Dark Techno Art Party Takes Over Fonderie Darling

Exposé Noir comes to Montreal.

DJ and artist Zepha played trippy and twisted sounds at Exposé Noir last weekend. Photo by Natalia Blasser
Photo by Natalia Blasser

The air is electric as multi-colored light beams and strobes illuminate close to 700 people of various ages and backgrounds, shuffling and gyrating to breakbeat and mind-bending techno.

In a smaller and brightly lit side room in this giant industrial warehouse, abstract contemporary and modern paintings are displayed.

Exposé Noir, an underground techno party and art exposition, took place at Fonderie Darling on Sept. 2 and lasted until 5 a.m the next day. The lineup consisted of Amelie Lens, Debbie Døe, Zepha, and Kris Tin. The displayed art was provided by Centerfold.

Exposé Noir, the brainchild of Marcos Orta and Heron Singarajah, first began in Ottawa, in an attempt to throw a techno party in a city lacking an underground scene. The event took place at Eve nightclub, which has a speakeasy they then turned into an art exposition.

“The idea was to bring something new to Ottawa, and to host a Boiler Room-style techno night because you don’t see that at all there,” explained Ortas. “The exposition came afterwards since we had the spare room.”

The concept resonated with a niche crowd in Ottawa. He decided to bring the event to Montreal this year, taking advantage of the special place in the city’s heart that has already been carved out for techno music and culture.

“I hope that people came and experienced something that they hadn’t before, and it becomes a brand with that kind of reputation; something completely new,” he said.

By contacting local promoters such as Centerfold, Graphite Publications, Inner Circle Montreal, and OCTOV, the vision was brought to life.

Exposé Noir incorporated Montreal based art with breakbeat techno beats last weekend. Photo by Natalia Blasser

Though the lineup only featured women, organizer Max Honigmann said it was purely coincidental.

“We were choosing the lineup based off the sound of each DJ and how well it would match Amelie Lens’s style,” he said. “These are three reputed DJs who are awesome to work with and we love their sound.”

Zepha was excited to be working side by side with other women.

“I feel very connected to feminine energy,” she said. “It’s very uplifting for me. I don’t see it as competition, I see it more as a union and inspiration. It’s fun to learn to empower each other as women because it’s not always easy.”

The evening opened with Debbie Døe whose sound is very deep and minimal paired with breakbeat. Her dark and minimal vibe set the tone for the night.

The energy was maintained by Zepha who progressed from the breakbeat style of Debbie Døe into her own style of upbeat, trippy, and twisted sounds, pumping up the crowd before transitioning into a harder techno mix matching Lens’s style.

“I feel very connected to feminine energy. It’s very uplifting for me. I don’t see it as competition, I see it more as a union and inspiration. It’s fun to learn to empower each other as women because it’s not always easy.” —Zepha

“Everyone was dancing a lot. Techno can be very straight and serious but people went really crazy and it was fun,” she enthused. “By the middle of my set the place was jam-packed, and it warmed my heart because everyone was so into it.”

The Belgian headliner then made her debut in North America and her energy behind the decks was intoxicating. She filled the room with acid basslines and hard kicks that were reminiscent of old-school techno. Lens’ single “In Silence,” which hit #1 on Beatport’s techno chart, has catapulted her into the European techno scene.

The night ended in beauty with Kris Tin and her deep, fast-paced minimal beats.

“The interaction with the crowd was amazing, they were responding to every single song I was dropping,” she said. “They were really into it, they’re energetic, they’re jumping and dancing their lives away.”

It was a packed house at Exposé Noir. Photo by Natalia Blasser

It was her first time closing for an international DJ though she has previously opened for many, notably Carl Cox at Igloofest.

Zepha smudged the stage with sage before and after her set.

“Sage is a good way to cool down and purify my energy as well as the energy of the place,” she said. “There’s a lot of people and different types of energy. It can you bring you back to your centre and help you tap into your creativity; It’s a must.”

Due to its multi-media platform, the organizers created a full atmosphere and experience pairing pieces as contemporary and abstract as the hard-hitting techno that was playing.

With the event being completely executed by local organizations and featuring mostly local artists, Exposé Noir gained lots of attention from the community.

“People are so interested in this event because they want to know that events like this can still happen, and it’s not just the club scene and institutions that can give us this experience,” said Diego Cabezas, co-founder of Inner Circle Montreal.

“We can do this as a group of people who are very passionate about it and are knowledgeable and can put in the work.”