You've got to respect a man who's willing to travel into the bowels of small-town Canada for his art.
Lee Mintram, better known as Featurecast, might have played big-name festivals around the world, but to kick off 2018, he's heading out on a Western Canada tour that, aside from Whistler, includes stops in Grande Prairie, Alta and Big White, B.C.
Earning accolades for his funky mix of hip hop, breaks and drum and bass, you might have heard tracks from the U.K. DJ-producer through unconventional mediums — from iPod commercials to PlayStation's FIFA 13.
Pique caught up with Mintram via email ahead of his tour to ask about new projects on the horizon, what he's looking forward to this year and what local crowds can expect from his Whistler show at Tommy Africa's on Feb. 21.
PIQUE: First of all, I know you've toured Canada a bunch, but what's your experience in Whistler? Have you been up here before?
Lee Mintram: Yes, many times. It is always a great town to a throw a party in. I'm especially excited this time 'round as I am returning to my favourite venue in Whistler: Tommy Africa's.
PIQUE: You've played some pretty massive stages. What's it like coming to smaller Canadian towns? How different are those shows?
LM: Canada is always so appreciative of DJs from overseas. Vancouver and Calgary have great events all the time, but it is less common in places like Grande Prairie, so people are always so grateful when you visit. I find this creates more excitement and anticipation from people, which you see transfer to the dance floor.
PIQUE: What have you been up to so far this year? Is this Western Canada tour the first of 2018?
LM: I've been pretty busy writing music, to be honest. I spent January working on an album for Sony, which is mainly for TV, but I also have a lot of Featurecast music in progress. I brought a lot of this music on tour with me, so listen out for some new FC bangers. I also have a very exciting concept album underway, which I hope to release for free around April/May. I can't say too much about it other than it will be very unique.
PIQUE: You put out an EP of remixes from your last album last year (Shout it Out). How did you pick who you wanted to involve in that project and what did you think of the outcome?
LM: I was very happy with outcome of the EP. I only had three remixers in mind when I started and these were producers that I rated highly in the scene like DeFunk, Ahee and WBBL. Everyone I asked jumped onboard and delivered a huge collection of remixes, which I was very proud of, so thanks guys!
PIQUE: Tell us a bit about the tutorial videos on production techniques you've released. What was your motivation for that and how have they been received?
LM: I made these simply because, other than Slynk, there wasn't really anyone in the scene that had done it. I would always get Facebook messages asking how I make my drums, create bass sounds or how I approach arrangement. It can be quite time consuming answering everyone's questions, so I thought why not put some tutorials together? The response from people was awesome, which prompted me to do the Production Vaults series, which I released back in November. It's nice to now receive emails from producers telling me the videos have been a big help to their music making.
PIQUE: What are you most looking forward to for 2018?
LM: Well, as it's so cold and miserable in the U.K. at the moment, I would have to say the festival season. It is my favourite time of year when I get to play some amazing shows. I think this year is going to be pretty special as well.
PIQUE: What can we expect from the show here in Whistler?
LM: Big tunes, huge bass and good times.
Catch Featurecast at Tommy Africa's on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 9:30 p.m. The show will be hosted by Lozen with opening sets from Miss KosmiK, Riddim Fernandez and Deadly Soundz. Tickets are $15 at tommyafricas.com, myshowpass.com or at the venue.