was lost forever.
The set was one booty-crushing jam after another, and so much of it was music from faraway places by unknown partiers with low YouTube view counts. Behind the booth were DJs BABI AUDI and JUICE HEAD, who have a beautiful art band together, and enough style to earn those ridiculous names, and the looks and balls to work the style with gusto.
They later gave up the stage to another DJ beauty Donzelle, who is both an extraordinary DJ, and makes her own very steamy dance music. By then end of the night I just had to get the skinny from these women on what I was hearing and how they got into it.
Donzelle tells me she was inspired by “the good kitsch” on a three-month tour of India and Asia, the “excess, accumulation, and eccentricity” of the culture in that part of the world. She finds the imitative elements of Indian kitsch like Bollywood music work much better than what they’re trying to imitate.
BABI AUDI has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of bangin’ but little-known dance music from the far reaches of the globe, through obsessive all night sessions scouring the web. The music is then field-tested by her on the finest dancefloors in the city.
“I cry listening Siamese Soul: Thai Pop Spectacular Vol. 2,” she says. It might not make them take their clothes off, but it melts her heart. She says she really digs “great pioneers of electronic music just like Charanjit Singh, who made on of my favorite dance records ever, Synthesizing: Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat. This album is really close to late ’80s acid house music, powerful trance, very nice to slow down and fool around with effects”
When BABI AUDI isn’t busting some slammin’ jam that sounds like Transylvanian smurfs, she grinds these Asia classics and others down as slow and thumping as they can go, with plenty of effects and mashing up to make one feel like drinking a lot. “Charming people like a snake depends on your talent of composing blocks, and mixing and picking which song when.” She says the problem with average club DJs is “people who don’t really love music but just the image that certain music projects.”
I asked BABI AUDI to give me her absolute best tracks for getting people to take their clothes off on the dance floor. “For me, a l’il French white post-Catholic iceberg land Quebec girl, there is nothing better than the BASS and rhythms from the south south south, hot hot waves… I don’t know where in the world the best music is coming from right now, but I would definitely say I have the impression that because of the intensification of the globalization, it can happen anywhere.”