Here at ATB we celebrate the renegade musicians and artists who are paving the road to new and exciting musical avenues and discoveries. Laura Sauvage is one of these trailblazers whose music is something that stands out amongst the crowd. We got the amazing opportunity to speak with Laura about her new album The Beautiful, producing her own album and making music in small town Canada. Be sure to catch Laura Sauvage Thursday November 2 at The Burdock in Toronto! You can find more info on the show here and can buy tickets here.
At The Barricade: Your new album The Beautiful has been described as “a dive into a zany ’80s nerd paradise”. Did you have any specific ’80s musical influences in mind while making this record? If so, who were they and what inspiration did you draw from them?
Laura Sauvage: I was listening to a lot of Drab Majesty, David Axelrod, Pavement and poppy shoe gazer stuff. I wanted to get comfortable with sounds I found cheesy growing up such as delays and certain off-timed semi-aggressive percussions, overtly obvious phaser and chorus all around.
ATB: “Monkeys in Space” is my personal favourite from the album. You manage to bring the contrasting styles of, in my opinion, ’80s synth and surf punk seamlessly together. How would you personally describe your sound?
LS: “Monkeys in Space” was very instinctual. It was written in 5 minutes or less on a weekday morning. It was meant to be snarky but have a dark serious tone to a very simple, upfront chorus. I think it just came out as a razzmatazz spazz and we experimented from there. It’s the only song on the album that we kept everything we did live all together. We then added the sounds I had recorded the guys making in a hotel room with the phone, a bag of chips, followed by the subliminal message we were joking about and then the ondomo.
ATB: The Beautiful marks your first major endeavor into producing- can you go into detail about your experience producing your own record? What were the pros and cons of this process?
LS: Producing has been a goal of mine since I was 12 years old. I had worked with François Lafontaine, Dany Placard and Pierre-Guy Blanchard prior to producing my own album. I would admire them do their work from afar. I love the process of starting with a shell and building from the ground up but the real reward is managing a project you wrote into becoming a live projection of what you hear in your head. (Of course, I couldn’t of done it without the help of my talented musicians, Dany Placard, Nicolas Beaudoin and Jonathan Bigras. And I especially couldn’t have done it without my weapon of choice, Benoît Bouchard, who engineered The Beautiful.)
I would come to the studio every morning and show the boys what song we were gonna be working on by playing it on a voice memo with maybe some arrangements I had already made, or play it on acoustic guitar so everyone would chart it. Then we’d practice it until we finally got it or the vibe felt right. We were all in a mindset of making art. I think that’s the most important part. So, every flaw or sound might have its special place later on. It was very Get-more-than-you-need-and-we’ll-clean-up-after. I can’t find any cons to the experience, everyone was very onboard and I’m so grateful for just that.
ATB: Your debut album Extraordinormal was released just last year. How do you think you’ve grown as an artist since then? What would you like to achieve for your next release?
LS: I think I found more of that softer more feminine sound that I was looking for but also more room to experiment. As an artist, I decided that I want to stick to being involved in the whole process of making the album such as the artwork. Just so I don’t lose that visual I’m trying to throw out there with the music. I’ve also given myself more constraints to give me more creative freedom without going off the rails. I guess what I’d like to achieve depends on what’s coming next – either the EP or the album. I’m sitting on two concepts/album titles right now, sketching out what they’ll both be.
ATB: Coming from a small town, I’m sure you can appreciate and understand the hustle that new artists/bands need to have in order to break out in the music scene. How was your experience breaking into the music scene coming from a small town?
LS: I consider myself lucky because I surrounded myself with these two inspiring and powerful women, Katrine Noël and Julie Aubé to start Les Hay Babies. We learned so much together by starting out very DIY in a bookstore basement. I would even say it was easier coming from a small city such as Moncton because they have given us so much support. We couldn’t of gotten out of the city without its platform of encouragement. I guess it depends where you’re from and how tied-in to your community you make yourself. The hustle is important, though. (That’s why ”instant-star TV shows” are such a bore. They start from zero to hero and lack the appreciation of how they got to doing what they’re doing. Once they’re out of the whole TV production world, they’ll never fully appreciate what they’re doing because they’re stuck into it, floating in thin air. haha)
ATB: What advice would you give to artists/bands just starting out?
LS: Don’t get easily discouraged from all the bumps along the road, they’re just another experience in your book of rock n’ roll. If you want to play until you’re old, some of them will eventually become medals.
ATB: With small towns in mind, I like to believe that Canada’s local music scenes are the backbone of our country’s creative culture. Just how important are our local music scenes? What do you think can be done to make our music scenes a better, safer place for everyone?
LS: You’re absolutely right! Canada’s local music scenes ARE the backbone of our country’s creative culture! I think it’s important to go out and see shows of bands you don’t know. Finding a venue you can depend on for the style of music you’re into is a good start to doing just that. Also, don’t depend on streaming services to get your music. Buy an album. The band has to live. An album = a set of strings or one third of a tank of gas or a fast food meal. It helps soooo much.
ATB: What do you hope fans take away from ”The Beautiful’’?
LS: I hope people don’t use my album as a coster on their coffee tables.
What is your favourite track from “The Beautiful”? Let us know!
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