Their innovative blend of underground club sounds with pow wow music has reached a much wider audience than they’d imagined when they started throwing their monthly parties in Ottawa in 2008. And no one could have predicted the role they’d play in promoting a wider dialogue around aboriginal rights.
ATCR’s club bangers might not explicitly preach a message, but there’s no mistaking the inherent meaning of indigenous people recontextualizing their own culture – especially when contrasted with the ham-fisted appropriation of “ethnic” music and culture that once went largely unquestioned in dance music.
“If you’re First Nations in Canada, just the fact that you’re even alive is a political statement,” says Campeau with a smile, although it’s clear he’s being deeply serious.
“There’s a long history of aboriginal people not having control of our own image,” says Witness, carefully explaining why they insisted on being consulted on NOW’s concept for the photo shoot.