Peer Pressure
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Peer Pressure

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by Christopher Paré

Is D.L. Jones the Devil? Not likely, though his address – number 66, apartment 6 – suggests otherwise.

Satanic affiliations notwithstanding, D.L., the sharply-dressed host of those crazy parties everyone loves so much, is quick to credit the pandemonium to plain old elbow grease and good friends who like to party. So goes the surprisingly heartfelt world of Peer Pressure, a well-oiled party machine on the precipice of blowing way up. They're ready but, more importantly, they're deeply in touch with their feelings.

“I never felt at any point like this was a business,� ventures Mark Murray, who DJs as Merk Meny. “We all hang together, we enjoy road trips and care about each other’s… feelings,� he says, immediately sensing his own impending gayness. “And emotions!� finishes Liam over the laughter.

More than BMore
Adam Hummel (A-Rock) is one of the last to arrive, and everyone is talking at once. D.L. instructs someone
to get a plate from the kitchen cupboard, while Hatchmatik (Matt Morein) – who doesn’t so much as look up from his copy of The Fader until the interview starts – tells a story in a series of grunts, gasps and unintelligible ramblings. It’s still pretty damn funny.

Just as the tight-knit friends who continue to chat on D.L.’s couch, Peer Pressure events are blessed with a certain alchemy. Prior to their halcyon days at Vinyl and the famed Showtime monthly, D.L. promoted both the hip-hop and techno rooms at the now defunct Aria. “I was into both kinds of music, but what was annoying was that it was always two separate rooms. That’s why Peer Pressure feels like such a natural fit.�

Unimpressed by clubland’s homogeneous state, D.L. found the Frankenstein of his dreams in BMore, a staple of Serato jocks like Diplo, who, among others, helped take the Baltimore sound even further by cutting it up with everything from Baile Funk to The Cure.

Adam, who had his Booty Break night at the time, saw it as an opportunity to break out and explore new music. “ I remember having Baltimore tracks a couple of years ago; it was always fun to have that extra weird track with breaks or house mixed over. When they started pushing those Hollertronix records, that’s what set the groundwork for what I’m doing now.�

But to label what they do simply as BMore would be a gross overgeneralization. In fact, the first Peer Pressure party was before any of them had discovered that scene in the first place. Mark says their early sound was more of a mix of hip-hop and ‘80s, while art director Liam Oscar Thurston sees it in broader terms. “Busta Rhymes did a track last year with a Daft Punk sample and Armand Van Helden did a track with a Fat Joe sample… It’s all kind of coming together.�

Holler at a brother
Flash-forward to April 2006, when D.L. hollered at Spank Rock hype man Pase Rock to play an after-party (Pase is a solo MC and label owner who lives in New York – he’s part of the Spank Rock family, but is not a formal member of the ensemble per se). The impromptu invitation cemented a relationship that saw Peer Pressure take its place in the same constellation as Pase and their Baltimore-based brothers. “We hung out after that; they’re just really nice guys like anybody else.�

As much as they prefer to keep things casual, D.L. also understands that certain formalities are inevitable the bigger you get.

“Things are already starting to get a bit more complicated,� he concedes. “And that’s something I’ve had to get used to.
The agencies have caught up with this whole DIY, electro and BMore movement; and a lot of these guys have representation now, you know? Look at Girl Talk: back when we were doing Saturdays at Vinyl, he hollered at me and said he wanted to come play a party – all he needed was a plane ticket and a bit of cash, but because the night was “no cover� I couldn’t do it just yet. In the time since then he’s become one of the biggest artists on Windish,� a Chicago-based agency that represents, among many others, Justice, Ellen Allien and RJD2.

Fees, flight shares, tours and immigration issues make for a steep learning curve, but D.L. isn’t the type to get caught up in petty bureaucracy. “You don’t let it get in the way. It’s always about the party,� he insists.

What music industry parasites and contract-wielding buzz-kills can’t take away from Peer Pressure is their infectious, full-tilt vibe. Just last May they booked the diminutive Lady Sovereign to play after her Bell Centre appearance. According to her manager, it was the most fun she’d had on tour. And in a turn of events worthy of a well-staged MisShapes party, Gwen Stefani showed up later with some of her dancers to kick it with D.L. and the crew. And Girl Talk? He has yet to hollaback.

Mobile sound system
Reciprocity is a big part of what and where Peer Pressure is today. Carefully cultivated connections are how they’ve toured every which way the compass points, with stops in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, then south to Virginia, Baltimore and New York. It begs the question: what kind of hotel room-wrecking hijinks does Peer Pressure get up to on the road?

“Some things that happen on tour, stay on tour,� says Hatch. But with some gentle prodding, Mark shares one of their many brushes with death.

They had just crossed a bridge into Delaware – everyone was asleep and Rory, a friend, was behind the wheel. Those who were still awake, like Mark, were watching Predator when all of a sudden they felt the van begin to drift. Mark looked over at Rory, who was about two seconds away from passing out. When everyone realized what was going on, they jerked Rory back to life. Dazed, he apologized and reassured his petrified passengers with the now immortal reply: “Sorry, I was just staring off into the sky.�

They’ve had a few close calls – on another occasion they were nearly cut in half by an oncoming streetcar in Baltimore – but it would take more than a high-speed collision to disrupt their enviable momentum. This
summer sees the crew exporting the concept eastward for Peer Pressure Toronto, a new monthly at the über-swish Drake Hotel.

“When we were there for Canadian Music Week and the crowds really clicked,� remembers Liam, who moves in September to be the crew’s point man in T-dot. “Now the Drake wants us to come back because of that experience.� As the party expands they’ll continue to do more cool shit here in the form of gigs (see below), mix tapes (finally) and their own brand of triple-filtered vodka (kidding). It’s ambitious, but is it more than they can handle? Though they look exhausted just talking about it, Liam is quick to rebuke any such implication.
“ Our duties are more defined now,� he says. “When we started out two years ago we were running around doing everything, but now it’s a little more pro.� - Nightlife Magazine

"Peer Pressure"

By Steve Lalla

"Over the span of a mere 365 days, Peer Pressure have accomplished what all party organizers dream of: hordes of beautiful young people losing it on their dance floors, unparalleled street cred, a party circuit that now extends throughout NYC, Baltimore, Virginia and Toronto, and resident DJs that are booked at countless loft and club parties throughout Montreal. (...)The path was not paved with diamonds, guns, big name international DJs and glossy towel-sized flyers, nor with a website or message board to call their own, but simply by enthusiastic word-of-mouth promotion among an ever growing, always receptive circle of friends and acquaintances... peers, if you will" - The Hour - Montreal

"Montreal Mirror Interview" - QubecCore

"BIGSHOT Magazine"

Dealing With Peer Pressure Peer Pressure DJs A-Rock and Hatchmatik
join co-founders/promoters DL Jones and
Liam Thurston to discuss the secrets of
their success.
Words: Sarah Beckett
The buzz is out on Peer
Pressure, an affable group of
DJs, promoters and artists
who have mastered the art of
throwing kick-ass parties.
Their loft jams and weekly club nights in
Montreal have earned them rave reviews
from a varied group consisting of fresh-
faced college students, older hipsters and
local music scribes alike. They've also
been fortunate enough (or clever enough)
to transport their party to Toronto,
Baltimore, New York, even as far away as
Calgary and Vancouver. It’s an unusual
feat for a rag-tag collective of party organ-
izers, let alone a crew who've only been
together a year and a half.
“We're not afraid to sew together differ-
ent genres,� says A-Rock, who, along with
fellow mixologist Hatch, feels that keep-
ing their musical game lively is vital.
“[We’ll play] electro, B’more, baile
funk...even bring tracks back from the
‘80s and remix them.� DL agrees, adding,
“Most of the people who come out to the
parties know us, they're our friends. So it
definitely has that personal touch as well.�
That personal touch is clear. A Peer
Pressure party is a labor of love. In fact,
most of their early events were promoted
with hand-printed silkscreen T-shirts and
patches, even homemade flyers, all of
which are made by Peer Pressure's mem-
a lot of time overseeing the layout and
decoration of the venues, but admits that
now most of his artistic energy is focused
on keeping the flyers hot. His background
as an illustrator combined with the
group's overall artistic sensibility (Hatch
holds a fine arts degree, and A-Rock is a
full-time design student) gives them an
edge when it comes to promoting them-
selves. “There's tons of flyers...a lot of it
goes unnoticed and a lot of it ends up in
the garbage, which is pretty wasteful and
sad,� notes Liam. “So I try to make stuff
really pop and look new, different.�
What makes a Peer Pressure event dif-
ferent? Not only have they earned big love
for their parties, they've got a big need to
spread it. Unlike most promoters, who are
rooted in their home city and hire out-of-
town DJs, the crew forges friendships
with their musical guests, who happily
return the favor and invite Peer Pressure bers, who have strong ties to the art
“That was one of the first things that
brought people in,� remarks Liam, who
doubles as Peer Pressure's art director.
“We were doing all handmade flyers. We
would do stamps, painted paint swatches.
I really spent a lot of time just sort of
throwing paint all over the place and mak-
ing things look good.�
Back when most of their parties were
held in rented loft spaces, Liam also spent
to throw jams in their towns, essentially
flipping the basic concept of party throw-
ing on its head.
DL maintains the reaction to Peer
Pressure outside of their home base has
been positive. “Essentially, the people we
hook up with in different cities are a lot
like us here and have built a bit of that
same following in their own cities.� And
all this outside growth has meant growth
in Montreal too, where they continue to
put on cheap parties with an increasing number of headliners, something they
believe no one else is doing. Past special
guests include: Diplo, Chromeo, Spank
Rock and France's TTC, guests which
most promoters would charge a fortune to
see at the door. “There's a lot of cama-
raderie and people willing to kind of do it
more for fun than the money,� explains
Inevitably with success comes criti-
cism, especially when the group decided
to drop their small Saturday night week-
lies in lieu of larger monthly parties. “A lot
of people didn't necessarily agree,� Hatch
says. DL likens the shift to an indie artist
signing with a major label. “Obviously
there will always be a few people who are
like, 'They're selling out!’
All four agree, however, that this type of
criticism is easy to ignore so long as peo-
ple are still coming out and having fun.
They also agree that it's important to keep
your head out of the party scene at times,
if only for a breath of fresh air. Liam takes
on steady work as a graphic designer and
illustrator for outside clients, which he
says influences his work with Peer
Pressure and helps him keep their image
ahead of the game. At present Liam is also
working on a re-brand for Peer Pressure,
complete with new logo and fresh visuals.
Away from life behind the decks, A-Rock
plays with installations, experimental
video soundtracks and electronic arts at
school, and also admits that he and Hatch
share a budding interest in producing
their own tracks, something they mention
lightly but seem to take seriously. Each
have projects with established names on
the horizon, but like true artists remain
mum on the details.
In the meantime, those who favor hot
music and fun parties can get their fill at
any one of Peer Pressure's numerous hap-
penings. Another summer tour is planned
in addition to bigger, badder parties in
Montreal, complete with an always-solid
selection of special guests. While the size
of the venues may grow, Peer Pressure
promises to keep their creative hands-on
approach intact, and even have a new
wave of hand-printed t-shirts in the
works. “If it ain't broke,� concludes DL,
“don't fix it.�
- In New York City

"Family Affair"

Family Affair

Peer Pressure celebrates two years of getting more fly with its honey.

By Jack Oatmon

To chill out and sip on a brew with the members of oft-lauded local productions group Peer Pressure is to understand how they’ve mushroomed into nothing less than a phenomenon in the two years of their partnership. The fact that they have a remarkably synergistic, non-competitive relationship with numerous contemporary businesses, a ravenously devoted crowd of attendees at their events and a killer roster of guest artists comes out in the good vibe and focused drive they clearly display in any encounter. The Mirror sat down with these eloquent, young cats to grill them on what’s been making their company tick.
“The thing that makes it special is that for each and every party, our friends are at the core,” says DJ Adam Hummel, AKA A-Rock. “It’s rarely a project where we’re trying to move ahead on our own terms for our own gain. We have a collective or a friendship that’s striving for a common goal. And we seem to do it together and we seem to do it pretty well, unlike with other crews I’ve worked with before where you’re just another DJ or a visual artist.”
Fellow DJ Matt Morein (Hatchmatik) chimes in. “Because it’s the same group and everybody has their own predisposed role within that framework, things start to work better and develop more. If you were to work with different people every time, you might not find the same depth of development.
Shadi Assadi, host of Tuesday night’s weekly jam, Teenwolf, adds, “I think another thing is that we all have genuine fun at our own events whereas some people that throw parties, you’ll notice that they’re just watching the crowd, not really having their own fun. We actually have tonnes of fun ourselves and I think that translates into a better atmosphere. Even if there’s nobody in the room we’ll have a blast, and anything from there is just a plus.”
Co-founder, host and promoter DL Jones then joins the stream of thought that naturally bounces around the room like a well-played game of catch. “It’s also that a lot of people actually come out to party with us. A lot of other parties, people won’t go if it’s not a DJ they already like on the flyer, so it relies on the booking. Whereas with us they’re like ‘these guys are going to be there and they’re my friends, I want to go party with them.’
When queried about how their decidedly personalized approach gels with the decision-making process surrounding bookings and venues, all eyes shift to DL Jones with a chorus of easy laughter. “I book the venues and acts, but usually it’s something that everybody’s down with. It will be people that these guys are stoked to play with. Whether it’s Chromeo or the guys from Spank Rock or Tittsworth, it’s usually people that we can all hang with. So we build a personal relationship with each artist. I don’t think there’s ever really problems with deciding how to throw an event because we’re pretty much all on the same page.”
Any such prolific span of time naturally involves a few landmarks and conceptual pinnacles for a burgeoning crew, and for Peer Pressure, that feeling harkens back to their primordial roots at the club Vinyl and the transition away from it to accommodate the growth of their popularity.
“The couch at Vinyl is it for me, to tell you the truth,” Hummel quickly interjects. “There are tonnes of different ways of looking at it but that couch at vinyl played a huge role in giving a personality to a lot of the jams that we played or DJed or booked. Just the whole idea of climbing up and getting on the actual furniture of the place and just going off, as close to the speakers as we can get. That to say, there have been many other great times and I could talk for however long naming them, but the first thing that came to my mind was that couch. That thing was a big deal.”
To which Jones responds, “I think for me it was backstage with Hatch (Matt Morein) at the Spank Rock and TTC show (Oct. 5th, 2006). That was my first time being involved with a show that had such a huge crowd. It was our first time booking a big act like that and doing a really large production. That set a precedent for Showtime and everything else - we saw that there were a lot more kids in the city who were interested in it.”
- Montreal Mirror


Mixtapes and Remixes on various blogs and websites.
Be sure to check Discobelle, iheartcomix, ChazOlogy, Palmsout Sounds, and Myspace for free downloads.



Entering our 3rd year, Peer Pressure is a staple on Montreal’s scene throwing some of the biggest parties featuring our resident DJs (Hatchmatik, A-Rock & Merk Meny), and countless A-list guests from around the world. Our DJs unique take on the world of mash-up, baile, hip hop, crunk, baltimore and electro has successfully and consistently brought together the many segregated scenes in Montreal. Peer Pressure started in 2005 with soon to be jam packed weeklies at Vinyl, ever popular loft jams and much hype in Montreal earning the coveted Best Club Night Vote in the Montreal Mirror’s annual poll as well as great spots on best DJ, promoter and after parties lists; previously unheard of for a crew so new. As attendance quickly surpassed Vinyl’s capacity, and requests from larger acts to play a Peer Pressure event poured in, we were soon forced to move. Following our one-year anniversary bash with Low Budget and Cosmo Baker, and numerous POP Montreal events we made the official leap to a larger monthly Showtime. In the midst of all this offers for our DJs to play outside Montreal increased, press coverage picked up locally and beyond and our DJs own production, remixes and mix cds gained hype. Now our DJs are booked regularly in Toronto and NYC, and have had tour stops in Baltimore, Richmond, Chicago, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Halifax. Be sure to look for their mixes and remixes on the web and to check out all the glory on the Myspace and Facebook accounts.

Past Special Guests:

Diplo, Switch, Sinden, Lady Sovereign, A-Trak, Low Budget, Ghislain Poirier, Flosstradamus , Pase Rock, Cuiziner, DJ Orgasmic, Radioclit, Bonde Do Role, Cosmo Baker, Kid Sister, Chromeo, Tittsworth, Dave Nada, Krames, Skeletwinz, Team Canada DJs, Small Town DJs, My!Gay!Husband!, Paul Devro, Thunderheist, and more!