(Original Photo By: John Londono)
For those of us who are driven by our creative side, finding a path we will truly enjoy in the long term can be a lengthy process. There are a lot of experiments, a lot of experiences, and hopefully when we find the right niche, an extraordinary result.
Julien, Patrick, and Marc-André of Black Tiger Sex Machine all share a similar experience when it comes to finding their way. The three members of the beloved electronic trio started out with a passionate love of art in one way or another.
For Julien, he knew art would be a constant in his life, yet it wasn’t until he was backpacking through Europe that music stood out as the best choice. Patrick had many different dreams as a kid, but his background in acting was what sparked his interest in creating an out of the ordinary experience for the audience, whether it was through music or theater. Marc-André, however, saw himself on more of the business side in his younger days— primarily as an entrepreneur. He always wanted to build something with people on the same wavelength as himself, so when his love of music collided with friends and an opportunity to turn it into a career, everything seemed to make sense.
But as Julien explained to us, the most challenging part of having artistic dreams is turning them into something real and tangible. In fact, there were a lot of people that didn’t think it would happen for BTSM in the beginning.
“Getting our name out there and getting people to take us seriously was a challenge at first. We had zero connections in the industry. We had to build our network step by step…first locally, then internationally through social media and publicity, all the while making very little money for years. We all were working other jobs to support ourselves and making sacrifices, but we persevered because we love what we do!
When we started out, many people told us it would not be possible to build a label, management company from Montreal, and develop Black Tiger Sex Machine all at the same time. Our 2nd European tour in 2014 was a great validation moment. All of us at that point had left our former careers to pursue music full-time and the American market was starting to open up to us and our artists. We felt we had finally reached a milestone where it would become easier to put forth our music and the Kannibalen family.”
As difficult and intimidating as the first steps toward chasing your dreams can be, there is no shortcut or magic crystal ball that can tell you how it will all fair in the end. There is no other way than to try. Succeed or fail, you will undoubtedly learn some valuable lessons along the way that can be applied to countless endeavors in the future.
If the guys were given a chance to give some advice to their younger selves, they would pretty much cut to the chase.
“Just do it. Thinking is nice and all, but you’ll never really learn and discover what you like if you don’t try things. Whatever you undertake, do it 100% until you really know if it’s your thing or not.”
Professional trials and tribulations aside, life continues to happen while you pour yourself into a specific venture. There are still family and personal relationships, financial commitments, and more to keep up with that certainly won’t pause for convenience.
“Between the three of us, we’ve had our fair share of struggles. From family passings to career ending sports injuries, we’ve gotten through several hurdles both together as a group and individually as people. Each time music and friends are what brought us through to the other side and we became better people having gone through our struggles. Everybody is going to lose family members, or be physically/emotionally hurt at some point in their lives, but it’s not the end of the world even if it feels that way. You can pull through even the toughest of times. We’re lucky enough to be close with each other and the rest of our Kannibalen family to help when anything negative arises. Being optimistic is key!”
With a solid support system of family, friends, and most of all each other, the positive outlook on life that Julien, Patrick, and Marc-André share has shown that the sky is the limit. While they are in the process of expanding their studio to three locations, the trio is also looking forward to working on new projects that they hope will be bigger and better than anything they have done in the past.
That being said, there are a few things that they wish the music industry would work on as well, in order to better the community experience as a whole, which would in turn benefit the fans. After all, they are the ones who keep the world turning.
“Instability in technology platforms has made it really hard for artists to maintain their careers and adapt. It’s easier than ever to be independent, but you have to stay on top of your game all the time, which can be detrimental to your art sometimes. We’re blessed to have learned a lot throughout the years, but for talented & independent artists it has been hard for them to stay on top of streaming platforms and social media. One of our main concerns is that the Internet democratized music between 2000 and 2015; recently, however, accessibility of music has become so easy that it could become a problem. The recent rumors of Soundcloud going away only emphasized this problem for us. In the near future, we could find ourselves in a world where 2-3 streaming sites have a major grip on the industry and where playlists generate the most plays. This sounds weird to us, as we fear a return of the old music industry model where majors control the industry via their dominance of radio.”
Although, technology platforms and Internet issues aren’t nearly as important to the guys of Black Tiger Sex Machine as taking care of the world we live in. The idea of taking a moment to learn about what is going on with our planet and how to be a bit more environmentally conscious is imperative to Julien, Patrick, and Marc-André. It may sound cliché to some, but there is truth in the idea that every little bit helps, and if they can use their platform to inspire others to pay attention, the result will be much greater than we can imagine.