What started out as a three-person mission fueled by the passion of creating amazing events, became a premier Montreal-based techno and electronic music collaborative that has delivered incredible raves again, and again, and again. For the last 5 years, OCTOV has been flying in top-drawer artists from around the world, while bringing together some of the city’s best local DJ’s and Visual Artists.
The product of all this? Some of the most talked about raves and events in town, and the dedication to a scene built around the kind of techno found echoing in warehouses and underground spaces in Europe. I had the chance to ask the OCTOV team about their upcoming 5-Year Halloween show, dive into the origins of the collaborative, discuss Montreal’s current scene, and more.
HS: Take us back to the beginning – how did OCTOV get its start? What did you feel Montreal’s electronic music scene was missing?
OCTOV: We are currently 18 including our resident DJs and VJs but OCTOV started with three team-members who have always wanted to organize parties. What gave us a kick was a friend from France who brought a sticker “On Casse Tout On Vomit” (OCTOV) which we distributed to people in clubs. At this time, the hype was surprisingly real around all this. After a few months , we decided to create a Facebook Page, and soon after we organized our first event with only local artists at The Divan Orange. At this time, Bacchanale was starting to create awesome events yet there were so few suchlike events. Moreover, the three of us are originally from France where the electronic music scene was starting to become something big during this period. We wanted to bring that to Montreal’s techno scene, to make it grow.
HS: What was your first year of operation like? How did you manage challenges then, compared to now?
OCTOV: The first and second year of operation were tough. We went from bar gigs to kind-of rave events. On the other hand, the audience responded positively, and the public were coming. Even if we have lost money at this time, it was just the beginning, and we were driven by crazy dreams. We still have challenges, and that’s fine, because it motivates us even more, and we are confident now. Moreover, from 2014 to 2019 we are still managing our challenges the same way, and trying to adapt to every obstacle we meet.
HS: In your experience, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the Montreal scene?
OCTOV: The crowd is the most important strength of Montreal’s scene. There is a very powerful and vibrant energy in the public. The crowd in Montreal is respectful and very devoted to dance! The only real weakness that we can see is that the scene is still quite small compared to other countries in Europe where the scene recently blew up. However we believe that it will evolve and become bigger (as this is the case since 2014) so it doesn’t look like it’ll go backwards. Finally, there is the problem of finding new legal spaces to host events like ours. This issue has been brought up during the talk at Chromatic Festival with Trax Magazine and discussed by MTL 24/24.
HS: Over time, OCTOV’s shows slowly started to shift from a variety of house, electro, and techno, toward mostly industrial, hard techno. How did this shift come about? How has the reception been by your audience?
OCTOV: At the beginning, we were just thinking about doing raves with a good visual design. We didn’t have the will to stick to one kind of music. Also, we did many collaborations with other collectives such as The Ants, La Bacchanale, La Branche, NoBassNoFun so we could do bigger events. Most of the time, we adapted to match the music direction of the other collectives. After two years, we realized that this situation didn’t help us develop have a fan base, but helped us to gain experience in event organizing. However, we think that our crowd didn’t realize this shift, although it was starting to grow at the simultaneously. At some point during this period of time, we decided to focus on us again and do smaller events called “Parenthèse”.
HS: Looking back, OCTOV has produced more than just industrial, acid-y, techno after hours, with daytime events like OCTOV sur le BLVD, and last April’s free talk with Perc and S Y L A “Intermission”. How important is accessibility to the OCTOV team, and can we expect more of these kinds of events in the future?
OCTOV: Accessibility is important to us, but most of these events are not “bankable”. We hope for a brighter future in which we will propose more of these different kinds of events where we can have another approach with the audience. We would like to develop the techno culture in Montreal and show that it can be something different than only raves and that it is part of our culture nowadays. We do love raves, but what we love above that is techno music itself and what comes with it! On top of this, we would like to spread the word and show how this music can be liberating and connecting. On the other hand, even when accessibility is one of our priorities, it is always difficult to have lower entry fees with the kind of raves we are organizing.
HS: Over the last 5 years, OCTOV has brought Boston 168, I Hate Models, Keith Carnal, and so many other techno favorites to various locations throughout the city. What shows in particular were most memorable to the OCTOV team?
OCTOV: It’s quite difficult to answer this question as we try to push ourselves further and do our best for each event. But we have found that our last rave with Perc, Kas:st and softcoresoft , was very interesting. We did a talk with Perc in the afternoon, and had to change the entire space in 2 hours, to create a “chill room” for the main event. During the event, we had to deal with new technologies regarding the light show and four different set ups for the artists. It was very challenging and exciting!
HS: What has been your most challenging moment to manage during an event?
OCTOV: It was at our last event in April with S Y L A, Kas:st, Perc and softcoresoft. We had to deal with a lot of different set ups on stage as S Y L A and softcoresoft were playing DJ sets while Kas:st and Perc had a live set. It was really challenging to go from a performance to another while avoiding technical issues and keeping our public motivated. The transition cannot be too long if we want to maintain a vibrant atmosphere, the energy that fills the room and keeps the crowd in its vibe. Overall, it was surprisingly satisfying to see the public applauding the performance they had just witnessed and positively welcoming the next artist.
Quelle nuit épique nous avons vécu tous ensemble! Nous tenons à vous remercier pour votre soutien et l’énergie incroyable que vous avez eue samedi soir. Nous tenons aussi à remercier l'incroyable prestation de 4 heures de Perc, le live set hypnotisant de Kas:st et le set de qualité de notre résident S Y L A. Nous sommes également très heureux et fiers d'avoir invité l'incroyable softcoresoft qui à terminé cet événement si parfaitement! 💣💥Nous souhaitons également remercier RØRØ et QUINT pour leurs visuels explosifs, Owen Rothwell pour ce spectacle de lumière époustouflant, Silent Monkey pour avoir apporté ce son incroyable et massif avec leur sound system Funktion One. Merci à Tonio et Trompez La Mort pour leur exposition dans la Chill Room. Merci ISM pour votre équipement technique de qualité et votre support, ainsi que pour ces fantastiques écrans LED. De plus, merci à Elsa Fortant qui a dirigé la conférence lors de notre pré-événement [Intermission] avec Perc et S Y L A.Nous souhaitons également remercier tous les bénévoles qui nous ont aidés à mettre tout cela en place, ça n'aurait pas été possible sans vous!🙏L'équipe OCTOV. 🖤
Posted by OCTOV on Monday, April 29, 2019
HS: Harm reduction and creating anti-harassment spaces is a hot button issue in the Electronic Music world. For those of us who don’t know, what has OCTOV been implementing into its events to promote harm reduction and create safer spaces for its attendees?
OCTOV: Creating safer spaces is something that we really care about. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of work to do to raise awareness around drug consumption. In that way we are collaborating with GRIP (Groupe de Recherche et d’Intervention Psychosociale) for most of our events. Unfortunately, there are still certain behaviors that shouldn’t be happening anymore in 2019. It’s never pleasant to be harassed during a rave when you came only to dance and live the moment as best as you could. To combat these issues, we have been trained by PLURI on how to recognize these bad behaviors, and in particular, how to take action in the best possible way.
HS: What are some of your favorite ‘underground’ labels and artists currently?
OCTOV: It is a hard to answer this question, there are so many … Amotik, Ricardo Garduno, Yan Cook, Keikari, Vladimir Dybyshkin, PLVS VLTRA, Sugar, SPFDJ, VTSS, Voight-Kampff, Headstrong Records, Euromantic records, Ismus (Berlin), OAKS, Клуб (Kisloty)
HS: What has been the most surprising aspect of event production?
OCTOV: Most of our team members realized that it was an addiction, as it is driven by passion. When you are organizing an event, it is a race that follows an exponential curve until the D-day. When it’s over, you feel kind of depressed and want to quickly start working on the next one.
HS: Cleric has been on my radar over the last couple of years, and has been a standout in my day-to-day techno listening. Any thoughts to share about him and the upcoming Halloween/5 Year Anniversary show at Entrepots?
OCTOV: Cleric has also been on our radar for two years. We simply never had the chance to host him before. We cannot wait to have him in front of our public for our 5-year Halloween rave. We think that it is a great fit with the theme of this event which is the possession. In fact, this artist brings a very mental yet industrial feeling into his sets that leads to a dark and tormented atmosphere.
HS: It takes a Village to produce events and shows like the one you have coming up this Halloween. How would you describe the journey you have all been on over the last 5 years, in 5 words?
OCTOV: Rewarding ,Difficult, Captivating, Tolerance ,Perseverance
HS: What can we expect programming-wise this winter?
OCTOV: We will be organizing another rave format event at the beginning of next year. It will be as big as usual with international and local artists. We are also collaborating with others to be hosted with our residents during events this winter. Surprises are coming up soon ! 😉
You can find out all the info on OCTOV’s 5 Years Halloween Rave with Cleric HERE, and you can find tickets to their event HERE. OCTOV’s shows at Entrepots Dominion have been some of my favorite shows ever since moving to Montreal. The vibe, the crowd, the visuals (this time they’ll be done by RØRØ and QUINT) embody all that is beautiful in Montreal’s techno world. Be sure to check out french artist Félicie, and OCTOV residents Omar Hamdi, Lucide and D. Blavatsky.
I’ll see you on the dance floor!