Montreal producer Honeydrip shows no ego on her debut EP

We spoke to the local DJ about Anti-Ego, her first venture as a producer.

For years, Montreal’s own Honeydrip has been an omnipresent DJ about town and on the online airwaves for the likes of n10.as and website Music Is My Sanctuary. On Friday, the Waves of Honey host will give listeners their first taste of something else: her debut four-track EP as a producer. The project is called Anti-Ego

The title has multiple meanings, directed at both the artist and artistic communities at large.

“It means a lot of things,” Honeydrip says. “One part of it is as an experienced DJ, I always felt this ego thing where I prevented myself from making music, thinking my productions had to be at the same level as where I’m at as a DJ. But I don’t have to be as good as one thing as I am at the other.

“I also think artists can take up a lot of negative space in scenes, creating unnecessary competition. So in general, I want to be anti-ego.”

Anti-Ego is firmly rooted in the exploration of sound system culture (she cites the movie Babylon as inspiration), as well as her own experimental tendencies that come from her education in electroacoustics at Concordia. It took about a year to make, with some tracks taking longer than others.

The infectious opener “Brand New Flava” is the lone track to feature vocals, from local dancehall star King Shadrock. The musical connection was first formed at a reggae night at former St-Laurent venue Blizzarts.

“I’ve always had an affinity for reggae dancehall vocals,” says Honeydrip. “He used to do ad-libs with the crowd all night.”

Named after its repeating vocal sample, the buzzing “Outta Here” came together with comparative ease, while the wobbly “Waistline” is not about packing on the pounds during the pandemic, but rather an invitation to shake one’s midsection on the dancefloor.

As someone who knows how to get a crowd moving with an immaculately tailored mix, Honeydrip was in a unique position to approach her own work with future sets in mind.

“I often start by picking the BPM right away,” she said. “I do want to spin them. And then I work on the intros. I don’t want to start it off too intense, because I do want it to be good for mixing.”

Honeydrip had an opportunity to test-drive her new material in an appropriate setting — at Piknic Électronik earlier this summer during their inaugural weekend. It did not go as planned.

“I forgot!” she said. “I forgot to put the one with Shadrock’s vocals on my USB key when I went.”

Fortunately, she got another chance at an outdoor party in a park.

“I played my song there and it was well received. I’ve always imagined that moment when I play a song in the crowd and how it’s gonna go down. And it wasn’t disappointing. It was good. They weren’t dancing that hard in general, for the whole night. But they danced pretty well for that so I think that’s a good sign.” ■

Anti-Ego is available now. For more on Honeydrip, please visit her Bandcamp page.

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.