Saturday, 30 January 2016 21:57

Black Tiger Sex Machine sticks claws back into West Michigan

Written by  Eric Mitts
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Black Tiger Sex Machine Black Tiger Sex Machine COURTESY PHOTO

Black Tiger Sex Machine
“BTSM Church Tour”
wsg. Apashe, Dabin
The Intersection, 133 Grandville SW, Grand Rapids
Feb. 11, 8 p.m. doors, 16+
$15 advance, $20 day of show, (616) 451-8232

Seconds into talking with Marc-Andre Chagnon, aka Marx Menace, of the Montreal electro trio Black Tiger Sex Machine, it becomes obvious: 2015 was the most insane year of his life.

Of course, anyone who attended the band’s sold-out show at The Stache last fall — or its raging set during the closing night of last summer’s Electric Forest — already knows that.

“It was probably one of the best weekends of our lives,” Chagnon said of West Michigan’s own Electric Forest Festival. “The Midwest has always had good feedback for us, but after we played Electric Forest we really saw a huge jump in hype. And the Grand Rapids show at The Stache was so crazy, the energy was just so intense, we had to come back.”

This time, Black Tiger Sex Machine (BTSM) will boast an even more impressive stage production.

“The show [at The Stache] was just so sweaty and grimy that I’m sure the next one in the main room will be complete madness,” Chagnon said. “Grand Rapids will always have a very unique place in our hearts with Electric Forest and the sold-out show that we did. It was like the first real sold-out show we’d ever done. It’s definitely going to be a special one.”

Chagnon started BTSM with fellow members Patrick Barry (aka Foxed Up) and Julien Maranda (aka Wolfcall) in 2012. Before that, in late 2011 they’d created their own label and management company,
Kannibalen Records. The imprint showcases the rising Montreal EDM scene the group helped spearhead, alongside other breakout artists like Snails, Apashe and LeKtriQue.

“We were all finishing either bachelor’s or master’s [degrees], or doing other stuff,” said Chagnon, who has a master’s in international business and began DJing six years ago. “Back then it was kind of about having fun and being DJs, but with a certain degree of professionalism, intensity and hard work. I guess that would be the core values that led to Kannibalen.”

Thanks to the power of the Internet, the group has pursued both sides of the industry ever since, building their label and cred as sought-out producers and remixers online, while simultaneously killing it onstage with a live show that incorporates samples, live synths and digital drum work.

“We’ve been only touring for about 11 months in the United States because we’re Canadian artists and we were really waiting for a long time to get the proper agent,” Chagnon said. He said he considers 2015 to be Black Tiger Sex Machine’s real beginning. “It just started generating and just kept building nonstop.”

Now known for their hard-hitting sound, post-apocalyptic visuals and signature black helmets, BTSM has built up a team to help get them to the next level.

“The guy who made the helmets [Gabriel Hebert] really believed in us and wanted to get involved more in the business,” Chagnon said. “So he brought in his industrial design skills to the team and he took over the whole merchandising and a bit of the stage production duties here at Kannibalen. It’s been cool growing. Sometimes it can be quite intense, but there is something rewarding about going from the business side to the artistic side and making the bridge between both.”

Most recently the group has focused on completing its first full-length release, which they plan to unleash online early this year in conjunction with their new BTSM Church Tour.

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