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Tchami: Burning Up the House


by Irene Lo | photos by Ed Lau

Dubbed the unofficial day three of Blueprint’s annual winter music festival, Contact, Tchami with Sleepy Tom and Jimmy ExYouth performed at Celebrities in Vancouver last Sunday to a packed house. There wasn’t much thinking – just sweat and fun.

Part of the Electric Input, an electronic collective of artists primarily based in Vancouver with members in Kamloops (Nouveau) and Seattle (Shorthand), Jimmy ExYouth (Jimmy Escobar) opened the evening. Connected to Diplo’s Mad Decent label through his work in Expendable Youth, ExYouth was a familiar choice for those that attended the after party to last year’s Seasons Festival where Tchami rounded up Easter Long Weekend at Shine nightclub that sadly closed its doors last September. It was Sleepy Tom, a high-profile local, who began to fill the dance floor in earnest.

Like Sleepy Tom, Tchami (Martin Bresso), also released his debut EP through Fool’s Gold, the Brooklyn label founded by A-Trak. Promesses/Shot Caller tied this preacher’s sound neatly around syncopated bass lines, and soulful vocals. The danger of this was that an hour into Tchami’s set, it all began to turn into another club exercise of waiting for the drop, and formulas figured out are not exciting. Yet Future House, a name the Parisian producer tagged in jest on Soundcloud, has something undeniably primal to it that when it gets its hands on the right track or beat, sets off the crazy in people.

As one of the engineers that worked on the Lil Jon/DJ Snake collaboration, “Turn Down for What”, Tchami’s got an intuitive feel for reinventing the wheel. When he played his remix of Oliver $ and Jimi Jules’s “Pushing On?” That bouncy drop! It hits the spot, and it keeps on going. Tchami, beloved on blogs, runs the small risk of backlash, but his intentions with music, as it was clear from the songs he chose to play that night, reminded everyone – don’t take things too seriously.

There were memorable slices from UK house such as Disclosure singles like “F for You” as well as the raunchy opening from Bodyrox’s 2006 hit “Yeah Yeah.” A one hit wonder from an electro-house duo that never captured North America’s ears as they did back in merry old England, “Yeah Yeah” was a pleasant surprise. It was reminiscent in mood to Tchami’s stand-out reworking of “You Know You Like It”, from future bass producer/singer duo, AlunaGeorge, another naughty tune with defiantly coy schoolgirl vocals.

Another rowdy crowd-pleaser was DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat”, a not uncommon song on most club nights, Tchami nevertheless stirred up a collective frenzy like a resident DJ on a roll.

With strong supporting acts in Sleepy Tom and Jimmy ExYouth, Tchami live was a good time guaranteed.

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