Since January, 613TV has been telling the stories of Ottawa’s favourite local places and events. Through shows like 613 Flavours and Ottawa Minute, Apt613’s YouTube channel has been working with various contributors to help showcase the city’s diverse culture. One staple of these videos has been the music behind them, which is created by local beatmaker Nicolas-Olivier Potvin, also known as fivepee.
Born in Grand-Mère, QC, Potvin isn’t new to stitching social fabrics together. He lived in Mali, France, Niger, Thailand, Egypt, and Florida before becoming a sound engineer in Montreal. Between all the travel, Potvin found solace in his headphones, the vehicle he employed for a sense of safety, consistency, and understanding of the places he integrated into. Today, the producer works out of Lowertown, and credits his mother for both his love for world music and his generous time spent in Ottawa.
“When I was young, I came downstairs with my first hangover and there she was – cleaning, making pie, and deep into Tibetan chants at 8:30 in the morning.”
Despite being exposed to many genres, hip-hop remains at the heart of fivepee’s musical inspirations. He grew up listening to Louis Armstrong and other jazz classics with his father, but was also influenced by Naughty by Nature after his sisters introduced him to the trio.
During his teenage years, he appreciated a lot of the same bands his classmates listened to – Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, NOFX, Rancid – but while they went off to practice their instruments, he was experimenting with different turntables, wanting to weave together all of the great musicians and records he had been studying.
It’s that feeling you get when you listen to A Tribe Called Quest song you love and, ten years later, you’ll hear a jazz record and realize “Holy shit, that’s where the Tribe song came from!? Sampling connects people from different backgrounds, religions, age groups, where you can learn about each other, reinvent, renew, and exchange ideas through music.”
Currently, fivepee is putting the finishing touches on two new albums described as post-trap, post-vaporwave, mixed in with his usual dedication to old-school hip-hop, funk and soul. Before those drop, he’ll be spinning at Bar Robo during 613 Day. Stop by to celebrate Apt613’s ninth birthday and, if you get a chance, ask the producer about his Middle Eastern vinyl collection.