Last I checked - maybe 15 minutes ago - the Montreal music scene was thriving in Berlin.
One could speculate on the reasons for this, and I’ll do just that: common values (late nights, cheap rents), similar concerns (language issues, gentrification), and the fact that Montreal music seems to be everywhere all the time these days.
Over my past 5 or 6 (or is it 7 already? Zut alors, time it flies) years of putting on events in Germany’s capital, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a whole host of bands and artists who (assuming that they haven’t picked up stakes and moved to Berlin) call Montreal home. Highlights that come to mind include shows with established acts like Mac DeMarco, TOPS or Sean Nicholas Savage, to smaller scale shows with relative newcomers like COUNTRY or Ramzi.
The roots of these connections, fittingly enough, can be traced back to POP Montreal, and in particular to Carmen N., a former employee of POP who relocated to Berlin for a few months back in 2008. In the short time she was here, she laid the ground work for a number of significant contacts (hi Arbutus Records) that remain in place to this day, and that play an important role in the current MTL / BRL exchange.
In addition to the MTL-centric events that I (in the capacity of Shameless/Limitless) have put on, there is also a strong connection going by way of DIY labels like Mansions & Millions (which was recently, and aptly described by Electronic Beats magazine as “...capturing the leftfield post-indie scene of the Berlin-Montreal axis) and Arbutus offshoot Summer Cool Music.
Given Torstrassenfestival 2015’s strong contingent of Montreal bookings, it would seem that this connection is only getting stronger. Heck, not only has the festival booked once or current Montreal artists Blue Hawaii, Pascale Project and Antoine93, but we are also working in conjunction with POP Montreal on screening the German premiere of Timothy George Kelly’s documentary about music and Montreal, “A City Is An Island”.
As far as I can tell, our cities are kindred spirits. Though the bond is strong, it could always be stronger. That being the case, you should know that I’m game for dep hangs and midnight bagels. Say the word and I’m there :)
-- Kevin Halpin has been putting on shows and parties under the name Shameless/Limitless for longer than he ever thought he would. He’s working with TSF on a range of MTL-related events this year. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org