The Canadian trio Black Tiger Sex Machine are known for their dynamic rage-ready style, an explosive blend of heavy electro and bass. Their show is a unique experience that strikes the perfect balance between a live performance and a DJ set. Along with their music, their signature Tiger helmets and their apocalyptic Kannibalen world have attracted legions of faithful followers called the BTSM Church.
BTSM also run Kannibalen Records, which has quickly become one of the top independent labels in dance music. Through Kannibalen, they’ve shaped the careers of breakthrough artists like Apashe, Kai Wachi, Dabin, HVDES and more. Kannibalen Records has been recognized worldwide through major publication partnerships with Netflix, Marvel, NBA, HBO, MTV, UFC, adidas, Samsung and more. Read the interview below!
Hi Black Tiger Sex Machine! How are you doing?
We’d say all things considered we’re doing fairly well. The pandemic certainly shook things up like never before, but we look at it as a challenge to overcome which we’ve already been doing well at. It’s a tough time for many people and we’re lucky to be where we are today. So overall, great and thankful!
Where comes the name “Black Tiger Sex Machine”?
It’s a bit of a funny story actually. When we first decided to become a group, we were just brainstorming a bunch of possible names. A lot of random stuff was just being thrown out there, but it wasn’t until Julien was getting hit on by this girl that Black Tiger Sex Machine sort of came together. She was texting him a bunch one day and to try and get her to not blow his phone up he texted her some random messages which included Black Tiger Sex Machine. That stuck out to us and we used it haha. We thought it’d give us a strong visual brand and it worked out!
Tell us how it all began, how did you get into producing?
We each began DJing in college individually and wanted to take things a step further and make our own music together once we had some idea of the direction we wanted to go. We were heavily influenced by artists like Justice initially and then once we heard more heavy electro like Bloody Beetroots and Boyz Noize, we knew that distorted heavy sound was what we wanted to make and that got us to actually take the time to learn how to produce music. Then things developed and shifted over the years as we expanded our sound and skills.
For those who aren’t familiar with your music, could you describe your personal sound?
Because we don’t just work in one genre, it’s a bit hard to pin things down. However, we feel that our latest EP, Futuristic Thriller, whose name was taken from our mix series describes our music well. It’s sci-fi, cyberpunk, futuristic mixed in with very emotional, cinematic songwriting that gives it a lot of energy. Futuristic Thriller!
This year you released the Futuristic Thriller EP. Could you share the creative process behind the EP?
The Futuristic Thriller EP came together for our most recent tour of the same name. We created the Movie Experience where we shot live action sequences to use as visuals for the show. Some of the songs like “KILLZONE” and “Time Travel” were made specifically with those sequences to help tell the story. Other tracks like “Doomsday” helped to expand upon the storyline and offer fans a look into our post-apocalyptic world. We just really wanted to make something more cohesive than we ever have before that exemplified the stories and characters within our post-apocalyptic universe.
Everyone knows that your live sets are next level but you decided to add more levels and make it “movie experience”. How did you end up adding this “movie experience” to your sets?
We always want to bring the best visuals we can for our shows. The music is key, but we want to give fans an immersive experience that goes beyond just the sound. With music and artworks we always play off the post-apocalyptic universe that we’ve built over the years, but the Movie Experience was really a way to go full force with our storylines and bring something different and even more immersive to fans. The movie sequences are worked into our show alongside our other visuals to give fans a more interactive element as many of our fans dress up as characters from the stories and have their own theories and things about our universe.
What is the best and most challenging track you ever made?
The hardest track lately was “Nobody Wants You“. We had been wanting to do a more electro-flavored track for a while. This one started as some piano improvisations and morphed into its current form over the course of several months. It took a while to find a direction for the drop and the right sounds to fit the idea we had for the track. The second part of the drop actually has a distorted electro bass line and an acoustic slap bass line stacked on top of each other. We kind of borrowed from riddim in that sense where you often have 2 bass lines going on at the same time that complement each other.
We are nearing the end of our interview but I would like to give you the chance to share something with your fans & new listeners. What can fans expect from the rest of the year?
We’re currently in a weird time, because of the pandemic and everything going on. We’re really looking to do shows as soon as we can do them safely, but that’s not up to us. We’re working with our agents and health officials to dial in the best time for those to return.
This time away from shows will also give us a chance to write the next installment of the Movie Experience as well as some other special projects we have in mind. We’re also working on more music and pushing out new material with a lot of different artists on our label Kannibalen Records!
In the immediate future though, we’ve got some new merch coming!!
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