By Jason Herring, July 14 2015 —
After the HiFi Club opened in early 2005, the venue became a staple in Calgary’s music scene, hosting underground and innovative electronic dance music (EDM) artists.
The venue is now celebrating its 10th year by hosting a series of parties. HiFi Club general manager Sarmad Rizvi says it’s interesting to see how the EDM scene has grown since the club opened.
“[EDM] hit a bit of a wall in the mid 2000s. But it found its resurgence in 2008 when dubstep became popular. Calgary always mimics what happens in other parts of the world, so we began to get more venues promoting electronic music,” Rizvi says. “I don’t think back in the day we thought electronic shows would happen at the Big Four or the Saddledome. The scene’s gotten a lot bigger since we started, which means more competition in our industry.”
Even though the EDM industry has grown more competitive since HiFi opened, Rizvi says the surrounding scene hasn’t had a big effect on their business.
“I feel like we’ve carved out a pretty good niche for us here, so it doesn’t really affect us. We try to keep on the underground side of music anyways,” he says.
Rizvi started working at HiFi a few months after it first opened, also acting as a talent buyer for the venue. He says the best part of the job is being able to influence the music scene in Calgary.
“We pick music we feel deeply about. When we hear something we really love, the first thing we do is find out who the booking agent is for what we’re listening to. It’s an amazing perk, to be able to promote shows of the music you love,” Rizvi says.
Though HiFi has been able to book most of their desired acts, Rizvi says the venue still has a bucket list of artists they want to bring to Calgary.
The club will be able to cross one artist off its list when famed electronic musician Jamie xx comes to town on July 22 for the first of HiFi’s anniversary parties.
“Jamie xx was at the top of our list, but when I booked him I didn’t know he had an album coming out,” Rizvi says. “After we booked him there was an onslaught of releases and videos and collaborations from him. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
Jamie xx’s set is the first 10th anniversary show at HiFi. Though no other concerts have been announced, Rizvi says he’s working to finalize two or three more shows.
When asked what he expects from the club over the next 10 years, Rizvi has an easy answer.
“We just signed another 10-year lease, so we don’t see it going anywhere,” he says. “We’re a great place that allows Calgary to listen to new music and helps bring new music into the market. We just want to keep doing what we’re doing.”