Words by Erin MacLeod —
From the bass drop at the beginning of “We Rule the Area” with Face-T featuring Mikey Dangerous, it’s clear that this Poirier production is playing with the sound of sleng teng. King Jammy’s most famous riddim, the one that started the avalanche of “computerized” or “digital” dancehall in the 1980s, has an unmistakable sound as well as feel. Poirier’s riff on the riddim is rooted in the 80s, but, as he says, “It’s the mid-eighties digital era in 2012. I have a great reaction when I play it–It was obvious that it would become a single.” As it stands, it’s the second single from Face-T’s strong solo album Tuff Like Stone.
“As a DJ, these riddims are super relevant,” he continues, “Either as the original or in other forms. I tried to recreate it not using the same tools but the same texture.” It’s not just the production texture of the tune, but also the vocals: “Face-T, in particular, tried to make his flow more old school.”
The track pairs Face-T, one of Poirier’s most consistent collaborators, with Juno-winning (that’s the Canadian Grammy) Mikey Dangerous for the first time. This is a bit of an event. “Personally,” says Poirier, “I think Face-T and Mikey are two of the best vocalists in Montreal and this is the first time they’ve been together.”
On top of Poirier’s original, “We Rule the Area” has been released with equally retro remixes from Scotland’s Mungo’s Hi Fi, Poland’s Dreadsquad and Canada’s Dubmatix. “All these guys are into the same mentality,” he says, “Dreadsquad are doing some of these 80s riddims, so doing the remix was quite natural. Mungo’s Hi Fi also have an 80s aesthetic and they are one of the best sound systems in Europe, and Dubmatix is a strong artist from Toronto, so I felt very honored that these people were super enthusiastic.”
And there’s a possibility that this retro 80s track to get a taste of the 90s. “After I sent out the promos there was interest in a jungle remix–we’ll see if that happens.” We can only hope.
LargeUp has convinced Mr. Poirier to dole out the single for free, so take a listen and then feel free to download it. And pick up the remixes here.