my fav no click

As Deadmau5’ rodent visage is plastered over the cover of Rolling Stone magazine this month, mainstream America begins to seriously discuss the rise of “EDM” and its impact on dance music and about how the scene’s “DJs rule the world” in a fashion that smacks so much of arrogance that frankly, most Europeans find it faintly amusing. Meanwhile, north of the United States, across the border in Canada, pivotal producers and DJs have been quietly beavering away creating an underground scene in the city of Toronto.

Thanks to labels like Crosstown Rebels, key players in the Canadian scene such as Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White (well-known as the duo Art Department) are already at the forefront of the UK’s flourishing deep house scene. Others, like the boys at act and now label My Favorite Robot, have been piquing interest for a while, and with an ever-growing roster of superb artists hand-picked from around the globe, are set to fill your ears and iPods with even more of their music.

The genesis of My Favorite Robot began in a city known far more for its jazz than its dance, as co-founders Voytek Korab and Jared Simms began DJing together in 2002 in their hometown of Montreal. But it was Jared’s move to Toronto that sparked the catalyst for the growth ahead. Coming under the wing of No 19 Music (the label helmed by the aforementioned Jonny White), meeting Nitin and future MFR member James Teej, as Jared puts it “shifted our projects into a higher gear.  Voytek and I started to spend a lot more time in the studio, [then] we started the label, and eventually James joined MFR as a third [member], which, looking back, happened in a very organic way.”

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Jared describes the formation of the label in 2008 in much the same manner: as a natural progression. Surrounded by friends following similar paths, it made sense to them to “have this new avenue to start releasing our own music, and that of our crew, unfiltered and in a timely way.” As their crew continues to expand beyond Toronto, and indeed Canada, to encompass acts such as the UK’s Eric Volta, Finland’s Jori Hulkkonen, Sweden’s Tiger Stripes and more, they join the ranks of highly respected global underground dance labels that manage to combine a decent global output whilst continuing to support their local scene and artists.

Reaching this level of recognition and acclaim for the label took some time as the first artists released consisted of themselves and their small pool of local peers and usual suspects. After finding their feet 20 records in, they began to look beyond their circle of friends for “strange foreign robots” to add to the mix.

With Voytek, Jared and James all in charge, keeping the label output as a true reflection of the trio’s combined taste creates constant discussion between them about what direction to take it in, coupled with simply searching for artists whose music they like. Their modesty distils this to this rather straightforward process: “Most of the music comes from artists or acts that we contact if we are into their music and think is it a good fit for the label.

Modesty is a trait that seems to run throughout the label’s ethos, if Jared’s belief that the Canadian dance scene doesn’t need My Favorite Robot is anything to go by. “We’re not big-headed enough to think that we are a necessary part of the scene… but I will say that we are very much trying to do our own thing and ignore what might be considered as the ‘norm’, and we’re trying our best to make a real contribution and release good music.” A far cry from the American attitudes of EDM (a genre that MFR would describe themselves as) but certainly more in line with a more European style of releasing music.

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Humility aside, this year has already seen bigger and better things for the label, with a recent showcase at the celebrated Off Sonár in Barcelona back in June and their first full-length releases due before the end of 2012, from Fairmont, Sid Le Rock and Jori Hulkkonen, and plans to push things forward with more album and events in the future.

My Favorite Robot obviously take their work very seriously, but it’s clear their success lies in their approach to releasing music and their strive to better themselves and to grow as a label; an attitude succinctly summed up as “our proudest moments are still ahead of us.” It’s also evident within their choice of name; the obvious connotations to technology and future sounds but also “kind of playful and not quite as serious. We thought it was a win-win situation… even if someone says they hate My Favorite Robot; they are still calling us their favourite. How can you go wrong?

My Favorite Robot’s latest release Andrew Grant and Lomez “Has To Be Love” with Amirali remix is out now on vinyl. Visit www.myfavoriterobotrecords.com or be a fan of theirs on Facebook [httpss://www.facebook.com/MyFavoriteRobotRecords] for more info.

Rachael Williams