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Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau met at DIY noise parties in Montréal and established a prompt creative bond. In 2016 they released an LP on New York label DFA Records, and with overwhelming positive reviews and an impending tour we caught up with the duo.
“I guess what attracted me was how such a minimal set up can create such an emotional set for the person, how it can transform a scene and how power of sounds that are so little can create and stimulate the imagination.”
In a non-metaphorical way, Essaie pas fell on to my lap.
I was opening up a Shit Robot 12″ that came in the post and a small pin fell out. It had the duo’s name brandished on it, and with DFA’s musical track record I wasted no time looking them up.
With all the hype surrounding the impending LCD Soundsystem tour and a new EP by Holy Ghost, even die-hard fans of DFA can be forgiven for overlooking the Montréal duo. But if you haven’t listened to their new album yet, you should certainly get around to doing so.
The new release, ‘Demain est une autre nuit‘, is a sonic journey that teeters on the edge of being a soaring film score and an all out techno record.
We speak with Marie and Pierre about their introduction to the DFA ‘Family’, their raw musical roots as a duo and their thriving Canadian hometown.
They perform live on November 25 in DLight studios in Dublin. Tickets available here.
How much has the Essaie pas project changed from your earlier releases to the new album on DFA ?
Marie: We are always changing. We’re not a very conceptual band, we just enjoy producing music. We started out as more of an experimental rock, ambient band and eventually we got into electronics with drum machines and sequencers. Our sound is constantly evolving.
I guess this album is a little bit more dancefloor orientated, although there are some slower, introspective tracks. I guess you can say it’s more of a rhythmically orientated album.
Pierre: It’s really like a testament to the music we have been listening to. We took our time with artwork, production and mastering on this album.
There is a distinctive throwback film soundtrack sound to the album. A lot of contemporary films are exploring this retro approach. Would you ever consider going in that direction? Have you ever considered scoring a film?
Marie: Yeah, it’s kind of a dream job for us. We’ve done it once for a documentary and we really liked it. Film soundtracks are a huge influence on us so it would be a really exciting thing to do.
When it comes to individual influences I’m very much influenced by Edward Artimiev’s work.
I’m also fond of Angelo Badalamenti.
Pierre and I are big fans of all the music he has done for David Lynch’s films. To me, the movie soundtrack is a style in itself. It’s so vast and rich.
Pierre: I guess what attracted me was how such a minimal set up can create such an emotional set for the person, how it can transform a scene and how power of sounds that are so little can create and stimulate the imagination.
Has the recent success you’ve experienced had a positive affect to your creative partnership?
Marie: We are not successful (laughs)! When we wrote the album all of this wasn’t really happening, we’ve toured Europe three times, but they were very small DIY shows.
We played New York for the first time last September which was great, but we mostly play shows in Montréal.
We really do music out of love, not for success. We’re music lovers and we’re playing almost everyday. We’re working on music six days a week and we listen to a lot of music at home.
Music is a very vital thing for us, it’s natural.
Pierre: What really brought us together is our love of music. Whether that’s sharing it or trying new things and experimenting together.
We met at a DIY space in Montréal, we had mutual friends there. It’s a place where we were free to experiment and it was full of lots of musicians. There was a special artistic connection when we started playing together and then we found our style.
The term ‘DFA Family’ is often seen at label parties and launches. Do you feel part of that family already?
Marie: The people from the label, Jonathan Galkin and Kris Petersen, are very inclusive and welcoming. It shows they love music as much as we do. They’re huge music collectors. They are very curious, not just about what is happening with their label.
They listen to music we post from our friends and they share it too. We have the same love of music as they do so we get along great. We don’t really know the bands on the label, but maybe we will soon!
We also met The Juan MacLean on the night we were officially announced on DFA. I remember hearing Nancy (Whang) saying on stage “Welcome to the DFA family”, which was touching.
How did the relationship with the label come about in the first place?
Marie: They contacted us when we played in Montréal with Factory Floor two years ago. Kris was tour manager with Factory Floor so we met him at that show. He bought one of our records and we stayed in touch.
He asked us to send him over some music when it was ready. Then without any expectations we were asked to release a record for DFA.
"Music is a very vital thing for us, it's natural."
Montréal is such a fertile place for great music. Why do you think it’s a hotbed for creativity?
Marie: The music scene in Montréal has always been amazing. If you think back in the 70s, there was a huge disco thing happening in the city. If you think of Gino Soccio, Lime and more it became a major project in the city. They played a lot of New York music and they were connected to the disco scene there. There was a lot of good productions that came from Montréal at the time.
Montréal has always been a place with an amazing Jazz improv scene, along with a huge indie community, with bands like Arcade Fire.
People who live in Canada that want to pursue music head to Montréal because it’s the best place in the country to be surrounded by musicians.
Pierre: Montréal brings a lot of interesting things and the rent here is relatively cheap so it’s easier for artists.
What’s the plan for a new EP or a new album?
Marie: We are coming up with a new EP for next fall which we are really looking forward to.
In the meantime, the record launch is very soon in Montréal and then we’re playing with Orphx which is a very good techno act from Hamilton, and then were in New York for our official record launch.