Jacques Greene House Improvement
Published Mar 13, 2017"In capitalism, we vote with our dollar," electronic producer Jacques Greene says. "Where you eat will end up indicating which restaurants they open in your neighbourhood, right? So, in that same way, being originally from Montreal, I collaborated with locals wherever I could. I really felt strongly about making that choice. Because at the end of the day, it is a choice, and choosing not to work with anyone from Montreal, when I happen to know so many creative people from there, would've felt wrong."
Greene, born Philippe Aubin-Dionne, owes a lot to Montreal. As a fledgling DJ, alongside the likes of Lunice, Rob Squire and Ango, he threw a slew of events that fit snugly into Montreal's ever-bubbling electronic scene. They booked the first LuckyMe showcase in North America, not to mention early career performances from heavy-hitters like Machinedrum and Hunee. Through throwing these parties — and getting the opportunity to watch masters at work — Greene began the house music experiments that have evolved into the style he's known for today. So when the time came for Greene to record his first full-length, Feel Infinite, how could he not look to the city that birthed his sound?
Though the album has its fair share of Montrealers attached, the guts of it were actually recorded a couple of years ago in New York, while Greene was residing there. While he insists that NYC was incredible in its own right, it's also a city that nearly ate his creativity, and his latest album along with it. "I think you would have to make EDM to really live comfortably in New York," says Greene. "If I'd stayed any longer than I did, it probably would've ended up having a detrimental effect on my music. Luckily, I moved to Toronto before any of that happened."
In the midst of moving back to Canada, Greene and his record suffered yet another blow, this time of a much more personal nature. "I had a big falling out with my best friend, and manager [Joe Coghill], of five or six years," Greene explains. "I had to fire him. It was really sad. I love the guy to death, but we just couldn't work together anymore. Had I not done that, this album wouldn't be finished, it wouldn't be coming out, and if it were coming out, it would probably be a disaster."
Though Greene's detachment from Coghill (who also co-owns their label VASE) certainly took its toll, it also gave him space to stand back from the album and see how it fit into his repertoire. The result from that vantage point is a record that doesn't shy away from the sound he became known for — yes, the tender vocal cuts and syrupy house fare are still on the menu — but continues to refine itself as well. As Greene puts it, "I didn't reinvent the wheel; I just slowly work on things that I can make better."