IRL And URL Collide At Perturbator's Spooky Synthwave Show
All Photos by Hayley Stewart


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IRL And URL Collide At Perturbator's Spooky Synthwave Show

The elusive Paris and 'Hotline Miami' artist takes a stab at his first set in Toronto.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, an unassuming tour bus pulled up to the Velvet Underground. The driver had worked with his fair share of rock legends over the decades and was accustomed to bands like Motley Crüe in a perpetual state of debauchery over his shoulder. This time around, he was driving the easygoing, quiet but playful 24-year-old dark synth artist James Kent a.k.a. Perturbator on his first major North American tour.


After blowing up early in his career with his soundtrack to game Hotline Miami, the Paris artist became a key icon in the synthwave scene despite having a strictly online-only presence for years. Perturbator was getting ready to play in Toronto for the first time, making himself one of the few legends in the genre that have ventured beyond the screen to give Canadian fans an opportunity to gather in person. We followed James and his crew during their time in Toronto to get a glimpse of what it's like when digital and real worlds collide.

Hayley Stewart is a photographer based in Toronto. Follow her on Instagram.