BeatRoute Magazine is a monthly arts and entertainment paper with a predominant focus on music – local, independent or otherwise. The paper started in June 2004 and continues to provide a healthy dose of perversity while exercising rock ‘n’ roll ethics.
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JUCY BLVD NOIR Habitat’s collective DJ, live-band incarnation releases EP Habitat’s residents NOIR to release live EP. In Calgary it’s relatively unheard of for a DJ night to release an EP, but such is the case with NOIR, the monthly night at Habitat Living Sound that fuses house music with live instrumentation. Inspired by their chemistry on stage, NOIR’s three residents Rusty Meeks (Casey McMechan), Jared Andres, and Juicy Jamey (Jamey Lougheed) decided to officially become a band under the name BLVD NOIR. In March they’ll release a THE TEN PERCENT photo book celebrates Calgary’s female DJs In January, Leigh-Anne Hazard released a new photography book that showcases 63 self-identified female DJs in Calgary which celebrates the history and triumphs of the women in this city’s DJ scene. Entitled The Ten Percent, its forward, written by local DJ, producer and event planner Isis Graham (Esette) begins by acknowledging that while there have been big changes in the electronic music industry, there is still a stark divide that separates men from women. Citing research from Women in Music Professional Association of Canada, Graham writes that less than 10 per cent of the top music executives in Canada are women, the wage gap throughout almost all levels of the industry are well above 10 per cent and that many festival lineups contain less than 10 per cent female talent, despite the “rising awareness of inequality within our community.” The project represents a mammoth amount of work that took place over more than three years from concept to physical copy. “This whole project was a labour of love,” says Hazard. “It wasn’t done for any other reason but that.” The photos were first displayed during the Alberta Electronic Music Conference, and at first, Hazard had no intention of putting them in the book. “The purpose of the book was to put the photos somewhere as a keepsake for each DJ in the book. That was it. I wasn’t doing it to sell a book, by any means, because I’ve never even printed a photograph. I’ve never been able to print a photograph of mine JUCY PHOTO: LEIGH-ANNE HAZARD five-track EP inspired by the night’s jam-like, improvisational nature. “Literally the whole thing’s a jam, which is kind of the essence of what our night’s always been. We never prepare anything,” says Mc- Mechan. “We tried to capture that a little for sure,” concurs Andres. NOIR began in 2013 with Andres and McMechan DJing alongside local guests. Eight months into their run they invited saxophonist Lougheed to accompany them live. Lougheed emanated from psychedelic rock culture, in particular Deadhead culture that extends from The Grateful Dead. Andres and McMechan believe this worked in their favour, giving Lougheed musical adaptability. “Deadhead culture, I think, is a lot about jamming and about spontaneity, and Jamey definitely brings that element to it,” says McMechan. Combined with the backgrounds of McMechan and Andres, this gave NOIR a unique diversity. “It’s right in the NOIR description, we all come from pretty different backgrounds of music,” explains Andres. “I started off as playing in punk bands for years, then eventually psych bands down the road, and now this.” With Lougheed cementing their vision for the night, Andres began incorporating live congas and tablas. The trio began jamming outside of the club, leading to the idea of starting a band. Other musical projects, however, kept them from pursuing it. But the current format approaching its four-year anniversary gave them a new resolve. In keeping with their style, the forthcoming EP’s five songs were forged by jam sessions and hang it on the wall, I’ve never been able to commit to that.” The execution of the project is indeed a stunning accomplishment, both in its content and the amount of foresight, coordination and dedication required to bring it to fruition. The idea began a few years ago when Hazard, who was then beginning her foray into both DJing and photography, thought it would be a great project to get Calgary’s female DJs into a room together, get their nails and hair done up and have vogue, black-and-white photos taken of them. “But when I really thought about it I wasn’t quite ready to do it — I didn’t think I had the photography skills, and I also only knew a handful of female DJs and so I kind of left it.” Then local DJ Molly Fi, who has run the Girls on Decks events for a decade, “lit a fire under her bum” and encouraged her to follow through with it. The project was not easy by any means. Not only was it challenging compiling the list of all female Calgarian DJs, but then to convince some of the more hesitant subjects, and incorporate them all, even the ones who had moved away from Calgary, was a remarkable achievemen. Now complete, she has said that it has led to community building, drawing these women together, creating new relationships, business partners and support networks. The Ten Percent book release took place at the McHugh house on January 27 with limited copies available. Visit www.leighannehazard. com for more information. BY JONATHAN CRANE at Lougheed’s studio. The majority of the percussion is live drumming by Andres, with Lougheed alternating between the sax and the guitar. McMechan manned the production software, capturing everything and turning it into loops in real time. The trio improvise then decide on which elements to keep. This means NOIR’s fans will find the EP authentic to what happens on stage. “Jamie plays the sax on the EP exactly the same way that he plays the sax live, and same with the congos,” says McMechan. With the EP soon released on Bandcamp, they hope to use it for festival applications. If this comes to fruition they’ll contemplate taking their act onto the road. “Depending on how the album release goes and how people receive it, that could really bring us one way or another,” says McMechan. Either way, the group is happy with their achievements over the last four years. Many local DJs made their debut at NOIR, and the group pledges to keep this innovation, and the eclectic blend of music flowing into 2018. For information on the EP’s release, follow BLVD NOIR at www.facebook.com/noiryyc BY PAUL RODGERS BEATROUTE • FEBRUARY 2018 | 33