The Holy is the DJ/producer project of Olivier Lamontagne, a musician from Montreal whose blend of house/techno which he dubs Gros Kick Sal has landed him remixing for the likes of Charlotte Cardin, The Weeknd, and Tommy Genesis all the while spinning at big-name festivals and opening for the likes of Laidback Luke, EDX, Sofi Tukker and more.
We caught up with The Holy to talk about his brand new single Never Seen Before featuring Pony, and all things house, techno, Gros Kick Sal, and Montreal nightlife. Listen to his exclusive guest mix for liminul below.
You go by the Moniker, «The Holy », what’s the significance of your stage name?
My answer is going to be a bit boring but it’s because my real name is Olivier and everyone calls me « Oli » so it was easy to call myself The Holy haha. This name has strictly nothing to do with religion. The most relevant thing I found recently is that I’m from a little town in the region of Lanaudière called Saint-Ambroise de Kildare and every town around starts with Saint or Sainte which means Holy in English.
You spin everything from classic house to tech house records, what’s your favorite genre to spin and why?
I really like every kind of music my Spotify proves it. On stage what I prefer to mix is House / Techno that sounds like what they played in the 90’s raves with an avant-garde touch. I called this style “GKS®” with means “GROS KICK SAL”. A mix of Hard-hitting kick, deep bassline, bright hats, rave stabs, acid lead, and organ that’s what I’m into.
What inspires you specifically about the Montreal underground scene? How does it differ from other cities that you’ve spun in?
I really like Montreal, people are really open to electronic music when you go to the right venues and events. I really like the difference of cultures mixed together, it brings everything to another level. Diversity is clearly the thing that I love the most in Montreal, it’s really inspiring and so beautiful to be all united.
Which artists inspire you currently, and who do you think is at the cutting edge of electronic music right now?
If there were 5 Montreal artists or musicians you’d like to put our readers on to, who would they be?
Moses Belanger: Super talented producer from Montreal. He makes really groovy house, I heard his upcoming EP and it’s straight fire. He’s also one of my best friends, we already have some releases together. We have a lot of upcoming collaborations upcoming for 2022!
TDJ : Also known as Ryan Playground is my favorite DJ / Producer from Montreal. Her music style is one of a kind, it’s really energetic and trancy! She really brings you back to the early 2000 with her sound, a must to check out.
Pony: He’s a crazy singer and the guy that you want to hear on stage singing on top of the DJ’s music. He’s the who sings on my new track Never Seen Before. We have a couple of upcoming new tracks together, his style is fitting perfectly on my music. Can’t wait to release them all!
Isabella Lovestory: She’s a super good singer and performer! She sings on avant-garde reggaeton beats and her style is really dope!
Fabrikate: Two of nice dudes who makes Disco House! Their music is bringing you back in the 80’s with the modern touch of today.
Favourite spot to spin in Montreal?
For sure it’s Piknic Electronic & Igloofest but as a venue, I’ll go with the Newspeak, Datcha & Espac3. I like dark places with a big sound system and an open-minded crowd.
You’ve recently done some fire remixes lately for the likes of big names like Charlotte Cardin, Tommy Genesis, and The Weeknd. What draws you to a track when you remix it? What is your process in regards to a remix? How do you know you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve in a remix?
Thanks a lot! I really love doing remixes. I’m very analytic when I listen to music. When it comes to remixing, I spot certain elements that I could play with. I drag the track or the stems in my DAW, I cut different parts and then I start to jam with my synths and drum machine. I try some different grooves, I choose my favorite one and I start the structure of the track. After this, I do a lot of back and forth and work on the track to make sure everything sounds good to me.
What was your experience during COVID, how did you stay creative and how did you fill the void of the creativity and community of live music?
Just before COVID, I played Igloofest, it was one of my best shows ever. I’ve played a lot of my upcoming music and the crowd was really on fire! I was really hyped to release this music and 3 weeks after the COVID hits lol. I was sad because the music that I wanted to release was really energetic, the kind of music you want to hear at the show on a big sound system. So I had to wait to release this because everyone was stoked at home. During the lockdown, I’ve been productive but I didn’t have the mood to produce my style of music. In the first month, I tried different things, I release a couple of tracks, Lost to Find was definitely the most different track I’ve released. After I went back to my own style and produce a couple of new bangers that I can’t wait to release. I missed the live shows! I did a couple live, it was cool but the energy of the crowd was missing! I’m super happy that it’s back, I have a lot of upcoming shows and really pumped!
Who were some of your earliest musical influences, and what inspired you to step into the electronic music scene?
My first influence is my father! He’s been a DJ since he was 13 years old and he’s been the owner of a reception hall called Salle Lamontagne since 1988. There was some wedding and parties every weekend at the reception hall so I grew up surrounded by different musical genres like house, hip-hop, and techno from the 90s. I really integrate this type of music in my production, that’s why the music that I produced sounds really 90’s. The thing that really turned me into the electronic scene is when the DJ became the new rockstar in 2008. I was listening to Boys Noize, Crookers, Bloody Beetroots, Justice, and music like that. It literally change my life, I wanted to do the same. I’ve started to DJ just for fun and it’s 10 years later that I’ve decided to start producing and make it my work and a life goal. YOLO lol
As the city finally reopens dance floors this coming week, what are you most excited about?
Definitely, the full capacity shows, I like when it’s crowded with no distancing. I like when the crowd has no restriction when people can feel the vibe and enjoy the music the way they want. It brings strong energy and I can be myself and give them more. It’s been almost 2 years without the dancefloor, people are really excited to go back dancing, I can already feel it. Can’t wait to play new tracks and see the crowd’s reaction!
What’s a surefire track that always gets the crowd moving?
I have to admit and I’m happy that my new single Never Seen Before feat Pony is doing some damage on the dancefloor at the moment hahaha. My remix of Blade is always setting the crowd on fire and another track that the reaction is always good is Mi Amor by Clooney.
Speaking of your new single, tell us a bit about it. How did that collaboration come together?
Never Seen Before is a perfect mix between the 90’s rave house and the sound of today. Hard-hitting kick, 909 drums with an energic acid baseline and some synth stabs. With the cocky well assumed vocals Pony brings to the song it took it to another level. It’s the 1st single off my debut EP called V1510N.
What’s on the horizon for 2022?
A lot of new music and shows! I’ll release my 1st EP ever in January 2022. It’s signed on Kookoo Records Afterdark. I really want to play the music that I want and be loyal to my style. I want to focus on shows that matter to me, I prefer to play less than before but when I play, I’m 100% The Holy. My ultimate goal is to release a lot of new stuff and do some shows outside of Canada. I would like to play in Europe, USA, UK and many more! My 2nd EP is already done too, can’t wait to show you my new collaborations and upcoming projects.
Cody is the Editor in Chief and senior contributor at liminul.
He is a photography aficionado, fashion enthusiast, avid Lana Del Rey fan, and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.