Fascinated by Montreal’s unreal nightlife — more specifically the afterhours scene — it was cool to catch up with Mike Laz after his Igloofest closing set earlier this month. He’s responsible for some solid sounds as well; his tracks have been played at festivals like Time Warp and Igloofest and on some of Europe’s most notorious dance-floors like Berghain, Amnesia, Elrow, and Coco Rico. Read on for an idea of the Montreal scene and how Mike got his start.
Mike Laz closing out Igloofest 2018
Let’s talk about afterhours.
► I started as a resident at Circus; I played there for four years. And then with time I felt that Stereo was calling my name, so I went over there and they accepted me and it’s been four years I’ve been playing there now.
What’s the schedule like [in Montreal]? Do people go to a normal hours venue and then head to Stereo, or do they sleep then head out?
► The ones that are not really in the Montreal scene, like the tourists, do that. They’re not aware so they go out to a club or bars and ask where they should go next and people tell them about Stereo. That’s one portion of the crowd. Stereo’s been around for 18 years and it’s got a very very strong following. The troopers are the ones who wake up at three or four in the morning; forget the pre-party, it’s just straight to Stereo.
What was your first afterhours experience?
► My first afterhours experience was Red Lite. That’s actually where I decided I wanted to become a DJ. I saw Jesse Zotti, Cesar Bass Romero who I’m now friends with and play along with at Stereo and that really opened my eyes to a whole new world. Red Light used to be in Laval, a suburb just outside of Montreal. It’s not far but it used to be the real thing. It was in a big warehouse, very underground, lots of crazy things used to go on there.
How old were you?
► Young. 16 I started?
Is it common for people that young to go out here?
► In Montreal, not afterhours. The clubbing scene in Montreal is very young, I think we’re known for that because we let young kids just go. For the afterhours scene, you gotta dig a little deeper; it’s not promoted the same way as other clubs. To get into that type of music, you gotta keep your ears open.
When you’re not playing, do you go out all the time?
► I used to party a lot but because I’ve been getting very serious with music and the gigs keep on coming, I try to stay home when I can.
And your making music, too.
What’s your process with that? Do you take time off from playing out to work on music?
► I stopped taking gigs at regular clubs in the city. I only take my residency at Stereo once a month. Here and there, depending on the venue — for example, Igloofest — I’ll take it. But once a month gives me a lot of time to be in the studio and work. Now I’m working on my second album; the first one was released in 2012 I believe so it’s been a long hiatus between then and now.