With Dubfire at the helm, SCI+TEC's sound is dark and its influence is international. To be invited to release your work through its channels is the dream of many aspiring artists. For Johnny Trika, this dream became a reality with his minimalistic Main Squeeze EP. The dark work from such a young producer caught our attention recently and we included him in our Definitive Guide to Breakthrough Canadian Producers. Johnny is poised to dominate in the coming years, as he has already held attention from some of the pinnacles in underground electronic music, like Richie Hawtin and Dubfire. But his vision for his future is a bit different. Trika is preparing a fully original live show, one that he will unveil in the coming months. THUMP caught up with him to discuss his achievements, his current state of mind, and his plans for the upcoming year.
Born and raised in Montreal, he entered the scene as most of us did: with an appreciation for the after hours atmosphere and an open-mind to the underground. "I started to go to parties and after hours here in Montreal and soon enough I found techno. Friends of mine had a big influence on me. One of my first ever techno parties was Carl Cox and Nicole Moudaber at the famous Stereo Nightclub back in 2011. I felt the need to contribute to the music; I wanted to make music and influence others like these artists had influenced me."
By reputation, Montreal is a city dense with techno lovers. From Igloofest to Piknic Electronik and Stereo to Velvet, Montreal has a strong set of venues and festivals that not only act as facilitators for fans to see great music, but also platforms for the artists to reach out to the international markets. The scene is vast and deep, but Trika's shift into the spotlight was through Dubfire's endorsement. "Signing to SCI+TEC gave me a lot of confidence and helped me push even further as an artist. My quality of music has increased a lot more. My creative output really came out of nowhere but I guess I always had it in me, I just never knew."
At 22-years-old, Trika has situated himself within the big leagues and with another EP due out in early 2015, this rising star is preparing for one hell of a year. Although he only has a limited set of tracks available to the public on his Soundcloud, his high level of production skills can be recognized instantly. It leaves little question as to why such huge artists have supported him from the get-go.
Trika's sound is dark and layered, one that has evolved significantly since his introduction to production. "It always takes time to create the sound that defines you as an artist. I believe, as you grow as an artist, small things about your sound will change, but that's normal. When I make music I try to think how can the audience listen to a track and without looking at the artist byline, know that it's my music right away."
His inspirations are undoubtedly pulled from his watching DJs like Carl and Nicole perform, yet Trika's exposure to live techno acts was the catalyst for his organic sounds. He reminds us that he is not a DJ, but a live producer. "I want to show people my exact sound. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of bomb tracks out there, but there is no better feeling than playing your own music. When I make music, I always keep my live set in mind. I am consistently thinking about how I can use each part."
Together we examined the pros and cons to both DJing and live production. Trika believes that although DJing allows for extensive material, it lacks the creativity that a live show can have. "A big part of shows is the energy the crowd is giving you. If the energy is strong then the artist will feel it more. I think with live shows, in general, there is a much stronger connection with the people. To me, this is the future of performing because you are purely performing your own exact sound." For Trika, live shows have a level of creativity unreachable by solely DJing other artist's music. But he's quick to add: "Although, there are tons of DJs who can rock a crowd!"
The big question remains, when can we see Trika play? He is preparing his live show for early next year, with rumoured stops at CODA in Toronto and Stereo in Montreal. We can hopefully expect his presence soon, yet not soon enough.