by Max Jones
With the festival season on Montreal’s doorstep, a large part of the parties will be of the electronic variety. Between the elder statesman of the Mutek Festival and the weekly Piknik Electronik party, there are more beats-per-minute happening around the city than one could possibly keep up with. It’s important to take it one beatmaker at a time, and with that in mind we caught up with Jesse Bru to talk about his sound as well as his impending Mutek performance.
Referring to his sound as “sample-based midtempo house,” it’s clear that despite his relatively recent entry into the underground music scene Jesse belongs there. After living in Montreal for two years and trying his hand at MCing, he spent some time at Mutek as a fan and “it was a huge influence, it made me want to get more into producing and move away from MCing, for the time being, at least.”
Now he lives in Vancouver and is a part of the electronic duo Hot Keys, although “that is on the backburner for now, but we still have about a dozen songs ready to release whenever we get around to it.” Instead he’s in school, perfecting his craft while studying sound design and audio engineering. When you are relying on “found-sound,” and putting out “sample-heavy” beats with material often culled from YouTube, it’s important to know how to play with what you got. His recent invite to return to Mutek as a performer is proof that Jesse knows how to play around with the best of them.
“There is definitely a sound quality difference between pulling something off of vinyl and pulling something from YouTube,” he admits, “but at the end of the day most of the samples are such a small part of the final product it doesn’t really matter.” To listen to the tracks on his debut album, Midcity, it is A) obvious that his samples really do “come from everywhere,” and B) impossible to tell from whence they came. That’s the mark of a true soundsmith.
Besides the clear influence of hip-hop, where Jesse got his beginnings, it’s difficult to pin down exactly what to call his genre. For now, “sample-based midtempo house” will have to do. “I just like to keep it below 115 beats-per-minute,” he says.