Skrillex launches label by way of OWSLA Tour
That Skrillex started a label is hardly a surprise. That bit isn’t the story. That the prince of dub step has stocked the OWSLA imprint with some of the most unique and diverse artists from across the globe – now that’s the hook. To showcase the roster of talent operating under the label’s umbrella, the OWSLA tour landed in Toronto and tore down the house. It was a cool fall night and I was amped to attend an event where I would witness history in the making, as Birdy Nam Nam and Monsta were to perform in Canada for the first time ever. As I arrived at the venue, there was a lineup out the door and down the block. It was an encouraging sign of events to follow. If crowd hype for the opening acts was any sign, the party was sure to pandemonium. It wasn’t long before I realized that Birdy Nam Nam wasn’t your usual DJ fare. Comprised of four DJs – Pone, Need, Little Mike and Crazy B – the crew’s music and sound is both unique and eclectic. BNN started the set with a prolonged intro that set the mood for a high-energy evening. The four-DJ concept is unique and fresh, and definitely not something you see or experience every day, especially in the age of the superstar DJ. BNN does not confine itself to a genre or platform. Their idea is to work not so much outside the box, as out of this galaxy. The group’s ability to mash-up sounds and songs, and deliver a live performance that touches the crowd in a way that I haven’t seen since the days of underground raves, when and where the music was pure and the energy from the crowd was palpable. Monsta couldn’t have asked for a better set-up act than BNN. And Monsta didn’t disappoint. They kept the crowd hyped and dancing for the entire set. Like BNN, Monsta also has a unique sound and feel. The first group to incorporate live vocals with their performance. Not to say this hasn’t been tried before. It has. But Monsta may well be the first to do it successfully. Although Rocky, Rufio and Skaar are not well-known yet, they are on the fast-track to becoming household names. The first half of their set Rocky and Rufio traded responsibilities, then Skaar walks out on stage and blew the crowd away. To finish their set, Skaar teamed with Monsta to drop their smash hit “Holding On.” On that note, the crowd lost it, dancing and singing along. This set the stage for the final act of the night, Nick Thayer, who inherited a high-energy crowd and proceeded to put on a Down Under electro and dub step clinic for all those in attendance. As a special treat for the fans, he decided to drop a lot of recently produced and as-of-yet unreleased tracks. To the shock and excitement of the crowd, part of the way into Thayer’s set, he got a visit from Rocky and Rufio, the night’s headliner closed the night strong with hits “Breaking a Sweat” and “Bangarang.” My hat’s off to Skrillex, and everyone who helped to make the OWLSA tour the success it’s been. In a sea of DJs, the artists on Skrillex’s label have found a way to set themselves apart. From their amazing music production, to their live stage shows and passion for connecting with their fans, the OWSLA label is evidently one to look to for unadulterated quality.
Story and photos by Tee Onek