IleSoniq 2016 Photo Diary

Remember the first ÎleSoniq? Tiny stages, a little chaotic, and a lot of fun? Coming home from my third year of attending, the place is barely recognizable compared to what it used to be. But one thing still remains: it's still one hell of a lot of fun. Excellent lineup, excellent people, and even with Heavy Montreal going on at the same time, excellent planning. I took inspiration from the lineup of the festival, which always seems to be exploring new perspectives in dance music, and took a look at the festival through a different lens.

Ready to Go

Friday - Day 1

I arrived late on Friday, just in time to see the beginning of GrandBuda's set. Though his heart seems to be in the rap game, his DJ sets are also something great to behold. We spoke to him later in the day. You can hear the interview on The Machine Stops on Friday, August 12th. Leaving the Neon stage to explore, I happened upon this:

The Kandi Table

One thing that seems to be picking up speed in Montreal's EDM community is Kandi. It's one of the more beautiful things about the American rave scene where people make bracelets out of plastic beads and trade them to each other at festivals and EDM events. This year, Kandi's World provided a Kandi table at ÎleSoniq where people could make bracelets. I went to do rounds of the rest of the festival quickly, and came back to the Neon stage for REZZ.


I've heard so much about her. Not a day passes without the Toronto Rave Community posting OMG REZZ as some sort of dry, inside joke. She's the newest electronic pride of Toronto, Canada, and Mau5trap records, and she deserves it, too. Her fun-yet-intense sound was perfect to kick off the weekend's festivities. By the time I had to run off to another stage she had me saying, "OMG REZZ" as well.

Walking to J.Phlip

Admittedly, between artists like J.Phlip, Valentino Khan, and Prince Club I didn't spend that much time at the main stage. That being said, one of the crowning moments of Friday was definitely hearing 3LAU drop Darude's trance classic "Sandstorm" to lead in to some amazing electro. I'd never really listened to any of his music before, but it was surprisingly good.


Being excited for the closing acts of the next night, I decided to turn in somewhere in the middle of Zomboy's set. As much as I love corny brostep, I wanted to hear Skrillex play Skrillex, not someone else.

Saturday - People and Faces

The crowd at the main stage was surprisingly sparse for Team EZY, but the people who like to party early were ready to go. What started as a heavy trap and bass turned in to chilled-out house and what started as twenty people turned in to about three hundred by the end of the set. Knowing that headliners Skrillex and Tiga were going to be playing that night, the excitement was palpable.

Lovely Festival Girls

Aliens Excited for Skrillex

Gang of guys wearing masks, reminded me so much of the video for Skrillex's "Burial"

One of the best parts of this year was the stage that was completely and entirely dedicated to Anjunabeats trance artists. The Bud Light stage, whose lineup was curated last year by EDM bad boys DVBBS was tastefully assembled by Oliver Heldens this year. Between Cosmic Gate (who sat down with us and talked about the old-but-gold days of their career and shining future) and Kärl K-Otik's intense opener—the stage kept myself and a few other critters close all day long.

Some adorably-dressed ravers taking a rest at the Bud Light Living stage

Eventually, after drifting away to the media tent for a quick rest, I found myself at the main stage once again. Black Tiger Sex Machine kindly replaced GTA when they faced airline delays and weren't able to make their set. As always, BTSM did an amazing job. There's noting quite as liberating as listening to a bass-electro remix of "Sleep Now in the Fire" and knocking back Smirnoff in the afternoon sun.

Bondax making me feel La Vie en Rose

I spent my last hours of ÎleSoniq taking in the sights and sounds of the forest-y Neon stage. Bondax, who I initially wasn't expecting much from, delivered a powerful bass-house set that kept the crowd moving all the way up to what we had been waiting for. At ten to nine the crowd divided and the music stopped. The revelers who left were quickly replace with people eager to see Tiga's new live show. After some minor (potentially major) technical problems setting them back by almost an hour, Tiga and Jori Hulkkonen took ÎleSoniq by storm with live, perfect renditions of some of Tiga's best work.

Tiga and Jori Hulkonnen playing "Bugatti"

I managed to catch Skrillex dropping "Scary Bolly Dub" before I left the festival. His signature sounds could be heard as soon as I left the Neon stage after Tiga. As always, Skrillex delivered a blow-out performance that closed out the festival beautifully. It makes you wonder how they're going to top it next year.

To relive more of the magic of ÎleSoniq, you can visit Thinkbox's Twitter or Facebook page. The Machine Stops will be airing interviews with Cosmic Gate and GrandBuda on August 12th. Tune in at 9AM, only on CJLO - 1690AM.