When thinking about the 90s electronic dance music scene, Toronto hardly seems to be a place where it would be thriving. Even so, Toronto has always had a strong electronic scene, giving us the likes of Hatiras.
Hatiras is someone who was heavily influenced by dance music at an early age, starting when he was just 12 years old. His sister gave him a mixtape of some electronic music and he was instantly hooked. This passion grew into obsession, as he started recording underground Toronto radio shows, which eventually led to attending all-ages parties whenever he could.
In order to attend these events more frequently, Hatiras launched a juice bar called “Liquid Adrenaline,” that he set-up at events all over Toronto. Liquid Adrenaline sold healthy vitamin drinks that gave people the energy they needed to dance all night. That eventually evolved into his own rave company by the same, acting as a gateway for him into “massive 5000+ person shows.” “I lived and breathed raving,” he reflects.
“I didn’t really plan to make music or perform as a DJ. I was more of a party promoter in the beginning. Around that time I went to an infamous Toronto nightclub named Industry where I would see DJs like Sneak, Derrick Carter, Green Velvet, and Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk performing on the regular. A brief conversation with Thomas Bangalter inspired me to try making music. He seemed like such a regular guy that making music was now an attainable goal.”
By 1997, Hatiras was doing just that: Creating music. He bought some recording equipment and fiddled around with samples from old drum machines and disco records. George learned how to create relatively quickly, and while his sound has evolved since then, it’s always been inspired by the original warehouse and underground rave scene from his youth.
Another heavy influence on his sound is Chicago, stemming from his trips to the windy city to visit his family when he would listen to the radio while driving through the city. He became influenced by DJs like Jumpin’ Julian Perez and B96FM; Hatiras recorded these mixes and brought them back to Toronto.
That influence led him to create a six track demo album in the late 90s that eventually got signed by Chicago DJ Bad Boy Bill, who had released his music on his label, International House Records. His third release from this demo, Spaced Invaders, went on the become a global phenomenon, and things quickly took off from there.
Because of the success of that demo, Hatiras signed to Defected Records and started touring the world, learning everything he could about dance music on the fly. Defected Records encouraged Hatiras to stay true to his particular Chicago House Sound, and he’s been at it ever since.
However, being an artist means being influenced by a lot of different music and art styles. When he isn’t listening to electronic music, Hatiras listens to music that he signs to his own label as well as popular pop varieties.
“I was always that kid that would carry a mixtape with him. I was a real purist in those years and basically hated any non-electronic music and forced my friends to play my mixtapes. I’ve matured over the years and am now much more open-minded. I actually let my friends put on their music in the car now! I’ve really grown to appreciate artists such as The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey, Post Malone, Drake, Bring Me The Horizon, and Michael Jackson. All while still enjoying electronic artists like Claude Von Stroke, Daft Punk, Green Velvet, and Gettoblaster.”