Attempting to capture the essence of any underground culture in writing is an effort generally left well alone. The ambiguity of the term “underground culture” itself, as well as its shifting nature from place to place renders the task akin to succinctly defining emotions such as passion, heartbreak, or happiness. Typified terms such as “excited” or “nervous” never seem to aptly capture the entirety of those emotions, and the experiences that come with them.
“Being in Montreal is much better as a musician than being in New York, which is supposed to be the city of music,” Mouflet said. “The people who are working with you are very open-minded and Montreal has that vibe where all artists are helping each other.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by many young artists in the scene. Dyks, who is originally from Ottawa, has seen his star rise in a major way since coming to Montreal.
“It’s a great place to talk to other artists and collaborate,” Dyks said. “Here all the openers [for big producers] are local so you get the chance to talk with people on tour. We’re all on the same level and influencing each other.”
That’s not to say that there isn’t a healthy rivalry between producers.
“My friend makes 10 beats a day,” added Dyks. “I see him putting in all this work and it makes me want to step up my game.”
Qi Yama is on the grind. Relatively new to Montreal’s music scene, the singer-songwriter-turned-rapper has been tirelessly honing his craft while building strong connections in the local community. Raised in Winnipeg, the 21-year-old has a voice that carries the unmistakable weight of energy and emotion, belying a tone which breezes effortlessly over beats. Deeply committed to the craft of musical storytelling, Qi Yama has moved quickly to build an impressive repertoire of emotional snapshots that betray an astuteness beyond his age. I sat down with him to find out more about his musical evolution, influences, and the message behind it all.
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When his parents split up when he was fourteen, however, Mouflet stopped making art, thinking that his future lay in the world of big banks and finance.
“I was working for a bank when I already knew they were evil. It definitely made me feel defeated for the last two years.”
As he tells me about his switch from finance to delivering for Uber Eats, it’s hard to picture the defeated version of this charming, confident man.