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Events

Boiler Room Returns To Montreal A Decade After Kaytranada's Legendary DJ Set

The popular live streamed DJ series is putting a major spotlight on the city's club culture, with a two-night event filled with local talent, promoters and collectives.

Kaytranada's legendary Boiler Room set in 2013

Kaytranada's legendary Boiler Room set in 2013

Boiler Room YouTube

A decade after it built its legend in Montreal, Boiler Room is returning to the city this weekend.

The popular live streamed dance music series, which hosts events in cities worldwide and broadcasts them live online, hosted one of its most memorable events in Montreal in 2013. Then still an emerging artist and yet to become everyone's sought after collaborator, Kaytranada was DJ for a set that fans now watch again and again. Even the partiers, like Shay Lia dancing at his side, have gained fans from it.


Now, 10 years later later, the party returns to Canada’s second biggest city for two sold-out nights on Nov. 10 and 11. Partnering with six local club nights, the two events will feature nearly 40 DJs spinning tracks of all genres, showcasing Montreal’s queer club and afrobeats scenes. With the legacy of 2013’s Boiler Room looming large, anticipation — and expectation — is high.

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Kaytranada Boiler Room Montreal DJ Set

“People are still talking about the last one in 2013,” says DJ Awwful.

Awwful founded Unikorn in 2018 alongside Sisi Superstar, Sam Blake and Mirage as a queer dance night. Since then the collective has established itself within the Montreal scene, with events that blend rave culture and drag shows. Awwful is excited to join other local promoters Homegrown Harvest and Afrotonikmtl in programming the DJs for the Nov. 10 event.

“The Montreal queer underground is stacked with overlooked superstar talent and it’s really exciting to see Boiler Room recognize that,” says Awwful about the event. “Unikorn is a club night, but it’s also about showcasing our community.”

Unikorn’s Boiler Room lineup includes local DJs like Odile Myrtil and Neo Edo, as well as the organization’s founders. “We wanted each DJ set to bring something completely different to the room in an effort to showcase as many parts of our community as possible,” Awwful says. “On paper that might sound chaotic but we’re all used to playing parties together anyway. It’s a big part of what makes Unikorn special.”

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Homegrown Harvest and Afrotonik have each curated their own rooms as well, with DJs like Lis Dalton, DJ Karaba, Mootanda and Honeydrip set to appear.

If Kaytranada is now the most famous representative of Montreal’s club scene, plenty of DJs and producers have made their mark on local warehouses, underground raves, and popular venues like the after-hours Stereo Bar and the Société des arts technologiques and its SATosphere dome (not to be confused with the Vegas Sphere).

The city’s comparatively affordable — though currently rising — rents and cost of living has made it a hub for artists and partiers over the years, while its history as a manufacturing town means there has often been plenty of underground venue spaces, although those are also dwindling. Organizations like MUTEK Montreal, Piknic Electronik, and the independent radio station N10.AS also encourage the electronic and dance music cultures in the city.

The upcoming Boiler Room events are proof of just how vibrant and varied these cultures are. One night wasn’t enough to show them all off. On Saturday the 11th three more collectives — queer party promoter Hauterageous, interdisciplinary collective Moonshine and techno-focused Octov — have curated DJ lineups for a second Boiler Room event in the city.

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“This night is all about love,” says Mossy Mugler of Hauterageous on Instagram. Hauterageous’ lineup is dedicated to showcasing Montreal artists who have opened doors for others, like Frankie Teardrop, co-founder of queer music festival Slut Island, and Elle Barbara, who created the House of Barbara and organizes vogue balls in Montreal.

Moonshine, which focuses on African and Afrodiasporic arts, promises a night of African house, baile funk and more, featuring Akantu and 2022 Polaris Prize winner Pierre Kwenders, while Octov presents resident DJs like Bittercaress and Dopamyne and the first Canadian appearance from Berlin producer Tham.

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“There’s a playfulness to Montreal dance music culture that leaves room for surprises,” says Awwful. “We aren’t so rigid about genre and style. We’re more concerned with having a good time.”

Boiler Room Montreal will be streamed live on Nov. 10 and 11 at boilerroom.tv

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