Serendipity brought Graeme Bousada to Victoria.
Two years ago the 26-year-old was living on one of Canada’s oldest communes on Cortes Island after graduating from Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, until a brush with romance led him south.
“It was too isolated for me, I was spinning my wheels. Then I met a woman … we broke up the day I moved to Victoria,” he says with a wry laugh.
Instead of returning to the commune or home to Ottawa, Bousada set down roots in the city and began making music.
“I started playing piano when I was 10 or 11. I tried lessons for a couple of years, but it didn’t work for me. I got into music production when I was about 12, then I released a couple of CDs when I was in high school,” he says.
A graduate of Pearson College in Metchosin, Bousada found a way to marry his love of producing and performing music.
“I performed in a ska band on Cortes, Back Eddy and the Procrastinators. It was a very local band, we did some events and touring,” he says. That’s when the performance bug bit him.
“I loved performing so much. I saw the ability of music to bring smiles to faces.”
The idea to marry his passions came when he watched a performance by UK artist Cosmo Sheldrake at a rave on Cortes.
“The best part of the project is melding the two worlds into a dynamic and interesting performance,” he says.
A distinction lies between producers and DJs; music creators versus music arrangers. Bousada is a creator, but even as a producer, he stands out in his methodology. Most producers perform music live by arranging and manipulating pre-recorded loops through a computer, while Bousada uses an Akai MPK mini keyboard run through his laptop and a loop machine to lay down tracks on the fly.
“I have 80 sounds, drums synths that I have designed,” he says, adding he can stack an unlimited number of tracks and loops up to five tracks at a time, creating an infinite variety of sounds. “I have a pretty strong vision for the most part. I think that’s why I’m so into music, the creativity is so huge, there’s endless possibilities.”
The new vibe he’s creating is drawing an audience.
“I think that’s why it’s blowing up in the city. A lot of people my age listen to excellent electronic music … but electronic shows are boring unless you’re doing drugs,” says Bousada. “I designed a performance with an electronic sound that’s fun and entertaining to watch in the same way that it’s fun to watch a band.”
In the last few months Bousada has played a variety of underground shows and performed at the Victoria Ska and Reggae Festival, Fern Fest and Save the Walbran Tour.
“My first big show at Logan’s was insane. It sold out in 45 minutes and people were waiting outside for two hours to get in. I was very nervous, the anticipation was huge.”
He’s released three tracks on SoundCloud and is in the lineup for the Tall Tree Music Festival. He will release his debut EP later this year.