“Instinct is a marvelous thing. It can neither be explained nor ignored.” -Agatha Christie
It was on these words that Cazar was conjured; what has become a weekly escape into high-spirited music and decor started out as a single, strong intuition. Intuition of what a truly multi-sensorial experience could look like in our local nightlife. Of the potential of a space where exuberance brings delight, promising high quality immersive production and noteworthy bookings. A haven for local talent to reach different segments of Montrealers, a bridge between our city and the international electronic music community.
Cazar dresses up Soubois once a week, into an enchanted forest of dancers and performers. The promise is one of taste, style and sensorial stimulation, known to assemble a community of like-minded music lovers, from promoters to guests, artists to designers.
This festive underworld opened its jaws for the first time in November 2018, welcoming Laurence Matte and Mitch Oliver for its debut. Original guests include Driss Skali, Forrest, Haffenfold, Elfenberg, Mike Haddad and more. In a short amount of time, the dedicated team behind this weekly revelry has come very far in making a multifaceted production work: rhythmic trips, performers, a custom ephemeral decor, interesting bookings, guests playing their part in dressing up. Cazar has played an important role in placing Montreal on the map, premiering a selection of artists and welcoming a steady stream of locals we know and love.
For this occasion, we look back at the moments that shone through the Cazar constellation this past year.
Budding and bursting local talent
There is no writing about Cazar without mentioning resident DJ and tastemaker Laurence Matte. With her radiant sets and hard-hitting energy, this source of local pride continues to move through nightlife with ease and bold selections. Each evening begins with her setting the tone, a chapter that many regulars look forward to come Thursday. 2019 saw her spread her sound at Do Not Sit Miami, PY1, Igloofest and SXM among others; but she always makes her way back to the spellbound Cazar booth. One of our own favourite Husa Sounds podcasts of the year remains this deep house and nu-disco concoction; we will continue to following Laurence’s drive and sound.
Cazar keeps a healthy mix of local and international bookings, showcasing fine Montreal-based artists and friends. They kicked off 2019 with Joumana, and went on to welcome The Neighbors, Forrest, Baham, Leyla and many more. Their line-up sees a fusion of traditional local deep house circuit acts and more out of the box selections like Paso Doble and DNINØ.
Cazar’s First Anniversary
This November night was one for the books, a special moment shared by the Cazar community. A reward for the countless hours of hard work poured into the soul of Soubois. To celebrate their achievement of producing a successful and reliable event concept – persevering past emptier beginnings –, the team brought South African producer Themba back to the booth. Complete with surprise performances, a packed dance-floor and many smiles, it was a night to abandon oneself to.
The Cazar we adore would be nothing without the imagination and hard-working hands of ZoOzOo Creations. Zineb’s creative direction is a work of love, with on-site production crafted overnight every week. She is the architect behind everything which titillates one’s senses upon entering the venue, from large-scale structures to light shows, to details that make a difference. ZoOzOo Creations oversees the programming of entertainers, percussionists, sound healers and other cosmic creatures such as the eye-catching Play A Part performers. Such a high emphasis on creative direction is what has given the event its escapist quality, showing a strong understanding that beyond a booking, it is the energy given to a space that truly makes an experience.
We’ve been lucky to witness some stellar sounds from the Cazar dance-floor, many of which had never made their way to Montreal or even Canada before. The last of these is none other than the solar Pablo Fierro. Pablo has lit up the year with percussive and soulful gems, no doubt brightened by his incredible understanding and devotion to rhythm; his coming to Montreal was long overdue. Below, his latest EP, another forest trip to top off his Cazar performance.
Other premieres include the afro grooves of Themba and Mòo & Jo, the storytelling of Sabo, Goldcap, Falanga, and Britta Arnolds among others. We look towards Cazar for continuing to bring new exciting names to Montreal in 2020.
Do Not Sit at Cazar
Behrouz’s imprint has thankfully set up its’ Montreal home at 1106 Boulevard Maisonneuve West, and keeps coming back for more. With a special ephemeral production, internationally trusted curation and a warm energy that fits in well with the space, Do Not Sit at Cazar holds a distinct place in the brand’s tracks. Last editions featured the talented hybrid live set whizzes of WhoMadeWho.
Imports and Exports
An essential part of longevity and continuing to surprise people is how well a brand can collaborate and host.
Cazar’s started to travel as well as becoming a destination. Emboldened by its success at home, 2019 saw the event set up shop at SXM, elevating the frequencies of the island destination festival. Another pop up took place in Halifax’s Hide + Seek Cocktail Bar, honoring International Woman’s Day by bringing in Montreal’s Greenewood.
The Cazar community also became a graceful home for other concepts and event brands. One guest we loved was Burning Man’s renowned Kazbah camp, a place where the same type of energy blooms all the way across the continent. Out on the playa, the Kazbah pyramid stands out like a dance music mecca, 64′ tall and best suited to catch the sunlight’s eye.
More recently, Moroko Loco decked out the night with a made in the Middle-East inimitable vibe. This roving no-nonsense concept birthed by Amine K began as an effort to bring substance to Morocco’s underground dance music scene, and now travels around the globe to export their creations.
Although we cannot mention them all, other significant bookings of 2019 include Cirque du Soleil and PY1 maestro Guy Laliberté, Parisian downtempo label O’Tawa, transportive duo Birds of Mind, Israeli DJ ITAI, and Hallucienda’s DJ Three. It takes imagination to create a full-on party inside a fantasy forest hidden in a city. The weekly gathering is a refuge for many to come, dance, shine, and go back to their own world with an extra shimmer in their step. 2019 was a strong year for the brand, and 2020 only holds more promise.