Written by Ania Szneps on 07.11.16

We sat down with Adventure Club’s Leighton James (above photo on the left) to find out more about the band, their projects, and their ambitions. It resulted in quite the entertaining interview! Warning: there will be some profanity. But nothing you can’t handle.

First off, your name makes us think of a cross between Culture Club and Adventure Time (and we mean that in the best way possible). Can you explain what Adventure Club stands for?

So what you’re really saying is that every time you see our name, what really happens is, “karma karma karma chameleon” gets stuck in you head for the rest of the day? Well, although that’s an absolute jam, our name actually has nothing to do with the band Culture Club. One of our not-so-secret secrets is that we actually started watching “Adventure Time” after we started Adventure Club. It was just a coincidence that we both happened to be experiencing similar adventures.


I digress; when we first started our thing, we wanted our music to be absolutely laptop metal and definitely fucking raw, along the lines of our Montreal counterpart, Snails.  Bass artists at that time had these names that evoked all these dirty, disgusting, grimy, gritty emotions and so we actually wanted a name that would create the opposite vibe, so that when you listened it would be like sonic whiplash. Flash forward to today – we no longer feel like that’s really the case anymore because so many people know our sound, but that’s the real inception of our name.

EDM can be a pretty saturated market with a few established artists dominating and new artists coming out all the time. Considering you guys have been around for a while, what would you say your challenges are in terms of staying relevant but also distinct from what’s out there?

Frankly, when we first started releasing music, the North American scene was nowhere near as saturated as it is today and the barriers to entry were still relatively high depending on where you came from, the resources at your disposal, and what viable connections you were able to create within a fairly ‘niche’ market.  For us, establishing a distinct tone for our sound straight out of the gate was a huge advantage in terms of creating a network of people who wanted to hear our music. We worked day and night crafting music we wanted to hear ourselves, and then we worked hard to get that sound out there and share it. Thankfully, the people we shared it with gave it a “this is dope, let me share it some more,” thumps up.


At this point in our creative journey, as far as staying relevant is concerned, it’s always a constant balancing act between releasing the right music at the right time. We’re not big on dropping a record for the sake of staying relevant, in the limelight, or piggybacking off the latest sound.  We’re in the school of thought of taking our time to create music that we want to listen to and that we hope will have a timeless quality we’re proud to share. Our live sets are a bit of a different story because we’re ardent on showcasing other great music with our fan base. We like to continually re-imagine other sounds with our vocals and instrumentals.

You guys are big on charity as well! Does that hold a significance for you? Do you go out to contact specific causes or just collaborate with whoever would be up for it?

We are very committed to charity work. Christian and I work very closely with “Electric Family” and together we’re really committed to “F*ck Cancer” for some personal reasons that have affected both of our families in a profound way. We won’t just reflexively collaborate with whoever’s asking for donations because the sad reality is that sometimes charity can be shady business with some shaky motives behind it. We deeply feel the need to make sure that what we’re getting behind is moving in a positive direction towards a specific solution to a very specific problem, rather than just supporting any self-serving revenue machine that plants a flag in the ‘charity’ market for its own purposes.

So we know you are both from Montreal; is that your main location now? Can you talk a little about the EDM scene when you first started vs. now? Do you find Montreal is welcoming to EDM? What makes Montreal different from the other places you’ve traveled?

Montreal REPRESENT! …And we are never leaving until they drag us out…

Although when we first started touring, every city was fresh and exciting for us. So practically every new city we hit, we’d find something we’d love that would make us want to move, but we’ve come to realize Montreal is and was always our main base and our main creative comfort/combat zone. And right now we’ve both laid down a solid foundation – we both have homes here as well – and all of our deepest creative roots are here.


When I first started, I was still working at Turbo Recordings (bless Tiga and Thomas, who really introduced me to the scene and gave me a real history lesson regarding the music and business). Acts like Boys Noize, Mstrkrft, the whole edbanger crew, that kind of stuff was on fire at that time. ILoveNeon and Saintwoods threw some major parties and we went to every single one, soaking up everything we could. First time I heard anything remotely dubstep was at one of the SAT parties that featured Bloody Beetroots and Steve Aoki. I can’t recall exactly which act – it was a savage party – one of them dropped the halftime wobbles and we all lost it. That was around the time when you started seeing Vilifiy’s Bass Drive Nights really start to take off. You could say the Montreal scene is and was always very welcoming to EDM, and all the styles that come with that whole movement.

What was the craziest show you’ve ever played and why?

This question comes up a lot and I can tell you wholeheartedly that playing at home in Montreal is without a doubt the craziest, and that absolutely includes every definition of ‘crazy’ that I can personally imagine. It’s just crazy to see all the hometown fans that come to shows, it’s crazy to have so many friends come out and support us with such intense passion and commitment, and it’s just another level when all our families come out to check our set. Let’s just say that I also believe that maybe a great number of friends and fans will get mad at me if I go into any of the specifics regarding how intensely crazy some of the after-parties that we’ve had have a tendency to get. So I do have to say: Apologies, W Hotel, it was all love…

Finally, besides Dj-ing, do you have any other interests or projects?

Yes, well I went to McGill originally for finance and accounting so I like to leverage what I’ve learned there, along with what we’ve accomplished as Adventure Club, into other productive avenues, both business and creative.


On the business side, whether it be my personal real estate portfolio or the small Venture Capital firm we’ve created here in which we’ve invested in some notable Montreal start-ups like, Landr/MixGenius, I like to keep exploring opportunities and expanding our potential for growth. Although I always have projects on the move, M Immobilier and École Privée are two of my main babies right now.


Personally, I like to invest in other endeavors outside of the nightlife arena. M Real Estate, in collaboration with long time friends, Justin Comeau and Anthony Colleti, is a brokerage I’m proud to have a founding role in. Over the past year, all of our accomplishments and all of the milestones we’ve somehow managed to hit leave me absolutely floored and tremendously grateful. We stand apart from other real estate agencies, staying up to date with the newest social media marketing and coolest brokers in town. We believe paying attention to detail is of utmost importance. Keep your eyes peeled for our next office to be open very soon. I’m really lucky to collaborate with partners that have the type of business commitment and visions that I do. Justin and Anthony have really created something special and our business has hit record breaking numbers over the past year. From the amount of agents recruited, our social media outreach, team building, team synergy, partnerships, and more, M Immobilier is something I am truly proud of.


Staying within the nightlife scene, we also teamed up with some of the best minds in the city to create what we think is one of the hottest and most attractive nightclubs in Montreal. Working on École Privée is a really fun project where I get to team up with Saintwoods, Coda Nightlife, and more, guys I grew up with and have looked up to. Although I am not there day to day, I love hearing about the partnerships and collaborations we have going on. From celebrity DJ after parties, to our Thursday night hip hop events, to having our residency with Virgil Abloh, we are constantly setting ourselves above our competitors and have made quite the splash. In the hopes of helping revive St. Laurent, a street where I grew up partying, I am proud to say we’ve been constantly and consistently slammed. We hope to continue to become tastemakers and trendsetters in Montreal and love how vibrant our crowd is. École Privée is really special because everyone in there just wants to dance and have fun. From industry friends, celebrities, students, hot girls, bachelor and bachelorette parties, club kids, and more, you truly never know who you will run into on the dance floor. Owning a part of this nightclub in the city I am from reminds me why I do what I do. Music is my passion, DJing is an art, and I could not think of a better way to celebrate my accomplishments than laying down business roots in Montreal.

Listen to Adventure Club on their SoundCloud page here.

Photos courtesy of Adventure Club.

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