Tiga: More than just an ordinary Montreal DJ/producer

Tiga James Sontag is a man with fingers in many EDM pies. Inspired by the rave culture in Goa, India, he was exposed to in his earlier years, Tiga was influential in establishing the underground EDM club scene in his native Montreal. After running an also influential record store, he now manages other DJs and producers, hosts a show on BBC Radio 6 called “My Name is Tiga” and his own career as a DJ/producer is stronger than ever. Oh, and heś also a one-time film star. SVANAPAPER got the chance to sit down with the pie-poking man himself for a quick chat before his memorable set at Unknown Festival a while back.

Known for his unique sound that combines camp electro with an almost bleak techno streak, and of course the matching 80s metrosexual aesthetic, Tiga is a quiet and polite individual in person. In a career spanning two decades, Tiga has worked with many and varied DJs and producers, and thats where our conversation starts. Tiga pauses for a moment and says thoughtfully, “well I think they’re always friends, or at least they become friends”. Unlike many successful producers, Tiga sees collaboration as an opportunity for greater fame or fortune. Instead, he picks collaborators from who he gets a positive vibe, a sense of potential friendship working well as a professional and personal team. Key to this is whether their respective styles complement each other, something Tiga has found with long term collaborator, Jesper Dahlback. “We’ve worked together so long were like a married couple – he knows what I want, I know what he wants”.

Despite such a loyal, long term partnership, Tiga stresses that he doesn’t like to work with the same people too much, but is always looking for new inspirations “…that get me excited, bring back that feeling of being a little kid”. Keeping up with the latest sounds and artists pushing the boundaries of electronic music is normal fare when running your own underground record label (Tiga’s Turbo Recordings has released music from the likes of Boys Noize, Gesaffelstein, ZZT and Brodinski) but this sounds a bit like a throwaway line, so I press him for specifics. What is getting him excited right now, his current inspiration? “It’s a puzzle I’m trying to solve, how to make big dancey electro that doesn’t sound obnoxious, and infuse it with a bit of techno.”

Tiga’s certainly on the way to achieving that with his latest single ‘Let’s Go Dancing’. It’s a collaboration between himself and Matthew Dear aka Audion, who also helped out on ‘Plush’, the 2012 single from his eponymous ‘Tiga Non Stop’ Mix CD. Reminiscent of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn, ‘Dancing’ overlays Tiga’s quintessential deadpan lyric delivery with an analogue synth and techno-pop soundscape. Not that punters needed any encouragement to dance during his uniquely slick set, Tiga spun ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ a couple of times during his slot at Unknown.

Performing on the Pool Stage at the inaugural Unknown Festival in Rovinj, Croatia, Tiga was an interesting choice by the organisers, whose previous individual endeavours include Field Day, The Warehouse Project and Hideout Festival. Tiga didnt fit neatly either of the UK-centric or party-pop leanings of the lineup, but was all about the music itself. With a panel at this years Amsterdam Dance Event discussing the negative effects of the commercialisation of dance music, and a discography prioritising quality and experimentation over quantity, Tiga is a DJś DJ and in it for the long haul.  [Beka]

You can catch Tiga in Australia this November:

Fri 22nd – The Imperial, Sydney
Sat 23rd (Day) – Royal Melbourne Hotel, Melbourne
Sat 23rd (Night) – The Met, Brisbane
Sun 24th – Strawberry Fields Festival, Melbourne