"I was so inspired by Beatles songs that I would spend hours everyday trying to learn to play them as well as I could," says Marty Bernie, the Toronto future house producer known as Pusher. "That turned into learning as much as I could about music and the piano."
After discovering the I Am Sam soundtrack, which is a compilation of The Beatles covers, Bernie's dedicated and passionate romance with music blossomed. Growing up in Merrickville, Ontario, a town lacking in both population and, as he implies, a cultural richness, his musical experiences could only evolve with a change of scenery. Soon after, he moved to the Canadian dance music mecca city of Toronto.
"Moving expanded my ability to access musical ideas," he tells. "In Merrickville, I listened to a lot of radio, and the options were rock, country or pop. When I moved to Toronto, I could go to The Rex and see jazz every night of the week. I could go meet musicians in person and take lessons with different people."
Only after after stumbling upon Madeon's "Icarus," was Bernie's interest in horns and piano replaced with a new found infatuation for synths and Traktor. "In the spring of 2014 I started to get some buzz on SoundCloud with my first few Pusher tracks," he shares. "By June, I had something like 3000 followers and these American guys living in Shanghai reached out saying they were starting a label there — Boogatti Records. A free trip to China in exchange for some music was an easy decision at that point. Since they were just starting up, some of the shows didn't go as smoothly as they would have with an established promoter, but I definitely don't regret it."
Pusher chats with Harrison about his first festival experience
Luckily for Bernie, there have been many career-changing moments since his voyage through the Paris of the East. This past summer, he seized the music festival scene in Toronto, scoring opening slots at not one, but two multi-day inaugural festivals — Bestival and WayHome.
"My favourite moments are when music has connected me with people in ways I hadn't anticipated," he mentions. "WayHome was a lot of fun because I played a silent disco — there are no speakers, you need headphones to hear the music. By the time my hour set was over, 300 people were lined up and it was at capacity so I played an extra 45 minutes."
Live shows aren't the only way in which Bernie connects with his fanbase. Unlike many DJs, whose skyrocketing levels of pretentiousness could put Kanye to shame, the young Torontonian shares his musical wealth by posting future bass how-to tutorials on YouTube.
"The only missing ingredient for a lot of people is technical knowledge," he explains. "If I'm responsible for inspiring people or helping somebody acquire the tools to create something great, it benefits us all."
While Bernie may be kindly paving the way for wannabe DJs to follow in his future house footsteps, his masterful Northmix for THUMP is technically unmatchable. The 40-minute mix takes listeners on a genre-bending roller coaster ride, beginning with a refreshing edit of the Jack Ü/Justin Bieber tween sing-a-long, "Where Are Ü Now, and ending with Shawn Wasabi's 164 song mashup "Marble Soda."
"I always try to do something different and crazy with my mixes, and with all of my previous ones being taken down from SoundCloud, I wanted this one to stand for what I do," he explains. "I've included a couple of unreleased tracks, some edits, as well as creative, different, and musically interesting mixes—all to curate a high energy, dark-neon-pixel-trap-infused musical adventure to bump through fall."
Nicknamed his "End of Summer No Chill Mix," it's virtually impossible to administer a chill pill during this mix.
Rebecca is on Twitter.