DJ Babi Audi first made music as a kid using random objects she’d find lying around the house. We spoke with her about her path, inspirations and future plans.
By Ben Pobjoy
You’re a DJ. How did you get into music and how long have you been remixing?
I started DJing and remixing about two or three years ago but I’ve been composing, playing and performing music since I was little. When I was very young, I would build crazy drum kits with all sorts of farm accessories and stuff I would find in the garage. I grew up poor in a very isolated place, so access to music, art, or any “cultural” objects was limited. We had no computer, no cable TV, no Internet at home. In pre-elementary school I dreamt of playing piano and received my first electronic Casio keyboard. I would improvise melodies, cover very bad songs and record radio shows. Moving to Montreal at 17, having my first personal computer and meeting the internet, changed a lot of things.
Can you tell me about coming up in the Montreal scene?
I started out as a musician and performance artist within Black Mammoth (RIP). Then I went solo, playing keyboard through guitar effects pedals, making beats with loop pedals and sampling sounds. Then I spent a few months in Texas and learned to remix my own sounds but soon started to do likewise with other people’s tracks. I did a few gigs in Houston and Austin,TX which gave me confidence to DJ when I came back to Montreal.
How would you describe your sound?
I’m not really good at describing music. I’m more interested in how music makes me feel, how it moves me and why it moves me in a certain way. I like intensity, excess and overload but I also like minimal and pure.
My sound isn’t too defined, yet. I’m still experimenting, incorporating elements of footwork, bass, techno, hip-hop and dub. My need to express deep sentimental and sensual feelings is met by R&B, dancehall and reggaeton.
It also seems like your have an appreciation for some throwback rave and break sounds. Did you come up in the rave scene?
I wish! It would have been really emancipating. There was no such scene where I was living as a teenager. There was rock, punk rock, hip-hop and heavy metal scenes offered in a narrow-minded mentality of exclusion and membership. And then I was very studious and reserved when I first moved in Montreal… I wasn’t dancing much and I hadn’t gotten into dance music. It took me a few years to make friends with shared interests and to start going to concerts and parties.
If something catches your ear, and you want to roll it into a future mix, how do you bank it for future use?
I often forget about it. I get inspired and I don’t always feel the need to “use” what catches my ear. If I have access to my computer, I’ll sample it or I record it right away. I also record a lot of ambient sounds and my voice with my phone… If I watch or listen something on YouTube that catches my ear I often convert the video file into a mp3 in order to manipulate it.
In your opinion, what does a good mix contain?
I appreciate so many types of mixes. As long as it’s unique, honest and personal and that the selection is rare it’s for me a good mix.
Who’s on your radar these days? What have you been listening to?
Old ritual music and flamenco. I’m looking forward to see what is going to happen with very talented young artists like Ratking, Lil Simz, Chester Watson and Gabe’Nandez
What are you working on right now?
I am working on an EP, to be released in December.
instagram.com/babiaudi / soundcloud.com/babiaudi
Photo by Nick Bostick