In 1993, when Tiga James Sontag was 17, he sold his most treasured possession: a Roland TR-909 drum machine. The reason? To fund a trip to Love Parade in Berlin. Tiga’s mentor, Montreal house DJ Robert de la Gautier, put him in touch with a friend in Germany. “I arranged that this guy would give me 800DM for my 909,” remembers Tiga. “I got off the train from the airport and handed it to him. He also let me stay with him for a week, so I was instantly plugged into the Berlin scene.” Was it worth it? “Of course. It was incredible.”
Tiga ended up partying for 24 hours at legendary Berlin club Tresor and hanging out with early 90s icons such as Westbam and Mixmaster Morris. His 909 was replaceable, but a week spent with techno’s big names: well, that was priceless. Twenty years later the reason Tiga is one of dance music’s most enduring DJs is that he’s never lost that wide-eyed, do-anything enthusiasm. You can hear it on ‘Bugatti’, released last year on his own Turbo label and recently signed to Universal. The clipped, banging kicks, white noise engine drones and Tiga deadpanning, “Girl comes up to me and says, ‘What you driving. I say, Bugatti’” are exciting, weird and entertainingly dumb.