Christian Poulsen aka Fear The Priest is taking the underground scene by storm with constant releases over the past few months. If you’re out of the loop, you may recognize Christian as one of the founding members from HugsnotDrugs, an established electronic group combined with producers and well-rounded musicians. They blew up for their edit of “Affection” by Crystal Castles, and Thump documented Christian in attendance for one of Skrillex’s secret Cherry Beach sets in Toronto, July 2014.
Moving on to Fear The Priest is opening a lot of doors for Christian, and I was more than happy to sit down and talk with him about the Toronto scene and what’s happening under the radar.
I know you’ve been into vinyls and mixing since a young age, with an appreciation for 80’s and 90’s music. What’s it like for you watching the electronic scene grow into what it is now?
Actually it’s pretty refreshing because I’ve seen all the ups and downs, having been heavily involved in the electronic scene from the early ages in Canada. I think right now, it’s a good time for the electronic scene. It’s expanding a lot right now. I’ve noticed the new generations who didn’t grow up in the 80’s & 90’s are actually getting into that music now as a revitalization of those sounds ; especially my sound which is leaning more towards the Acid House and techno sounds.
Do you think there’s more of a community now in EDM or oversaturation waiting to die down?
That’s the other side of the picture, is that I think there’s actually less of a community. I think that’s probably because when EDM first started, you only had one place to go to listen to that music which was an underground rave. Now it’s played on the radio, it’s in car commercials; you can hear it in every single club from Top 40 to the underground stuff.
What happens is, because there are so many different places for people to hear that kind of music, people can stay within their clicks, and not have to step out of those social groups and join the specifically electronic music groups to hear that music. Then you’re left with a lot of Jocks and groups you would normally see in high school have their own places to go to listen to electronic music. Whereas when I was in high school, if you wanted to listen to electronic music, you had to go to only one place.
What’s the transition like going from HugsNotDrugs to a solo project like Fear the Priest?
It’s not so hard for me, because I started out as a solo artist as DJ Unabomber, and Hugsnotdrugs actually started off as a solo project too. The transition for me is more producing solo, not so much the performing solo part. With Hugsnotdrugs there was often four of us working on a single song at any given time, whereas for me to do Fear the Priest, it’s just me.
I think the transition is actually good for me, because there were a lot of things I wanted to do in Hugsnotdrugs, but couldn’t do because it didn’t fit into what the other members were into musically. Or it didn’t fit into the Hugsnotdrugs vibe that we were trying to create. So this time I get creative control and complete aesthetic control. It’s actually refreshing for me.
As Fear the Priest, you’ve been on a bit of a releasing spree over the past couple of months especially, but do you think about creating a techno album or collection of songs to come out together?
I have an album coming out on a record label from California, 9 G Records, and I have another release coming out on Champion Beats Records, which is run by Canadian electronic music legend The Incredible Melting Man. I’m very honored to be on that. There are a few other labels that I’m talking to right now about releases.
The releasing spree is a result of the fact that I’ve been producing music with Hugsnotdrugs for 5 years now, but at the same time I was always making other stuff that just didn’t fit that sound. So now I can actually put those out. I’m going back to those songs I made 5 years ago, updating them with what I know now about producing, and that’s why they’re coming out so quickly.
Where does your techno inspiration come from? Which subgenre of techno really tickles your pickle?
My earliest inspiration would have to have been a combination of the New York City Frankie Bones style; ghetto techno is what we called it. Combined with the German and Swedish, sort of drum-code techno that I was getting into in the mid to late 90’s. My favourite techno of all time is UK acid techno, which would be artists such as Chris Liberator, D.A.V.E. The Drummer, The Geezer, and much more. That’s when I really got into techno, when I discovered their labels.
The Techno scene is really making a come back in Toronto. Do you have any favourite venues you’d love to check off a bucket list in terms of performing?
I haven’t played at Coda yet and I’ve heard a lot of good things about that venue. I know the crowd there really loves techno so that’s one place I’d really like to play. I have a long history with The Hoxton, so I’m always excited to play there. I’ve played techno in Sound Academy already, so I think most of the venues I want to check off are in other countries.
But I’m really enjoying the way techno is returning to Toronto. To be honest, techno was never actually very popular in Toronto so it’s really exciting to see people who may not even know what techno is, saying “I love techno” and people are calling them out in groups like Toronto Rave Community saying “you don’t know what techno is”. Well now that it’s been said and people are posting examples of what the genre is, people are being more educated.
Do you think attending festivals like Harvest have an impact on you as an artist? What other festivals do you think embody the genuine crowd of electronic music?
I have been one of the volunteers at Harvest Festival that go up for weeks at a time in the summer to help prepare the site. Every year, being able to see the reaction on people’s faces and the excitement that goes around that weekend, no matter what happens, it’s just amazing. The music that you hear there is so off the mainstream wheelhouse. It definitely inspires me and the music I make. I’d like to think when I’m making a song, “how would somebody at Harvest respond to this song at 5 in the morning” or something like that.
In terms of other festivals, I really love Valhalla Festival in Quebec, which is a 4-day festival, mainly geared towards Dubstep and Jungle. Every year it’s been a wonderful time and great vibe. It’s similar to Harvest Festival – lots of hippie, gypsy, and pirate ravers.
Do you have any projects/collaborations/or remixes in progress right now that you can hint about?
I do… I don’t want to give too much away. I can say that one of the biggest projects I’m working on right now is with an artist named Kausea… I’ll let you guys figure out who that is but he played at Lollapalooza last year and I was fortunate to be on stage with him. So we are working on a track together for another big artist’s label whom I’ve been known to… hang around with once in awhile. That’s all I’ll say.
Some really exciting things are in the works for Fear the Priest. This is an artist who’s well respected within the underground community, has a lot of experience under his belt, and is in the scene for all the right reasons. Check out his latest tracks on his SoundCloud, and stay tuned on Euphoradio for all the latest updates.
Serafina Thoma – Euphoradio